Having experience with working in health food stores, the vast majority of the holiday treats that I tend to be drawn to are, shall we say, a bit different from your typical Snickers or Reese's fare. The stuff I tend to see is free of artificial colors and flavors and sweeteners, and also way more expensive than the giant candy handout bags most people who entertain trick-or-treaters probably get. You get what you pay for, right?
So for those who are interested in some slightly less toxic (if not exactly healthier) Halloween candy this year, I thought I'd go through a few of the more eye-catching ones and see how well they hold up against their more artificial but undeniably tasty cousins. Maybe you'll find something wholesome to pass out to your neighborhood's children this year, or maybe you'll find something to snack on while staying inside and watching scary movies on Halloween night.
While I have done my best to include average price points and availability, this will not contain any exhaustive lists on where to find these products; I am of course limited to what I can find for myself in my area. It's more meant to be a jumping-off point. Also, as these are seasonal items, they are only available for a limited time and may be sold out by the time this post is out. Also also, I do not eat chocolate, so no chocolate items will be included; I apologize for the massive blind spot.
Sound good? Good! Here we go!
YumEarth - Organic Candy Corn
I had never seen organic candy corn before this year, but I admit I was kind of intrigued by the concept. The only one of these I've found thus far is the sack of 10 snack packs (roughly 12 pieces of candy corn per snack pack), but apparently they also have 2 oz. and 5 oz. bags. Visually, the candy corn mostly looks the part, with the right shape and colors, but its palette also looks rather dull and washed out in comparison to the original. It kind of looks like someone made a candy corn in Photoshop and then slapped their hands on the keyboard when it came time to mess with the colors, and the result looks a little faded. Despite this misstep with the candy's hue, taste-wise it tastes exactly like candy corn to me. Just eat this as candy corn was meant to be eaten—that is to say, shove it all mindlessly into your mouth without really thinking about it—and you'll be fine.
Annie's Organic Bunny and Bat Fruit Snacks
When you think of organic fruit snacks, Annie's is probably one of the first brands that comes to mind. All year they sell several flavors of fruit snacks that are free of the artificial colors and flavors that most fruit snacks have, making them a safe treat for those with dye allergies. Every October, I seem to end up running across this Halloween version, which repackages them into smaller packs and replaces some of the bunny shapes with bats. While I am a big fan of Annie's fruit snacks and I agree that Berry Patch is one of their best flavors, these aren't really doing anything different or new than what Annie's already provides for a lower price the rest of the year. Unless you're really devoted to giving the kids on your doorstep a healthier alternative, I would honestly just stick with the regular Annie's fruit snacks. These Halloween ones are still delicious, but they aren't worth the price increase just for some alternative packaging.
Glee Gum Halloween Gum Pops
Basically, these are like Blow Pops. They're suckers with gum in the middle. They come in three flavors: Sweet Strawberry, Crisp Green Apple, and Juicy Orange. I'm slightly disappointed that the strawberry one isn't called Spooky Strawberry, and I also feel like it's kind of a shame that they just changed the packaging on their usual gum pops instead of making new Halloween flavors. (It's pretty convenient that two of their usual flavors happen to be good Halloween colors.) Is it just me, or are green apple and orange usually the least popular of the candy flavors? Well, anyway, they're natural Blow Pops and they taste fine. They're smaller, but no less enjoyable.
Wholesome Sweet/Surf Sweets Spooky Spiders
These are fruit flavored gummies that happen to be shaped like spiders. They feel the most...pandery, I guess? It's a full-size bag of gummies that could easily be demolished by one person, and obviously it's not meant to be given out to trick-or-treaters. The bag itself doesn't say what flavor the gummies are meant to be, but they're a mix of strawberry and citrus flavors, and they're actually very tasty. The gummies are also shaped more like actual spiders and not just like cartoon spider shapes. I personally really hate spiders, so it's the tiniest bit off-putting, but overall, these make a successful Halloween snack.
Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you enjoy whatever festivities you have planned, and I hope you enjoy whatever candy it is you end up eating. If you try any of the above and like them, let me know!