Fair Trade Halloween

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This Halloween, a young family is turning the tables on traditional trick-or-treating. Reed Galin explains how a Wisconsin minister hopes to teach young people the bittersweet truth behind a tasty treat.   

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(Locator: Racine, Wisconsin)

(Man greets trick-or-treaters)

“Trick or treat!”

“There you go…We actually have some chocolate for you too.”

Devin Tharp is a United Methodist minister on a mission this Halloween. He plans to use treats as a teaching tool.

Devin Tharp: “We’re doing a program called reverse trick-or-treating.”

While his young son gets goodies, Tharp hands out candy for a cause.

He wants to teach kids that much of the chocolate they eat comes from African nations, like Ivory Coast, where children work in cocoa fields and farmers earn little for their crops.

(Tharp tasting chocolate) ‘It’s really good.”

Through the United Methodist Church, Tharp and his wife received information and samples. Fair Trade chocolate is candy made without child labor and produced by farmers who earn a fair wage.

Devin Tharp, Director of Youth, Evangelical United Methodist Church: “We’re planning to hand out the flyers as well as the candy itself.”

(Kids at door) “Trick or treat!”

Devin Tharp: “My church and I are handing out Fair Trade chocolate this year just to make people aware of some of the issues surrounding chocolate in the Ivory Coast and child labor.”

This was a taste of reality for many kids.

Joey Felle, Trick-or-Treater, Age 12: “It makes me feel better because then I know like some little kids aren’t like working really, really hard to make chocolate for us because they shouldn’t have to work.”

Jeffrey Rauembuehler, Trick-or-Treater, Age 11: “I thought it’s kind of cruel that they make little kids do this.”

Tia Tharp, Member, Evangelical United Methodist Church: “If one or two are willing to think about this seriously and weigh their decisions on where they purchase their chocolate or  consider those aspects, that’s worth it to me that we participated in this.”

Devin Tharp: “Promoting fair trade chocolate is a very easy way for us to get involved and to fight that injustice.”

And that really could make this a holiday without guilt!

“Happy Halloween! Have a great night, be safe!”


Tharp’s youth group at Evangelical United Methodist Church plans to share Fair Trade chocolate with other groups in Racine.

To learn how you can order fair trade chocolate, visit the Web site for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Pamphlets, table tents, posters and other educational materials are available by calling UMCOR’s fair trade partner, Equal Exchange, at 774-776-7400.

Also, see: Couple exposes the dark side of chocolate this Halloween

Posted: Oct. 29, 2008