24 easy Halloween cupcake recipes and ideas you'll want to try this year

Perfect for Halloween parties, bake sales and as Halloween gifts, these Halloween cupcakes are easy to recreate at home…

A selection of the best Halloween cupcakes including worm cupcakes, pumpkin cupcakes and more
(Image credit: Future/Getty - pumpkin cupcakes/Getty - ghost cupcakes)

We’ve got plenty of impressive Halloween cupcakes to make at home. From spiders to monsters to ghosts, and even tombstone cupcakes.  

Transform a batch of cupcakes into gruesome masterpieces by following one of our easy Halloween cupcake recipes. Perfect for your ghoulish celebrations, be it a pre-trick-or-treating children's tea party or part of the school's Halloween disco Halloween party food spread.

The Halloween-themed cupcakes in this roundup are easy to make at home, with basic sponges and some clever seasonal hacks, including our pumpkin puree recipe mixed with a basic cake batter to make pumpkin cupcakes. Some decorations, like our vampire fangs, are easy and ideal for beginners made and shaped with fondant. In contrast, others take those cake-decorating skills to the next level. For example, our cauldron cupcakes, witch hats, and Frankenstein toppers, not to mention some brilliant Harry Potter-inspired designs.

“When decorating cakes for Halloween you can get toppers, accessories, and sprinkles in so many spooky colours, you no longer have to stick to orange. Try using a bit of purple and green in with the orange and black to brighten it up while still looking spooky,” says professional baker Naomi Boles from Boles Bakery

“Marshmallows are also a great way to decorate a cupcake for Halloween. Ice your cupcake as normal, warm up a marshmallow until it’s soft enough to stretch thinly, and then lay it gently over the icing. Once cool, it makes an awesome-looking web. Halloween is the one time of year you can use jam to decorate your cakes as much as you want too, as it looks great as fake blood.”

Halloween cupcake ideas

Halloween worm cupcakes

Delightful fudgey worms on chocolate soil atop a cocoa sponge

1. Worm cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy |  Total time: 1 hr

Fudge worms minding their own business on top of some chocolate soil, anyone? This is a genius – and far easier than it looks – way to top a Halloween cupcake, using crushed Oreos atop a chocolate sponge. Topped with our wriggly friends, moulded into shape with your fair hands, they’ll be a definite talking point amongst the ghoulish guests at your Halloween bash. You’ll need to invest in some black cake cases to complete the effect.

Get the recipe: Worm cupcakes

Halloween fang cupcakes

Make your own fondant fangs – or cheat and buy them from the corner shop!

2. Fang cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium |  Total time: 1 hr

Perfect on top of a cake piped with vanilla buttercream, these fangs are made (using a handy step-by-step guide) from pink fondant paste and mini marshmallows for teeth, plus a drizzle of raspberry jam to create a bloody scene. Of course if you really wanted to, you could totally cheat this one by buying some classic retro teeth and gum sweeties from the penny mix-up at your local corner shop.

“These are a great ‘make-ahead decoration’  as the fondant will dry to be solid and then it’s ready to use whenever you’re ready. Not only do these look fab on cupcakes, but you could change the size so they work on other Halloween treats,” says Naomi Boles.

Get the recipe: Fang cupcakes

Frankenstein cupcakes

Fondant Frankenstein might look grumpy, but he'll cheer up your Halloween cake table no end

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

3. Frankenstein cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Tricky |  Total time: 1 hr

These decidedly grumpy-looking (well you wouldn’t be thrilled if you were destined for a kid’s tummy, we suppose) Frankenstein toppers are a wonderful work of art. We can’t lie, they’re pretty time consuming to make, but aren’t they just so worth it? Once you get into the groove of cutting out the various bits of fondant to make his green face, eyes, teeth, hair and, of course, silver bolts, then it gets easier – we recommend making double quantities for your efforts, as they’re bound to go down a storm.

Get the recipe: Frankenstein cupcakes

Witch hat cupcakes

These colourful fondant cake toppers will really brighten up your party table

4. Witch hat cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium |  Total time: 1 hr 30 mins

These fondant toppers in the style of a witch’s hat are super cute and effective. You’ll need to prep in advance with a good selection of food colourings – black, yellow, tangerine and violet, to be precise – and it’s recommended that you leave your fondant mixed with gum tragacanth (or the easier-to-find xanthan gum) overnight to make it easier to work with, before making the fondant shapes. Once you’ve fashioned your hats, you’ll need to leave them to dry for a couple of days before you add them to your cupcakes.  

