Cake Decorating for Halloween

Image courtesy of Natasha Henry,

It doesn't take a lot of effort to understand why cake decorating for Halloween can be so much more fun than decorating for a birthday or a more subdued holiday. Halloween cakes often have flashy colors, fun themes, and creative toppers, making them a blast to bake and create.

How to Plan Your Halloween Cake

The sugary sweet tradition of trick-or-treating for Halloween makes cakes, cupcakes, and other confections a natural fit for the holiday. Before mixing up your cake batter, give some thought to possible ideas and themes for decorating, and make sure you have the supplies you need to make those ideas materialize.

Brainstorm Ideas

Brainstorming cake and cupcake ideas is one of best parts of cake decorating for Halloween. Build your Halloween cake around one of the following simple ideas:

Red Velvet Goth Cake; © Photoeuphoria |
  • Turn any cake into a Halloween-themed cake by using a Halloween cake topper on a black or orange frosted cake.
  • Spell out a gruesome message like "Death to All", "Rest in Peace", or "Eat Me and Die" in red icing using a horror-inspired font.
  • Not all Halloween cakes have to be orange and black. Consider incorporating a bright purple or green into any design; deep navy is another good color choice.
  • Decorations don't have to be overtly "Halloween" to fit with the holiday. Black roses or dead leaves also impart a Halloween feeling while adding an elegant or natural element to your cake design plan. Stripes, dots, and scrollwork in Halloween colors will also fit into any Halloween cake design.
  • Borders make any cake look finished. For Halloween, make borders using fondant eyeballs or body parts. Alternatively, cut gravestone cookies and use them as your border.

Traditional Themes

Feel free to go for a creative yet traditional decorating theme. There are many different cake designs that work well for Halloween cakes, including:

spiderweb cake

Decorating Supplies

Though you don't need anything more than a few orange sprinkles and a coat of chocolate frosting to make a Halloween cake, it's useful to have some special supplies on hand that will allow for more creative and eye-catching decorations.

Halloween candy decorating supplies
  • Edible glitter, paint, luster dust, and other special coatings can give your cakes sheen and make their colors stand out.
  • Gel food coloring is a must for tinting plain white buttercream or fondant.
  • Red gel icing or red poured fondant can replicate blood.
  • Candy corn and other pieces of candy make perfect witch noses, angry eyes, and other facial features on Halloween witch cakes.
  • Marshmallows are useful in graveyards and can be pulled into little (and sticky) ghost figures.
  • Chocolate sandwich cookies, when crumbled, form dirt for fresh graveyards.
  • Fondant is easy to roll and shape into fingers, toes, eyes, noses, teeth, and anything else that's creepy or spooky.
  • Frosting tips, couplers, and pastry bags make it possible to add texture to a monster's fur and form an intricate pumpkin vine.
  • Pull-and-peel licorice is great for spider legs, trails of blood, or witch's hair.

Halloween Decorating Books

Get additional inspiration from some Halloween cake decorating books such as:

  • A Zombie Ate My Cupcake: This cupcake book features 25 different cupcake recipes and designs, each of which is sure to give you a thrill.
  • Debbie Brown's Magical Cakes: While not limited to Halloween, Debbie Brown's Magical Cakes is filled with witches, sorcerers, haunted castles and other images that can help you create a Halloween-themed cake.
  • Halloween Cupcake Kit: In addition to an instructional booklet that includes plenty of images and step-by-step instructions, the Halloween Cupcake Kit also comes with cupcake liners and toppers.
  • Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook: The Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook includes several different recipes and decorating ideas for Halloween cakes. Learn how to use candy, ice cream, and other decorations to help make your cakes a success.

Create a Spooktacular Design

A great Halloween cake is limited only by your imagination. Let your cake take center stage at your Halloween celebration, no matter what design you end up creating.

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Cake Decorating for Halloween