Navigating the dominant Halloween traditions can pose special challenges for vegan families. But don’t be spooked! If you’re looking for fun family-friendly ways to celebrate All-Hallows without compromising your family’s values of compassion and nonviolence, look no further. In the digital age, a vast trove of vegan Halloween ideas awaits your browsing eyeballs!
Don’t Be Scared to Embrace New Traditions
I’ve talked before at some length about tradition, in the context of Thanksgiving customs; we continually participate in the evolution of cultural celebration traditions, whether consciously or otherwise. We pick and choose holiday traditions that match our values — and there’s no reason not to create or adapt Halloween customs to fit our (vegan) families.
If you’ve just recently leapt the animal-eater/ plant-eater divide and are navigating holiday traditions from a vegan perspective for the first time, grab your ear buds and listen to Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s podcast episode titled Celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving Without Compromising Your Values: it’s 45 minutes well-spent, if you’re new to the vegan holiday scene!
Striding confidently through the social minefields surrounding food and holiday traditions can be daunting, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Friends and family members may not understand why you’re putting The V Word in front of ‘Halloween,’ why you can’t just sort of ignore the animal cruelty (and GMO ingredients and child slavery) in ‘regular’ candy, and go with the flow. If pressed to discuss your family’s choices with non-vegan folks in your life, remember that what you say always takes a backseat to how you say it — responding constructively to naysayers takes some forethought and practice, but is well worth the effort!
Vegan Halloween: a Treasure-Box of Links & Resources
Explore these Halloween resource links and strategies, to find the perfect ingredients for a fantastic vegan Halloween celebration!
- Have a Fun, Vegan Halloween
- Halloween Fun: Zombie-Squash! (with Cashew Cheesy-Brain Dip Recipe)
- Vegan Halloween Round-up!
- The Guide to Vegan Halloween Tricks-or-Treats
- 12 Spooky Vegan Treats for Halloween
- Fun Halloween Activities — Vegan Halloween Tricks and Treats
My favorite new Halloween resource requires haunting Facebook: Humane Halloween 2013 offers TONS AND TONS of family-friendly celebration ideas! I recently had a chance to visit with this event’s creator Marla Rose, of Vegan Feminist Agitator and Vegan Street — watch this space: I’ll be talking more about that next week — but for now, definitely join Humane Halloween immediately if you’re looking for family-friendly vegan Halloween fun!
PETA’s accidentally-vegan candy list may also be helpful; though personally I prefer to seek out less processed and less GMO’d-up treat options, for bringing Halloween happiness to young ghouls and goblins.
If there’s a vegan meetup group near you, seek it out! Kid-friendly pot-luck Halloween costume parties offer one of the very best ways to ensure spooky fun for vegan families, without the hassle of navigating the dominant (animal-product-infested) paradigm. If you don’t have other vegan families to hang out with on Halloween, and have the room to entertain a pack’o’ghouls, consider hosting a costume party for your child’s friends: as host you’ll be able to make sure vegan options abound, and everyone can dress up and have a good time.
For trick-or-treaters who come to call, don’t forget you’re not limited to food treats! Stickers, bubbles, temporary (spooky!) tattoos, glow-sticks, or other ‘party-favor’ items go over well, rot no teeth, and contain no cow juice.
Candy manufacturers have overtaken the holiday in recent years, but it’s not really about Hershey’s or Reese’s or Skittles. Halloween is about celebrating life, by confronting the dark of oncoming winter and making it fun instead of frightening.
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and I’m looking forward to adding another year of history to my family’s vegan Halloween traditions. What kid-friendly ideas, resources, or traditions make Halloween special for your family? Share below!