My friend’s house gets stampeded on Halloween. The entire neighborhood turns into an extended haunted house, and after spending weeks putting up elaborate fake cemeteries and brainstorming how to dress up as a crazy ghost with a chainsaw, my friend spends the evening handing out hundreds of pieces of candy to kids. Seriously, like 300 pieces of candy.
The thing is, my friend is also an incredibly conscientious person. She’s not the kind of jerk who hands out raisins or floss on Halloween, but she also doesn’t want to perpetuate the status quo of cheap, unethical candy. There's a reason those chocolates are so cheap, and it's because farmers are paid pennies for their hard work (think 80 cents per pound of cocoa beans), which means you'll find extreme poverty and sometimes even child slave labor behind those sweets.
But when my friend asked me earlier today where to buy ethical Halloween candy that won’t break the bank, I was stumped. Well, for a minute.
Here are seven solutions I found for her that I thought you, as an awesomely conscientious person, might want to hand out too. Each is reasonably priced and kid-friendly, and the pieces come individually wrapped, perfect for handing out on Halloween.
See's Candies uses Guittard chocolate in all of its confections, which means you can be confident that it's ethically sourced and high quality. Guittard has been around for over 100 years, and fourth-generation owner Gary Guittard spends much of his time and energy working with initiatives like the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund and is committed to the craft chocolate movement as well as ethical chocolate. These individually wrapped chocolate balls are the perfect-size treat for Halloween. $15.99 for 8 ounces (about 30 balls).
Honestly I don't know that much about this company, but what I do know impresses me. The chocolate is not bean to bar, but it is fair trade and comes from a worker-owned co-op. Try these minis with a hint of hazelnut, reminiscent of Nutella. $60 for 150 pieces.
These lil' minis taste as cute as they look: Think an assortment of bean-to-bar maker TCHO's dark chocolate bars in "nutty" flavor, for the discerning trick or treater. There aren't any nuts in the bars; rather, the chocolate itself tastes nutty because of the cocoa beans' natural terroir. The Berkeley-based company practices direct trade, buying cocoa beans directly from farmers and investing time, money, and energy into improving their living conditions. $63.61 for 120 count.
Owner Shawn Askinosie is hands down the most ethical person I know. He devotes almost all of his time to sourcing cocoa beans directly from farmers, working to improve living conditions in Tanzania and the Philippines, in particular. Think building schools, buying textbooks and computers, and so many other initiatives that I can't even keep track. The bean-to-bar chocolate is also as high quality and delicious as it gets. $127.50 for 150 count.
Vermont–based company Lake Champlain is committed to high quality and sustainable ingredients. They even launched a bean-to-bar branch of their company recently called Blue Bandana that sources cocoa beans directly from farmers. These leaves aren't made with bean-to-bar chocolate, but they are filled with peanut butter. $89 for 85 pieces.
These little beauties are handmade on a goat farm in Vermont and come in a variety of flavors: sea salt and vanilla, chai, maple cream, and cocoa latte (made with Askinosie Chocolate!). $75 for 100 pieces.
Long heralded as an ethical, organic company, Green & Black's offers these mini dark bars with inclusions like hazelnut, cherry, and ginger. $13.75 for 12 bars.
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