How to make creepy, crawly, boozy Jello worms for your Halloween party

Mackensy Lunsford
Southern Kitchen
These wiggly worms are made from Jello and can be made with booze or not.

About the recipe

These creepy worms are perfect for Halloween, and they can be made boozy by simply adding vodka in place of the cold water in the recipe.

If you choose to use vodka, note that a half cup contains 4 ounces, and a standard shot is about 1½ or 2 ounces. Make sure to keep spiked worms away from children.

We won't lie to you; these are hard to make and require a lot of patience. While waiting for the Jello to set is simple, squeezing these worms out of each straw takes effort. But the end result is fun, creepy and fairly tasty. But mostly creepy.

Though the best color combination for realistic worms appears to be red and green, you can use any color you want. If lime Jello gives you the heebie-jeebies, note that green apple and green watermelon flavors are also available via Amazon, if unavailable at a local store.

Also, this recipe makes a little bit more than a cup of worms, but can easily be scaled up. To make firmer worms, you can add additional unflavored gelatin. 


1 3-ounce package of red gelatin, such as Jello

1 3-ounce package of green gelatin, such as Jello

1 cup water (for boiling)

1/2 cup cold water OR vodka

1/3 cup whipped topping, such as Cool Whip

Special equipment

50 plastic straws

Tall glass or 1-quart juice or milk carton. The straw will fill with the Jello mixture to the height of the container

Easy-pour large measuring cup

Rubber band


Bring one cup of water to a boil.

Put all gelatin powder in a medium-sized mixing bowl and then whisk in the boiling water. Once the gelatin is fully dissolved, add the vodka OR the cold water. When the mixture is lukewarm, stir in the whipped topping, using either a whisk or fork to break up any clumps to yield a smooth consistency. Put the mixture in your large measuring cup.

Stand the straws upright in the glass or carton and loosely bind them with a rubber band. Carefully pour the Jello mixture into the straws. Some mixture will leak out into the container.

Chill the mixture in your refrigerator until set, ideally overnight. Once set, remove straws from the container. Rinse them gently with warm water.

Squeeze your worms out of each straw into a bowl using your fingers. You can also carefully press the worms out of the straws with a rolling pin. 


Mackensy Lunsford covers food policy, restaurants, agriculture and other food-related topics for the USA TODAY Network's South Region. She's the editor of Southern Kitchen and correspondent for The American South. Sign up for my newsletter here.

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