As the days grow shorter and the leafy hills around Farm Sanctuary's national headquarters in Watkins Glen reach the height of their autumn glory, I am busily preparing for my favorite holiday, Halloween. There’s a special kind of magic that’s brewed when you stir together the bounty of the harvest season with an evening of costumed revelry and tales of haunting ghosts. It is the one night of the year when adults are most encouraged to use their imaginations and return to the make-believe of childhood. But Halloween's magic can lend itself to more than brief and simple fun. With a little creativity, you can use it to cast a spell of compassion that changes and saves lives.
This year, I have resolved that I'll not only prepare my costume before the 11th hour, but that I will also use its power for the good of farm animals. My friends and I will be setting up a table in downtown Ithaca, just an hour's drive from the Sanctuary, and distributing literature along with some of our favorite vegan Halloween treats. I shall be appearing as Frankenstein's monster - did you know he was veg*n (vegan or vegetarian), just like his real life creator, Mary Shelley? Under a banner that reads "Even monsters can be kind," we'll be raising awareness in our local community about the all-too-real horrors of factory farming. Be sure to stop by if you're in the area!
Many of my colleagues in New York City will be summoning their own Halloween spirit by leafleting in Times Square on October 28 and throwing a serious Farm Sanctuary monster mash the following night. Frankapalooza will have Greenwich Village rockin' out for farm animals once again, as three outstanding bands take to the stage at Kenny's Castaways. See our ACT events calendar for more details.
If your broom can't make it to the Village, there's no need to worry - unless you hear creepy violin music coming from out of nowhere. I hereby call on you to make something happen in your own sleepy hollow; our Halloween Outreach Guide offers some wicked tips and suggestions to inspire you.
One of my favorite suggestions from the guide is to throw a vegan costume party. It's the perfect excuse to bewitch your friends and neighbors with a smorgasbord of cruelty-free delights. Vegan pumpkin pie, candied apples and mulled cider are perfect for enjoying the fall harvest in veg-friendly style. Cupcakes like these are irresistible temptations, and with Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World on your side, you can't go wrong. In fact, any of these vegan cookbooks would make excellent door prizes. If you're feeling really ambitious, turn your party into a fundraiser for animals.
Want to kick things up another notch on the ACTivist scale? Consider swapping out the usual Halloween movie fare for a screening of Earthlings. One of the most comprehensive animal rights documentaries ever made, Earthlings is a powerful expose of the abuse that animals suffer every day at human hands. Your guests will find it far more disturbing than any Nightmare on Elmstreet, and there's no way to walk away from it comforted by the thought that it was "just a movie." The only respite from the awful truth of animal cruelty lies in taking action to build a more compassionate world. And fortunately for those newly awakened to the suffering of animals, taking action is what we do best.