Halloween Whoopie Pies*

*Or, Why We No Longer Celebrate Halloween in the RH Household

Diet, Dessert and Dogs Halloween Whoopie Pies

[Don’t be scared. It’s really tasty!]

When the HH and I first lived together, our home in an older, mostly run-down neighborhood wasn’t exactly child-friendly. I vividly recall one sweltering summer’s evening as we lay sprawled in our bed, windows wide open (no A/C in that place), sweat pouring onto the sheets as we inadvertently eavesdropped on a lovers’ quarrel between our neighbour and his girlfriend out on the street below. They had both obviously imbibed a few too many Molsons that night, and the man kept insisting in a slurred voice, “Get in truck. Get back in the truck. C’mon, get in the truck,” over and over, then pause, and start up again: “I said get in the truck. You get in that truck!! Get in the truck.  Get in the f—ing truck!”  After listening to this sloshed symphony until 2:00 in the morning, I had to restrain myself from leaping to the window and screaming at the top of my lungs, “GET IN THE F—ING TRUCK ALREADY!!” I just wanted to get some sleep.

When moved to our current neighborhood, we were elated at the prospect of finally “doing” Halloween.  The streets were teeming with children after school, all congregating over soccer balls, running through the bushes playing tag, cycling with oversized helmets and training wheels with dads by their sides.  We felt it would be a great way to compensate for our own pumpkin-deprived childhoods (as I’ve mentioned before, The HH never celebrated the usual children’s events as a kid; and my dad spurned the whole pumpkin-carving tradition entirely. Did he think it was a bad omen? Or just a waste of perfectly good food? We’ll never know.).

Back then, my years as a Candida Queen were still far ahead of me, so I envisioned Halloween as a chance to dole out every manner of processed, artificial, “chocolatey” and decidedly bad-for-you “candy” to eager recipients. I immediately drove to Walmart and purchased three mega-sized cartons of assorted Halloween treats (you know, the big ones, with 118 miniature Snickers, Twix, M & Ms or Smarties, BBQ chips, or rolls of pale sour candies in each).

On October 31st, The HH carved the most outrageous pumpkin face I’d ever seen, its expression a cross between Cesar Romero’s Joker and Jim Carrey in The Mask. We placed a lit candle inside and, along with our decor of spider-webbing, bat cutouts, and a cardboard image of a cackling witch on a broomstick, we were finally ready to greet all the little ghouls and goblins at our door. We turned out the lights and waited with eager anticipation.

Diet Dessert and Dogs Halloween Whoopie Pies

As soon as the first smiling Princess Ariel rang the doorbell, we knew we’d made a horrendous mistake.  At the first flicker of movement outside the door, The Girls--previously near-comatose in front of the fireplace–sprang to action like latter day Hounds of the Baskervilles, flinging themselves at the front door like hail against a windowpane. Their barks, growls, snarls, yips and other assorted canine sound effects were deafening. With a shriek truly befitting Halloween, the little girl dropped her bags of candy and sprinted down the walkway to her horrified parents.

I was disconsolate.

“Our dogs are in the Red Zone!” I lamented. “They wanted to eat that poor kid!!”

“Now, now, stop exaggerating,” the HH ventured.  “Maybe it was just the surprise of it all. Let’s give it another go.”

But The Girls would have none of it.  Each time the doorbell rang (and eventually, each time a tentative trick-or-treater even approached our front door), they were transmogrified into roaring, menacing being from the worst horror movie you can imagine.

Scary, yes.  Just not the right kind of scary.

Eventually, I was struck with a brilliant idea: “We can put the bowl of treats outside on the porch with a note that says, “HELP YOURSELF.” That way, the kids won’t even have to face the dogs! (I know. Those of you with kids are chuckling now.).

About 47 seconds after setting out the bowl, I noticed a few stray Kit Kat bars on the kitchen counter and went to the porch to add them to the stash.  With the Girls safely tucked into the TV room upstairs, I opened the door and found. . .

EEEEEEEKKKKK!!! GAHHH!!!! HORRORS!!!! The bowl was completely empty!!

That’s right: those little witches and warlocks had nabbed all of the 354 miniature candy bars–in less than a minute!! Of course I should have known that, offered free candy in an unsupervised bowl on an empty porch, kids would simply grab as much as their wee hands could hold.  Which worked out to about 89 candy bars each, by my reckoning.

Diet Dessert and Dogs Whoopie Pies

These days, the HH and I try to go out to dinner on Halloween to avoid the embarrassment entirely. I have no doubt we’re known in the neighborhood as the Mean Old Couple with the Two Vicious Dogs who doesn’t participate in Halloween. (This despite the fact that those same kids play with The Girls throughout the summer, and have fed them treats or asked to walk them on other occasions.) Instead, I attempt to share the spirit of the holiday in other ways–like bringing a big tray of these Halloween Whoopie pies to work with me, or inviting friends to partake.

