Paws of the apawcalypse? Zombie plague of paws and bones? Whatever way you shape them, these homemade gelatin gummy Halloween dog treats are ghoulishly good looking. Plus they’re made with natural healthy ingredients, including all those spooktacular colours! Here’s the recipe and instructions for assembling your own frightfully fabulous Halloween gummy dog treats!
Getting Creative with Colourful Gummies
Regular readers will know that we love our healthy homemade gummy dog treats in any shape, colour, or doggone delicious flavour. Most of our gummies are single flavour, like our simple stock gelatin gummies or healthy pumpkin gummy dog treats. Occasionally, we get creative with layered gummies, like our pumpkin pie gummy treats. When we’re layering, we usually take care to avoid different mixtures melting together in order to create clear and distinct layers in our gummies. But not today! We’re going to have fun with a messy mixture of colour for a plague-inspired Halloween gummy combo! It’s sort of like a gummy-version of marbling, which we love doing for biscuits and pupsicles.
Colouring homemade dog treats with natural ingredients is a fun way to create great looking treats without adding extra artificial colours. Many dog-friendly natural food colourings have scents and flavours that can add to the delicious variety of the treats, too. These spooky looking treats are made without any spooky ingredients, just all-natural dog-friendly ingredients and a generous dollop of fun! Let’s sniff our way into the dog treat kitchen to see how these colourful Halloween gummies were mixed and made.
Planning our Zombie Paw Halloween Gummy Treats
Picking a Base Liquid for Coloured Gummies
Before picking your colours, plan your base. Clear or light coloured liquids will work best for tinting in multiple colours. For the pictured treats, I used a pale base gelatin mixture of homemade dog-friendly bone broth with water. Simple dog-friendly stock is also a fav. My bone broth has some small solids in it that often settle out when I’m using it for gummies. I think that just adds to the toxic charm here. I even added some chia seeds to my layers in some of my experiments here for extra warty ghoulishness. Totally optional of course, haha!
Yummy Gummy Colouring Options
The colours here were created using beetroot powder (red), spirulina powder (green), and turmeric powder (yellow). Those are some of our favourite tinting ingredients and the combo is great for plague paws. You can use any colours you like with the same method. Sniff around our post on natural food colourings for other ideas. Small quantities of water-soluble ingredients work well for adding flavour and colour to a gelatin base without altering the consistency or set of the gummies. Choices and quantities will depend on your ingredients, desired colour and/or flavour level, and (of course) your individual pets. When you’re using multiple flavours in the same treat, keep the combos delicious.
Some powders have small particles that can settle in gelatin gummy mixtures before they cool. I often use cooling before moulding to help ensure that these stay suspended solids, but in this case, settling can also add to the plague-themed look of the treats. If you’d like a simplified one-pour zombie mixture, you could even use this as your method. See our gold-dust gummy treats for examples and instructions.
Blending and Bleeding Colours
For a subtle transition of colours, as pictured above, we’re taking advantage of working incrementally with small quantities and allowing some bleeding and blending rather than creating distinct layers, especially when we start filling the moulds. I actually made these treats on repeat (so fun), experimenting with the technique and variations before sharing the DIY details here with you. I’ll show some variations in the post photos below with varying amounts of blending and bleeding. The more set the existing layers are and the cooler the next liquid is when added, the more distinct the colour variations will be in the finished gummy. If you’d like more bleed, adjust the timing or the temperature. Don’t go too far though, else they might completely melt and mix together. Not that the dogs will object, it still tastes the same in the end!
Want to make Halloween gummy treats for people instead of pups? These flavours aren’t likely to please your family and friends without fur, but you can use the same techniques with other base recipes and colourings to make people-friendly gummy candies.
How to Make Halloween Zombie Gummy Dog Treats
Making Halloween Gummies with Shaped Moulds
Unlike most of our gummy recipes which can be moulded or sliced, the zombie effect of the treats really shines the best when these treat are made using a shaped mould (affiliate link). I used my trusty go-to paw and bone moulds for the treats pictured here. A deeper mould, like the paws, is handy for creating more layers. The bones are a little thin at the middle so they don’t get much of a backing colour, but still work well for the blobbing and blending process. If you have any Halloween-themed treat moulds in your stash, you could play with them instead.
- 1 cup cool clear stock or other dog-friendly liquid (I used homemade bone broth and water)
- 3 tbsp quality powdered gelatin
- Dog-friendly natural colouring ingredients. I used spirulina powder (green), beetroot powder (red), and turmeric powder (yellow).
- Optional dog-friendly extras for adding warts, lumps, and bumps. I used a few chia seeds in some of my experiments.
