11.07.2013

How our vegan family handles Halloween

Last week was one of my daughter's favorite 'holidays' - Halloween.

This was her fourth one and the first year she realized what was going on when the great candy swap happened.

You may not be familiar with the great candy swap I'm referring to. Two things happen when we discuss how our vegan family partakes in Trick-or-Treat; either people forget completely that we don't consume ANY animal products, including dairy-ridden things like chocolate and gelatin-based gummies, or they think we don't let our kids go out at all because we're completely against the collecting of candy.

The thing is, just because we're vegan and riding the cruelty-free train, doesn't mean we don't like dressing up and an excuse to eat too much candy!

For the last few years after our daughter finished trick-or-treating, we simply swapped out the candy she collected for the vegan treats we had purchased (before you go assuming it's crap like apples and bananas, think again, our daughter got full-sized vegan candy bars from Go Max Go Foods, the company behind vegan versions of your favorite candy bars, like Milky Ways and Butterfingers).

She was never privy to the exchange we made, until this year.

Since our daughter has started preschool, where classroom and birthday parties abound, bringing along homemade cupcakes and ice cream, we've started talking to her about why our family eats differently than everyone else.

She proudly proclaims to anyone that sees her eating that she doesn't have stuff with cows milk, eggs, gelatin or fish. She doesn't understand fully why we eat the way we do yet, but she's starting to grasp it and we've opened the communication lines.

Right now, she's satisfied with the response that we respect all living beings, so we choose not to eat things from them. We also stress to her that just because someone does eat animal products doesn't mean they're bad, they're just different from us.

So far, she's satisfied with those explanations, but it doesn't mean she'll always be. This little girl is constantly keeping us on our toes.

This year, however, our little Strawberry Shortcake proudly handed over her candy basket and asked us to get rid of the "icky" stuff and then to show her all the awesome loot she DID get to eat instead.

She was over-the-moon excited for her pumpkin cookies, vegan candy bars and vegan gummy bears. It also helps that we take her trick-or-treating in my parents' neighborhood, where her memaw and papaw spoil her with too many vegan chocolates and her great aunt Elaine that lives next door gives out pretzels, oreos and other vegan-approved junk food.

I realize things are easier right now, because she's so little. I know there will come a time when she's probably going to want to sneak a bite of real chocolate. But instead of spending our time worrying about how we're going to handle hypothetical situations, we're just going to take each issue as it comes.

And while our Batmanned-out Braeburn didn't get to partake in much actual trick-or-treating (he got pushed around in a stroller), he did get to enjoy a cookie the size of his head.

Because what's Halloween without a few giant cookies?

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7 comments:

  1. Our baby isn't here yet but we plan on raising him vegan. It's nice to hear what other families are doing to make it work!

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  2. Sounds like you're doing a very good job. My children have always been vegan. They've had questions along the way, but they are all happy they do not contribute to animal suffering.

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    1. It's always nice to hear about other vegan families succeeding with the older children! It's a long but exciting road ahead! :)

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    2. We did a candy exchange also. Our daughter is two and the journey of explaining everything has started. Not sure where you live but once a year we go.to farm sanctuary and the pictures of her with the animals really helps. So glad there are so kay vegan mommies to talk to

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    3. So true! It's nice to be able to have other moms out there (even if it's just virtually!) to relate with and seek advice from! You'll be amazed at the transitions she makes from two to three, sometimes I can't believe how cognizant our daughter is now of what she eats, why we eat that way and what we choose not to eat! :)

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  3. I had to laugh at the cookie the size of his head!
    I took my daughter trick or treating, but I was the mean mom and got rid of the candy the day after. I am still trying to figure out the whole vegan thing, but I do know I did not want my daughter eating all that sugar! Since she is only 2, the fun was in the getting not the eating!

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    1. I agree it's largely in the "getting." Even this year our daughter lost interest in her candy about a week later!

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