Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.
To vegans, the frights of Halloween Horror Nights have got nothing on the idea of unknowingly savoring pulverized pig parts in the form of the gelatin or glycerine commonly found in so many candies. But that doesn't mean our plastic jack-o-lantern buckets have to go empty, or even that we've got to buy overpriced and obscure organic confections. Here's a list of the best sugary junk vegans can eat in good conscience this Halloween (not considering our waistlines, of course).
10. Mary Janes
We'll admit, these molasses and peanut sweets were the ones usually left at the bottom of our trick or treat bags after days of noshing on our luscious loot. So why are they on this list? Well, first of all, they're at the bottom. Second of all, they're such classic old school sweets, we felt it necessary to announce that they've been disappointing kids for decades without contributing to animal cruelty.
9. Lemon Heads
Another old school favorite, these were the sourest sweets around before those insane-o Warheads came along. Bonus: they're "made with real lemon juice!"
On the other side of the intense flavor spectrum, we've got the super cinnamon-y Redhots. Eating these vegan-friendly candies, you'll get a mouthful of American history at the same time: the Ferrara Pan Candy Company has been making them since 1930. Another bonus: If you're playing a vampire for Halloween, these will give your mouth a bright bloodstained hue to match.
Though technically not a candy, these made the list because it's just so astounding that a mainstream cookie... nay, THE mainstream cookie... contains no eggs or milk at all. So what are they made of? Sugar, enriched flour, high fructose corn syrup, and soy lecithin, among other things. "Vegan" doesn't always have to mean "healthy." Hell, it's Halloween!
6. Dum Dums
OK, as far as lollipops go, these kind of "suck" as compared to the multiple levels of enjoyment that Blow Pops offer. But Blow Pops contain glycerin, which is usually derived from pig bone fat or hooves. (Read Short Order's recent write-up on hidden piggy by-products here
.) So for vegans, the smart choice is Dum Dums.
What would Halloween be without the classic licorice twists we've all loved since we cut our first teeth? Try biting the top and bottom off a cherry Twizzler and using it as a straw to suck up your soymilk. It'll give your drink a subtle hint of fruit flavor.
4. Jolly Ranchers
Set one of these sticky gem-like polygons on top of your tongue, and let the juicy flavor melt all over your mouth. And don't worry about your friends the animals: the only thing you'll be harming in the process is your teeth!
These are some of those candies it's difficult to believe are still around. They're hard as little fruity rocks and annoying as hell to chew. You've got to let them sit in your mouth and wait for their rubbery outer skin to soak up your saliva if you're going to even start the process of swallowing them. But this tedious eating routine is half the appeal. The other half is that they're animal product free. Yay, Jujubes!
2. Chocolate Dream Dairy Free Chocolate Bars
Most vegans know the drill when it comes to vegan chocolate. The only ones we can eat are the 80% cacao varieties, which are often so dark and bitter they're in a completely different class from the chocolates we consumed before our consciousness was raised. Chocolate Dream bars are among the few exceptions to this rule. Creamy and sweet, these actually melt in your mouth, unlike the mega cocoa-concentrated dark bars we're used to. The main reason these aren't number one is that you can only find them at health food stores or online.
1. Sour Patch Kids
Halloween is about acting like a kid, and these gummy candies (gelled with corn starch, not gelatin) bring us right back to the days when we would scour the crevices of the couch looking for pennies to help us get our sugary Sour Patch fix. We try to forget, though, how our tongues would get scraped raw by the sharp sugar crystals after over-consumption. Bad for loose fillings, good for the soul, we're so glad there's no trace of cartilage in these tangy Halloween treats.
There you have it! Now if you can just figure out how to put together a skanky dominatrix costume without using any leather, you'll be all set for a truly vegan Halloween!