Passionate About Iowa City
and the Moms Who Live Here.

No Tricks, Just Treats

I love Halloween. Who doesn’t? Apart from the failed attempts at resisting the candy stash in the weeks leading up to Halloween, having to buy more candy to refill the candy stash that you someone else devoured, the guaranteed bitter cold wind that will inevitably hit on Halloween night, the whining children who can no longer feel their numb fingers as they knock door-to-door wondering why no one can guess what their costume is (which is now under 3 layers of sweatshirts and coats), and, of course, the sugar crash that will affect your children, as well as yourself, after you sneak your favorite treats from your child’s stash (i.e. – Nerds and Haribo gummies)…. Besides all that, Halloween is fantastic! It’s just one of those holidays that is essentially stress-free, fun, and nostalgic.


But, who am I kidding? I love anything that inspires theme desserts and decorations. I’m always looking for new techniques to try and I want to share with you four different cupcakes styles that are sure to impress, but require very little skill (other than perhaps some patience). However, as much as I enjoy Halloween, I prefer my treats to be ‘trick-free’. I do not like ‘gross’ food. I don’t want to have to trick my mind into eating something that looks disgusting, no matter how good it might taste. That is why all these ideas are stylish, fun, and kid-friendly.

Let’s get started…


First, start with your favorite cupcake recipe box mix. These are all about the decorations, so unless you love to bake cakes from scratch, this is the perfect time to take advantage of all the hard work those cake companies have put into making fool-proof mixes.

Next up – the frosting. I rarely use canned frosting because it doesn’t hold up the same as buttercream when piping, but all of these looks can easily be achieved with any canned frosting. I opted to use a vanilla buttercream for three of them and a simple ganache for the other. Sounds fancy, right?  Basic ganache is nothing more than melted chocolate chips and cream…don’t let it scare you. (Recipes for basic buttercream and ganache.)

Witch Legs




Frosting (large round tip – optional)

Striped paper straws

Cutout paper witches’ shoes


  • Cut each straw in half and glue/tape witches’ shoes to the end (make sure you reverse one for a left and right foot).
  • Pipe a large mound of frosting on the cupcake.
  • Stick in the legs.


Mummy Eyes




White Frosting (with short flat piping tip)

Icing eyes




  • Apply eyes to the cupcake with a small dot of frosting
  • Pipe lines of frosting across the cupcake. For a natural look, don’t make lines straight.



Cotton Candy Web





Cotton Candy (white)

Plastic spider


  • Apply a small amount of frosting to ‘glue’ the cotton candy on.
  • Place cotton candy on frosting
  • Add spider



Chocolate Spider Web




Chocolate frosting

White candy melts (candy quick and almond bark work the same)

Squeeze bottle or piping bag with small round tip

Parchment paper/silpat mat/wax paper

Spider web template (Spider Web Printable Template)



(I used clear acetate over the printout for photos above, but silpat mat, parchment paper, and wax paper all work)

  • Print spider web template
  • Place template under nonstick (transparent) surface
  • Pour melted candy melts into squeeze bottle
  • Trace spider webs with melted candy melts. (For best results – use the template as a general guide but don’t try to add too many lines or details.)
  • Optional step – Place in the refrigerator or freezer for a couple minutes to speed up the cooling/hardening process
  • Once webs are hardened, peel away from surface and set on top of chocolate frosting.




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