Saturday, October 21, 2006

Veggie Halloween

Let's all sing together now (to the tune of "London Bridge Is Falling Down"):
"Seven more days till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween,
Seven more days till Halloween, Silver Shamrock!"

I feel like singing because Halloween is a great holiday for vegetarians. Unlike other holidays that are traditionally associated with meat (Thanksgiving turkey, Easter ham, and so forth), Halloween is associated with things like pumpkins, apples, guts and eyeballs, and candy. (Of course, Halloween guts and eyeballs are made of cold spaghetti and grapes.) And although gelatin and other scary animal ingredients can find their way into candy, many kinds are naturally vegan. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a list to get you started, and you can find other options in local stores. Just check the ingredients before you buy to avoid a nasty Halloween trick!

But the best thing about Halloween are the ghosties and ghoulies - all the scary characters that make the holiday what it is. And happily, it turns out that many of them have hearts of gold. Vegetarians may especially appreciate the various Halloween characters - both real and fictional - who are advocates of vegetarianism and animal rights. They include:

Linda Blair, well-known for her role as a possessed child in The Exorcist. Now that she's all grown up, she's still a Halloween queen, but she has written a guide to Going Vegan and has started an animal-rescue foundation. I had the chance to meet her at an appearance at a Halloween amusement park several years ago, and she was genuinely enthusiastic and encouraging about veganism.

Linnea Quigley, perhaps best-know as the character Trash from the zombie thriller Return of the Living Dead, naturally doesn't crave brains in real life. She has been a vegan for many years, and advocates for animal rights. You can read more about her in an article from the Vegetarian Journal here.

In the fictional realm, Shaggy, the unlikely ghost- and monster-hunter of the "Scooby Doo" cartoons, is a vegetarian. This is because the man who usually voices Shaggy, radio personality Casey Kasem, is in reality a dedicated vegetarian. But Shaggy's path to vegetarianism hasn't been without detours. According to the Straight Dope in 2000, Kasem quit voicing Shaggy because of a script that called for Shaggy to eat shrimp gumbo. But a later report traces the break to Kasem being asked to portray Shaggy in a Burger King commercial. It also says that he began voicing Shaggy again in 2002. For fun, you can find a recipe for vegetarian Scooby Snacks (and a veganized version) here.

Finally, consider that although it gets little notice, one of the all-time Halloween greats, Frankenstein's "monster," is a vegetarian. Carol Adams points this out in her influential book on feminism and animal rights, The Sexual Politics of Meat. Adams quotes the creatures own words that make his vegetarian diet clear: "My food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid, to glut my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment." Adams' discussion of the meaning of the creature's vegetarianism is fascinating, serious reading.

By the way, that little song about Halloween at the top of the blog is from the movie Halloween III: Season of the Witch. I don't know of any vegetarian connection in the movie, but it's a cool song.


At 10/31/2006 2:34 PM, Blogger Andy said...

And veggie Thanksgiving...
Instead of cooking a turkey, try adopting one:

I just love Blossom ;-)


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