It’s almost impossible to ignore the plethora of candy that appears every Halloween. Some stores begin stocking as early as midsummer, stuffing their seasonal shelves with miniature candy bars, candy corn, and mixed bags of trick-or-treat goodies.
To vegans, especially new vegans, this may be disheartening. Very few of these candies are free of animal products, and are therefore inappropriate for a vegan Halloween. But that doesn’t mean vegans are out of luck! With a little searching and a willingness to put in some time in the kitchen, it’s possible to have a fun and delicious vegan Halloween!
For anyone who loves candy corn, it may come as a sad surprise that most commercial varieties contain non-vegan ingredients such as egg whites or gelatin. Fortunately for vegans, The Urban Housewife provides an easy recipe for making candy corn at home. A couple of the ingredients, such as organic corn syrup, may require a trip to a specialty store, and there’s definitely a time commitment involved. But once complete, this recipe provides enough vegan candy corn to share with family, friends, and trick-or-treaters.
Vegan caramel? It can be done! Commercial caramel candies often contain dairy ingredients, and many traditional caramel apple recipes call for sweetened condensed milk or a similar dairy-based thickener. But with the growing availability of agave nectar, brown rice syrup, non-dairy butter, and organic alternatives to corn syrup, vegans can not only make their own caramel apples, but also feel good about what goes into the sauce. One website even suggests a homemade alternative to sweetened condensed milk that can be used to veganize existing caramel recipes.
Vegan or not, the great thing about making popcorn balls is the ability to customize. Standard sticky, caramel-flavored conglomerations are just one of the options for homemade vegan popcorn balls. Popular recipes make use of maple syrup or agave nectar to achieve the classic sweet taste. Adventurous vegans may want to try adding nuts, nut butters, or even chocolate chips for a change of pace. For vegans in a hurry, websites such as Natural Candy Store offer pre-made vegan popcorn balls for Halloween and other holidays.
“Accidentally” Vegan Candies
When it’s the day before Halloween and there’s still no candy in the house to give the impending rush of trick-or-treaters, there are a few commercial candies that vegans can fall back on. VegNews has a comprehensive list, including many that can be found at your local convenience store. Dum Dum pops, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish fish, Twizzlers, Pez, and Airheads taffy are all vegan. However, keep in mind that most of these candies contain high amounts of sugar as well as artificial coloring and flavoring. This may not be a concern for one day a year, but those who wish to avoid unnatural ingredients might want to take the time to seek out organic treats or stick with making their own.
A vegan Halloween isn’t a myth or a pipe dream. As vegetarian and vegan diets gain more mainstream acceptance, it’s becoming easier to find pre-made products to veganize any holiday, as well as organic and natural ingredients for people who like to make their own confectionary creations. Enjoy a cruelty-free Halloween!