Oh! my favorite time of the year, Halloween is here! yay, with its scary little werewolves, and green witches fingers Halloween is time for fun fun trick or treaters! but beware moms and dads! if your family is on a vegetarian or vegan diet this can be a tricky time for the little ones.
My little monster is almost 10 years old, vegetarian-ish by choice. I explained to him why some candy can go against his beliefs. Not everyone knows, but some candies contain animal ingredients such as gelatin, which is mashed up cow skin, cartilage, and bones. And carmine, the red coloring used in some candies, made from ground-up bugs – yes, you read that right, bugs! Other candy may contain milk and milk derivates which I am personally ok with, but more strict vegans probably aren’t.
Not only was my son disgusted (lol, drama) but he was quite surprised, and just like that without me imposing anything he decided to stick to the plant-based stuff. I usually let him decide what to do when it comes to food, I provide him with the information required for him to make a decision and I let him be the boss of what goes into his belly; he makes pretty neat choices.
Please note all candy should be consumed in moderation, vegan or not. They are all high in sugar content and also contain artificial coloring that might not be suitable for all kids. I am not saying these candies are healthy, I am saying they have no animal products in their contents.
Do not fear! There are plenty of vegan-friendly options out there. On this particular occasion we went for these:
Let’s review them individually:
Skittles! taste the rainbow! These sugary droplets are also gluten-free. Skittles do not contain gelatin or any other
animal based ingredients. However, Skittles sold in the U.S. did contain gelatin up until 2009. However, the third ingredient in Skittles is Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, which is a derivative of palm oil. The production of palm oil causes much destruction to the global environment, as well as the lives of the animals and humans who inhabit the areas where palm oil is cultivated. Today, palm oil production is one of the main causes of deforestation. So be aware of that too! Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Apple Juice from Concentrate, Less than 2% Citric Acid, Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Coloring (Includes Yellow 6 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 1), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
Disclaimer: Please note some people feel very strong about Mars (makers of Skittles) and the fact that they test on animals. I found this comment online “Skittles are not vegan because Mars tests on animals. We shouldn’t support companies who murder innocent animals. There is no reason for them to continue to do this. It’s disappointing. For a minute I thought I could eat Skittles again.So they may not contain any animal products but they are not vegan.” Again I am simply listing some products here that have NO animal products or By-products as ingredients, It is your personal choice whether you want to consume them or not.
Dum-Dums, these lollies are also free of any animal product or by-product and obviously gluten-free (no wheat) a few of these go a long way too, so they make the perfect little treat for your vegan little monsters.
Sugar, Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Salt, Artificial Flavor, Color Added (Includes Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1).
Smarties, my son looooooves these so I really have to watch how many he eats in one go. According to their site “Smarties® ingredients contain no animal products, making them a tasty and cruelty-free choice for anyone looking for delicious vegan candy. Our Smarties® products are entirely free of meat, fish, dairy and eggs. You can rest assured that the calcium stearate is plant derived, and that no animal products were used in the processing of our candy’s ingredients.”
Ingredients: Dextrose, Citric Acid, Calcium Stearate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors (Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake).
Swedish Fish, these red, fish shaped candies are chewy, cherry flavored, and yummy! some people are mistaken thinking these gummies are made of gelatin, in fact, they aren’t (unlike most Haribo Gold Bears, which I used to love – It is possible to get a vegan variety but not all that common, you really have to look for it)
Swedish Fish Ingredients: sugar (vegan), invert sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch, citric acid, white mineral oil, red dye 40 and carnauba wax. Note that not all red dye is vegan, artificial red dye is, natural red dye is made of bugs so be cautious about this.
When looking for vegan-friendly candy you just have to make sure you read those labels.
The most common non-vegan-friendly ingredients are gelatin (made from animal bones and tendons), milk fat, eggs, carmine (or Natural Red 4, made from beetles), rennet (enzyme from cow stomachs), pepsin (another stomach enzyme), lard (pig fat), E 904, E 120, 901, 904, 542 (all are from animals), or even just sugar when is processed with charred bone fragments.
Other Vegan Candy according to PETA
Note: the sugar used in these candies may have been processed using bone char. Some vegans choose to avoid conventional sugar for this reason.
- Alter Eco (100% vegan)
- Atomic Fireballs
- Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks
- Charms Blow Pops
- Dum Dum Pops
- Go Max Go Foods (100% vegan)
- Jolly Rancher Hard Candies
- Lulu’s Vegan Chocolate Coins (premium vegan dark chocolate).
- Obsessive Confection Disorder (100% vegan)
- Red Vines
- Sjaacks (some products are vegan)
- Sour Patch Kids
- Swedish Fish
- Sweet & Sara Marshmallows
Regardless of what you do, eat, believe or celebrate just make sure you don’t go crazy with the sweets this Halloween! perhaps make your own treats? Or instead of giving and receiving candy you can always give small treats such as pencils, erasers, stickers or any other inexpensive product.