What is the best natural and organic candy available on Halloween? Whether you are stocking up for the rest of the year or buying for trick-or-treaters soon, you’ll want to know all your healthier options. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like best scientifically-tested probiotics for children, jackets & outdoor gear sans PFAS “forever chemicals,” and the best organic mattresses, now join us for an investigation on the best natural & organic Halloween candy options and which ones are the least problematic for your hormones.
Disclosure: This post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN. This post also contains affiliate links.
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Not All Halloween Candy Is Equal–Now It’s Organic! (and Natural)
Halloween candy has changed dramatically since we were kids. It was always full of artificial ingredients, like artificial flavorings, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial dyes, and GMOs and it is (admittedly) delicious. I’m not going to tell you that I don’t sneak Halloween candy or steal it from my kids after they have been trick-or-treating. It’s the one time of year I look forward to all those little small serving size concoctions of death, empty calories, and sugar.
But when I tell you that Halloween candy has changed, it has. Most of those delectable memories from my childhood have been recreated by organic and natural food companies. Most of the candy produced by these companies are non-gmo, USDA Organic, or made with organic ingredients. Some may have natural flavors, while others are more transparent of their ingredient list. While others are focused on a mission like fair trade practices or vegan options. In other words, their general use of additives & preservatives is very low to null.
Here’s what’s available:
- USDA Organic: Organic brand options are made in a USDA organic facility using 95% or more organic ingredients like organic cane sugar. Organic producers do not use toxic, synthetic pesticides for weed control to deter a pest. They also produce healthier soil quality among organic farms for people and Planet.
- Vegan: Vegan options ban dairy, eggs, gelatin, honey, and any other ingredients affiliated with the inhumane treatment of animals.
- Gluten-Free: Gluten-free options are made without gluten ingredients. They range in how friendly they are to people with an actual allergy.
- Natural Candy: Natural candy companies typically avoid artificial ingredients. Sometimes you will see these companies using organic ingredients, but less than 95% of the total, so they are not USDA organic. However, if they are using dairy or eggs in their formula and it is not organic, we have no way of knowing how those animals were treated or if they were fed genetically modified (GMO) feed.
Problematic Ingredients in Halloween Candy
There are several problematic ingredients found in candy. This is precisely why the creation of organic and natural candy is thriving. These organic foods are growing rapidly as Generation X & Millenial parents desire the same chocolate and sweet treats from their childhood in an organic setting. Here’s some of the main issues with candy we ate as kids:
- Sugar: Let’s be honest here. Sugar, regardless of where it comes from, is bad for your health in large quantities. But the average American eats far more sugar than they realize because of how it’s hidden inside the typical American diet. For example, you’ll find hidden sugar in foods like marinara sauce, flavored yogurt, and salad dressing. Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy, but the consumption of those foods is not linked to health problems. That’s because consumption of plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium. When we are discussing candy, we are talking about sugar for the sake of sugar, so there are no additional ingredients to help your body recover from that blood sugar spike. You are advised to limit your intake.
- Glyphosate & other toxic, persistent pesticides: Anything that is not certified USDA organic is likely to contain trace amounts of toxic, persistent pesticides like glyphosate. However, sometimes you’ll find glyphosate in products containing ingredients like organic pea protein, oats, wheat, & other legumes. In terms of candy, Moms Across America found traces of glyphosate in conventional chocolate in this report.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): HFCS is a sweetener derived from corn syrup, which became popular in the 1970s. At the time table sugar was expensive and corn syrup became very cheap to produce because of government subsidies. Thus all sorts of corn based products flooded the market. Today that same HFCS is made with genetically engineered (GMO) corn. The high amount of fructose in HFCS causes the liver to get overloaded. When this happens, fructose turns into fat causing weight gain.
