Choose Palm Oil Free, Vegan Candy This Halloween

I have a major bone to pick with the ethical candy lists that come out each Halloween. 

When I find a vegan list, it seems that sugar refined with bone char is never taken into consideration. These "accidentally vegan" lists don’t address palm oil either. Though palm oil free lists exist, they’re not vegan-friendly and tend to contain a lot of milk, gelatin, and the like. If you at all care about the ramifications of conflict palm oil, you have to consider the environmental impact of animal agriculture, too. 

For many years now, I've avoided the ritual of handing out candy because I lived in apartments. This year I find myself in a residential home, in a neighborhood with young kids, and I have a dilemma. What am I going to pass out?

Sure, there’s plenty of vegan and palm oil free candy out there with fair trade, organic ingredients or direct trade chocolate. The problem is making that purchase cost-effective for 20, 40, sometimes 100 trick-or-treaters. With the following choices I'll discuss cost, availability, and answer a few questions you’re likely to have at the end: 

Wholesome & Surf Sweets

What’s good? The Trick or Treat Pack — get 15% off with code: HALLOWEEN. These vegan fruit candies are gluten-free, soy-free, and made with organic fruit juice. Parents may dig these because they are free of the 10 most common allergens, and corn syrup. They come in packages of 20.
Where can I find it? Health food stores, select Whole Foods, and online at the Natural Candy Store and Wholesome's website
Cost? $6.99-61
Great for: Small to medium crowds

Yum Earth Organics

What’s good? Their special Halloween products are probably the spookiest options this year. But all of them are vegan, palm oil free, and widely available at brick and mortar locations. They're also gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and dyed with vegetables like organic black carrots. 
Where can I find it? Health food stores, most Whole Foods, and online at the Natural Candy Store and Yum Earth's website
Cost? $6-60
Great for: Medium to large crowds

Enjoy Life

What’s good? Kids will surely adore these Mini Chips Snack Packs. They are dairy, nut- and soy-free chocolate chips in individual snack packs perfect for little fingers. 
Where can I find it? Health food stores, most Whole Foods, and online
Cost? $7-41
Great for: Small crowds

 
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Stretch Island

What’s good? Make sure to get the organic version, but otherwise, there's no reason to overlook this satisfyingly sweet fruit snack. Parents will thank you!
Where can I find it? Health food stores, grocery stores, CVS, Whole Foods, and more
Cost? $4-35
Great for: Small crowds

ChocXO

What’s good? Only the dark chocolate options are vegan. The Tasting Squares are suitable to pass out — though most kids probably won't appreciate super dark chocolate. You might want to stick to the Snaps, although they are also dark. 
Where can I find it? Health food stores, most Whole Foods, and online at the Natural Candy Store and ChocXO's website
Cost? $5.99
Great for: Small to medium crowds, adults

 
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OCHO

What’s good? OCHO's coconut minis are the only vegan option in the bunch. These could be nice in a mix for a party, but are quite expensive for just 8 in a pack. 
Where can I find it? Large grocers, Target, and online at the Natural Candy Store and OCHO's website
Cost? $8.99
Great for: Very small crowds

 
 

Equal Exchange

What’s good? The Organic Dark Chocolate Minis are both cost-effective and ethical. Each box contains 150 bars - all of which are vegan, soy-free, organic, and fair trade. The company recently confirmed that they are palm oil free, as well. 
Where can I find it? Select Whole Foods, and online at Equal Exchange* and the Natural Candy Store.
Cost? $30
Great for: Medium to large crowds
* EE is based in Massachusetts so you might get these by Halloween if you’re ordering them from the East Coast.

JJ’s Sweets

What’s good? Any of the caramel flavors! The ingredient list for these creamy candies is simplistic, organic, vegan, and palm oil free. Each bag contains 15 candies. 
Where can I find it? Whole Foods and speciality stores, and online at the Natural Candy Store as well as online.
Cost? $5.99-35
Great for: Small crowds

Candy Tree

What’s good? The lollipops or hard candies are the easiest to distribute. We also enjoy their strawberry vines for parties and snacking. 
Where can I find it? Health food stores, most Whole Foods, and online at the Natural Candy Store.
Cost? $3
Great for: Very small crowds

 
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Sjaak's Organic Chocolate

What’s good? The limited edition Halloween bites in orange or peanut butter flavors. The small tubs contain about 93 pieces. 
Where can I find it? Online at the Natural Candy Store and the Sjaak's website
Cost? $33-75
Great for: Medium to large crowds


And now, on to what you're probably (rightfully) thinking:

This list is too small.

Of course, it’s too small! I absolutely agree with you. And that should anger you, really. Candy is a luxury item, something fun and frivolous, and it should never contain ingredients that cause environmental degradation or animal cruelty—two things I would deem neither fun nor frivolous. 

This is over my budget.

These costs could seem high to you because the market for holiday candy is rife with low-cost offerings in bulk. My housemates claim that they get about 40 kids each year so we'll probably just buy 2 packages of Yum Earth Organics for $11. If we were expecting more kiddos, I might have ordered Equal Exchange Minis in advance and just nom'd on the leftovers. 

How can I make this list bigger?

Lobby your favorite conflict-free candy company and ask them to make Halloween packs next year. Start a friendly petition. Increase demand for these products!

Halloween certainly isn't mandatory and many families choose not to trick-or-treat. For those who do participate, it's good to know that you don't have to suspend your beliefs for a night just to accommodate some (really adorable) youngsters. Making responsible consumer choices, in part, ensures the future in which they'll grow up so, really, it's all good