This past Halloween, children and families spread the word about fair trade, switching up holiday conventions a bit while having a good time to boot. Folks from across the country sent in orders for the popular Reverse Trick-or-Treating kit, and Global Exchange distributed nearly 1,000 of them to supporters, both seasoned vets of Reverse Trick-or-Treating and first-timers.

Inside the kits? Delicious fair trade chocolate pieces, printed cards with an introduction to fair trade and the abuses of the cocoa industry, and an invitation to learn more on the Reverse Trick-or-Treating website.

In West Africa the abuses of the cocoa industry are rampant, including substandard wages, oftentimes forced labor. The Dark Side of Chocolate is a heart breaking documentary that we’ve been working to promote which highlights that those consigned to slavery are often children. We also released a report earlier this year titled Still Time to Raise the Bar: The REAL Corporate Social Responsibility Report for the Hershey Company 2011, which indicates that confectioner giant Hershey’s has a long way to go to ensure that it’s cocoa slavery free. As a complement to our advocacy, we’re using Reverse Trick-or-Treating to build a connection, child to child, and to enlist children as ambassadors to encourage adults to make a change in their chocolate buying habits.

To order a copy of The Dark Side of Chocolate, visit our website or email fairtrade (at) globalexchange (dot) org.

Reverse Trick-Or-Treating would not have been possible without the help of the numerous individuals and organizations we’ve worked with. Though we can’t thank everyone individually, we’d like to focus attention on the following groups:
Equal Exchange, for collaborating with us on Reverse Trick-Or- Treating for the 5th year in a row and donating fair trade chocolate for the campaign;
Coco-Zen and Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates for their generous donations;

Our partner organizations that helped with outreach:
Fair Trade Resource Network
Fair Trade Towns USA
Green America
International Labor Rights Forum
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State
• Terra
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
• Our team of volunteers that came in to help stuff the kits, including the Global Exchange staff!

Reverse Trick-Or-Treating was featured in USA Today and the Boston Herald. And Holistic Moms featured RTT on their blog.

Got pictures of your participation? Send them in to kylie (at) globalexchange (dot) org.

Photo contest winner: Rasha Sharhan

Speaking of photos, the Raise the Bar, Hershey campaign spent the Halloween season collecting photos from all of you for the Hershey Halloween Photo Contest to send Hershey the clear message that we would not accept Halloween candy made with child labor. A big congratulations goes out to Rasha Sharhan from Cabrini University who submitted the winning photograph!

A special shout out also goes out to Amber Bruce and her super hero kids for submitting their photo.

In other Fair Trade chocolate news, our Raise the Bar, Hershey campaign partner, Green America traveled to Hershey, Pennsylvania to present the more than 100,000 petition signatures to Hershey management demanding a fair deal for workers.

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the signing of the Harkin-Engel Protocol – an agreement by the country’s largest chocolate companies, including Hershey’s, committing to put an end to forced child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa by 2005. The Protocol pledged to develop and implement voluntary standards to certify cocoa produced without the “worst forms of child labor,” (defined according to the International Labor Organization’s Convention 182).

Ten years later, no progress has been made. Last week Global Exchange, Green America and ILRF (International Labor Rights Forum) released a report targeting Hershey’s titled ‘Time to Raise the Bar, Hershey!’ which details how hundreds of thousands of children are still forced to work under abusive conditions for long hours on cocoa farms in West Africa, while others are victims of trafficking and forced labor, all for a Hershey bar. The documentary, The Dark Side of Chocolate is a great resource to learn more.

Like many issues involving human rights abuses today, it is not the corporations who are profiting from the unjust practices that are taking a stand to put an end to them – it is the people that are rising up to create change by calling for an end to the abuses.

This is the kind of action that we have seen emerge through the Fair Trade movement, particularly through advocating for consumers to buy Fair Trade chocolate instead of chocolate tainted with child labor.

As we approach one of the most popular holidays for chocolate consumption, Halloween, there is a great way that children and families can help end child labor in the cocoa industry and promote Fair Trade – by participating in Reverse Trick-Or-Treating!