I’ve noticed a lot of Pumpkin-Shaped Layer Cakes around the internet lately composed of two Bundt cakes laid bottom to bottom, then frosted with orange frosting. I thought it would be a cute idea to replicate the cakes in a miniature form, and got myself a mini-bundt pan for the job.  The cake layers are simply my recycled Chocolate Whoopie Pie recipe (why mess with it, if it works?) topped with this foolproof Sweet Orange Frosting.  If frosting a ball-like cake seems too fussy to you, making a regular whoopie pie with the filling works pretty well, too.

Diet Dessert and Dogs Halloween Whoopie Pies

Happy Halloween to all! And if you drop by our house on the 31st and the place looks abandoned, don’t take it personally. We’re just protecting you from the vicious guard dogs within.

“Mum, you’re really making us sound much worse than we are.  Does this face look like it would eat little children? Okay, don’t answer that. And we would have happily shared all those treats. . . we’re not allowed to eat chocolate, anyway. How about some of that orange frosting instead?”

Elsie from Diet Dessert and Dogs

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Last Year at this Time: Unconventional Vegan Cassoulet (gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Two Years Ago: Chocolate Pumpkin Pôts de Crème (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Three Years Ago: Baked Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Pudding (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond)

Four Years AgoThe Parable of the Steak (gluten free; ACD maintenance)

© Ricki Heller

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. Adorable and impressive! Call me crazy, but I’ll take The Girls at my house over trick-or-treaters any day!

  2. Dave and I already have dinner reservations for 10/31 🙂 While I’m not into handing candy out to little people I don’t know, I would certainly be into this whoopie pie! YUM.

  3. Ha! What a cute story of your Halloween tribulations! Sadly, I am currently dogless, so seeing the trick-or-treaters is a highlight of this time of year for me. We just bought our bag of fair-trade vegan chocolate mini-candy bars. : )

    This pumpkin dessert looks so cute, and I just adore your ingredients list. Never a ‘scary’ thing on there! And I won a bottle of NuNaturals orange stevia, and this will be the prefect place to try it! : )

  4. We had the same horrific Halloween experience with our small but vociferous dog, Starr. He had all the neighborhood kids scared of him anyway but when he attacked the door on Halloween it was just too much. We had to lock him in an upstairs bedroom until the kids stopped coming.

    • We thought about locking them away, but it was just too heartbreaking given how free they are the rest of the time. It seemed the better solution to forgo the kids at the door!

  5. haha! love the story (and the pies, naturally.) We live on a busy main street so we never get trick-or-treaters (we often go to a friend’s house for a cozy dinner together and take turns answering their doorbell so we can have some of the fun too!) However, we were just talking about how it’s a darn good thing because Miss Eve would be going totally crazy all night long with the doorbell ringing if we did have visitors. Our little girl has one big bark and she loves to show it off when people come!

    • I guess dog owners have to find a happy balance one way or the other! Elsie also has a very deep bark and sounds incredibly scary when she’s agitated. I think it would be more fun to take one’s child out trick-or-treating than it would to be at the door doling out with a dog in the background! 😉

  6. I am glad we don’t have trick or treating here – it sounds stressful. But I think that maybe you could get around it with a spooky sign about a fierce beast of hell lurking within the house – gets in the spirit of the night without having to dole out lollies (or candy)

  7. Back when we lived in Texas, we knew all the kids who’d be coming to our house, so I took a new tack–I gave out colorfully-wrapped Nutrigrain bars instead of candy. This was before I knew any better about nutrition.

    Now, I speak to my dentist every year about the possibility of handing out miniature toothbrushes, trial-size tubes of toothpaste, and little floss containers in some sort of pouches–what the kids SHOULD have instead of candy!! He says that so far, he hasn’t gotten a lead on anything like that, and if he did, HE’D be the one to hand them out.

    Other than that, we really didn’t have to worry about trick-or-treaters here in Virginia until 2008, because the schools used to hold Fall Festivals every October, and this activity sufficed for trick-or-treat. Plus, a lot of the families around here just didn’t send their kids out due to religious reasons. Now that the schools have dropped the Fall Festival due to budget constraints, more little “candy zombies” roam the streets. But we remember the code from our days of roaming: IF THE PORCH LIGHT IS OUT, DON’T GO TO THE DOOR–so we keep our lights out in the front of the house.

    Scrooge arrives here in October and stays until January–no candy for ANYONE!

    • That used to be the code in my neighborhood, too–except nobody seems to know it here! We turn out the lights, no decorations on the house–and they still ring the bell. Maybe the pull of candy is just too strong?? 😉

  8. So many things in life just don’t go as expected. It can definitely be disappointing. I think you absolutely made the right decision though. No fun to get the girls so disturbed. These delightful Halloween whoopie pies will certainly keep the Halloween spirit alive! 🙂


    • Great point, Shirley–I need to look at is as “keeping the Girls healthy and happy” rather than “disappointing the neighborhood kids.” I know that Elsie is much less stressed this way, since she perceives herself as the main guardian of the house!

