sad halloween pumpkinOne of the newest trends in trick-or-treating (in addition to the thank-you note) is, well, doing exactly the opposite. Confused? I can explain.

"Reverse trick-or-treating" is a recently contrived tradition in which trick-or-treaters (and their parents) go door to door on Halloween night handing candy back to the adults who answer the door. Why in the world would they do this? Well, the kids will be handing back Fair Trade chocolate (attached to an informational card) to educate candy-givers about the fact that most brand-name chocolates come from third-world countries with poor working conditions including slavery and child labor.

It's a really great cause -- with a really bad tactic for raising awareness.

Now, I wouldn't be caught dead defending slavery and child labor. Moreover, I'm in absolute agreement that consumers should be educated (and educate themselves!) about making good choices, which would include purchasing Fair Trade chocolate made by companies that have transparent and acceptable working conditions. (I've even written about it here.)

But there's a time and a place to have this conversation, and it's not on Halloween going door to door. Did the person at the house handing out the Hershey's candy bar make the best choice they possibly could with respect to ending child labor? Who knows?! But there are more effective ways to spread the message about Fair Trade chocolate than giving candy back to people and making them feel ignorant and ashamed in the moment.

Yes, let's raise awareness about and fight against major chocolate companies with disgusting labor practices! But let's do it before or after Halloween -- not when you are at a well-meaning person's front door taking candy they're giving you out of the goodness of their own heart.

Do you reverse trick-or-treat?

 

Image via Hitchster/Flickr