Reverse Trick-Or-Treating 2011For the fifth year in a row, Trick-or-Treaters will be handing Fair Trade chocolate back to adults, with informational cards attached, to explain the problems of the cocoa industry and how Fair Trade presents a solution. By providing children with a way to be active, hundreds of thousands of households in the US are getting the message that forced child labor will not be tolerated by our kids.

Global Exchange is launching the campaign in cooperation with Fair Trade companies Equal Exchange, Sweet Earth chocolate, and Coco-Zen. It is a collaborative effort of countless children, youth, and adults supported by institutions including nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, Fair Trade companies, and schools.

Our partners at Equal Exchange sum up the main idea behind Reverse Trick-Or-Treating beautifully:

‘The inspiration for Reverse Trick-or-Treating rests on the belief that the simple act of one person saying to another “There’s a problem. There’s a solution. Let’s do something” can be very powerful. And if a child says this to an adult – it’s doubly powerful. Further, we believe that such acts will demonstrate to the large corporations, and to public officials, that people are paying attention, people care, and they want action”

If enough people take a stand, on Halloween and throughout the year, to organize and educate others in their community about the reality of forced child labor and the importance of Fair Trade as a tool for combating it, we might actually have something to celebrate on the next anniversary of the Harkin-Engels Protocol.

  • Questions? Contact Kylie Nealis, Reverse Trick-Or-Treating Coordinator at Global Exchange by e-mail: or by phone, (415) 575-5551

Reverse Trick-or-Treating is back for it’s fifth year to give you the opportunity to treat-n-teach your neighbors!

This Halloween, you can help end the exploitation of children in the cocoa industry and raise awareness of Fair Trade! Trick-or-Treaters will be handing Fair Trade chocolate back to adults, with informational cards attached, to explain the problems of the cocoa industry and how Fair Trade presents a solution. By providing children with a way to be active, hundreds of thousands of households in the US are getting the message that child labor and forced labor will not be tolerated by our kids.

You can take part by visiting and ordering your kit today. This year, Global Exchange is offering a limited quantity of kits to individuals so be sure to get your order in quickly! 

Each kit contains 15 mini chocolates, informational cards and an instruction leaflet. The kits are free, you pay just $7.50 for shipping, but we are asking participants to round up if they are able, to help cover costs.

If you don’t manage to get one of the kits, you can still take part! Download free flyers here and pass them out on Halloween. You can purchase Fair Trade chocolate at any of our Global Exchange Stores, or check out one of the Fair Trade companies listed below.

If you are part of a group, school or organization and want to purchase a group kit, please visit Equal Exchanges order page.

Reverse Trick-or-Treating is an initiative launched by the human rights organization Global Exchange in cooperation with Fair Trade companies Equal ExchangeSweet Earth Chocolates and Coco-Zen, and is a collaborative effort of countless children, youth, and adults supported by institutions including nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, Fair Trade companies, and schools.

Get your kit today!

Is any else as excited for Halloween as I am? Great excuse to dress up and pass out Fair Trade chocolate.

This year, we are happy to share that this year, tens of thousands of kids and adults will hand out Reverse Trick-or-Treating kits to 100,000 households in 49 states and the District of Columbia in the US and all over Canada this year! Yes! If you didn’t order an RTT kit this year, you can still get involved by passing out Reverse Trick-or-Treating and Raise the Hershey bar fliers.

You can also help spread awareness about child labor in the cocoa industry by hosting a screening of newly released documentary, The Dark Side of Chocolate.

