There is a pumpkin outside of our house. That is the official sign that it is almost Halloween. And if that’s not enough, Rose, our pit bull, has even managed to already have scored a Halloween-themed collar — complete with green, silver, and black spiders and cobwebs. We’re all set.
Or so I thought. The recent newsletter I received from VegFund proved otherwise, pointing out that — festive dog collar aside — an activist is never really ready for Halloween until she has secured her fair-trade, slavery-free chocolate, her Go Vegan brochures, and her plan for how to effectively pull off “reverse trick-or-treating,” and other Halloween-related vegan outreach.
I admit it. I love Halloween just as much (probably more) than the next ghost. Throwing in a perfect advocacy opportunity is the icing on the cruelty-free cake (or the wrapper on the vegan chocolate). Here’s what VegFund has to say:
On Halloween night, animal advocates give out vegan treats along with leaflets. This can be done by visiting homes in your neighborhood, going to a public location with high foot traffic, or if your area is especially popular with trick-or-treaters, waiting for them to come to you. For this occasion, it’s best to distribute wrapped treats. SunFlour Baking Company’s Bulk Mini Lemon Shortbread Cookies are a great option and are featured as this issue’s vegan coupon […]. Another option is to distribute vegan dark chocolate samples from Equal Exchange. Not only will you be educating people about veganism, but you’ll also be helping spread the word about the importance of fair-trade chocolate. Finally, you can find an extensive list of vegan candy by checking out this great resource from PETA. You’ll want to be sure that the literature you distribute is age-appropriate. Vegan Outreach’s Compassionate Choices is an excellent choice for teens and adults, and PCRM’s Nutrition for Kids is a helpful booklet for parents and guardians. PETA’s Kids’ Guide to Helping Animals works well for children. For more literature suggestions, visit our educational literature web page. Finally, remember to be festive and have fun! To find out more about how VegFund can help support this form of outreach, email events [at] vegfund.org.
Host a Vegan-Themed Costume Party! Invite your friends, and ask that they come dressed as their favorite vegan item. Leave some literature in a central location, such as near the punch bowl (always a popular spot). Make goodie bags full of vegan Halloween candy for your guests, and add some vegan recipe guides. Play the film, Frankenstein, throughout the soiree. Make a fun sign saying that Frankenstein’s “monster” was a vegetarian! At some point, after the party is under way, gather everyone’s attention and talk about the real horror of factory farming — and the real treat of compassion. Perhaps ask your guests for a contribution to your favorite animal sanctuary or animal rights organization, and pass around a witch’s hat to collect the donations. You might consider making the party a vegan potluck. Be sure to post the recipes near their respective dishes, and ask your guests to do the same.
Reach Out to the Media! Around Halloween, there will surely be newspaper articles about candy popping up everywhere. Use those articles as a gateway to discuss the vast health benefits of a vegan diet. Don’t forget that you can easily draw the connection between any holiday (including Halloween) and animal issues, and letters to the editor are an ideal way of promoting change.
Organize a Theatrical Halloween Installation! Get a group of your friends together for your neighborhood’s Halloween Parade, and create a theatrical installation. Basically, create a multiple-person costume that depicts factory farming, and use that as an innovative and unforgettable way to educate spectators. An example would be if you and your friends dressed as a battery cage and the chickens inside: Get several people to dress as debeaked chickens standing very close to one another behind people dressed as cage bars, and hand out leaflets exposing the true horrors of factory farming. Another, perhaps lighter, possibility is to have everybody wear Frankenstein masks while holding signs that say, “Frankie Says Go Vegan!” Don’t forget to inform passers-by that Frankenstein’s monster was a vegetarian. And, while you’re at it, leaflet your little heart out. Lastly, invite the press! This time of year, they are thirsty for Halloween-inspired stories.
Frankenstein’s monster is quoted as saying, “I do not destroy the lamb and kid to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford my sufficient nourishment.” It seems to me that this “monster” — and the creator, fellow vegetarian Mary Shelley — were on to something.