It is the most wonderful time of ‘fear’, and planning a spook-tacularly vegan Halloween can be tricky. For many, All Hallow’s Eve is synonymous with dressing up, decorating and trick or treating. The classic traditions of the harvest festival may have turned into a retail circus of cheap plastic decor, mass produced candies and synthetic costumes but historically many Halloween practises are rooted in veganism – so ‘creep’ it real this year with vegan treats and traditions.
It is said that Halloween began in Ireland more than 2,000 years ago at a time of year known as Samhain. The Celts believed that on the night before Samhain, the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred, allowing spirits to return to earth. Celtic tribes would gather for food and games in celebration to welcome the harvest and people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Some say an old tradition was to even abstain from meat on All Hallow’s Eve.
So here are five ways to remain under the spell of a very vegan Halloween.
Traditional Vegan Halloween Rituals
Bobbing for apples: Let’s turn back time to an age-old Celtic tradition by reviving the fun practice of bobbing for apples. It’s an activity that can be enjoyed by all, from the young to the young at heart! Here’s what you need: a bucket, some fresh water, and a bunch of crisp, juicy apples. Drop those apples into the water and let the games begin. The objective is simple: try to grab an apple with your teeth – a classic game that brings smiles and laughter to the faces of kids and adults alike. But watch out single friends, it was believed that the first to bite an apple would be the next to marry!
Pumpkin carving: Jack-O’-Lanterns were originally created from turnips and potatoes that were hollowed out and carved with scary faces to ward off malevolent spirits. The tradition evolved into the use of pumpkins when Irish immigrants brought the practice to America. This year make your pumpkin carving as enviromentally friendly as possible by not wasting anything: clean off the pumpkin seeds, boil them for 10 minutes, toss them with some oil and spices, then lay them on a baking sheet to roast for 45 minutes. A cruelty-free snack to keep calm and get that pumpkin carve on! Look for ways online to upcycle pumpkin after the holiday has passed to avoid waste too.
Natural Autumnal Decorations: Why not go au naturel with your holiday decor this year? As an eco-warrior, it can be a challenge to keep things green during a season when energy-guzzling decorations and plastic overload are the norm. But fear not! You can embrace a more natural and sustainable approach by adding a touch of the great outdoors to your festivities. Think ‘witchy’ gourds, pumpkins, and corn husks as your decorative heroes. These earthy elements not only bring a cozy, rustic vibe to your space but also make your holiday kinder to the environment. So, celebrate the season in style while treading lightly on our planet.
Choose an eco costume: Guising dates back to the 16th century when people would go from house to house in costumes made from animal skins, reciting songs or verses in exchange for food. While thankfully today we don’t all wear dead animals for disguise, a 2019 investigation found that 83 per cent of Halloween costume materials are oil-based plastics that often end up in landfills, resulting in approximately 2,000 tons of plastic waste. This year be mindful upcycle your costumes or get second hand ones. Your friends with older children undoubtedly have some tucked away.
Make sure your makeup is also vegan friendly. Some makeup products may contain animal-derived ingredients or have been tested on animals. Look for cruelty-free and vegan makeup brands.
Vegan trick-or-treats: Although candy is spookily key to trick or treaters let’s cut down on the countless candy wrappers this year, and fill up instead on vegan halloween treats with harvest choices from local stores like Kibsons. Halloween candy doesn’t have to be the only choice in the cauldron – shock visitors with a fun item instead. Homemade caramel apples, vegan crayons and colouring books, or even packets of seeds. A hot vegan chocolate station or is a nice break for weary feet, served with plant-based cups and compostable straws or simply offer the grown ups vegan halloween drinks like pumpkin spice lattes with non-dairy milk, or a sneaky apple cider.
Eco Arts & Crafts: This Halloween keep the kids busy with DIY decorations made from recycled materials, like spooky lanterns crafted from old glass jars or eerie ghosts made from old bed sheets.You can even repurpose old toilet rolls into creepy characters and decorations. Explore the world of biodegradable glitter and non-toxic paints to add a touch of sparkle to your creations without harming the environment. So, get crafty and have a hauntingly green celebration!
Vegan Halloween Candy brands
No matter what costumes they wear, when the Halloween candy comes out, everyone is a goblin. So which candies are appropriately frightening but also good for the soul? PETA ( People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released their approved list of vegan Halloween treats earlier this month, while many UAE grocery stores regularly carry brands with no animla products. Look out for Moo Free, Unreal, Halo, Vegan KitKats, J.Luehders Vegan Soft Candy and Fruit-Tella. If you’re not sure, check the ingredients list to ensure they don’t contain animal-derived gelatin or other animal products. So you can sink your fangs into these confirmed cruelty-free sweets without selling your soul to the devil.