Halloween is a tricky holiday. I never really liked it as a kid, which seems odd now, but I have a distinct memory of wearing one of those t-shirts that said “This is My Halloween Costume” at age 8. Such a killjoy, I was; I’ve come a long way. Then, I married a Halloween-lover. Our first Halloween as a couple (which was two weeks after we met), I went into a tailspin trying to come up with an impressively funny/sexy/adorable costume, and failed so miserably that I still laugh about it.
I tried to be “sushi” by tying two sewn black pillow cases around myself, wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, and using tiny orange and red balloons as the fish roe. I put chopsticks in my hair. My balloons all deflated, and my nori belt made me look closer to a sumo wrestler than a cute roll of sushi. No one knew what I was, and most people actually scratched their heads while looking at me. When I met up with my now-husband at the party, he was standing in the street, leaning against a car, dressed head to toe in black, with black hat and eye mask, holding a real sword and doing an insanely good representation of Zorro. As you can see, I married up.
All this is to say that I’ve always kind of avoided Halloween until I met my husband, and as marriages go, it sort of helps to try to be into the things your spouse is into, so I’m trying really hard these days. Since having kids, we’ve hosted Halloween at our place, and I always make chili (I’m sure this is universal due to the fact that it stays hot and feeds a crowd cheaply throughout the night). We’ve come up with some amazing family costumes for the past few years, and last year, I came up with this dip to serve to the crowd.
This recipe is inspired by my dear friend Ashley. She is a woman of several stellar recipes. She makes an egg bake that she serves at almost every party she throws, and it makes you forget your name. She says its mostly cheese, but it truly has 4 ingredients and I could eat it at every brunch party from here until the end of time. She also makes a seven layer dip. Last Fourth of July, she made it in a huge sheet pan to look like a flag, and that inspired me to find one that I could do for Halloween.
This is the kind of crowd-pleaser that can be thrown together in advance, feeds a crowd, and has that Pinterest-worthy theme-y-ness to it that Halloween is known for. I love making this in a huge, flat, sheet pan, with a lid. People, if you don’t own sheet pans with lids, let me show you the light. They make prepping for parties and even taking dinner to someone’s house so much easier. I like this method better than making it in a 9×13, because it gives you plenty of surface area for your scene, and for cheese.
Halloween-Themed Seven Layer Dip
2 16 oz cans of refried beans
32 oz sour cream, with 6 oz reserved
2 packages of taco seasoning
3 8 oz packages of pre-made guacamole – I love Wholly Guacamole because it’s smooth and easy to spread
2 cups of finely shredded mexican or cheddar cheese
1 4 oz can of whole pitted black olives
1 4 oz can of sliced black olives
2 bags of scoops tortilla chips
tomatoes (I used grape, but any are fine, chopped or sliced in half)
green onions (optional)
a ziplock bag for piping
First, take out 6 oz of the sour cream and put it into a ziplock bag. Then, mix the remaining sour cream with the two packets of taco seasoning.
Spread the refried beans into the bottom of a quarter sheet pan. Spread them evenly. Top with the carefully spread sour cream mixture. I find it helps to put dollops all over the top and then spread with an off set spatula. The third layer, the guacamole, is the hardest to spread, so you will want to use the dollop method and spread very carefully. If you mix the layers, you can always “cover” with the shredded cheese to hid your mistakes. This layer takes the longest. When you’re done, cover the edges with cheddar cheese, leaving the center uncovered. Snip off the corner of your ziplock, and pipe the sour cream into a web-shape (as pictured). Using a paring knife, cut three of the whole olives in half for bodies, and then six more into 4 strips each for legs. Sprinkle the sliced olives and tomatoes around the edge, and green onions if you want (or depending on if kids are eating).