Archive for the ‘Halloween’ Tag

Spirituality in the Secular Halloween   Leave a comment

I don’t know about you, but Halloween just may be near the top of the list of my favorite holidays. It’s just so much fun! This year, for various reasons, I’m being a little bit more contemplative about the holiday, though, and I’ve realized that even the secular Halloween that we celebrate is a spiritual celebration. Yes, I know that there is a religious connection in All Souls Day and All Saints Day, but let’s face it, we are talking about the dress-up-in-costume, carve-a-pumpkin, get/give/eat-candy minor secular holiday. (Although for the candy industry I’m sure this is not a “minor” holiday.) Our customs at and around Halloween-time are celebrations of community, creativity, sharing, connection with nature, and life/death. Sounds spiritual to me.

Especially in modern western society, how often is it not just acceptable, but encouraged, to go up to the doorsteps of friends and strangers where you are greeted with a smile and not a scowl or deadpan face? In the practice of trick-or-treating we do just that. We may not know our neighbors well anymore, but in this open celebration of community sharing, we can still connect on some level. Not only are our doors opened to trick-or-treaters, but we give out candy and other treats. I hate to say it, but modern western society is really bad at sharing and giving, except for when it comes to treats on Halloween. Also, while trick-or-treating or handing out candy, we actually notice¬†each other, even if it is just to marvel at a particularly cute/scary/creative costume, or acknowledge with a smile or head tilt that we are engaging in a common activity. On any given day, we don’t notice each other. Our eyes slide over the people around us without a second thought. Or we people watch but without interaction, without the acknowledgement of what we have in common.

Not only do we connect with each other on this one night, but many seasonal/Halloween activities connect us with nature to some degree as well. We carve pumpkins, bob for apples, wander through corn mazes, decorate with corn stalks and gourds, and put (fake) cobwebs UP instead of cursing the real ones. Even as disconnected as we are from the cycles of nature and harvest, we retain these traditions. Hey, it’s better than nothing. Halloween also involves a lot of creativity, whether it be in creating a costume, putting up decorations, or carving a pumpkin. These are really life-affirming activities. I think that is probably part of the reason that there are so many of us who just love this holiday and think it is so much fun (even if musings like this don’t usually enter the mind)!

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Posted October 28, 2011 by mayakey in musings, spiritual practices

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This Is The Year Fair Trade Halloween Chocolates Make a Break   2 comments

For the last several years, around this time, I have had the frustrating experience of searching for fair trade mini-chocolates to give to trick-or-treaters. But no more. I followed a link GreenAmerica sent in one of their emails, and found that they had updated their chocolate scorecard to include whether a company has bite-sized candies. There are now several companies selling mini-bars or bite-sized foil wrapped chocolates, and some other more expensive halloween-themed chocolate candies. Plus, in acknowledgement of the large percentage of people who dislike dark chocolates, there are now fair trade mini milk chocolate candies. There are also of course several places from which to buy reverse trick-or-treat kits. So for the first time I think I can encourage people to consider buying fair trade for some of their halloween candy and/or reverse trick-or-treat. (Reverse trick-or-treat is where the kids give a piece of chocolate glued to a postcard about fair trade back to the people giving them candy.)

Check out the chocolate scorecard and GreenAmerica’s website for more info on fair trade. I tend to have a big issue with advertising or product plugging, but fair trade is important enough that I’ll encourage you to check out websites for Divine Chocolates, Equal Exchange, Coco-Zen, Sjaak’s, and Sweet Earth Chocolates. They are still a bit more expensive than what you get at the grocery store, but that’s for better candy, a better economy, and a better world.

Posted October 11, 2011 by mayakey in advocacy, fair trade, shopping

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Ready for Trick-or-Treaters, Maybe   Leave a comment

We’ve got our mini-chocolate bars, we’ve got a tub of pretzel bags. We might just be ready for Halloween (well the trick-or-treating part anyway).

For the last several years I have been buying fair trade mini-chocolate bars to give out for Halloween. Since we have to order them online it means that we can’t be last minute on our Halloween candy. The fair trade thing is really important to me as a part of my “conscience living”. Buying fair trade is all about economic empowerment. It ensures that the people who produced the product received sustainable living wages, and usually other social benefits. Fair trade products are also often organic, to protect the workers. The list of products that may be certified fair trade is constantly growing: chocolate, tea, coffee, sugar, bananas, sports balls, vanilla, rice, flower, and crafts. I insist on fair trade tea, chocolate, and sugar for myself; and it just seems wrong to me to be cheap with non-fair trade stuff for other people. So I pay a little (ok, a lot) more to special order mini-chocolates made from fairly traded chocolate and sugar. This year we bought from Equal Exchange, and I’ve bought from¬†Divine Chocolate in the past. What I really need to start doing is putting a suggestion in the box at Whole Foods to sell the fair trade mini-bars in their stores for Halloween, because ordinary people won’t jump on the bandwagon until the candy is easily available in stores.

While I have insisted for the last few years on Halloween chocolates made from fair trade chocolate and sugar, I’ve been stymied when it comes to non-chocolate Halloween goodies. I have not been able to find candy made from fair trade sugar that I can hand out to trick-or-treaters. So we get the typical bag of “conventional” non-chocolate candy to supplement the fair trade chocolate. It really bugs me. But this year we’re trying something different. On a recent trip to Costco we discovered that they have tubs of Halloween pretzel bags. Perfect! An end-run around the fair trade sugar problem! So we’ll be handing out bags of pretzels and mini-chocolate bars. …And probably some non-fair trade sugar candy as well, since I think we should have bought two tubs of pretzels in order to have enough stuff… Oh, well.

Posted October 7, 2010 by mayakey in conscious living, fair trade

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