Most candy in the fun-size packs that we see our little cousins, brothers and sisters gorge on have some sorts of animal products, whether they be milk, eggs, gelatin or honey. The overwhelming amount of sugar might be enough to get people to lay off the sweets, but unfortunately Halloween is the time of year where we forget our glucose levels and proceed to wolf down the M&M’s. I used to be a huge fan of Milk Duds, which the Simpsons so hilariously renamed “Milk Chuds,” and you can imagine how my teeth felt the next day.
But alas, I went vegan and candy became a thing of the past. I honestly don’t miss it all too much, but I am one of the few.
It’s easy to be vegetarian on this day, although don’t eat a pillowcase of candy in front of carnivores unless you want to make them think we only eat grass and Kit Kat bars (give me a break!). So what do other vegans do on Halloween?
Well, there are the good ol’-fashioned accidentally-vegan candies we all enjoy! These vegan candies include Airheads, Atomic Fireballs, Big League Chew (does anyone give that out still?), Charms Blow Pops, Peanut Chews Original Dark (made in Pennsylvania!), Chick-O-Sticks, Cry Babies, Dots (my sister’s favorite), Dum Dum Pops, Hubba Bubba, Jolly Rancher Hard Candies, Jolly Rancher Lollipops, Jujubes, Jujyfruits, Mary Janes (the candy!), Now & Laters, Skittles, Smarties, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish (laugh at irony here), Twizzlers and, of course, Oreos!
It’s a shame that other candies out there are not vegan, which then begs the question, why do they have animal products in them? Milk, eggs, and gelatin certainly don’t make candy any healthier, so what’s the point?
Subsidies might have something to do with it, but also these candy companies, these Willy Wonka factories of processed sugar and unfairly-traded chocolate, haven’t changed their recipes all too much. A little high-fructose corn syrup added, a sprinkle of titanium dioxide put there, some good ol’ sucralose sprayed on top and heck, why not add some natural favors to it?!
If you are concerned about these random ingredients, then being vegan on Halloween can be difficult, not because you do or don’t want candy, but because people will constantly offer it to you. In some cases, it’s easier to explain a health issue with candy as opposed to explaining why you’re vegan and can’t eat candy.
In many ways, candy contains a not-so-significant amount of animal products, so why spend the time avoiding it? Well, that’s a personal choice for vegans, but I think most would argue that the amount of happiness they receive from a night of binging on bonbons is outweighed by the amount of happiness they get by being vegan every day.
While you may have your sugar highs and camaraderie with the rest of hyperglycemic America, we vegans will be out the morning of Nov. 1 running, biking and sucking the marrow out of life.
But hey, a Twizzler won’t kill you.
Benjamin Sylvester is the president of the Drexel Animal Welfare Group. He can be contacted at [email protected]. “Moo Over This” publishes biweekly.