The season is upon us. Kids are rifling through their rooms, finding more props for their costumes. And parents are putting off buying the candy because, after all, if it's in the house we're going to eat it, right? It's a tough balance for the adults. Buy it too soon and you're going to make yourself sick eating candy that was meant for trick-or-treaters. Wait too long, and you have less selection to choose from. Oy.
While you ponder that dilemma, I'm here to let you know how you can very easily make this holiday a kind one to animals.
As a kid, I would be overwhelmed with the responsibility of the quest before me. Within those few hours that fall within the acceptable trick-or-treat time, it was open season to get all the candy in the world. The supply was endless. The real challenge, of course, was how to get as much as possible in that short space of time, while being able to keep one's costume looking good. Oh, the pressure! I was always something awkward and big, like a robot or a pack of cigarettes (you think I'm kidding?) so the quest was that much more difficult. I never opted for the cute-yet-sexy-kitty costume or the creepy I'm-a-sexy-baby-girl-in-pigtails-and-pajamas costume. (A big nod of thanks to my parents for pointing me in the right direction. The cigarettes, I should point out, said on one side of the enormous carton, "Don't smoke" with a skull and crossbones. I believed strongly in mixed messages, apparently.) So with building an awe-inspiring costume and mapping the ideal trick-or-treat route, kids have enough on their minds. They don't have the time or energy to devote to deciding which candies are friendly to the animals they love.
As the new generation of grownups -- can that be right? -- it's our job to make this momentous night even greater by selecting goodies that use ingredients that keep our animal friends safe. And I'm sure you agree. So I did the legwork for you!
The most obvious candy that uses animal products is milk chocolate. Milk is not an innocent product and results in the death of all the cows and calves that are part of that industry. (See this link to a past post to learn more -- don't worry, I explain it in a way that won't freak you out.) So empty the milk chocolate right out of that cheap plastic jack-o-lantern because...
Dark chocolate is A-OK! The cows will totally approve and will love you for it!
Less obvious are the products that use gelatin. Many people don't realize this, but gelatin is derived from the collagen in slaughtered animals' skin, bones, and connective tissues. "Ew" on so many counts. There are plenty of other ingredients that seem, on the surface, innocent, but in reality come from some part of an animal. (Even urea -- as in urine -- is used to brown some brands of pretzels. I mean really. Can't we come up with something a little better than that? I wished I'd been in the room when they'd brainstormed that one. Honestly.)
This year, I thought it might be challenging to find vegan candy, but I was wrong. Super easy. Sour patch kids and Swedish fish? Vegan. Not health food, mind you, but vegan. Smarties? Vegan. Doves dark chocolate, Jolly Ranchers, Hubba Bubba gum (oh the memories...), Twizzlers (oh the stomach aches...), DumDums, Fireballs, and Airheads? All vegan. Here are two lists of other vegan candies you can buy. List one! and List Two!
This year, we're getting Smarties, which actually has a whole webpage devoted to vegan candy. Hmm.... there must be a market for it lately! (Perhaps this is due to lots of kind people like you milling about?)
And we just bought two big bags of Yummy Earth lollipops. The food editor at the Today Show wrote, "The BEST lollipop I've ever tasted." I was given some to sample at the Maple Farm Sanctuary, and they were UNBELIEVABLE. These are the new generation of lollipops. You may just want to get some for yourself. To hell with the trick-or-treaters. We got ours at Whole Foods. I think it was $5.99 for a bag of 50. Check out the video below about how they make these tasty candies!
This video is a blast! The makers of Yummy Earth show us how their lollipops are made. It's like seeing real-life Willy Wonka Dads. You MUST see this!
(So how cute were they? That video totally makes me want to be a candy maker.)
Does it really make a difference? Will returning those Snickers bars and Mars bars in exchange for some Twizzlers truly change the life of animals? You bet! It's simple everyday choices like these that change the world. We tend to undermine our power. But money talks. Lordy it talks. So take this baby step and use your hard-earned cash to buy something that leaves animals off the plate. Even if you still eat meat and eggs and drink milk, just try this one thing. I think you'll be surprised at how good it makes you feel.
And stock up on those lollipops. If there are leftovers, you'll be very pleased. :) Heck -- get some DumDums and give those away and save the Yummy Earth ones for you!
P.S. Remember to keep your black kitties safe!
So -- what kind of treats will you be buying for your trick-or-treaters?