Above image via cottonbro / Pexels
Whether you’re eight or 80-years-old, a proper Halloween mandates candy. But beyond all the sugar and artificial ingredients, so much of it is loaded with animal ingredients. Scary stuff. From milk to eggs and shellac to gelatin, finding vegan-friendly candy can be a real nightmare. Here are the ingredients you need to watch out for, plus a list of 101 sweets for a happy Halloween.
What Is Gelatin?
Gelatin, also called gelatine, is a colorless, flavorless ingredient made from animal collagen. Used in many gummy candies, marshmallows, fruit gelatins, and puddings, it’s made by boiling the tendons, ligaments, skin, or bones of cows or pigs.
Some gummy candies—including Strawberry Twizzlers—are naturally gelatin-free. Others are vegan in some places and not in others. Sour Patch Kids, for example, are gelatin-free in the U.S. but not in the UK.
Bay Area food tech startup Geltor aims to replace animal gelatin. It has created vegan gelatin by using bioengineering to introduce protein genes into yeast. The yeast is then placed in a fermentation tank and fed nutrients, resulting in a gelatin-like substance.
Are Food Colors Vegan?
Food colorings are another tricky ingredient; some are naturally vegan while others aren’t. Carmine, a red pigment used to color food and cosmetics, is made from cochineal, a type of scale insect. Carmine may be listed as cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake or carmine lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470, or E120 on labels.
A bug-free version of carmine does also exist. Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen has created vegan carmine from sweet potatoes. Other food colorings are also suitable for vegans. Vegetarian resource VegFAQs has a whole page dedicated to food coloring; it explains in detail which ingredients are vegan or not and why.
In the UK, several companies, including Simply Vegan Sweets, have launched entire ranges of vegan-friendly pick ‘n’ mix style sweets. Some mainstream brands, such as Rowntrees, are even veganizing their traditional recipes. From Halloween 2020, Fruit Pastilles sharing bags will be suitable for vegans. In the U.S., popular sweets such as Airheads, Jujubes, and certain varieties of Swedish Fish are already vegan-friendly.
Why Is Milk Added To Chocolate?
According to The Chocolate Society, the earliest instance of milk being mixed with chocolate dates back to the late 17th century. It’s said that Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum and physician to Queen Anne and George II made a concoction of cocoa and milk. He was allegedly inspired after a trip to Jamaica, where a mixture of cocoa, water, and spices was used as a medicinal drink.
It wasn’t until two centuries later when the Cadbury brothers created the first commercially available milk chocolate. Milk solids are used to give the chocolate a milder flavor and smoother texture. But these days, several brands have successfully made vegan milk chocolate using plant-based alternatives, including oat milk.
Last year saw an increasing number of vegan chocolate offerings hit the market. With local, national, and global companies attempting to cater to increased consumer demand. Galaxy now has five distinct flavors of vegan chocolate, and Cadbury’s is also rumored to be working on a dairy-free version of its milk chocolate.
There are plenty of candy options that are completely vegan, so we’ve rounded up the top 101 to hand out this Halloween. Trick or treat!
101 Vegan Halloween Candy Options
Vegan Chocolate Candy
1. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
2. Dark Chocolate Cashew Butter Cups
3. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
4. Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
5. UnReal Crispy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
6. Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
7. Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
8. UnReal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
9. Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems
10. The Haunted Halloween Collection
11. No Whey Milkless Minis
12. Dark Chocolate Pieces Sea Salt Almond
13. Enjoy Life Halloween Rice Chocolate Minis
14. Sjaak’s White Chocolate Ghosts
15. Melk Orange Caramel Bites
16. Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Bites
17. Halloween Pumpkin Spice Bites
18. White Chocolate Skulls
19. OCHO Coconut Mini Bars
20. OCHO Halloween Variety Pack
21. Free2B Foods Bag O Treats
22. Foods Dark Chocolate Sun Cups
23. Dark Chocolate Sun Cups Minis
24. Rice Chocolate Sun Cups
25. Rice Chocolate Sun Cups Minis
26. Dark Chocolate Mint Cups Minis
27. ChocolateEmporium Halloween Wrapped Chocolate Bar
28. Foiled Pumpkin, Frankenstein, and Witch Hat Pops
29. Mini Foiled Pumpkins
30. Fall Treats Oreos
31. No Whey! Pumpkin Chocolate Pop
32. Mini Pea Not Cups
33. Choco No No’s
34. Fear Not Spook Free Treats
35. Lake Champlain Dark Chocolate Bar
36. Lake Champlain Dark Choc Halloween Squares
37. Moo Free Mini Moos Chocolate Bars (various flavors)
38. Ombar Coco Mylk Buttons
39. Cocoa Parlor Chocolate Bars (various flavors)
40. Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Minis
Vegan Gummy And Fruit-Flavored Candy
41. Asda Fizzy Cherry Jellies
42. YumEarth Halloween Gummy Fruits
43. Wholesome Organic Watermelon Rings
44. Wholesome Organic Ghost and Skull Lollipops
45. Swedish Fish
46. Hubba Bubba Chewing Gum
47. Dum Dums
48. Vimto Candy Spray
49. Vimto Sweets
53. Starburst (UK only)
54. Fun Dip
55. Mike and Ike Original Fruits
57. Giant Smarties (U.S. only)
58. Brach’s Lemon Drops
59. Zombie Skittles
60. Simply Vegan Sweets Pick ‘n’ Mix
61. Sugarfina Apple Pie Gummies
62. Zollipops sugar-free candy
63. Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks
64. Squish Candies Vegan Wicked Witches
65. Squish Candies Vegan Fruit Belts (various flavors)
Vegan Sour Candy
66. YumEarth Organic Sour Beans
67. YumEarth Organic Sour Twists
68. Mike and Ike Zours
69. Black Forest Organic Sour Heads
70. Zombie Sour Patch Kids
71. Sweetarts Skulls and Bones
72. Pixy Stix
73. Sour Skittles
75. Squish Candies Vegan Sour Power
Vegan Caramels And Nutty Candy
76. Cocomels Pumpkin Spice
77. Chocolate-Covered Cocomel with Sea Salt
78. Chocolate-Covered Cocomel with Vanilla
79. Coconut Sugar Cocomels
80. Original Cocomels
81.Sea Salt Cocomels
82. Vanilla Cocomels
83. Cracker Jack
84. Chick-O-Stick Ghosts
85. Gin Gins Peanut Ginger Candy
86. Gin Gins Spicy Hot Coffee Ginger Candy
87. Kakoa Salted Caramel Chocolates
88. Jed’s Maple Products Pumpkins & Ghosts
89. Go Max Go Foods Cleo’s Peanut Butter Cups
90. Cleo’s White Peanut Butter Cups
91. Thumbs Up Bar
92. 2fer Bar
93. Jokerz Bar
94. Twilight Bar
96. Mahalo Bar
97. Sjaak’s Eli’s Earth Bar Treasure Bar
98. Pnut Punch
99. Brach’s Sugar Free Butterscotch Hard Candy
100. Brach’s Sugar Free Cinnamon Hard Candy
101. Super Fudgio Organic Chocolate Caramel & Salt