It’s possible to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year and be cruelty-free. Giving out vegan candy to Trick or Treaters doesn’t mean you need to be labeled the “lame” house on the block — it just means reading ingredient listings a little more closely to avoid hidden animal byproducts like gelatin, carmine, and refined cane sugar. These Halloween candies are vegan, taste great and won’t get your house egged – adding insult to injury for those trying to live a cruelty-free life.
The red color and chewy texture of these licorice straws might have you questioning their ingredients, but Twizzlers do not use animal byproducts in their ingredients or manufacturing. Their color comes from an artificial dye and they contain no gelatin, just corn syrup, wheat, and oil.
Because there are so many flavors and varieties of Twizzlers available, the manufacturer advises sticking with the original strawberry flavor, the Pull-N-Peel Cherry candy, the Bites Cherry flavor, the Nibs cherry flavor, the actual licorice flavor, and the Twizzlers Chocolate variety. Still, ingredients used are subject to change and it’s always advisable to read the label.
These Halloween staples are vegan-friendly – no animal byproducts are used in the making or manufacture of these sweet, chalky treats. Dubbed “America’s Favorite Candy Roll” by the manufacturers, they are proudly vegan and free from most major allergens. They even disclose that the calcium stearate – an anti-caking ingredient – is vegetable-derived.
The company does note that some Smarties candies aren’t manufactured by them and thus cannot be guaranteed vegan – but they offer the guidance that if the UPC number on the pack begins with “0 11206,” it comes from their facilities, which make exclusively vegan products.
You might be surprised to find that these colorful candies are “accidentally” vegan-friendly. Except it’s no accident: the manufacturer removed the animal-derived red dye it used in 2019 to render these sweet treats totally vegan. The colorings used are artificial, the sweetener is corn syrup (so no worries about bone char in the sugar refining process) and the wax used to give the candy a hard outer shell is 100% vegetable derived carnauba wax.
Now and Later
It’s chewy, it’s colorful and it’s packed with flavor: how can this candy be free of gelatin? Simple, it’s made of corn syrup and oil mixed together with a soy emulsifier. Now and Laters are a vegan candy, using only artificial coloring agents – so no worries about hidden cruelty when you bite into a red or pink one. Now and Laters are, however, manufactured in facilities that process eggs, so use caution if this crosses them off your list.
Finding Vegan Halloween Treats
Vegan Halloween treats aren’t hard to find, they just require a little knowledge of what goes into the manufacturing process. Sometimes reading the ingredients listing isn’t enough – sugar, for example, seems innocuous but unless the manufacturer confirms their process is free from bone char, there’s no way of knowing if the product is truly vegan. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to reach out to the manufacturer to inquire about a specific ingredient or refining process. There are many proudly vegan companies – including big names like Smarties — that not only support but embrace leading a cruelty-free lifestyle.
When in doubt, it’s always possible to opt for non-candy options for Trick-or-Treaters, such as stickers, small toys or even spare change. Kids and parents alike love getting unique and creative non-sugary treats – just don’t be the killjoy who gives out new toothbrushes to kids on your block!
What’s your favorite vegan-friendly Halloween candy?