in article about vegan Halloween, an illustration of a skull with candied fingers and tombstones coming out
Most vegan ingredients can be substituted if they're too expensive or too hard to find. (Illustration by Aiyana Kline, Minneapolis College of Art and Design)
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in article about vegan Halloween, an illustration of a skull with candied fingers and tombstones coming out

For partiers with more restrictive diets, here are some fun and easy recipes to get into the spirit of the spooky season.

All Hallow’s Eve is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning for a spooktacular Halloween party! Pull the skeletons out of the closet, carve up those jack-o’-lanterns and slap that splattered witch on your front door. After all the decorating, it’s time to dazzle the guests with awesome homemade vegan goodies!

Many recipes are available for people with a diet that “excludes all forms of animal exploitation” for vegans as well as for interested newcomers who want to experiment with veganism. According to The Guardian and The VOU, the number of vegans worldwide continues to grow alongside a wider variety of vegan food substitutes. With a greater variety of substitution options, cooking vegan cuisine for a Halloween party is neither a daunting task nor an expensive one.

This article provides a few delicious — and a few nutritious — vegan recipes for appetizers, drinks and desserts. It also includes a couple of simple substitution solutions for those expensive, hard-to-find ingredients, as well as tips for saving money while planning a wicked Halloween party.

Vegan Finger Foods

Start the party with a few yummy vegan-style finger foods, such as Paleo Witch Finger Cookies plus a jam and fruit blend for dipping. Witch Fingers is a simple recipe requiring only nine ingredients. It takes about an hour to make and does not require special baking utensils.

The recipe calls for honey, but substitute that with an equal amount of agave for a vegan adjust. For guests with nut allergies, substitute the fingernails — almond slices — with pumpkin seeds. If you need a less expensive but healthy oil option, grapeseed oil is a great all-purpose substitute for coconut oil.

If preferred, replace the strawberries and strawberry jam with different fruit and jam flavors. Give your witch fingers purple blood instead of the traditional red, or use an orange/yellow colored fruit jam mixture to give your fingers a fungus appearance.

The coconut flour might be the most expensive purchase for the recipe, but there are a few possible substitutes. Anne Clark put together a great list providing 10 substitutes for coconut flour along with ratio measurements.

Another delicious recipe that requires your fingers — but not the edible kind — is Graveyard Taco Cups. It only takes about 30 minutes to make, and cutting out the trees and tombstones puts your culinary skills to the test. To save some time, you could also purchase some corn chips.

For a dark and sinister fresh veggie dip, make Spooky Black Bean Hummus. The recipe calls for tahini, but no one will know the difference if it’s left out.

Add some festive fruit to the table with Tangerine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts. Feel free to substitute the banana eyes for other eye-worthy edibles if it’s challenging to find vegan mini-chocolate chips.

Vegan Beverages

Guests can quench their thirst with this knock-out vegan Pumpkin Punch recipe. The recipe makes for a thrilling centerpiece for the snack table, especially if you can place your punch bowl inside a giant pumpkin and use dry ice as directed in the instructions.

Most of the ingredients for this recipe are in the baking aisle. If finding demerara sugar is tricky, Erin Huffstetler put together a helpful list of substitutes. Chinese five-spice powder, anise seeds or fennel seeds are suitable substitutes for star anise pods. Sonja and Alex Overhiser provide substitution measurements in their article as well. A trip to the liquor store might be necessary for the spiced rum. When purchasing a pumpkin for the pumpkin puree, remember to search for one big enough to fit a punch bowl. If using dry ice, check out Anna Monette Roberts’ safety tips about using dry ice for punch.

Looking for an easier, less expensive, alcohol-free option? Try Pumpkin Juice instead; it requires about half the ingredients and is safe for guests of all ages. “Harry Potter” fans will love it!

Fed up with pumpkin after all the carving? Try switching things up with a Polyjuice Potion Cocktail. Though not as flashy as the Pumpkin Punch, this yummy recipe only requires four ingredients, and the “Harry Potter” fans will still get a kick out of it.

Vegan Desserts

Make a mouth-watering Halloween Chocolate & Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cashew Buttercream for a luscious vegan dessert to top off the evening. The pumpkin puree for this recipe can come from the same giant pumpkin used for the Pumpkin Punch, Pumpkin Juice or any extra clean bits saved from the carved pumpkins.

Do not waste time looking for cacao powder. According to a vegan article by Tyler McFarland, most cocoa powder products are vegan. McFarland suggests checking the allergy warning label on the cocoa powder container to see if it contains any dairy. If there is no warning label, then there is no dairy.

Even though the recipe calls for Himalayan salt, any salt will do. Himalayan and sea salts are slightly healthier choices. Using a different salt will not affect the taste or texture.

An easy-to-find substitute for jaggery is dark brown sugar. Use the exact amount of dark brown sugar to replace the jaggery. Add an additional two tablespoons of molasses to give it a bit more of a jaggery taste.

To substitute the goji berries, try dried cranberries, blackberries or raspberries. If there is enough agave left after the Paleo Witch Fingers, use it in this recipe to substitute the rice malt syrup to save money. The recipe will only need half the amount for the rice malt syrup anyway.

If cashews are too expensive or nut allergies are a concern, Meggan Leal crafted a simple vegan buttercream recipe that uses vegan butter instead.

An easier dessert that still qualifies as finger food is Halloween Cupcake Monsters. If purple sweet potatoes are not available, use Leal’s simple vegan buttercream recipe instead. Saurabh shares four substitutions for oat flour, along with a recipe for making your own in his article. Again, replace those mini-chocolate chips with other eyeballs if desired.

Halloween will surely be a terrifyingly fun experience for everyone with these vegan-friendly recipes!

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Becky Hardin

University of Arizona Global Campus
(BA) Journalism and Mass Communication

My passion for becoming a writer developed during college. Every writing assignment was an exciting opportunity to develop skills in writing, editing and research. I enjoy writing about various topics.

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