And the witches, and ghosts, and vampires, and zombies… and all the other fun and “scary” creatures that inhabit this time of year. Which is my favorite time of year, as you might know. I know I’ve done a little “history of Halloween” briefly before on here, but I thought we could all use a refresher.
Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (Irish pronunciation: [ˈsˠaunʲ]; from the Old Irish samain). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes  regarded as the “Celtic New Year”. Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them.
The term Halloween is shortened from All Hallows’ Even (both “even” and “eve” are abbreviations of “evening”, but “Halloween” gets its “n” from “even”) as it is the eve of “All Hallows’ Day”, which is now also known as All Saints’ Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints’ Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November 1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day. Liturgically, the Church traditionally celebrated that day as the Vigil of All Saints, and, until 1970, a day of fasting as well. Like other vigils, it was celebrated on the previous day if it fell on a Sunday, although secular celebrations of the holiday remained on the 31st. The Vigil was suppressed in 1955, but was later restored in the post-Vatican II calendar.
God, what a great fucking time of year.
All the stores have already had all the Halloween decorations and candy out since late August, so I don’t think the first week in October is too early to be gearing up for it. This year, I decided to start out the season with a little compilation of my top 4 favorite Halloween cupcake posts, and also links to some of my other Halloween-ie themed baked goods, so that I might inspire some of you in your fright night baking. So I sat down with my favorite tea from Teavana and picked out some cupcakes worthy of a “Halloween Best Of” post. Don’t worry, I’m still making cupcakes this year (specifically something very special coming next week… bwahahaha), I’m just showing off some of my past ones.
These were my absolute favorite Halloween cupcakes ever. They look perfect, they were a fantastic tasting cupcake, and the white chocolate bones were too cute (and also delicious). You can find the original post and the recipe here: Creepy chocolate stout cupcakes with white chocolate “funny bones.”
…Now these… THESE are some bad ass cupcakes! Another perfect looking cupcake, and even though I made it after Halloween, it’s totally appropriate for the holiday. The key here is to use cinnamon oil, not extract, so you get the heat of the “Red Hots” flavor. Otherwise it’s just like tasting cinnamon gum. Also in this post I uploaded the files so you can print out these toppers and use them yourself! The original post is here: Coop’s devilishly delightful cupcakes.
…These were made to match a Jessie Steele apron Jay bought me for Halloween, but they’re perfect for those of you who aren’t into the themed Halloween stuff, or are more into celebrating fall than dressing up like a witch (spoil sports!). Delicious chocolate flavor with a hint of pumpkin. A grown-up pumpkin cupcake. The recipe and more can be found here: Jessie Steele (inspired) pumpkin cupcakes.
…These are such fun. Lyns sent me some sweetmelt white chocolate monster eyes and I knew right away my cupcakes would be little green monsters. Great for kids, it’s just a plain vanilla cupcake and vanilla buttercream colored green. The fun comes in with the black frosting used for facial features & the amazing edible eyes. In this post I also explain why Halloween is my favorite holiday. Check out the post here: Slimer’s fright night gorey eyeballs cupcakes.
But sometimes, you may not really be in the mood for cake. Or frosting. So now we move on to non-cupcake treats. ‘Cause like I said, sometimes you aren’t in the mood for a cupcake, but maybe something else spooky, sweet & appropriate for the season. Or maybe you’re having a Halloween party and you want something that’s impressive but yet not as time consuming as cupcakes. Well I’ve got you covered on that too. Are you ready?
These little treats were so easy to make, plus they were a HUGE hit. Everyone loved them! Homemade marshmallow bones… great in hot cocoa or eaten by themselves. Find the recipe & more photos here: Mr. Bones, Mr. Bones, how do you feel Mr. Bones?
...As far as baked treats go, I have a recipe for pumpkin muffins. But they aren’t like your average, boring pumpkin muffin made from pumpkin in a can. The interesting thing about them is that the pumpkin you use is the cut out parts of your jack-o-lantern! It’s a recipe I’ve had since kindergarten when my teacher passed them out for Halloween, and I’ve made them every year since. Get the recipe & the story behind it here: Mrs. Blach’s pumpkin muffins.
And there you have it. That isn’t by any means the end of my Halloween themed treats, you can find more in my “halloween” category over there. I also have a recipe for roasting your own pumpkin seeds, which is another thing I make every year when I cut out my jack-o-lantern. If you’re looking for more cupcake ideas, another excellent cupcake recipe that would work really well for Halloween are Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes that have cinnamon and pumpkin in them, which I used for Thanksgiving a few years back, but it would be perfect for this holiday. So would cinnamon vanilla with Mexican hot chocolate buttercream, it’s a fall-flavor but it isn’t too overly-theme-y. Also, this recipe for mocha cupcakes with orange-vanilla buttercream is a great fall flavored cake & frosting combination. Another amazing cupcake recipe that fits this season perfectly are the apple cupcakes with brown sugar buttercream I made last year. Apples are a-plenty now and if you can pick fresh ones and use them, it’s even better. A great idea for fall-tasting treats that aren’t cupcakes are Donut-Muffins. They taste like donuts, but they’re muffins. The cinnamon sugar & nutmeg flavors are perfect for this time of year. Same goes for homemade apple cider donuts. And last but not least, Jay’s absolute favorite cookies… maple-iced fall leaf sugar cookies. And stay tuned later on this month for some new Halloween cupcake ideas. You know I won’t let you down.
As far as decorating goes, Lyns at Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies has an awesome section in her store called “Our Halloween Party” with awesome liners, cupcake wrappers and toppers that will dress up any kind of cupcake for the holiday. Another place that has awesome cupcake decorating ideas is sweet estelle’s baking supply. Black & white liners, vintage looking toppers like these or these and orange /black sugars can make your Halloween cupcakes look even spookier.
And like I said… stay tuned this week for the start of some new Halloweenie cupcakes & more.