Tricks for green Halloween treats

Try these fall dessert recipes that are better for the Earth — and for your health — than conventional candies.

Trick or treat, give me something good and full of artificial sweeteners and trans-fats to eat?

Halloween candy is tempting and only in season once a year. Plus, it comes in “fun” sizes, so you can eat more and without feeling guilty. Well, without feeling guilty until you look at the ingredient list, or until you eat 15 candy bars and your stomach revolts on you — whichever comes first.

Nutritionally, Halloween candy is, to say the least, not the greatest thing for you or the environment. The artificial colors used in candy have even been linked to hyperactivity and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADD and ADHD). Not only does Halloween candy pack a punch to your waistline, but it damages the environment too.

Sugar production has a devastating impact on soil, water and air. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says about 145 million tons of sugar are produced in 120 countries every year. In 2004, the WWF released the report, “Sugar and the Environment,” which highlighted how sugar cultivation affects biodiversity and ecosystems.

“The cultivation and processing of sugar produce environmental impacts through the loss of natural habitats, intensive use of water, heavy use of agro-chemicals, discharge and runoff of polluted effluent and air pollution,” the report says.

Sugar isn’t Halloween candy’s only hidden environmental hazard; candy wrappers are too. They often get tossed into a garbage can or, even worse, thrown on the ground. The wrappers usually aren’t recycled because they're too small, and recycling them is considered to be “more work” than it's worth.

Reducing the environmental impact of your Halloween candy consumption isn’t as hard as you think, and you won’t have to compromise on taste. Here are some recipes full of (mostly) natural ingredients and sweeteners, much more nutritious than your average Snickers bar — so you can have your candy and help the environment too.


Homemade Healthy Rolos (vegan)

Made with dates for a fruit-packed treat!

Makes about 20


  • 11 dates, pitted (make sure the dates are soft; if they aren't, soak in warm water until they are)
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil


1.  Process dates (in a food processor or a high-powered blender) with the almond butter until the mixture is sticky and a paste forms

2.  Scrape the mixture in a bowl and freeze for 10 minutes.

3.  Using a teaspoon as a measurer, scoop a heaping teaspoon of the paste and form into a ball.

4.  Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

5.  Freeze balls for 10 minutes.

6.  Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave 10 more seconds or until the chocolate is thoroughly melted.

7.  Dip each ball into the chocolate, coating thoroughly, and place onto a plate with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the balls.

8.  Freeze for about 20 minutes. Keep balls in the freezer to store and enjoy straight from the freezer. They taste best cold!


Adapted from

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (vegan, raw)

Made with dates, peanuts, peanut butter and cocoa powder — an all-natural cookie!

Makes about 10 cookies


  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 3 dates, pitted (make sure they’re soft)
  • 4 tbs. peanut butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract


1.) Put all ingredients into a food processor or high-speed blender. Process for 30 seconds or so until the mixture sticks together

2.) Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and form into a flat round disk. I made the cookie look more “cookie-like” by lightly pressing a fork into the top of the cookie to make fork marks.

3.) Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

4.) The cookies are best stored in the fridge.


Caramel Apples (vegan)

 The caramel is made with agave, a natural sweetener — not high-fructose corn syrup  — and butter, along with other traditional ingredients.

Makes 2-3 apples


  • 2 to 3 apples
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Sticks (for apples)


1.) Remove the stem from each apple and and press a stick into the top.

2.) Put the agave into a small skillet and and place on medium heat.

3.) One the agave starts to bubble and look more translucent, which takes about 5 minutes, whisk in the almond butter and vanilla extract. Stir for 3 minutes more while it heats.

4.) Quickly dip each apple in to the caramel. It may take a couple of dips, but cover the apple thoroughly.

5.) Place the apples onto a parchment-paper-lined plate and place the plate into the fridge until the caramel sets.

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