The creepy, crawly and spooky fill the streets on Halloween night, but alongside them are young trick-or-treaters.  Trick-or-treating has become a favorite among American families, partly because of the costumes and holiday, but mostly because of the candy. If you are raising a vegan family, this can prove a huge problem. Even if you don’t believe in the act of trick-or-treating yourself, you do not want your child to feel left out, or even worse: resent you. We have many friends who are raising their children vegan and have compiled some great tips on how to survive a non-vegan Halloween.

1) Vegan Candy: Even though we would love to suggest that you hand out nuts or raisins, truth is: the neighborhood will avoid your house and possibly your treats will go to waste and be thrown out. So we suggest keeping your kiddies inside and handing out vegan treats to the neighborhood. Your children can have fun dressing up and handing out candy to the kids (as long as you have even better treat bags stashed for them to receive at the end of the night). You can get them excited by wearing costumes themselves and playing a costume guessing game with the kids that do end up on your doorstep. There are several great brands of vegan candy such as Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Minis, Go Max Go vegan candy bars, or Allison’s Gourmet vegan caramels. There are also a number of mainstream candies that are “vegan by default” such as Airheads and Chick-o-sticks. For a full list of vegan candies, check out this VegNews article.

2) Go Candy-less: In case you want to skip the candy or would rather give out something inedible, we suggest handing out stickers. Kids love stickers and it is a better alternative to nuts or raisins! You can give out Halloween-themed stickers that you can purchase almost anywhere during October. If you would like to spread the message of being kind to animals, you could order these cute PETA stickers. They come with cute sayings and animals, packed with friendly messages such as “Be Bunny’s Honey” and “I’m Not a Nugget.” PETA also just released these great horror themed vegan buttons, our favorite is the vampire one stating “Don’t Suck, Go Vegan.” If you would rather not blatantly promote animal rights you could also hand out other popular items such as Silly Banz, Light Bracelets, or any other small toy children can enjoy.

3) Throw a Party: Instead of trick-or-treating, suggest throwing a costume party to your  children instead.  This way, you can provide the treats and make Halloween complete for your entire family. Use the list above for vegan candy suggestions, and you can also bake some tasty vegan treats such as Pumpkin Cupcakes or Cookies. For more vegan recipes, look no further than our vegan recipe archive.  Throwing your own party can ensure your child gets the full holiday experience and you don’t have to worry about non-vegan treats being served. If your children get invited to another Halloween party, be sure to call ahead and make a vegan alternative to bring along. Check this list out for more party planning ideas.

4) Trick-or Treat Vegan Style: If you still want your children to have an authentic trick-or-treating Halloween, be sure to only frequent vegan households. How do you know where you can get vegan treats? A new website has just been launched entitled No Trick Treats, which allows vegan families to register what goodies they will be handing out. The information is then compiled into a map which will show whether a family is serving vegan, organic, raw, non-food and/or other diet specifics. The website is very new, but hopefully more families will be adding soon. If you are giving out vegan snacks, please take the time to register on the site so people know to come to you! If you can’t find many homes in your area on this site, consider talking with your neighbors ahead of time and even dropping off vegan candy to be given to your children when you knock on the door.

 

Halloween Tree Photo By H_EliseTrick or Treat?! It’s the phrase that is about to be on every child’s lips in a couple of weeks. Halloween is the time for dress up, self expression, scary stories, and of course delightful candy! Is there a way to indulge in this American holiday without going against your ethics? Yes there are ways to have a truly ethical Halloween! And we at AP have put together a sweet little guide to help you make sure your Halloween meets all socially conscious standards. Stay safe and Happy Halloween!! Mwahahaha

1) Costumes: Costumes sold on the mainstream market are often made of harsh materials such as cheap plastics and harmful dyes. Unfortunately, people often buy these costumes only to throw them out after one use. This is a very wasteful practice. The most Green way to make a costume is by making one! Going through yours and your friend’s closets is the best way to through together a costume (it saves you money too)! But if you can’t find exactly what you need for your outfit, try the local thrift stores. Thrift stores are teeming with great pieces perfect for nearly any costume. If thrifting just isn’t your thing there are a number of organic costumes for both adults and children. Please remember if you do purchase a costume from any source be sure and donate it once you are finished.

Jokerz Vegan Candy Bar by Go Max Go

Jokerz Vegan Candy Bar by Go Max Go

2) Vegan Treats: It is possible to hold to your Green and Vegan roots when handing out trick or treat candy. When you are choosing what candy you would like to hand out this year, keep in mind which candies are vegan. PETA has a nice list of mainstream candy which is vegan by default. Or if you would like to support vegan business, Go Max Go, based in Portland OR makes delicious all vegan candy bars styled much like your old favorites such as Almond Joy and 3 Musketeers. They are a new company but you can already find them in many health food stores. Pangea, the online vegan store also offers Halloween style goodies such as ghost marshmallows, Halloween themed cookies, and chocolate bites. All great ideas to hand out! Also, if you are feeling healthy you can always hand out packaged dried fruit or nuts. If you are throwing a get together, here are some terrific Halloween themed vegan recipes.

3) Fair Trade Chocolate: Fair Trade Chocolate is easy to come by these days and make great Halloween giveaways. In fact, October is Fair Trade Month, so what better way to end the month then to hand out Fair Trade Chocolates? Global Exchange has put together a great list of  Fair Trade chocolate companies such as Equal Exchange and Divine Chocolate. You can also find cute Halloween themed organic and Fair Trade chocolates. Global Exchange is also promoting Reverse Trick or Treating, where they have asked fair traders to hand out Fair Trade chocolate with information to houses they might be trick or treating at. Print out these informational cards and attach them to your Fair Trade chocolates! One quick tip, if you are Trick or Treating this year be sure to use a re-usable bag rather than plastics (a pillow case always does the job)!

4) Decorations: Halloween is an exciting time and most people celebrate by decorating their homes and businesses, whether it is for parties or just to be festive! Unfortunately, much like costumes many Halloween decorations are made of cheap plastic and are thrown out after one use. Once again a great place to find decorations is at a thrift store, plus they will save you money! You can also choose to decorate with natural decorations such as corn husks, straw, and pumpkins.  Another great activity is to create your own crafts using recycled materials such as the soda bottle pumpkin or the egg crate bat. Not only will this be Earth friendly but kid friendly as well! Also, when you are ready to choose that pumpkin to carve, be sure to go to a local and organic local pumpkin patch instead of purchasing an imported pumpkin from a main grocery store. A fun little activity would include a Fair Trade, Organic, Green, or Vegan themed Jack-O-Latern. Why not spread the word through pumpkins?!

5) Aftermath: On November 1st with the streets quiet, the clean up begins! Many of the costumes and decor for Halloween is tossed in the trash. Be sure to save your items to use again the following year or donate them to your local thrift store. Old Jack-o-lanterns, straw used for decor, and fallen leaves will letter the streets in early November. Be sure to either compost these items in your own composting or through your city if they provide it. If you are throwing a Halloween shindig, be sure you recycle all bottles and cans used.

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