Wending my way through pint-size pirates, lions and ballerina fairies, I found some options showcased at Derek's (4411 Main St., 215-483-9400, dereksrestaurant.com). The menu nicely marks "vegetable dishes (no animal products)" with a "V." This includes the "signature burger," which comes in a vegan version, as well as the "Who Needs Cheese?" pizza, with tomato sauce, baby spinach and portobellos.
And for Halloween week only, the restaurant has a vegan special: Romanesco roasted in an apple-cider glaze. This cousin of broccoli and cauliflower may look crazy, but don't worry, it won't bite!
Another Main Street mainstay, Winnie's LeBus (4266 Main St., 215-487-2663, lebusmanayunk.com), attracted many colorful characters to grab a handful of candy. Chef John O'Brien explained the harvest theme for current restaurant offerings, which include a vegan heirloom applesauce and vegan chili. One item not suitable for young trick-or-treaters is the pumpkin-infused vodka that Le Bus uses for several cocktails around Halloween time.
That's a vegan concoction that could build the courage of many as they try new foods.
In addition to handing out candy, Couch Tomato Cafe (102 Rector St., 215-483-2233, manayunktomato.com) had free dessert items as buying rewards, including a vegan granola bar. And let's not forget that this place has about the only vegan pizza (with Daiya cheese) for miles around. Also vegan-friendly is the menu, with "VG" icons marking the many vegan selections and pizza toppings.
Whirled Peace (4321 Main St., 215-487-0489, whirledpeacefroyo.com) makes vegan fruit smoothies with soy, almond or coconut milk, and has nondairy yogurt with many vegan sundae toppings. Among those are nuts, fruits, certain candies and - for those who want to party like it's 1979 - vegan carob chips. Mmmm, carob!
The biggest plant-based news on Main Street, though, is right across from the start of the Tow Path at Lock Street: a brand new vegan restaurant, The Art of V (4165 Main St., 215-483-1074). Hmmm, wonder what the "V" is for?
Having honed his chops at Cafe at the Mills in East Falls, Chef James Mitchell knows his way around flavorful dishes and was busy doling out samples to the adventurous of all ages.
A fellow customer volunteered that she didn't even like beans, yet Mitchell's red-bean chili had become a favorite. After a couple of spoonfuls I could see why. She also noted that she'd enjoyed her cinnamon-and-nutmeg-powered pumpkin smoothie despite the fact that "I don't even like pumpkin!"
I had to laugh, because the same thing had just happened to me, even though I've always disliked pumpkin.
Had Mitchell alerted me to its main ingredient before handing me the sample, I would've turned it down. And here it turned out to be terrific.
See? That's just what I was afraid of.
Vance Lehmkuhl is a cartoonist, writer, musician and 12-year vegan. "V for Veg" chronicles plant-based
eating in and around Philadelphia.
@V4Veg on Twitter.