Making the Zombie Halloween Gummy Treats
Preparing the Gelatin Base:
- Measure the liquid/water into a small pan.
- Sprinkle the surface with gelatin powder.
- Wait and let sit for approximately five minutes or longer for the gelatin powder to fully bloom / gel.
- Gently stir the mixture over low heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Take care not to shortcut with high temperatures or overheat. Heat can reduce the setting strength of gelatin. As a sneaky shortcut, I pop my cubes of frozen bone broth onto the pan to melt at the same time. As long as the total liquid to gelatin is calculated at the right ratio, this is an excellent shortcut to thawing.
- Remove from heat.
Splitting and Colouring:
- Place a small-quantity of your colouring add-ins to individual small suitable containers for mixing. For these treats, it can be handy to use something microwave (or heat-bath) safe in case you need to warm up your colours back to liquid at any point during layering. Some tinting ingredients, like turmeric, are prone to staining, so pick your tools with care and clean up any spills quickly.
- Mix a small spoonful of the prepared liquefied gelatin with the powder in each of the divided containers to mix with minimal lumps and clumps. Then add additional gelatin liquid if/as needed and stir to thoroughly combine. It’s optional but recommended to keep some of your plain gelatin mixture for layering, too.
- Let the mixtures sit a little while for the colours to develop and for the liquid to thicken. This can be helpful for some powders to create richer colours, but importantly for us here, thicker liquid helps us to create better blobs and blotches.
Building the Face Layers in the Moulds:
The most visible part of the finished treat will be the first face layers you fill at the bottom of the moulds. We’re going to be extra careful when creating these to ensure there’s lots of colour variation. Remember, the more set the existing layer(s) and the cooler the added liquid, the clearer the distinction of colour. Increasing speed or temperature will increase the bleed. Adjust to suit the style you’d like to create.
- Working with one colour at a time, incrementally add small droplets of gelatin mixture to the moulds. Depending on the style you’d like and the colours you’re using, you might choose not to use all the available colours at first. Red and yellow dominate the faces here.
- After your initial base, adding a layer of plain gelatin can help to ensure the initial colours and blending pops. This is also a good place for adding any optional extras, like the chia seeds you can see in some of my gummies.
Continuing to Layer and Fill the Moulds:
- Continue working incrementally to layer and fill the moulds. You can fill the entire mould this way, or add a solid layer of backing colour.
- Got leftovers? Extra gelatin mixtures can be used seperately in another mould, or combined to create your backing mixture.
- Messy business? Yep, me too, as you can see from the droplets on the tops of my moulds. Use a butterknife or similar to gently scrape any blobs into your mould before the final fill. They’ll blend right into the rest of your colourful blobs and layers. Easy as!
- Once the moulds are filled, chill to set the gummies thoroughly before removing from their moulds for serving and storage.
Colour and Clarity Variations
As noted above, the colours you use and how you build up the layers will determine the final look of your treats. But no matter how pretty (or ugly) they’ll still taste the same to your zombie hunting treat tasters! Pictured here are two versions of the same recipe and process above, just with slight variations in blending and blobbing.
The collage above shows examples with the gummies assembled with more bleed (warmer layering). The collage below shows examples with a more distinct blobbing (cooler layering). As a slight variation, above has a solid spirulina backer and below is just a mix of all the leftovers together for the backer. And the taste testing verdict? Both equally delish.
More Gummy Making Tips and Tricks
- See our comprehensive post on making and storing homemade gelatin gummy dog treats for additional information about making gummy treats including helpful gummy making tips, troubleshooting, and safe treat storage. Gummy treats should be kept refrigerated and can be frozen for longer storage, although freezing can affect consistency.
- As noted above, a liquid like clear or light stock works better than a dark stock for tinting. The type of stock (or other base liquid) used can have a significant effect on final colours and clarity. You can read more in our FAQ post on stock for making homemade dog treats.
- Not your dog’s favourite flavours? Looking for different holiday colours? It’s easy to swap the tinting ingredients to create different colour and flavour combos. See our post on natural food colourings for dog treats for alternative tinting ideas.
- In my experience, 3 tbsp of gelatin powder per cup of liquid makes firm gummies. If you prefer, you can use more gelatin for added supplementation or less for a jigglier jelly treat with lower gelatin content. Individual gelatin powders may be a little stronger or weaker. Find a ratio that works for your preferences and, of course, your dog.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can also use the category and tag labels to find other recipes that might be of interest or use our internal search tools to find something specific. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas from treats that we’ve made ourselves for our pets, but different animals have different preferences (likes/dislikes), just like people. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.