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Causes and candies

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by Tara Kimura, CBCNews.ca

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Halloween, perhaps because of its inherent free-for-all qualities, has become a hotly political holiday with debates centering around sugar excess in the face of rising childhood obesity, the qualities of organic candy and the responsibility to teach kids about fair trade chocolate.

New campaigns, of course, build upon a practice of teaching kids social responsibility during the holidays. In the past 53 years, Canadian children have raised $96 million for UNICEF. While children no longer collect change for the charity on Halloween night, they do continue to raise money through a host of fundraisers.

But some friends with kids have expressed discomfort with some of the new campaigns. It's one thing to teach your child lessons about social responsibility but it's a little heavy-handed to lecture other peoples' kids, they reason. On the flipside, they acknowledge it is good to expose children to a range of views.

For example, one reverse trick-or-treat campaign encourages kids to bring samples of fair trade chocolate and information cards with them on Halloween night to give to other adults

A more rebellious campaign encourages consumers to enter stores and slap stickers reading 'Warning: Product May Contain Rainforest Destruction' on candies containing palm oil.

How do you feel about mixing politics with the holidays?

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Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

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Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.

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