Like most things in life, Halloween has changed over time. Most of us may not miss the intense pressure to show up with the most creative costume (though we all probably wouldn’t give up the title if it was offered to us) or the parent-imposed Trick-Or-Treat curfew, but there is a certain magic to the holiday that only being a kid can really capture. So, while the fresh-faced tykes are out there arguing over chocolate peanut butter cups and skinning their knees in the race to the house that gives out the best candy, the rest of us will just be over here, stuffing our faces mindlessly with gummy snacks for one night only, cracking open a bottle of wine, and feeling generally nostalgic.
In the years since we ourselves were amongst those fresh-faced, sugar-hungry trick-or-treaters, many of us may have turned to a vegan diet — whether for health reasons, or just plain wanting-to-eat-vegan reasons. Luckily, in 2017, the variety of familiar Halloween candy that also happens to be vegan-friendly might surprise you — as in, there are tons. So, as we’re focusing our Oct. 31 party-of-one on gummies (at least for now), I've scoped out 11 jellies that are totally free of animal products. And even better, they're all available to purchase last-minute online! I'm willing to bet that your peanut butter-eating, skinned-knee inner child would love to pull in any of these treats as part of their Halloween bounty, regardless of the “V” on the packaging.
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1. Apple Pie
While Sugarfina’s Apple Pie gummy treats don’t look particularly spooky, their flavor is 100 percent seasonally appropriate. Made with infusions of Italian apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg, these all-nautral jellies will give you all the fall feels and leave you ready and waiting for the main event of pie-eating: Thanksgiving.
Sugarfina Apple Pie (Small Cube), $9, Sugarfina
2. Brach’s Mandarin Orange Slices
Brach’s gummy candies are made with real juice — and if you don’t look too closely at the mandarin orange variety, you may even think they’re shaped like pumpkins! Perfectly vegan and perfectly seasonal too.
3. Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers Gummy Candy Fish
Named the best-tasting vegan gummies money can buy by Only Buy Vegan, the Scandinavian Swimmers gummies available online and at your local TJ’s might make you forget that Swedish Fish were ever a thing — especially because they come in a multi-colored pack featuring a variety of aquatic shapes (think lobsters, dolphins, and seahorses!).
4. Wicked Witches
Witches are the OGs of the Halloween universe, so it’s about time that we get our greedy little hands on vegan gummies shaped like the sorceresses that we all love to hate. Much sweeter than the witches they portray, these snacks are brewed with natural raspberry flavor.
Squish Wicked Witches (143 g Small Bag), $6, Squish
5. Sour Cukes
The hits just keep on coming with Squish, a candy company that’s even managed to make crazy sour, multi-colored gummy cucumbers sound like something we just have to have. Sour Cukes are ranked “intense” on Squish’s flavor rating system, so sample with caution if you prefer a subtler Trick-Or-Treat snack.
Squish Sour Cukes (137.5 g Small Bag), $6, Squish
6. Koala Gummy Bears
You don’t see a lot of koala-shaped foods on the market these days, and I'm happy to see all-natural gummy candy company Goody Good Stuff changing that. I can only hope that you spot some equally cute koala bear costumes live and in-person on trick-or-treat night.
7. Strawberry Alligators
German natural foods manufacturer Seitenbacher has been making healthy-ish treats for almost four decades, and their strawberry alligators are a welcome addition to the line-up. Urban Vegan says the word on the street is that these make a great topping for vegan ice cream, so you’ll get mileage out of these long after the Jack-O’-Lanterns are put away.
8. Heavenly Sours
If your Halloween style leans more sour than sweet, check out these night sky gummies and prepare to get starry-eyed. Sugarfina’s sugar crystal-sanded treats are flavored with real fruit juice and as colorful as all the trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood.
Sugarfina Heavenly Sours (Small Cube), $8, Sugarfina
9. Prosecco Bears
Halloween is a time for indulgence — and for those of us lucky enough to be “of age,” that usually means popping bottles. If you’ve never tried eating your bubbly, this seems like the ideal way to start.
Squish Vegan Prosecco Bears (140 g Small Bag), $6, Squish
10. Ginger Chews
Ginger People’s ginger candies may be a bit of a stretch for the gummy category — they’re more chewy than jelly — but they have a seriously sophisticated flavor and deserve a vegan Halloween shoutout. Ginger Chews have a kick, but don’t be spooked! They were also awarded Best Candy by the Fiery Food Association.
11. Organic Gummy Cubs
The Organic Candy Factory bills their product as the first organic kosher gummy bear to hit the proverbial shelves — and we’re here for it. I love funky shapes, but I also firmly believe there’s nothing quite like a traditionally-shaped gummy (aka a bear) to make us all really feel like kids again. Available in mixed berry or peach packs, these cubs also offer 100 percent of the daily recommendation for Vitamin C.
Organic Gummy Cubs by The Organic Candy Factory (4 Pack), $20, Amazon