- Hydrogenated Oils (Vegetable oil, soybean oil, palm oil, shortening, etc): Hydrogenated oils increase the shelf life of foods and save money & resources for food companies. It’s a process by which a liquid unsaturated fat is turned into a solid fat by adding hydrogen. This process also adds stability and more texture to the food. However, the problem becomes it’s byproduct — trans fats. Trans fats are found inside the oil. The FDA banned the use of Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) in 2018 because of the risk to trans fats, but has not restricted fully hydrogenated oils.
- Artificial Flavors: Studies on animals suggest synthetic flavors could have some negative health effects on humans too. Some studies include artificial flavoring having a toxic impact on bone marrow cells. Another study found them to inhibit cell division and have more negative impacts on bone marrow cells.
- Artificial Colors: These chemicals are used to brighten and improve the appearance of food on the shelf. They are linked to negative health effects. One study linked artificial dyes to the hyperactivity of school children. More studies are linked to poor DNA repair. Removing artificial dyes and preservatives like sodium benzoate have been linked to improving the behavior of children. Several studies have also been done on lab animals linking artificial dyes to certain cancers.
- Preservatives like BHT or TBHQ: We found preservatives BHT and TBHQ inside Halloween candy. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a toluene-based ingredient. You’ll find toluene also inside toxic nail polish and it’s linked to reproductive harm. Tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, is used to extend shelf life and prevent rancidity. You’ll especially find this product among fats. Animal studies have linked this chemical antioxidant to liver enlargement, neurotoxic effects, convulsions, and paralysis in laboratory animals.
- Animals Byproducts with Unknown Treatment: When you find animal byproducts like dairy or eggs in products but they are not organic, you have no idea how those animals were treated or if they were fed genetically engineered (GMO) feed. If you find the Non-GMO Verified Project seal, you’ll at least know they were not fed GMO feed.
- Heavy metals: This is where I have more bad organic news for you. If you want to eat chocolate, especially dark chocolate, you will be eating cadmium and lead. Sometimes those levels are above what California would deem safe throught Proposition 65. As you Sow tested chocolate for sale in the United States and found detectable levels of heavy metals inside major chocolatiers like Ghirardelli, Godiva, Lindt, Dove, Hershey’s, Russell Stover, Starbucks, Cadbury, Lindt, and Alfred Ritter. Also found in more organic brands like Theo, Trader Joe, Alter Ego, Ocho Candy, Navitas, Green & Black’s, Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods, & Equal Exchange. It’s good to put into perspective though that eating carrots, sweet potatoes, & rice pose a similar risk for heavy metals, which is also a struggle by organic baby food industry. The entire chocolate industry has some issues with heavy metals.
Mamavation’s Investigation of Natural & Organic Halloween Candy
Mamavation thought about what you would find in a typical Halloween bag to rank based on ingredients. We made recommendations based on additives, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients.
Not Our Favorite Halloween Candy
This is the Halloween candy you would find in a typical trick-or-treater’s bag. It’s delicious, but it’s very problematic to eat often. It’s full of artificial ingredients, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Again, if it’s only once a year, I don’t think one night of debauchery is going to kill you, but if you enjoy candy throughout the year, we recommend you stick to the better & best categories.
- 3 Musketeers
- 100 Grand Chocolate Candy Fun Size
- Airheads Mini Bars
- Almond Joy
- Brach’s Candy Corn
- Charms Blow Pop Halloween Lollipops
- Dove Promises Milk Chocolate Pumpkins
- Ghirardelli Assorted Mini Squares Pouch
- Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Caramel Apple Squares
- Haribo Bears
- Heath Snack Size Toffee Bars
- Hershey’s Halloween Cookies & Creme Fangs
- Hershey’s Nuggets Assorted Mix Party Pack
- Hot Tamales
- Jolly Rancher Assorted Hard Candy
- Junior Mints
- Kellogg’s Froot Loops Snacks
- Kit Kat Snack Size Bars
- KitKat Witch’s Brew
- Laffy Taffy
- Lemonhead Candy
- Lifesavers 5-Flavors Hard Candy
- Lifesavers Gummies Collisions Lovers Bulk Pack
- M&M’s Mad Scientist Mix
- M&M’s Peanuts
- Milky Way
- Mounds Dark Chocolate
- Nerds Grape & Strawberry Variety Pack
- Red Vines Original Red Twists
- Reese’s Franken Cup
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures ( Reese’s Cups )
- Reese’s White Cream Peanut Butter Pumpkins
- Rolo Creamy Caramels
- Skittles Shriekers Sour
- Snickers Fun Size Halloween Candy Bars
- Snickers Ghoulish Green Nougat
- Sour Patch Kids Original
- Swedish Fish
- Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops
- Tootsie Rolls
- Twizzlers Twists Strawberry
- York Peppermint Patties
- Assorted Fruit Candies: Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Air Heads, Jolly Rancher, Skittles, Starbursts, Twizzlers, Sour Patch, and Haribo Gold-Bear Gummis.