Other ways to get involved with Halloween this weekend:

  • Make an ad on Reese’s website raising awareness about forced and child labor in Hershey’s cocoa, and send it to all your friends.  If you make the ad by Monday, November 1 and CC it to, Green America will send the best ads to Hershey.
  • According to his Facebook page, Stephen Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive” is sponsored by Reese’s (owned by Hershey)!  For children in West Africa, Hershey’s/Reese’s are indeed keeping fear alive…the childrens’ fear of being trafficked into forced labor in the cocoa fields that grow cocoa for chocolate bars sold in the US.  There is a lot of buzz nationwide about this march, on Halloween eve…join the Raise the Bar Campaign in helping use that buzz to hold Hershey accountable.  If you have a Facebook account, leave a message on the wall of Stephen Colbert, the Colbert Report, and the March to Keep Fear Alive, as well as the Daily Show, raising awareness of the connection between Reese’s and child labor.  If you use Twitter, here are some suggested tweets:
  • @StephenAtHome the only thing scarier the #march4fear is the use of #ChildLabor in the production of #Reeses
  • @StephenAtHome #Reeses does have something to hide and it is scarier than peanuts: #ChildLabor
  • @ColbertReport #Reeses may contain dairy, peanuts and #ChildLabor.

Most importantly, have a safe and happy Halloween this weekend everyone!

Almost Gone! The deadline to order your FREE Reverse Trick-or-Treating Kit has been extended to Wednesday October 13th, so spread the good news to all your last minute ordering friends and family…it’s not too late to order your FREE kits for Halloween.

This is your chance to do some good this Halloween by helping to spread the word about Fair Trade. And let’s face it, you can’t beat free when it comes to Fair Trade chocolate:)

GOT KIDS?  KNOW KIDS?  Order your Reverse Trick-or-Treating Kit Today

What is Reverse Trick-or-Treating? Children of all ages (+ high school/college students/adults) give chocolate back to adults at each house they visit on Halloween during their regular trick-or-treating rounds through their neighborhoods, or at an equivalent community event.

What’s in the Kit? Fair Trade chocolate attached to an informational card about the problems in the cocoa industry, (such as child slavery, environmental degradation, and poverty) and how Fair Trade provides a solution.

With your help, we will reach a quarter million households in the US and Canada with this important informational message!

Remember, the deadline to order is Wednesday, October 13th for both organizations and individuals, so spread the word

Kits for individuals are FREE and include 15-20 Fair Trade chocolate minis and informational cards. Kits for organizations are $24 per box of 150 minis and cards (maximum 2 boxes per organization).

Request your kits TODAY. 

Oh, and if you’re looking to purchase trick-or-treating chocolate to distribute from your doorstep, visit Global Exchange’s Online Fair Trade Store.

Have a boo-ti-ful Halloween, from all of us here at Global Exchange!

Congratulations to Global Exchange Fair Trade Store blog reader bayctygrl, the winner of our Fair Trade Trick or Treat Action Kit Giveaway!

We asked readers what they’re doing to celebrate Fair Trade month. Here’s what bayctygrl said:

I am going to hand out some choc. to adults! well to a few because I don’t have a lot of money, I think I should print up some leaflets too and have my daughter give them in exchange for her goody. that way (they) both get a “treat”.

Thanks to all of you who shared comments with us about how you’re celebrating Fair Trade month. Keep up the great and have fun!

October is Fair Trade month and we want to know how you’re celebrating. Tell us what you’re doing by leaving a comment in the Comment field below. One lucky winner will receive a FREE Fair Trade Trick or Treat Action Kit!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Check out 31 Ways to celebrate 31 Days of Fair Trade. TransFair USA has done a terrific job of putting together great ideas about celebrating and promoting Fair Trade. Visit
2. Hand out Fair Trade chocolates to Trick-or-Treaters along with info about the importance of choosing Fair Trade. Our Action Kits come with chocolates AND info cards: Trick-or-Treat Action Kits.
3. Make your Halloween costume count. Use your creativity to incorporate Fair Trade into your Halloween costume. Just picture yourself walking down the street dressed as a giant Fair Trade banana!
4. Take part in Reverse Trick or Treating. For the third year in a row, thousands of kids will be handing chocolate out to adults around Halloween. FAIR TRADE chocolate of course:) Visit our Fair Trade Campaign page to get involved.
5. Throw a Fair Trade Halloween event. Visit TransFair USA for great resources to help you out and register your event.

And don’t forget to leave a comment below about what you’re planning to do to celebrate Fair Trade month. The winner will be announced on our blog Oct. 21st!