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The kids found a recipe for these cupcakes and insisted we make them for Halloween. How hard could it be, I thought. I’m sure you can see this is gonna be a recipe and a rant, all wrapped into one post. What more could you ask for?

In order to delve into this one, I took the original recipe and began by simplifying the cupcakes themselves. As you will see, they aren’t part of the ingredients photo, because I trust that you people know how to purchase a cake mix and make a couple dozen cupcakes.

Anyway, in my opinion, the how-to’s of this project are all about what’s on top of the cupcake. So let’s start there with the nitty gritty.

What you’ll need:

  • A couple dozen cupcakes, cooled (note: you may or may not have the stamina to make skeletons for all 24. Just sayin…)
  • Small tub of white icing
  • One package large marshmallows
  • One package small marshmallows or white chocolate bark – yes, I realize they aren’t in the ingredients photo either. I’ll explain in a minute
  • 24 sucker sticks (available at craft stores)
  • Gel icing – Black
  • White chocolate-covered pretzels

How to proceed:

Ice cupcakes as usual and set aside. This is probably a good time to take a deep breath. I put Hannah in charge of making the skeleton faces. At first, we tried gently smashing the large marshmallows to make them scarier. Not sure that worked, so we ditched that idea. Hannah grabbed the gel icing and made two eyes, drew a line for the mouth (funny – all her skeletons seem to be smiling. Weird.). Anyway, there was a hole in the top of the icing tube (how does that happen?), so all of a sudden, she had what resembled a big slimy black leach on her finger. (This project was quickly starting fitting in with Halloween.)

She ran into another problem, too. The icing wasn’t coming out in smooth thin lines. It was globbing up and smearing together. So she ended up getting a toothpick, putting the icing on the tip and drawing on the faces that way. I also happened to notice that she seriously needs to paint her fingernails. But I digress. At that point, I think she was on marshmallow head No. 2.

Meanwhile, I was assembling the white chocolate-covered pretzels for the rib cage. Except that the holes in the pretzels were about seven times the size of the sucker stick (not an issue brought to light by the original recipe).

Panic-stricken, I rummaged through the cabinets to find some way to fill in the gaps. This is where the mini-marshmallows or white chocolate bark come into play. I had both on hand, but for reasons of expediency, I decided to try the mini-marshmallows first. I mushed together two mini’s, and squashed them into the middle pretzel hole, then carefully inserted the sucker stick. Things got pretty messy at that point. By the time I had three pretzels on the first stick, the method got a tad easier. So that’s how we got the ribs to stay on the stick. And it almost gave the look of a spinal column, too. In retrospect, I probably would’ve melted the white chocolate and used it like glue to adhere the pretzels to the sticks. But why live in the past?

Anyway, at this point, Colton was running in and out every few minutes. While he didn’t volunteer to help, he  did offer to eat the first one, then went to his cousin’s to play.

Meanwhile, with rib cages attached to the sticks, and several marshmallow heads ready to go, we began the full-body assembly. Some had enough room between the head and first pretzel that we could grab the stick and insert it into the cupcake. But for the most part, we had to grab them from the top and squish the little marshmallow heads in on the sides in order to get the stick in the cupcake.

Once the sticks were inserted, some of them tended to fall to the side, so we had to finagle them in (which seemed to work). Many of the rib cages fell, too. So they may not be the prettiest skeleton cupcakes known to man. But all in all, it was a fun way to spend a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon a week before Halloween.

If you give this one a try (and why not?) let me know if you found other ways to attach the ribs or decorate the faces!


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