14 Vegan Halloween Candies Ranked

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While veganism used to be a seriously obscure diet, nowadays it's clear that this plant-based way of eating is growing to be far less of an oddity. According to Alliance for Science, about 10% of adult Americans surveyed considered themselves to be vegan as of January 2022. People cited a plethora of concerns for going vegan, including animal rights, climate change, and improving their health. Regardless of the reason, there's a good chance that either you or someone in your social circle is approaching the holidays with a plant-based mindset.

Thankfully, as veganism becomes more common, so do vegan products. Grand View Research observes that the confectionary market is no exception. It exemplifies the extreme growth currently seen in the overall vegan food market. Not only are small-scale vegan brands coming into the market, but larger confectioners are also seeking to provide plant-based alternatives. 

All of this means that there are more vegan candies to fill those Halloween Jack o'lanterns. Lucky for you, we've done the leg work and researched some of the best ones out there, so you don't have to. Below are some of the most popular vegan candies to dig into this Halloween season, ranked from worst to best.

14. Atomic FireBalls

If you haven't heard of Atomic FireBalls, it's high time that you be drawn to this flame. These bright red candies are sure to add a pop of flavor and color to those inky Halloween nights. While cinnamon may define the Atomic FireBall's flavor profile, it's the capsicum that gives it its signature hot burn, according to All City Candy. While capsicum may sound unfamiliar, it is indeed the element that makes peppers spicy as explained by the aforementioned candy site.

As per Vegan Foundry, Atomic FireBalls fall into the "accidentally" vegan category. This means that, while the manufacturer doesn't originally mean to make a vegan product, the result still does not contain any animal byproducts. Well, at least as far as we know. Due to the colors, sugar, and artificial flavors involved, there are numerous concerns as to exactly how "vegan" these candies are. Atomic FireBalls are a pretty economical choice that will give you a lot of bang for your buck. Cost-effective as they may be, though, Atomic FireBalls are ranked the lowest due to their somewhat dubious status as a vegan treat.

13. Skittles

Skittles are no stranger to the Halloween candy bin. The sweet little candies are both bright and bold in flavor, but it may be surprising to learn that this candy aisle staple contains no animal byproducts, according to The Goodness Project. Yet not all Skittles are created equally, meaning that there are some considerations to take before throwing it in with the tofu and oat milk in your grocery cart.

For one, only the classic Skittles are completely free of animal byproducts (via The Goodness Project). Vegans may also want to consider the palm oil that goes into the product. That's because palm oil is a widely disputed ingredient due to major environmental and ethical concerns. While it technically doesn't contain any animal-derived products, it does raise the question if a product can be vegan in spirit if it is not completely cruelty-free or sustainable. 

Yet, we admit that it's hard to be perfectly ethical under capitalism, and for some, Skittles nevertheless remain in the vegan repertoire. Still, given those ethical concerns, it's certainly not the best option around, especially given the wide variety of less morally heavy vegan goodies available nowadays.

12. Vegan lollipops

Lollipops are a versatile trick-or-treating choice. Think about it: they come in an array of flavors and colors and also come in a bold shape that makes a splash. As per Vegancalm, most lollipops are not strictly vegan as they use white sugar that contains animal-derived bone char. As per Peta, bone char is widely used in the confectionery industry to make white sugar all the more white. Thus, while it may seem like lollipops are plant-based, many aren't.

Thankfully, vegan alternatives are becoming more available. YumEarth Organic Lollipops, for example, may be able to fill the lollipop-shaped hole that many vegans are currently managing. The brand doesn't shy away from different flavors, and one bag contains pomegranate, watermelon, strawberry, grape, cherry, peach, and mango. That's a lot of flavors! Not only is the brand vegan, but it's also non-GMO, gluten-free, and comes with no artificial dyes or coloring. Still, this brand appears to be the exception. While lollipops are a pretty solid choice, there are still more complex and creative candies out there.

11. Twizzlers

Twizzlers are one of a few classic candies that are accidentally vegan, as Everything Vegan observes. The candies are made from a vegan red dye and plant-based gelatin. For some vegans, this may not be enough security when it comes to having a snack, especially if they're worried about bone char-tinged sugar. But for others, this is a green light to enjoy the red treat.

This candy makes for some pretty easy vegan Halloween snacking, given that Twizzlers can be purchased all year, just about everywhere. Moreover, it often comes in festive seasonal packaging and is seriously budget-friendly. If you're trick or treating or handing out candy to the costumed little tykes yourself, consider throwing some Twizzlers in the candy bowl for a plant-based treat. But, for those who are stricter with their veganism, there are other candies out there that are just as yummy while still maintaining a completely sure vegan status.

10. Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

There are many things that it hurts to give up when transitioning to a vegan diet. For many, that includes letting go of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. What other candy strikes such a perfect balance between sweet, salty, and chocolate? Thankfully, in this day and age, sacrifices needn't be made, at least when it comes to candy. UNREAL's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups not only offer up vegan friends a taste of heaven again but also do so while being gluten-free.

Like their more mainstream predecessor, these peanut butter cups come in pairs and have garnered rave reviews. What's more, dark chocolate provides a bolder contrast to peanut butter than milk chocolate does. So, when getting the Halloween season kicked off, why not turn back to the classics in a new way? 

That said, according to some reviews, these pricey candies might be stale by the time the delivery box arrives on your doorstep. If you can, look for fresh packs in the store and avoid ordering in the summer. As other reviewers have pointed out, the candies apparently can melt and re-solidify in transit, which changes their composition and taste. If you can navigate those obstacles, this may be a good vegan candy for your next Halloween party.

9. Maple Cocomels

Caramels may have been written off as candy for your grandma, but maybe grannies have good taste. Certainly, these aren't the caramels of yesteryears. Caramel, when done right, is known for its buttery flavor that uses, well, butter. But Cocomels utilizes coconut milk to get to that same delicious destination without any animal products (via Vegan Essentials).

For vegans who miss caramel, this is the most viable alternative. Even better, Cocomels are also gluten-free and contain neither soy nor corn, meaning that there are a lot of people who can chew on this treat.

With all of that in mind, it's easy to see how Maple Cocomels make for a darn good mix between the traditional and contemporary. The maple syrup added to the mix brings richness while the sea salt lends a new edge to the candy. Ultimately, Maple Cocomels are a perfectly well-rounded autumnal treat that is available for those looking for a more laid-back, yet classic vegan version of your Nana's candy dish.

8. Smarties

Smarties are one of the many classic candies that are accidentally vegan. Unlike other companies, Smarties has leaned into its plant-based nature. The confectioners even issue a 100% guarantee that no animal byproducts are used in the candy (via Smarties).

However, it's not all free and clear. Smarties does note that not all of its products are made through the Smarties Candy Company, meaning that candies produced elsewhere do not carry the same guarantee. To make sure, only purchase products with UPC packaging that starts with "011206" to ensure that the candies are vegan.

For some, Smarties may be a bit boring and not worth the extra legwork. For others, it's the safest way to indulge in Halloween sweets without worrying about animal welfare. Plus, Smarties are reasonably priced and can be found just about anywhere. While not the most complicated nor creative candy in the bowl, Smarties get the job done for vegans and carnivores alike.

7. Hard pretzels

Hard pretzels are something that you may not see all that often in the candy bowl, but they can make for a pretty simple and perhaps even a chic vegan alternative to other Halloween treats. As per Women's Health, just about all hard pretzels are vegan. However, only plain hard pretzels are vegan, as soft ones might use ingredients like butter and fancier varieties may incorporate animal products. Yogurt, chocolate, or cheese-dipped pretzels generally utilize dairy in their recipes. So, you may need to do some label reading to be sure that your pretzels are, in fact, vegan.

Thankfully, No Whey's Bag of Terror pack is just that. The adorable mini-pretzels come dipped in vegan chocolate and covered with festive orange sprinkles. Simply put, they are indulgent and creative in a way that vegan candies simply sometimes are not. They simply make for a decadent Halloween night treat that's not only vegan, but kosher and gluten-free. Perhaps more importantly, they taste good.

6. Vegan caramel nougat candy bar

Caramel candy bars are both generally delicious but very much not vegan. Thankfully, companies like Nelly's Organics have stepped in to satisfy sweet teeth of every dietary preference and food sensitivity. As per the company, it strives to make well-rounded vegan candy without any questionably ethical ingredients like palm oil. Additionally, none of its products contain soy or gluten.

The Nelly's Organic Caramel Nougat candy bar — try saying that three times fast — not only has a rich nougat and caramel center, but also an intense chocolate coating. With decadent and smooth flavors, it's no wonder that the bar has received some seriously great customer reviews on the Nelly's Organic website!

For trick or treating, this is probably one of the more impractical choices, as a case of nine costs around $26. That can be a pretty big investment just to shell out on Halloween night, but for private enjoyment, this could make for a wonderful Snickers alternative. Otherwise, you are better off looking out for bigger snack packs of vegan goodies.

