a couple of scarecrows in a pumpkin patch

Since I have had the privilege of purchasing a home and living in a neighborhood I have chosen to give homemade Halloween treats to my neighbors. This happened for a number of reasons even before Zero Waste was a part of my vernacular. I was doing it to save money and use up what was in my pantry. My treat of choice has changed over the years and this past year I have been experimenting with gummies and gelatin.

I found a recipe that I liked, but in the process of making the original recipe I was creating waste by using plastic wrap and spraying the glass container with non-stick spray so that the gelatin would release after solidifying. Making these is something I enjoy, and it was an easy process to do zero waste.

Making gummies takes 10 minutes (not including chilling time) and is a fun way to be festive and zero waste.

…Stay tuned for a vegan gummy recipe.


Ingredient Ratios:

  • 1 Tablespoon Powdered Gelatin
  • 2 Tablespoons Liquid to bloom gelatin (I use same liquid I am going to flavor with)
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Liquid (I chose Faygo for this project)
  • Optional tonic water to taste (for glow in the dark gummies)

Kitchen Tools:

  • Pot
  • Stirring implement (I like to use a fork)
  • Metal spoon
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Small Bowl
  • Silicon Molds

Halloween Distribution Needs:

  • Sealable container
  • Sharpie or other permanent writing implement
  • Ingredient listing mechanism

Step 1: Gathering your ingredients

Locavore was another term that I was introduced to after starting my Zero Waste journey. I grow a lot of my food but for what I cannot produce (like sugar, gelatin and pop) I try to purchase as locally sourced as possible.

  • If you’re in Michigan, Faygo is available in most grocery stores, though some flavors may vary based on the time of year. I chose Faygo because it is a nostalgic drink for me. Rock’n’ Rye is my personal favorite. I purchased the canned version. Michigan has an established container return policy so cans can be returned to most bottle return venues for recycling. Faygo makes a bunch of fun flavors that are great to pair with the molds so that the color matches that character. If you’re not in Michigan, choose your favorite soda for this recipe if Faygo isn’t available — just make sure to get it in cans or glass.
  • To purchase the dry ingredients that I need to make gummies, I shop at a local bulk food store where I can bring my own containers and purchase ingredients by weight based on how much I need. Shoutout By the Pound and the amazing and helpful staff there. (Find your local bulk stores here).

Step 2: Making your gummies

I like to double my recipe, but you can scale up even further as long as you keep the 1:1 sugar to liquid ratio and 2:1 blooming liquid to gelatin ratio. I have found that if I make more than a cup of gummy liquid, I am a lot messier when  pouring it into the molds, so I like to make smaller batches.

  • I scoop my powdered gelatin directly into the pot that I will be using to boil my liquid.
  • Then I put the two tablespoons of blooming liquid directly over the dry gelatin and mix with a fork until the powder is fully mixed with the liquid. Let this sit and bloom for a couple minutes while preparing the rest of your ingredients
  • Scoop the sugar into the small bowl and put to the side
  • Measure your flavoring liquid and pour directly over the bloomed gelatin in the pot.
  • Turn on your stove, I have a gas stove and heat my mixture on the lowest setting
  • Stir the liquid and gelatin until there are no more clumps and the gelatin has dissolved
  • Once the gelatin has dissolved add the sugar and stir constantly to keep the sugar from burning and adhering to the pot (for about 5 minutes) until the liquid starts boiling
  • The heated liquid typically gets a thick foam on top, a sign that your heat can be shut off is when the foam at the sides of the pot starts to bubble and the darker liquid underneath the foam comes through as you are stirring.
  • Once the pot has been taken off the heat, you want to scoop the foam off of the top of the liquid in the pot and put it into the bowl that held your dry ingredients. This allows the foam to reduce a bit, like the head on a beer, so that you squeeze out a little more liquid.
  • Pour the foamless liquid into your molds 
  • I spoon the remaining liquid at the bottom of my bowl with foam into the molds
  • You can include the foam to a smaller extent, it adds a cool white color that accentuates some of the molds (like my moons and crystal balls), but it isn’t super appetizing by itself
  • Let the gummies chill in their molds in the fridge for at least an hour (if serving immediately). I like to let it set for at least 4 hours before separating it from its mold.
  • Make sure that you soak all of your cooking tools immediately so that the sugar doesn’t harden and make doing dishes a pain.


If you are going to use tonic water in your recipe to make your gummies glow in the dark, make sure the flavor combinations work. Tonic water is very tart and potent and may not get diluted enough by the sugar if you use too much.

You can also lower your sugar amount in the recipe, especially if you are using a liquid that already contains a lot of sugar. I have not experimented too much with a lower sugar ratio or alternative sugar.

Tip: I like to make a lot of gummies so as I reuse molds I sit them atop the container storing my already made gummies of the same shape to economize my fridge space and keep a flat surface for the gelatin to solidify evenly.

Blooming GelatinDry Ingredients to the side
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Step 3: Halloween Treat Distribution

For trick ‘r treaters my house is a little awkwardly situated at the back of my property, so I prefer to leave the treats on my driveway for convenience and safety as my asphalt is not the flattest. When making homemade treats you want to ensure that all ingredients are listed for allergen concerns and dietary needs of revelers. 

  • I like to put my treats in sealable and see-through plastic containers when possible. It allows kiddos and grown ups to see what is inside and is waterproof.

My local Creative Reuse Center, SCRAP A2 has an entire container section that I go through every time I am there. Shoutout to this amazing circular economy non-profit team!

  • I make sure that I either write directly on the container with permanent marker what the ingredients include, or put a printer label of some kind (whatever SCRAP has in stock) and tape that to the container, with the list of ingredients, and my address so that they can return the container for me to reuse if they would like).
  • I also like to put out a large display label of what my treats are, by chalking the driveway or putting up a few large weatherproof  signs next to the treats. 
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Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

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