Help your students give and receive treats this Halloween by participating in the third annual Reverse Trick-or-Treating campaign. This year, NYSUT Secretary- Treasurer Lee Cutler is coordinating a statewide union effort to get members involved in the program.
The concept is simple. On Halloween night, after receiving a "treat," trick-or-treaters offer a gift in return - a small Fair Trade chocolate bar, and a card promoting the use of fairly traded products.
Reverse Trick-or-Treating kits are free; participants pay only shipping costs.
"This program is wonderful because it gives us the opportunity to both bring our union work into our classrooms, and to involve our students and our communities in a truly worthwhile social justice cause, particularly with regard to child labor," said Cutler, explaining that forced child labor is still common in cocoa production overseas.
"It's our hope that teachers will use this campaign to educate students about child labor and to show that we can speak out against this practice by purchasing fairly traded products," Cutler said. "We want to help students see beyond their own communities and realize that we're all a part of one world."
He expressed hope that teachers who incorporate the program into their curriculum "are willing to share their social justice lessons with us."
Cutler acknowledged that the program might not be for everyone. "While this project has a natural tie-in to Halloween, we are sensitive to the fact that some districts prohibit Halloween events and that candy is not appropriate or safe for all children. As always, educators should be guided by their own judgment on how or if this is appropriate for their area."
Cutler added, "The central message - When buying candy, seek out 'fair trade' chocolate that is produced by workers who are fairly treated - is appropriate at any time, and could be creatively introduced at other times or holidays as well."