Think Outside The Candy Box

When “06880” last covered Erika Miller and Jennifer Boyd, they were taking on the Westport school system over candy in classrooms, and processed food in cafeterias.

Now they’ve got bigger fish to fry:


The Westport residents — calling themselves “Two Angry Moms,” after the healthy food movement of the same name — say that every kids’ favorite holiday is way too sugary, gluttonous, wasteful, and consumerist.

No way!

To that end, Miller and Boyd have hooked up with a national organization called Green Halloween.  The idea:  Move the focus from candy, and take the day back to its roots.  (Fun, not pagan worship.)

From 4-6 p.m. on Halloween Day — Sunday, Oct. 31 — the Westport Historical Society will host free entertainment and educational activities, for kids and adults.

There’s an interactive break dancer; “touch tanks” featuring Halloween-ish things like gross eyeballs, and an “Eco-Graveyard” (waste by-products of Halloween, like candy wrappers and bottles, will be “buried”).

It’s not all fun and games, of course.  Green Halloween-goers will learn that chocolate production is one of the world’s worst sources of child slave labor (who knew?).

Staples students are volunteering, and the response so far has been good, the Two Angry Moms say.

“06880” — no fan of either child obesity or gluttony — applauds the Green Halloween idea.  But the cynic in us asks:  What’s to prevent kids from going to the event from 4-6 p.m., then rushing home (or Gault, the beach or other densely populated neighborhoods) to trick-or-treat for, um, chocolate?

“That’s fine,” Miller says.  “We know that’s a deep tradition.  We just want to show everyone there’s an alternative.

“Maybe they’ll realize that getting 20 pounds of candy isn’t necessary — 5 or 6 pounds is enough.

“Maybe they’ll decide that at every 2nd house, they’ll collect money for UNICEF.

“And we’ll have healthy snacks at Green Halloween.  So maybe they’ll have some good food before they go out trick or treating.”

Green Halloween:  It’s the 2010 thing to do.

But I hope kids never lose the thrill of scooping out a gloopy, smelly, seed-filled pumpkin.

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10 responses to “Think Outside The Candy Box

  1. why don’t they just advocate an organic, fair trade halloween? it’s so easy to do now with whole foods and stop and shop’s candy sections offering adequate options of halloween packaged candy that is organic and fair trade (living wages paid throughout the growing, production, packaging, delivery processes, etc.). though these women are entitled to do whatever it is they want, the alternative that they are advocating seems unecessarily extreme.

  2. Hush McCormick

    Good alternatives cited but perhaps it takes the “extreme” to bring the point to fruition. However, that being said, I am reminded of the great quote: “Baseball was made for kids and grown-ups only screw it up.” I feel the same about Halloween. Because as a kid, I did plan for weeks what course we hoodlums would take (Gault Park as one) including maps, certain houses that gave the big Snickers and the such. It was a favorite holiday among us kids. I can’t see bringing structure or meaning to it from adults. Kids should get enough of that in school or at home. If the “Angry Moms” feel so strongly about it, let them lead the way for homeowners to only contribute to UNICEF or give out apples when the kids com’a’knockin. That is probably a good way for the rugrats not to bother you. I have never tasted a green candy bar that tasted worth a damn. And I have tried a few.

  3. Just to comment on the “organic and fair trade”. For much of that stuff it’s BS and probably produced by the same companies producing the non-organic stuff.

    I think Halloween should be that day when kids splurge. But I applaud the parents for going at the school cafeterias…which need a serious overhaul. Just look what the Unquowa School in Fairfield has been doing. They’re doing it the right way.

  4. actually ‘staples kid’ you are wrong. i’ve worked in many of the countries that produce the organic and fair trade cocoa, coffee, etc., and i assure you that while no part of the process for any company has achieved ‘perfect’ (there are always going to be arguments about what constitutes a living wage) it’s not BS. also, I’ve worked with a few of those companies that do not market themselves as fair trade but are, and without getting the fair trade label/meeting with the fair trade label people, making and building on their own prior efforts to achieve the fair trade standards.

    you should look and buy fair trade and if your favorite products don’t have that label look up the relative companies websites and read their investor relations and corporate responsibility pages, etc., to see what they have to say they are doing and what $ investment they are making towards achieving those goals.

  5. “Fair trade” is yet another misguided effort that punishes those who should be helped. No one I know sees child labor as praiseworthy, but if these poor children were put out of work, what would happen to the economic condition of their families? Boycotting goods made by children may seem virtuous, but consider the consequences for those who make the goods no longer in demand. Families who live at subsistence levels cannot afford to lose one dollar of income. The existing reality is harsh, but the alternative is catastrophic.

  6. I grew up by Gault Park and it was the best place for trick or treating!

  7. It’s not just the kids who are eating the candy gotten from trick or treating. My secret was that I (the mom) would steal from our two kids’ bags, and each of them thought the other was taking their candy! They wouldn’t think a mother would stoop so low. But I did. And a few years ago (they are now in their 40s) I told them what I’d done. :-}

  8. several multi-nationals in oil and gas sector (BP is a leader in this), tourism sector, coffee and cocoa sectors in countries that due to those countries’ own infrastructures children are forced to work, those companies make investments in the education systems in those countries and require that the children attend the schools they sponsor and work less hours so that the working children can actually absorb the education. so, there is ‘fair trade’. you just have to read up on the companies mission statements/corporate responsibility and then look at the IR section to see $ amount of actual investment in achieving the corporate responsibility mandate.

  9. Actually, as an interesting alternative, my son’s orthodontist (Blue Wave Orthodontics in Darien) is doing a Halloween candy buy back. For every pound of candy a patient brings in, he will pay the kid a dollar and donate $5 for cancer research. Thus far, this is easily my favorite response.

  10. another staples kid

    im tired of parents messing with the food and health of all the kids in the district. its not your job to try to stop obesity and keep kids healthy, its their parents job. if you are so concerned with your childs health, then make them lunch yourselves, dont mess with everyone elses food its very obnoxious and annoying