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Why my mom’s Halloween dirt pudding is a classic in my family

Janine Huldie

Halloween in the late 1970s and early 1980s found many young kids my age wearing plastic costumes with hard plastic, matching masks held on by stretchy, rubber bands stapled to the masks on each side.

If you grew up during this time period, I am pretty sure you know exactly what I mean.

For me, this wasn’t the case. My mom handmade my costumes, as she was an expert sewing pro with her sewing machine and patterns.

One year, I was a witch, and she actually repurposed fabric from one of her own party dresses. Another year, she created a costume that turned me into Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. She crafted a cheerleader costume one year, too.

Halloween 1980
Image: SheKnows

Each year, I wished I could just have a store bought plastic costume, but my mom was intent on making each year all the more special for me by putting the extra touches on these one-of-a-kind costumes. Now, I would take those unique creations over a store-bought costume any day.

Though the costumes were indeed unique and specially made for me, one thing always remained the same.

Each and every Halloween, my mom made dirt pudding for my kid brother and me. It was a staple in our home, as was trick-or-treating, which we would do around the neighborhood for hours. My mom had the patience of a saint, as she took us all over the neighborhood and made sure our treat bags were filled to the brim.

Even better, my mom made sure our refrigerator contained her signature Halloween dessert, with dirt pudding awaiting our arrival home.

As a mom, I try my best to channel my own mom’s spirit for this spooky and fun holiday.

Although I can’t sew for the life of me, I still can — and do — make dirt pudding for dessert for my own kids to eat upon our own return from trick-or-treating.

Halloween now
Image: SheKnows

That tradition has survived, and even after all these years, dirt pudding will always make me think of past Halloweens. As much as I wish I could freeze time, I know I can’t. I hope someday my own girls will pass this tradition on to their children.

So, from my mom’s past Halloween kitchen to my present and now to yours, here is our traditional recipe.

Halloween dirt pudding recipe

Serves 8

Total time: 10 minutes


  • 18 ounces Oreo cookies (crushed)
  • 5.18 ounces instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • 5 to 8 ounces gummy worms


  1. Make the pudding, fold in the Cool Whip.
  2. Mash the cookies.
  3. Place 1/2 the cookie crumbs on the bottom of a glass bowl; spoon in the pudding mixture; place the worms, half in and half out; and top with remaining crumbs.
  4. Chill and enjoy!

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