I love having the chance to dress up and have fun; the opportunity to be some silly, wild, or nostalgic fictional character is too exciting to pass up!
And now, the most fun part of Halloween is watching my toddler, Jude, get into it.
For Jude, of course, almost every day is Halloween—playing dress-up and going out and about in costume. I totally encourage her to wear costumes out of the house while we run errands and live our normal lives. That kind of fun and imagination doesn’t usually seep into adulthood, so why shouldn’t she live it up now?
I would say that one of the only drawbacks of the holiday for me now has to do with all of the candy and party food. While my husband and I do allow ourselves to be “Flexitarian,” my daughter is quite sensitive to dairy and we try our best to limit artificial dyes and preservatives as well.
That combo of restrictions does not line up so well with Halloween parties and trick-or-treating.
So, our parental solution involves going to parties where we can bring food or know the food there will be diet-friendly. We also like going to cutesy kids’ social events that offer activities and are not just reliant on candy. And we keep our trick-or-treating to a minimum so we don’t end up throwing away a giant bag of candy people spent their hard-earned money on.
Last year we went to “Boo at the [Louisville] Zoo." Jude loves the zoo, and we got to walk around and see so much while also picking up just a handful of dairy-free candy.
My mom (Jude’s Nana) loves to make treat bags for Halloween and Easter for all the grandkids—just like she did for me when I was a kid. So, last Halloween, we just asked her for some of Jude’s favorite crackers (Annie’s Organic Bunny Grahams) and a cute Halloween book in lieu of candy. It worked out great and was a lot of fun for both Nana and Jude!
We also went to a friend’s house party and then trick-or treated around a very popular neighborhood that goes all out with decorating! Believe me, that one block was enough!
So it all worked out—Jude was able to wear her costume a few times instead of just once and she got her fill of the holiday festivities without feeling cheated!
With this Bluebird + Blackberries challenge, I thought it would be fun to create a recipe that is not only very allergy- and vegan-friendly, but one that everyone can enjoy without thinking it’s made for any reason other than it’s incredibly festive.
And so I give you my Halloween Vegan Spider Trifle!
Not only does this dessert look fantastic, it tastes great! It contains real Oreos, because…duh, they’re delicious and they’re vegan! I also love that this recipe is versatile—swap-outs are simple!
Use gluten-free Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joes to make it gluten-free!
Love dairy? Whip the pumpkin with cream cheese or regular dairy whipped topping.
Want to control the sugar more? Get plain pumpkin puree and add the sugar and pumpkin pie spices to taste!
Best of all, this trifle is easy and quick to make! And if you have a little more time, you can totally make it into individual cup desserts! I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did!
Full disclosure, I just bought this new, cute trifle bowl, and totally miscalculated how much it holds versus the recipe yield. So, the recipe would need to be almost doubled to fit a 4-quart bowl like the one pictured.
However, I will say that with this dessert, a little goes a long way!
In the end, it was still a cute dessert and tasted great, so I’m happy.
Happy Halloween, y’all!
Halloween Vegan Spider Trifle
servings: 8 to 10 cups
- 1 family-sized bag of Halloween (or regular) Oreos
- One 30-ounce canned pumpkin pie mix, divided
- Two 9-ounce containers of dairy free coconut whipped topping, frozen + divided (I used So Delicious CocoWhip brand)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ cup nondairy chocolate chips or mega chunks (I used Enjoy Life brand)
- 4 teaspoons nondairy milk (I used Good Karma brand flax milk)
- Place all of the Oreos into a food processor and pulse into a crumble (see picture above). Feel free to eat 1 or 2 before you do this; I sure did!
- Pour the cookie crumble into a medium bowl and rinse the food processor bowl.
- Add 1 cup of the pumpkin pie mix and 12 ounces of the coconut whipped topping to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times, just to incorporate. Place the remaining whipped topping in the refrigerator.
- To thicken, start by adding ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum, then pulse a couple of times. If you want the filling to be thicker, add the remaining ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum (I used the full teaspoon).
- Begin layering the trifle by adding the cookie crumble to the bottom of a large (2 to 3 quarts), clear glass bowl or dish. Next add a layer of the pumpkin-coconut whipped topping mixture, then spread on a layer of the remaining canned pumpkin pie mix. Alternate these three layers until you run out of these ingredients.
- Use the remaining coconut whipped topping from the fridge to spread on top of the trifle (give it a little stir beforehand to make it easier to spread). Then place the whole trifle in fridge.
- Melt the chocolate chips or chunks and nondairy milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring often to keep from scorching. Remove this mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Finally, transfer the melted chocolate into a squirt bottle. Remove the trifle from the fridge and, working quickly, draw circles on top of the trifle (see picture above). Then, using a toothpick or sharp knife, draw a straight line from the inner-most circle towards the outer-most circle. This begins the web effect; repeat around the entire top of the trifle until your web is complete!
- If you have a cute spider ring (I couldn’t find mine), place it in the middle of the trifle for an amped-up cute factor! Enjoy!