  9. OMG lady – you really outdid yourself with these gems! So adorable!!!

  10. Ricki, how funny. My otherwise sweet little 13-lb chihuahua mutts fancy themselves guards of our door and enjoy barking at anyone who nears. There aren’t many trick-or-treaters around, so we don’t bother handing out candy (and turn out our porch lights – and I’m sure the neighbors think we’re old and mean too), but there are still kids that ring the doorbell, and the dogs bark all night long. Sigh.
    On another note, these cakes/whoopie pies look awesome! I would love to indulge. 🙂

    • I had to laugh at the image of the chihuahuas as guard dogs!! And so glad to hear mine aren’t the only ones who act like that. 🙂 These whoopie pies are actually filled with really good ingredients–so why don’t you indulge?? 😀

  11. I am totally cracking up at why you are the mean old couple who boards up on Halloween. LOL That is just too funny! Our dogs used to go crazy too. But now, since our sweet girl passed away and our boy now nearing 13 and pretty much deaf, it is fairly calm here as the doorbell rings.
    And…these whoopie pies looks simply amazing. How fun!

    • I guess calm is good, but sorry to hear about your girl! I complain about the barking, but would miss it, too. 🙁
      Glad you like the look of the pies, though. 🙂

  12. These are so adorable and the recipe is just brilliant, I can’t wait to make that icing.

    I love Halloween, and I like taking our kids trick-or-treating, but I actually find handing out candy kind of a pain. We’ve found the best way to do it is to sit on the porch, otherwise your doorbell is just constantly ringing. Perhaps you could try that, if it’s not too cold, and leave the dogs inside?

    • Erica, that is a BRILLIANT idea! Though it’s sometimes fairly mild at Halloween, this year feels a bit cold–so I’ll get the HH to sit outside!! Ha ha ha! I loved the icing, too. Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

  13. Funny story, and deliciously cute little pies. You made me think about our Halloween, we actually have a house finally that might get trick-or treaters (I used to always get vegan candy before but never had any takers, and we’d eat the leftovers), but we do now have a barker. I think I may put the barker dog in the bedroom and get some vegan candies and try not to be too tempted by them. I saw some xylitol Halloween-packaged candies but I don’t know how well they will go over with the locals. I love Halloween and I don’t want to miss out.

    • Sounds like a good idea–I used to LOVE Halloween, too, and even continued to dress up (at appropriate adult parties, of course) until my 40s. I don’t know about xylitol and kids, though. Can they have it?

  14. You’re a genius Ricki! I think I’ve said that before. I love it when you create frosting I can actually PIPE! You’ve got great piping skills. Sounds like a pick up line! Haha.
    Yes, you must be known as the grumpy couple who doesn’t do Halloween. Mind you, I feel like I understand the darkened houses better now 🙂

    • I feel the same way, Maggie. If it’s not pipe-able, it’s not “real” frosting in my mind! And I’m going to try that pickup line next time I’m in a bar! (a whole-foods, raw, organic, vegan bar, that is!! Ha ha!). And glad to provide insight into those poor people hiding in their dark houses in your neighborhood. ;0

  15. These are so cute! Orange flavoured icing is perfect!

  16. These are absolutely adorable! Now I have an excuse to buy a mini bundt pan!

    • Thanks, Anne! But I should note that they work perfectly WITHOUT a bundt pan, too–that’s the way I first made them in the original recipe. 🙂

  17. Not possible. Those sweet faces? Our black kitties always stayed hidden under beds on Halloween night. We thought they should come out and scare the kids. Black cats on Halloween would have been purrfect, but they were truly the scaredy cats!

    • Aw, poor cats! Sounds like the Girls on Canada Day (ie, our “4th of July” holiday)–they hate, hate the fireworks. I know, sweet faces. . . but not always so sweet when they’re scared!

  18. These are ADORABLE, Ricki! So super cute.

  19. Oh my heavens!! Your story is *hilarious*, Ricki, particularly coming from Australia where Halloween is barely acknowledged. Those kids must’ve thought all their Christmases had come at once.

  20. What a funny story – we leave a note that says “take two pieces please” – who knows if the kids listen or not. One year, we were completely wiped out too! Love the sweet potato in your whoopie pie filling. I haven’t used lucuma powder before – what does it do?

    • Great idea, Jeanette! The lucuma is a dried fruit from South America, used partly to enhance sweetness (it’s low glycemic) and partly for its lovely butterscotchy flavor. 🙂

  21. Can I substitute Lucuma powder or omit it?
    I can’t find it locally and won’t have time for shipping in time for the weekend.

    • Hi Pem,
      Yes, you can just leave it out and it should be fine. It adds a slight sweetnessand butterscoth flavor, but not 100% necessary for the recipe to work.

  22. these look fantastic 🙂 i’ve never lived anywhere where we got trick or treaters, so i’m apt to stay out that night as well!


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