- Halloween Chocolate Variety Pack: Hershey’s Cookie’s ‘N’ Creme Fangs Snack Size Bars, Halloween Peanut Butter Half Eggs in Spooky Wrappers, Pumpkin-Shaped Peanut Butter Candy, Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate Candy Monster Foils, Kisses Vampire Filled with Strawberry Cream, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Miniature Cups, and Whoppers 3 Malted Milk Balls.
- Hershey’s Miniatures Variety Pack: REESE’S milk chocolate peanut butter cups, Kit Kat milk chocolate wafer bars, WHOPPERS malted milk balls, JOLLY RANCHER Stix candy and lollipops, and TWIZZLERS Twists strawberry-flavored chewy candy.
- Hershey’s All Time Greats Variety Pack: REESE’S milk chocolate peanut butter cups, HERSHEY’S milk chocolate bars, KIT KAT milk chocolate wafer bars, ALMOND JOY coconut and almond chocolate bars.
- Lifesavers, Starburst, & Skittles Variety Packs
- M&M, Twix, & Snickers Variety Packs
Better Natural Halloween Candy
These Halloween candies are lightyears better than the “not our favorite” category, but they may still have some issues. None of these brands are organic, so although some of them may use organic ingredients, they are not USDA organic. Brands that use non-organic dairy or eggs do not have assurances that animals were treated humanely or given genetically modified (GMO) feed. This category also includes lots of brands that are using “natural” flavors without disclosing what they are. This category may also contain more ingredients.
- ChocZero Gluten Free Mini Vegan Dark Chocolate Pumpkins(Keto friendly)
- ChocZero Gluten Free Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups(Keto friendly)
- Dove Promises Dark Chocolate Pumpkins
- Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Minis(Allergy friendly)
- Enjoy Life Halloween Chocolate Minis Ricemilk Crunch(Allergy friendly)
- Enjoy Life Halloween Chocolate Minis Variety Pack(Allergy friendly)
- Enjoy Life Cocoa Loco Chewy Bars(Allergy Friendly)
- Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix(Allergy Friendly)
- Lifesavers Pep-O-Mint Mints
- Lily’s Sweet Fruity Friends Gummy Bears
- Nestle Crunch Fun Size
- No Whey Foods Bag of Terror
- No Whey Foods Choco No No’s Minis
- No Whey Foods Milkless Minis
- No Whey Foods Pea Not Cup Singles
- SmartSweet Variety Pack: Gummy worms, red twists, fruity gummy bears, & cola gummies.
- SmartSweet Variety Pack: Sweet fish, sour melon bites, peach rings, & sour blast buddies.
- SmartSweet Sweet Fish
- SmartSweet Gummy Worms
- SmartSweet Cola Gummies
- SmartSweet Blue Rasberry & Watermelon Lollipops
- SmartSweet Peach Rings
- SmartSweet Sourmelon Bites
- SmartSweet Red Twists
- SmartSweet Sour Blast Buddies
- Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars
- Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Zolli Zaffi Taffy Assorted Halloween Pack(Keto friendly)
- Zolli Holiday Bundle(Keto Friendly)
- Zollipops Assorted Halloween Pack(Keto friendly)
- Zillipops Caramel Green Apple Lollipop(Keto friendly)
- Zollipops Zolli Drops (Keto friendly)
Best Organic Halloween Candy
These brands are made from 95% organic ingredients, which means they should not contain traces of glyphosate or other toxic, synthetic pesticides. Some brands are using “organic” natural ingredients that are not disclosed and we’ve marked them for you with an *. If you are concerned about heavy metals from chocolate, we suggest you avoid dark chocolate.
