Trick or fairly traded treat

October 29, 2010

I've always been ambivalent about Halloween. When I was
little, my sisters and I dressed up and went trick-or-treating, but we weren't
allowed to wear scary costumes. (Or rather, nothing supernatural and scary--my sister's Raggedy Ann getup [left] screams
"scary clown.")

Later my parents rejected trick-or-treating entirely,
sending us instead to an alternate "harvest party" at church each year. We wore
creative Bible costumes: I as the rock Moses struck for water (in a black
garbage bag with a hole for a squirt gun), my sister as the salt of the earth
(in a rock salt bag), my sister and I as Martha and Lazarus (I wrapped in rags,
she periodically delivering the King Jamesian punchline, "He stinketh!").

Later still, we avoided the trick-or-treaters by leaving the
house for the afternoon or hiding in the basement with a movie.

Nowadays, I've no serious objection to Halloween (or candy),
and I appreciate CCblogger Alan Rudnick's case
for Christians observing the holiday. But I also have no nostalgia for it--I
was only briefly allowed to celebrate Halloween, and I probably spent most of
the time whining about not being allowed to dress up as a ghost. Most years I
forget about it until some poor kid rings the doorbell and the only edibles in
the apartment are beans, peanut butter and beer.

This idea, however, has me excited: reverse
. The event, run by Global Exchange, is in its fourth
year. Instead of demanding chocolate (under vague threat of trick), kids go
door to door handing out fair-trade
chocolate with information about the fair-trade movement. Sure, some people
might respond with a "these insufferable do-gooders" roll of the eyes, but the
fact that cute children are trying to
give them high-quality chocolate
ought to mitigate most of this. And the blood
trade is a serious problem.

Once my wife and I have kids, maybe we'll try this. I should
start brainstorming scrappy, homemade Bible costumes with
chocolate-distributing themes.