5. Cracker Jack

Cracker Jack is a traditional American treat that remains in relative obscurity despite its pop culture relevance courtesy of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (via Library of Congress). This sweet coated popcorn is a well-rounded American treat, through and through. But, many might not know that Cracker Jacks are also vegan

According to Spoonful, Cracker Jacks traditionally don't contain any animal byproducts, including the popcorn and its molasses coating. What's more, the Cracker Jack recipe doesn't use any butter. So, why not bring back a classic American treat to a new group of people? Cracker Jacks can be bought as snack packs, which makes for a wonderful Halloween party favor or an easy trick-or-treat offering. Sure, Cracker Jacks are not explicitly Halloween-oriented and don't have any semblance of spooky festivity to them. Nonetheless, the packs have a jaunty design that harkens to a bygone era and makes for a Halloween handout unlike any other.

4. Chick-O-Stick

Chick-O-Stick may be one of the lesser-known sweets on this list, but we think that it's certainly worth knowing. As per the manufacturer, Atkinson's, Chick-O-Stick hits a trifecta of "salty, sweet, and crunchy." This is simply a candy like no other, with its mix of peanut butter, coconut, and Splenda. For those who like their sweet with a bit of savory, this is perfect. Plus, given the low-key packaging, Chick-O-Sticks may come across less as a trendy vegan snack and more as a sandlot pick-me-up.

Not only is this candy vegan, but it's also kosher and gluten-free (via Atkinson's). Its unique flavor profile may be interesting enough to bring in new fans who aren't even vegan. While Chick-O-Stick may not be the most well-known, it has some major fans. If you can find it and convince friends to try it, this is a candy you should try for certain.

3. Gummy fish

Scandinavian Swimmers are a tongue-in-cheek knockoff of another beloved gummy fish, Swedish Fish. Broadly speaking, both Swedish Fish and Scandinavian Swimmers, the Trader Joe's version, are vegan, according to a Facebook post from VegNews. Still, vegans may prefer the Scandinavian Swimmers for their more natural ingredients that steer clear of artificial dyes and flavorings. Plus, some versions of Swedish Fish may contain non-vegan beeswax, according to Veg Knowledge.

Scandinavian Swimmers not only come in a multitude of sea-friend shapes, like rockfish and lobster, but contain just as many flavors, like huckleberry, orange, berry, and mango-peach. As noted by Trader Joe's, the candy's bright colors are made from naturally-derived colors, which can satisfy even the most concerned candy fans. However, these candies might be tricky to incorporate into the Halloween candy bowl, as they aren't individually wrapped. Still, when handled correctly, they can make a big splash at Halloween parties or for your enjoyment.

2. Katjes plant-based gummies

It's no surprise that the same country that created Haribo would come back with another gummy candy that's sure to satisfy the vegan sweet tooth. Germany's Katjes gummies provide a plant-based alternative for a long-beloved treat that is traditionally made from gelatin. As per Vegconomist, Katjes were made to challenge industry giants that hadn't tried their hand at vegan alternatives. 

The results are magnificent, yummy, and carbon-neutral (via Vegconomist). Since its introduction, Katjes has quickly grown to become the second-largest gummy brand in Germany. It's no surprise that these chewy delights have made their way stateside. 

The candies are sold in different themed bundles. At Walmart, the Katjes Party Wunder-land bundle features gummies in the shape of unicorns, sunglasses, and rock-on gestures in a variety of bold colors. It all comes together to make a treat that's worth raving over. For a well-rounded plant-based treat that is both vegan in ingredients and philosophy, Katjes makes for a wonderful treat. Similar to other vegan gummies, these don't come individually packaged, and thus can't be doled out to hopeful trick-or-treaters.

1. Oreos

Oreos are a classic example of a food that's "accidentally" vegan. Although they are supposedly cream-based cookies, Oreos contain no milk or animal byproducts, according to VegNews. While that may be concerning for some readers, others will rejoice in knowing there's some cheap and accessible junk food out there even for vegans.

However, this news comes with a slight warning. As Vegnews observes, only some Oreo flavors are vegan. Specialty flavors tend to not be vegan-friendly and may contain dairy. Meanwhile, the classic Oreo as well as its Golden, Stuf, and gluten-free variations are all known to be vegan friendly. 

If you're looking for something best suited to the spookiest time of year, Oreos has released a trick-or-treat pack. These individual packs of two can add some fright season fun for vegans who might not have many other options on the creepiest night of the year. All in all, this round cookie is a well-rounded option for vegans old and new, not to mention trick-or-treaters and grown-ups alike.