Get the recipe: Witch hat cupcakes

Ghost cupcakes

White fondant ghosts draped over the top of lollipops and stuck on cakes means two treats for the price of one

(Image credit: Future)

5. Ghost cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium |  Total time: 1 hr

These little guys are sure to turn a few heads and they are also very fun to make. Made with white fondant and modelling paste, the ghouls are draped over the top of lollipops (Swizzels would be a good choice here, we feel), before you add black fondant eyes and smiles (these are friendly ghosts, guys) and pop them onto the top of your cupcakes. So very cute, and the kids get two for the price of one, with a cake and a lolly. 

Get the recipe: Ghost cupcakes

Vampire cat cupcakes

Spooky-cut-cute cat fondant toppers laid on top of orange buttercream. Naughty but very nice

6. Vampire cat cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy |  Total time: 1 hr 20 mins

They might be vampire cats but they’re pretty darned adorable, don’t you think? You’ll need some bright Halloween-orange buttercream (we recommend Sugarflair tangerine apricot food colour paste to achieve this) and then black fondant for the cats, with sugar diamonds (or easier-to-access  Jelly Tots) for eyes and little purple hearts for noses. 

Get the recipe: Vampire cat cupcakes

Cauldron cupcakes

How fabulous is this bubbling cauldron? Eyeball anyone?

7. Cauldron cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium |  Total time: 1 hr 55 mins

The kids – and the adults – will be talking about these cupcakes until next Halloween, so clever and brilliant they are. Creating the effect of a bubbling cauldron, filled with eye balls and bats and bones, and all the delights you expect in a witch’s potion, doesn’t come easy, but the rewards are plenty.  You’ll be wanting to visit Hobbycraft or a specialised baking store for some of these ingredients – you’ll need lime green sugar balls for the bubbles, for example – and we’re sure the kids will oblige in finishing off the strawberry laces you’ll be needing for the serpent’s tongues… 

Get the recipe: Cauldron cupcakes

Halloween fairy cakes

Easy, fun designs to do with the kids

(Image credit: Dr Oetker)

8. Halloween fairy cakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy |  Total time: 1 hr 10 mins

Some of the cakes in this collection are a little complex for the amateur baker with some pretty complex fondant work required – so these simple fairy cakes are a godsend for those who are challenged on the cake decorating front. A brilliant one to do with kids, this recipe features ready-to-use icing and icing pens for you to draw spooky designs with - try spider’s webs and ghostly faces, and if they’re a little rough around the edges, that’s ok because the kids did them, right? (even if it was you, really, wink wink).

Get the recipe: Halloween fairy cakes

Vampire cupcakes

The friendliest of vampires – apart from those teeth, that is

9. Vampire cupcakes

Makes/serves: 14 | Skill level: Medium |  Total time: 2 hrs

Have you ever seen such a warm and friendly face on a vampire? These red velvet cupcakes are topped with a layer of cream cheese buttercream, followed by some pretty nifty fondant work to fashion the vampire’s smiley features. What a guy! What a cupcake!

Get the recipe: Vampire cupcakes

Eyeball cupcakes

These bloodshot eyeball toppers are pretty easy to create, and look suitably gory

10. Eyeball cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy |  Total time: 1 hr

Fondant work can be enough to test even a Bake Off contestant, but making these bloodshot eyeballs is pretty simple, if you follow our picture-led instructions – and it’s pretty fun too. You’ll be needing red and white fondant, as well as blue and black for the pupils. Pop your eyeballs (not literally!) on top of your piped buttercream and trickle over some jam for the requisite blood effect.  A gory delight.

Get the recipe: Eyeball cupcakes

Halloween muffins

A carrot cake sponge with orange buttercream and spooky jelly toppings – easy

11. Halloween muffins

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy |  Total time: 1 hr

A simple one for the less adept bakers amongst us, these muffins are flavoured like a carrot cake with, well, carrots obviously, as well as cinnamon and walnuts. Piped with an orange buttercream, you can then just mix and match with whatever toppings you fancy, from spooky jelly sweets to sprinkles in Halloween hues.