- Alter Eco Organic 58% Pure Cocoa Truffles*
- Alter Eco Organic Assorted Chocolate Truffles*
- Alter Eco Organic Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles*
- Alter Eco Organic Silk Velvet Chocolate Truffles*
- Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears*
- Equal Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate Mint
- Equal Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate with Almonds
- Equal Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt
- Hershey’s Organic Milk Chocolate Candy
- Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Justin’s Mini Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Justin’s Mini Super Dark Espresso Almond Butter Cups
- Lovely Organic Chew Candies Sour (Lemon/Cherry/Strawberry)*
- Lovely Organic Chewy Candies*
- Lovely Organic Lollipops
- Made Good Organic Chocolate Chip Granola Mini Bars*
- Ocho Organic Mini Pouch for Halloween
- Ocho Organic Dark Chocolate Coconut Vegan
- Ocho Organic Milk Chocolate Caramel & Peanut Butter
- Ocho Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Ocho Organic Milk Chocolate PB&J
- Ocho Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Ocho Organic Dark Chocolate Caramel Mini Pouch
- Ocho Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Pouch
- Ocho Organic Milk Chocolate Caramel Mini Pouch
- Ocho Organic Dark Chocolate Coconut Mini Pouch
- Ocho Organic Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mini Pouch
- Ocho Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Pouch
- Ocho Organic Milk Chocolate PB&J Mini Pouch
- Ocho Organic 6-Pack Variety Mini Pouch
- Smashmallow Halloween Pack
- Surf Sweets Organic Cinnamon Bears
- Surf Sweets Organic DelishFish Assorted
- Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Bears
- Torie & Howard Organic Assorted Chewie Fruities
- Torie & Howard Organic Chewie Fruities Pomegranate & Nectarine
- Torie & Howard Organic Chewie Fruities Lemon & Rasberry
- Torie & Howard Organic Chewie Fruities Blood Orange & Honey
- Torie & Howard Organic Chewie Fruities Sour Berry
- Torie & Howard Organic Chewie Fruities Sour Apple
- Torie & Howard Organic Chewie Fruities Sour Cherry
- Torie & Howard Organic Hard Candy 5 lbs. Bag
- Woodstock Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins(larger size only)
- YumEarth Choco Yums Candies Snack Packs
- YumEarth Organic Lollipops
- YumEarth Giggles (similar to Skittles)
- YumEarth Organic Chewys(similar to Starburst)
- YumEarth Organic Gummy Fruits Halloween Candies
- YumEarth Organic Strawberry Licorice
Additional Mamavation Investigations To Help Your Family
Mamavation has been working hard to discover where to find PFAS “forever chemicals” inside food & other products we purchase and bring inside our homes. This is why we have decided to commission our own consumer studies on indications of PFAS in different consumer categories and share that information with you.
- Pasta & Tomato Sauces
- Nut Butters (Peanut butter, etc.)
- Cooking Oils (olive oil, almond oil, canola oil, etc)
- Activewear (Yoga Pants)
- Sports Bras
- Green Beauty Makeup
- Period Underwear
- Parchment Paper
- Bamboo Flooring
- Baby Strollers
We also have other non-toxic investigations on products for your children or the rest of your family. Here are some that we thought you may like.
- Best Yoga mats
- Best Organic Mattresses
- Best Air purifiers
- Best Cookware
- Best Plant-Based Milks
- Best Water Filters for PFAS Filtration
- Best Collagen
- Best Electrolyte Replacement Drinks, Sports Drinks, & Coconut Water
- Best Infrared Saunas
- Best Bubble Bath
Click here for a complete list of product investigations.