There’s an all-too-common misconception that vegans are somehow opposed to fun. Like it’s nothing but lettuce and apple cider vinegar and high-minded self-righteousness all the time.
This Halloween, banish that perception straight to the boneyard with some of the most delicious vegan chocolate treats available today.
Plant-based eaters enjoy a good treat as much as the next person, and that absolutely counts for Halloween. It may take a little more thought, but there are plenty of ways for vegans to enjoy a piece or 10 of candy on the big night.
Common non-vegan candy ingredients
So what makes candy non-vegan? According to the 2021 vegan Halloween candy guide from PETA, there are a few common culprits that can get between a dedicated vegan and his or her chocolate fix.
- Dairy: This may be the most obvious offender and immediately disqualifies all milk chocolate and many dark chocolate varieties. Dairy also rules out other sweet treats like caramel.
- Gelatin: Extracted from the bones and tendons of dead livestock, gelatin is a common ingredient in Halloween favorites from candy corn to marshmallows to gummy bears.
- Sugar: Surprised? This one’s a little more ambiguous, even in the plant-based community. Sugar is not an animal product per se, but some vegans choose not to consume traditional refined cane sugar because it is processed using charred animal bones. Many candies, including some of those on this list, are certified as vegan but still contain sugar. So make your own decision and check labels accordingly.
- Carmine: The only popular food coloring that comes from animal sources, this deep red pigment is made from the crushed-up bodies of cochineal, a bug that lives on cacti, mainly in Latin America. These critters have been harvested for hundreds of years for this very purpose. The good news? The use of carmine has been drastically cut back in recent years, as consumers found out about its sourcing and got all freaked out.
- Confectioner’s Glaze: The term is a little, let’s say, creative, as it’s really the excretions of the lac beetle that’s been giving so many candies their irresistible glow. Good n’ Plenty, Mike n’ Ike, and Jelly Belly jelly beans are among those that have to exit the vegan pool as a result of this ingredient.
This narrows the playing field quite a bit and likely helps illustrate that, while products are improving, vegan candy remains a rather niche area, particularly for those who prefer to stick to the letter of the law when it comes to their veganism.
Still, luckily for plant-based foodies, plenty of confectioners are trying their hand, given that the vegan market only continues to grow.
Here are some of the best options.
Most any dark chocolate
Here’s a general lifehack for vegan chocolate, no matter the time of year: Reach for the darker stuff, ideally at least 50% cacao. Very dark chocolate was once boutique territory, but given exploding interest for various health and dietary reasons, it’s available these days at just about any corner drug store.
Before you buy, check the ingredient label to be sure that no dairy product snuck its way onto the list (for newcomers: cocoa butter contains no dairy and is vegan). The same goes for sugar if you are choosing not to consume it. (Corn syrup is considered vegan, obviously.)
Bag of Terror from No Whey
Individually wrapped pretzels with a chocolatey coating and a dusting of orange sprinkles. On top of being vegan, these goodies are free from the nine most common food allergens, including peanuts.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems from UNREAL Chocolates
Let’s call this exactly what it is: a fully vegan, fair-trade answer to Peanut M&Ms. In an effort to find a bug-free red dye, candy makers put together a pigment made from hibiscus and red cabbage juice.
Enjoy Life Halloween Chocolate Minis: Ricemilk Crunch
These crispy little beauties, decked out for the season, are sweetened with less-refined cane sugar. They’re individually wrapped and perfect for trick-or-treating.
Caramel Coffin from Coracao
When it’s time for the grown-ups’ Halloween party, this chocolate creation is a showstopper.
Weighing in at a solid five ounces, each coffin has a removable lid and a white chocolate skeleton perched atop a casket full of pumpkin spice-infused whipped cashew butter caramel. It’s all 100% plant-based, certified organic, and sweetened with coconut sugar.
Halloween treats from Amanda’s Own Confections
Amanda’s Own has a veritable smorgasbord of Halloween chocolate options, all of them plant-based. From ghosts to pumpkins, there’s plenty of dark chocolate to go around. And the trick-or-treaters might just get some too!
There’s no bad time to flex your inner vegan — but on Halloween, there’s no reason to take yourself too seriously. Pick up any one of these delicious Halloween chocolate options to show your friends and fellow monsters how fun and delicious plant-based eating can be.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
- This is our ultimate list of best-tasting low-caffeine teas
- Sturdy (and gorgeous!) cutting boards for every kitchen
- 6 go-to snack foods that improve memory
- The best vegan protein powders to fuel your workouts
- Eating green: The best foods to help you help the planet