“These muffins offer a great orange alternative to pumpkin at Halloween – perfect if you want something a bit different than the usual on the dessert table. To get really vibrant colours for your icing, use a colouring paste or gel rather than colouring liquid and let the kids go wild with gummy sweets and chocolate eyeballs to decorate,” says Naomi Boles.

Get the recipe: Halloween muffins

Easy Halloween cupcakes: 'Brain' cupcakes

Fun and messy, you won't need too much brain power to create these gruesome cake toppers

(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

12. 'Brain' cupcakes

Makes/serves: 18 | Skill level: Easy |  Total time: 40 mins

The, um, brainchild of kids cooking guru Annabel Karmel, these cupcakes topped with grey matter, are far more delicious than they sound, and super easy to make. Just add a little red and black food colouring to your frosting to give it a pinky-grey tinge, and then use a cocktail stick and some red food colouring to draw on veins. A fun one for the kids, and pleasingly messy to eat, too.

Get the recipe: 'Brain' cupcakes

halloween pumpkin cupcakes

Use up your leftover pumpkin flesh in this seasonal cake mix

(Image credit: Getty Images)

13. Pumpkin and maple cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy |  Total time: 38 mins

These cupcakes aren't just topped with a pumpkin face, there's pumpkin puree inside them too, as well as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. In fact, could they be any more autumnal? You’ll need to make a big batch of cream cheese frosting, split it into separate bowls and dyed  orange, green and black, before piping on the pumpkin faces. It’s an ideal one to do with kids, as they don’t need to be all uniform and perfect – rustic is the word we would use here.

Get the recipe: Pumpkin cupcakes

Lily Vanilli's undead gingerbread cupcakes

Make your own gingerbread tombstones to go on top of a very special chocolate cupcake recipe

14. Lily Vanilli's undead gingerbread cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium |  Total time: 55 mins

Create your own graveyard with these spooky tombstone cupcakes with a tasty gingerbread twist. These are brilliantly effective and, while there are a lot of elements involved, the end result is pretty rustic, so you don’t have to be a piping perfectionist to have a go. The choc cupcakes are made with a recipe featuring sour cream and espresso coffee, and you make your own gingerbread with treacle, lemon zest and a variety of spices (of course, you could cheat and buy some, but it may not be easy to cut to the shape of tombstones…).  

“Not only do they look awesome, but the gingerbread gives an extra autumnal taste,” says Naomi Boles. “You don’t have to complete everything in one day with these cupcakes, you can back and store your gingerbread gravestones in an airtight container for up to 7 days.”

Get the recipe:  Lily Vanilli’s undead gingerbread cupcakes

Easy Halloween cupcakes: Green monster cupcake recipe

A joyously bright and slightly scary treat for the little ones

(Image credit: Planet Cake)

15. Green monster cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium |  Total time: 1 hr 20 mins

Some nifty icing work needed here to create these striking monster cakes, with their, let’s say, gently spooky faces, perfect for younger children. Classic cupcakes are topped with a creamy white chocolate ganache that you then stick your brightly coloured toppers to. Monstrously marvellous.

Get the recipe: Green monster cupcakes

Easy Halloween cupcakes: Annabel Karmel's Halloween spiders

Teacake bodies and arachnid legs for these simple and spooky spider cakes

16. Annabel Karmel's Halloween spiders

Makes/serves: 18 | Skill level: Easy |  Total time: 40 mins

Very easy and very effective, kids will be in a frenzy over these spooky spiders, and they definitely won’t be hanging around for long – unlike those pesky real-life arachnids we’re accustomed to in our homes around this time of year. Simple chocolate cupcakes are topped with Tunnocks tea cakes for the body (this is one chunky spider), liquorice laces for legs, and liquorice allsorts topped with M&Ms for its eyes. 

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel's Halloween spiders

Halloween treat tub cupcakes

Adorable, clever and striking – we'd be delighted with one of these on their own, never mind on a cupcake

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

17. Halloween treat tub cupcakes

Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium |  Total time: 1 hr 30 mins

These clever cake toppers in the style of your trick or treat bucket are so wonderful, they’re good enough to serve solo, never mind stuck on the top of a cupcake. Made from Rice Krispie marshmallow bars wrapped in orange fondant, with carved pumpkin faces, they even have fondant handles and can be topped with multi-coloured sweets, such as Smarties or jellybeans.  Adorable. Which is not a description we use in connection with Halloween all that often.

Get the recipe: Halloween treat tub cupcakes