Food

7 Easy Halloween Cupcakes

6 Easy Halloween Cupcakes

Before Halloween, I always have such grand plans to pipe mashed potatoes into little ghosts on my daughters’ dinner plates and be the person who creates an “experience” for trick-or-treaters — until the October 31st actually arrives and I haven’t advanced my ambitions in any way whatsoever. So, this year, we enlisted culinary artist Clare Crespo to help. Clare loves Halloween so much she got married on the holiday. Here, she gives us seven easy cupcake decorating ideas…

6 Easy Halloween Cupcakes

Owl Cupcakes
A classic for the kid who favors cute over creepy. Start with a chocolate cupcake iced with chocolate frosting. Separate two Oreos and stick two icing sides on a chocolate cupcake facing up. Insert an orange M&M or jelly bean in between as a nose; and, using a little icing as glue, affix chocolate M&M eyeballs onto Oreos.

Buried Alive Cupcakes
Start with a chocolate cupcake iced with chocolate frosting. Sprinkle some chocolate cookie crumbs on cupcake. (Clare uses Famous Chocolate Wafers for this.) Insert a small plastic doll arm in the center of the cupcake. (If you don’t have extra limbs lying around and still want to take this on, you can find them in most craft stores.) From Clare: “I’ve been criticized for this recipe being ‘too scary’ which I take as the highest Halloween compliment!”

6 Easy Halloween Cupcakes

Eyeball Cupcakes
Start with a white cupcake with white frosting. Insert a small black jelly bean into a circular gummy candy (Gummy Lifesavers are perfect here.) “I’d use a believable iris color like blue, green or brown, but I am not the boss of you,” says Clare. Place in the center of cupcake. Using red writing icing (gel or opaque, squiggle some bloodshot veins from the iris. Display in pairs.

6 Easy Halloween Cupcakes

Infestation Cupcakes
Choose any flavored cupcake with any colored frosting. Clare suggests white, dark chocolate or dark red frosting “for drama.” Cover with candy bees, ants or gummy insects. Decorate each cupcake with too many of whatever you choose.

6 Easy Halloween Cupcakes

Werewolf Fanged Cupcakes
Start with chocolate cupcakes frosted with chocolate frosting and cover with chocolate sprinkles. Cut matching lengths of red gummy worms to be lips. Place two lips slightly parted on cupcakes. Cut large ends of candy corn off to make two small fangs and insert these between lips. Add candy eyes (available at Michaels) and squeeze a drop of red gel icing below lower lip if you are into details.

6 Easy Halloween Cupcakes

Spiders
Start with chocolate cupcakes frosted with dark chocolate frosting. Insert eight pieces of black licorice into sides of cupcake for legs. Place two red hots or candy eyes in front of cupcake.

6 Easy Halloween Cupcakes

Cupcakes with Snakes
Make chocolate cupcake frosted with green frosting. Place a small snake (or gummy worm) on cupcake. If you’re feeling ambitious, present them nestled in a platter of dirt, aka crushed chocolate wafers. Says Clare: “Even typing this terrifies me!”

Check out Clare’s kooky cooking show for kids. Thank you, Clare

P.S. Spooky Halloween dinners and a funny costume for babies.

(Photos by Alexandra Stafford for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Excited to make these with my 8 year old for the class Halloween treat —- all the other students are bringing healthy options & the pressure is on for the one sugary treat to be extra cute —- we can’t wait to make the owls (organic!) thank you Jenny!

  2. Adrienne says...

    Made the owl cupcakes with a candy corn beak. Didn’t need frosting to place the M&M eyes—my kitchen was warm so easily pushed them gently into the frosting. And I used all M&M colors for different eye colors. They were super cute. They just can’t be made in advance if you want the Oreos to stay crunchy—and you need to push the Oreos into just applied frosting.

  3. Thank you, Jenny, for publish this awesome post. This Halloween Your article is really helpful for me and I still believe this article helpful for others also. I am going to try with Owl Cupcakes. Thanks

  4. marah busey says...

    Love this! My 9-year-old had an app on my ipad 7 years that showed us how to make that eyeball, owl and spider cupcake. Brings back memories!! We will have to make them again this year.

  5. Jen says...

    Hi! Absolutely love these all — so festive and fun! Any chance you’d provide some more info on where you got the doll arms? We absolutely love these but have searched far and wide and are struggling!

    Thanks so much!

  6. Bonnie says...

    I love that Clare Crespo’s Instagram job description is “Fantasist.” I want that to be my job title !

  7. thomas hamon says...

    love every single one of these!!! can’t wait to try one!

  8. Juliet says...

    THESE ARE YHE BEST!! I can’t wait to make these. Only problem is, which ones??? And I think it’s fair to say that 364 days of the year we are all teaching our kids about healthy eating. Halloween cupcakes are just that, once a year and so fun!!! Regardless of how you chose to celebrate the holiday with your children …these are SOOO inspiring. Go ahead and make those crazy eyeball cupcakes with whipped coconut cream , drizzled beet juice and a blueberry in the center, creepy! If you wanna stick to the health stuff on Halloween too, go for it!! Let’s just all hi-5 Clare for this awesome inspiration!!!!!!

    • Amy says...

