Halloween has always been one of my favourite holidays! I’ve always loved anything festive, and Halloween is definitely one of the more festive days of the year! As a kid, I used to love decorating the house and getting dressed up in my Halloween costume. I couldn’t wait to get out the door to go trick-or-treating to get all kinds of candy! The candy has always been the best part of Halloween…but as a kid and as a young adult — and even into my early twenties, I had no idea that so many candies actually contain cruel, animal-derived ingredients. Unfortunately, a large portion of Halloween candy is not vegan and contains ingredients that are sourced from animal cruelty. Many contain ingredients such as, but not limited to:
Milk cows suffer tremendously for humans to be able to use their milk. They experience pain, sadness, fear, and so much more. (To get a bit more information on how milk cows suffer, check out my Why I Went Vegan post.) Milk ingredients found in Halloween candies include whey, evaporated milk, condensed milk, butter, butterfat, cream, and more.
Honey is a sweet substance made by bees, which is used in numerous candies. (Click here to read about the honey industry.) There are many alternative ingredients to honey, including agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, coconut nectar, and more.
Gelatin is made from boiling the skin, bones, and tendons of animals. It’s used as a gelling agent in foods. Other ingredients that could be used instead of gelatin are pectin and agar agar, among others.
Carmine is a red dye made from crushed cochineal insects. Its purpose is to add a bright-red pigment to a variety of products, including candies. Carmine may be listed under different names on ingredient lists, including cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake, carmine lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470, and E120.
Shellac is a substance made by the female lac bug, found on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. Shellac is added to products (like candies) to create a shiny effect. Shellac is commonly listed under the name confectioner’s glaze.
With so many Halloween candies containing these cruel ingredients, it may feel like it’s impossible to be vegan on Halloween, but that’s not the case! The good news is that there are still a lot of candies that don’t contain any animal ingredients. I spent some time researching and I found that some really popular candies are *animal by-product free. Some of these include:
Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
Jolly Rancher Hard Candy
Lay’s Chips (Original, Wavy, Bar-B-Q)
Maynards Fuzzy Peach Slices
Maynards Sour Cherry Blasters
Maynards Sour Patch Kids
Maynards Swedish Berries
Mott’s Fruitsations Fruit Flavoured Snacks
Rockets (known as Smarties in the US — not the same as Smarties chocolate in Canada, which is not vegan)
SunRype Fruit to Go
Twizzlers (Strawberry, Pull-N-Peel Cherry, Bites Cherry, Cherry, Nibs Cherry, Licorice, Chocolate)
I was shocked that so many of these common candies don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients. I really thought that many of them would have had at least gelatin in them. With this being my first Halloween as a vegan, I’m very excited that there are quite a few vegan Halloween candy options!
I hope your Halloween is amazing, fun, festive, and safe! And I hope you’ll choose vegan candy over cruel candy!
*Always be sure to read ingredient lists to be sure something is vegan. Product ingredients tend to change and many products contain different ingredients in different countries. The research I did was for vegan candies available in Canada. Ingredients may vary in these products, depending on where you live.