How to Have a “Spooky” Halloween Dinner (with some “Spooky” Cupcakes for Dessert)

Every single year, the same thing happens to me before every major holiday.

They totally sneak up on me.

Seriously.

I mean, I always say to myself, “next year, I’ll be more prepared and I’ll do a blog post with everything there is to do to have an amazing holiday”.

And then every year, I don’t do it.

I get wrapped up in the hoopla just like everyone else…and then, instead of planning my posts to help all of YOU, I spend hours in the kitchen baking up treats to give away.

Case in point…this year, I’m doing a halloween blog post 3 days before halloween.  But, unlike blog posts I’ve done in previous years about halloween treats (like this one and this one), this year I thought I’d focus on making halloween easier by offering up some suggestions that will use shortcuts…some that I’ve been using for years!

You already have to decorate your house, buy that candy, think about costumes and all that other stuff…the last thing any busy parent needs is to add “make halloween cupcakes with lovingly gathered unicorn dust, sprinkled by virgin mermaids” to their list.

Do y’all feel me?

Make life easy…

Wow your family with an easy appetizer like this…a small brie wrapped with pie pastry strips (or you can even use pillsbury crescent roll dough)…brush with a beaten egg and bake.  Use two olives for eyes and, voila, instant appetizer happiness!

Don’t have time to make dinner?  Buy a roasted chicken (especially if you have little ones going out trick or treating), and pick up some sides with it.  Make serving fun by hollowing out some sugar/pie pumpkins (they’re teeny so it’s easier than carving a big one) and they’re cheap!  Fill it with your sides and you’ll fancy up any dinner table in no time!!

Don’t want to make dessert?  Buy some pumpkin donuts or muffins and adorn them with dollar store spiders and other halloween accessories…it’s the thought that counts, right?

But, if you want to make some special homemade treats this halloween, you don’t need a week to plan for them.  In this post, I’m telling you to make cupcakes with a cake mix (oh yes I am!), but I’m also telling you to add a few secret ingredients (see the recipe for instructions) in order to increase the nutritional value – and now you don’t have to feel bad about filing their tummies with sugar!

But nobody wants a plain old cupcake on halloween, right?

Well, this post will show you how to easily decorate the tops of these cupcakes with sprinkles and candies, but you can also take it one step further by topping them with fun “food crafts”.

This topper uses plain sugar cones and any round cookie.  Begin by coating the outside of the cone with some of the frosting, roll it in chocolate sprinkles, fill the cone with candies, attach the cookies to the cone using some melted chocolate and you have a cute witch hat that would look adorable on top of a cupcake!


See?!?!?!

What about using round donuts or store bought truffles or homemade cake pops to make cute little creatures like this??  Coat the balls in chocolate icing, roll in chocolate sprinkles, add candy eyes and adorn them with either piped chocolate legs or black liquorice string legs!

The easiest way to make a mini donut hole “festive” is to dip it into melted orange chocolate melts, add a squiggle of green piping gel and poke a stick into it!

Or you can dip them in the orange melts, stick a broken pretzel rod into the top and place 2 green mini M$M’s on the sides…place that on top of your cupcake with some chocolate “rocks” and you’ll hear cheers for sure!!

And for a bit of goulish fun, roll the donut holes/truffles/cake pops into blue melts, sprinkle them with blue sanding sugar, add candy eyes and a tuft of candy floss hair for good measure!


Sure, some of these ideas take longer than others, but at least you have a few new ideas to wow your guests and some great treats that might just get your kids to help with the halloween dinner dishes!!

Halloween Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Along with a few short cuts to make halloween night a breeze (especially when it falls on a weeknight), you can make these "short cut" cupcakes - with a simple trick to get in more veggies!!!

Course Dessert
Servings 24

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 container chocolate frosting (feel free to use homemade)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place cupcake liners in the bottom of 2 muffin tins.

  2. In a mixing bowl, place all ingredients (except for chocolate frosting) and mix for 2 minutes.

  3. Remove bowl from mixer and, using a spatula, scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are well combined; fill the prepared cupcake pans evenly with the batter.

  4. Place both pans in the centre of a pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the centre is firm

  5. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes; then remove cupcakes and place on a cooling rack

  6. Once cool, frost with frosting and top with any one of the ideas mentioned above (or just eat them plain!!)

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