      I wish I was teaching my kids how to eat healthy 364 days out of the year…but then there’s Halloween season, Christmas season, Valentine’s Day, Easter, birthday parties and their goodie bags, candy prizes at seemingly every event…

      To be honest I’m considering making the owls to donate to our elementary school’s Halloween dance (they sell baked goods and candy at the dance; it’s a PAC fundraiser).

      But simultaneously I’m irritated at all.the.candy all.year.long. Maybe I should just sharpie some jack o’ lantern faces on clementines :P Not sure they’d sell well haha

  9. Jessa says...

    Amazing. 🎃👻

  10. shannon says...

    These ideas are so festive and easy/inexpensive to execute! Not a piping bag or piece of fondant in sight! I’m a bit miffed at the negative comments…surely this is a good chance to use the “good for them, not for me” mentality and move on.

    On another note, any suggestions for transporting iced cupcakes? The plastic cupcake caddies look so bulky to store but I don’t have any other ideas.

    • Juliet says...

      My mom sent us to school every year on our birthdays with an open faced shirt box from a department store (the flimsy cardboard rectangle with the identical top) holding 24 cupcakes. She put the bottom inside the top to give it strength and was always so proud that 24 cupcakes fit perfectly and snuggly inside. :)

  11. These are so cute. I’m in college and I lowkey want to make these for halloween, I really think my roommates would love them. Plus if we have people over for halloween it would be even better. Definitely going on my to-do list.

    • Anna says...

      Do it! My roommate in college threw the best Halloween party I’ve been to and I will remember her fondly forever!

  12. Karin says...

    Thank you!!!!

  13. I hate to be a negative Nellie and in general I love the blog/have been a devoted reader for years. However, I feel like this post misses the mark. Commercially processed foods and corn syrup/excess sugar consumption are SO detrimental to our children’s health and overall wellbeing—I get that it’s Halloween but perhaps a post on a recipe including seasonal produce/a healthy alternative to all the junk would have been better received (at least by me!) On a personal level, I struggled with obesity as a child and currently work with Foster Youth—many of whom do not have access to good quality foods and are negatively affected by this on so many levels. I am dedicated to spreading the message of a whole food + plant based diet as a way to heal from the inside out.

    • Kate says...

      We absolutely should have more healthy food in our lives…but as someone who grew up poor and has a mouth full of dental work to prove it, I was delighted to see these fun cupcake ideas! Plus, they appear to be relatively inexpensive to create, giving us a fun way to add a little humor to the holiday. If only the princess costume industrial complex were so easy!

    • Kathryn says...

      Working with foster youth is such an important job. Helping these kids build tools to navigate life more successfully is an amazing gift you are giving them, especially when learning about food options that may not be part of their everyday life. One thing I really appreciate about Cup of Jo is that the team is willing to invest in important topics long term and have ongoing conversations about them, without feeling heavy handed or preachy. Food policy, access to fresh foods , food security, etc is such an in-depth topic that perhaps the natural evolution of this concern are some primary posts on this subject (or a whole separate series on foster youth and the challenges they face). Food waste is already a topic that is discussed here, and these concerns can build on that topic.

      As a parent I do appreciate these posts, not because I fill my kids with junk food all the time, but because treats are a part of our culture, and making fun treats is an opportunity to have conversations (rather than lecturing them and not giving them any candy) with them about different types of food and how they make our bodies feel. These conversations about the way foods fuel us can also become analogies for things like media (this show is like a junk food show).

      Also, if you haven’t check out Community Foods Market in Oakland, they worked for over 10 years to bring fresh foods to a food desert, and on their website you can click through a link called “Better Choices” to find a myriad of Halloween options.

  14. Hannah says...

    Omg the werewolf one strangely reminds me of my pug? Haha! I’ll be making some “pumpkin patch” cupcakes this year: chocolate cupcakes and frosting, sprinkled with crushed oreos, topped with candy corn pumpkins, and piped green white chocolate vines. :-)

  15. Kathryn says...

    I was just trying to figure out what to bring to a cake walk this weekend. I can probably get kid buy-in and it easy enough for kids to decorate while still looking edible, problem solved! Cup of Jo really is your best friend who always has the perfect advice!

  16. Kim says...

    Love these.

  17. Wow…these are great! Love them all!

  18. Ashley says...

    Target and Walmart have the eye candies too. My son regularly requests them on his English muffin. Year round. 🤷🏼‍♀️

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      That is awesome.

  19. rita says...

    these are really cute and fun, i can totally imagine making them with kids. but we probably don’t need the plastic arms! single-use plastic is no fun 🚫

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, we were thinking you could use old dolls/broken toys, if you have them; and otherwise, go for the other ones. my favorite is the owl!

    • Emma says...

      Why would you throw them out after one use and not wash and reuse them each Halloween? 😊

    • Poppy says...

      i bet they’d be super easy to make with marshmallow fondant though. haha now i want to make marshmallow fondant

  20. Ro says...

    These are so cute! The arm bursting out of dirt frosting is brilliant.

  21. Lisa says...

    These are adorable!

  22. Lauren E. says...

    I’m 34 and I don’t have kids but I am 100% making these.

    • Bryn says...

      Ditto- no kids, so I’ll make them for the office!

    • Kath says...

      I fully support and encourage this.

    • Elizabeth says...

      same here, my friends and coworkers will love them! and i’ll have a ton of fun making them. :)