Halloween is a holiday full of sweet treats and fun tricks, but make sure that your candy bowl isn’t masking a cruel surprise. Many of the ingredients in candy become unrecognizable when transformed into sweet concoctions, and a lot of people might not realize they are eating foods that are derived from animals.
For those of us who follow a plant-based, animal-free diet, it can sometimes be tricky to know exactly what you are eating. But fear not, there are many easy to find vegan and vegetarian candies, and we’ve got you covered for a animal-friendly Halloween!
Common Animal Ingredients in Candy
Gelatin–which is made by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones of animals, usually pigs or cows–can be found in many chewy candies, such as gummy bears, marshmallows, candy corn, and Star Bursts.
Luckily, there are plant-based alternatives to gelatin, most commonly agar agar (a type of seaweed), and many “accidentally” chewy vegan candies are readily available in stores.
Most people realize that milk and dairy products are derived from animals, but they may not think about how these ingredients are used in candy. Products that are made with milk chocolate–such as KitKats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Almond Joy, m&m’s, Tootsie Rolls, Butterfingers and more–are vegetarian, but they are not vegan. So, depending on your dietary choices, you may choose to pass on many of the commercially popular candy bars.
While milk chocolate obviously contains milk, some dark chocolate products contain dairy as well, including a lot of common high-profile brands. However, there are also plenty of dark chocolate products that are dairy-free, and we’ve included some delicious options below!
Eggs are one of those sneaky animal products that are used in many baked goods and can be found in some candy too, particularly those containing nougat, such as Snickers, Milky Way, and 3 Musketeers. Luckily, there are also plant-based versions of many of your favorite nougat candy bars.
Dandies Vegan Marshmallows
Sour Patch Kids
Hubba Bubba Chewing Gum
Big League Chew
Mamba Fruit Chews
Fruit by the Foot
Now and Later
Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks
Wonka Fun Dip
Jolly Rancher Hard Candy
Blow Pop Lollipops
Dum Dum Lollipops
Hu Kitchen Dark Chocolate Bars
Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter or Almond Butter Cups
Alter Eco Vegan Chocolate Bars
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bars
Trader Joe’s Oat Chocolate Bar
Enjoy Life Chocolate
Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-In-One Bars
Gatsby Oat Milk Chocolate Bars
Hershey's Oat Made Classic Dark Chocolate
Unreal Dark Chocolate Bars
No Whey Foods Caramel Nougat Chocolate Candy Bar
Gigantic! Hazelnut Café
Nelly’s Organics Caramel Nougat
Go Max Go Candy Bars
Oreo Minis (the big Oreos are vegan too)
Annie’s Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
If you find that you have been tricked by a non-vegan treat in the past, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone’s path to a more sustainable, plant-based diet is different, and learning is part of the journey.
So have a happy Halloween, and be sure to have some animal-free options in your candy bowl to keep all the neighborhood ghosts satisfied!