Our family is big into the holidays, and Halloween is one of our absolute favorites.  We love decorating the house, carving pumpkins and picking out costumes, usually while listening to “Thriller” and “This is Halloween” on a constant loop.  Of course, I especially love making spooky treats that the kids will get excited about.  We love the classic gruesome finger cookies,  witches’ brew cheesy spinach soup, etc. but it’s always fun to try to come up with a new, festive treat for Halloween.

The moment I made these spooky eyeball cupcakes, we were all completely smitten. The effect of the brightly colored eyes peering out of the otherwise black background is striking.  These are a fun and easy cupcake to make and would be a great project to make with older children.  I’m sure we’ll be making these for many years to come.


  • Chocolate frosting (a half batch of this recipe should be just right)
  • Black icing gel color
  • 12 standard size cupcakes (any flavor, I prefer chocolate), baked in black liners*
  • Black sanding sugar
  • Black edible marker
  • Round candies such as Sixlets or M&Ms in various bright colors


  • 01

    Tint the chocolate frosting as dark as possible using black icing gel color (I prefer Americolor brand).  Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (such as Ateco #809).  Pipe a generous swirl on top of each cupcake, and use a small offset spatula to smooth into a mound, being sure to fully cover the edges of the cakes in black.  Place the black sanding sugar in a bowl and very gently dip the frosted portion of each cupcake into the bowl to adhere a thin layer over the entire surface without distorting the shape.  Once fully coated, you can gently cup the frosting with your hand to help mold it into an even mound.

  • 02

    Use the black edible marker to draw pupils onto the colored candies. (If the candy you are using has any markings, be sure to draw on the blank side.) Pair up the eyeballs by color and gently press two to three pairs into the frosting of each cupcake.

  • 03

    *Use the best quality, greaseproof black liners you can find.  If they are thin or flimsy, the cake will show through and lessen the effect of the blackness contrasted with the colored eyes.  See the FAQ page for suggested resources for good cupcake liners.

  • These are adorable! Spooky, but adorable!

  • Cuttest cupcakes ever! Such a fun idea.

  • Tiffany Rogers

    these are awesome :) i love them!

  • Jill Faulder McOwen

    What a great idea… and a truly amazing picture! I thought the eyes were glow in the dark at first :)

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    That picture is so cool!!!! These are adorable, Annie :)

  • Christina

    I love these!

  • Caroline L.

    These are so fun! And totally spooky ;)

  • Bridian

    i think this is one of your best pictures! it is incredible!

  • Berna

    These are so clever! Great idea! My daughter will love these!

  • Lin Snow

    Coool! I’ll bet they turn one’s mouth black as well! ;)

  • oh these are awesome! love the black sanding sugar, looks so sparkly! great idea! ^__^

  • Wow. These are definitely quite spooky. There’s something weirdly eerie about them being so dark…the eyes pop like crazy!

  • annieseats

    Indeed, but kids seem to enjoy that :)

  • Kelli Z

    Awesome picture!

  • Jennifer Drummond

    So cool!! These look amazing! What a great job!!

  • Annie, this is such a cool picture. You captured these perfectly. The sparkly black sugar with the eyes is just so cool!

  • I’m continually amazed at your creativity, Annie! You’re the food blogger’s own Martha. Must try these…simple, yet very creative.

  • Vicki Bensinger

    These are so adorable. I wonder if I’ll have time to make these tomorrow. They’re so much fun I want to share them with the neighborhood kids. My kids are all older so they’re not around. Great fun. Can’t wait to make them.

  • Reinventing Nadine

    fun and easy to make

  • Jamie_MilkNCookies

    Love how you did the eyes on these! I made DIY eyes using confetti sprinkles, but mine turned out a little small. Love that yours have the big, googly-eyed look!

  • Vanessa F.

    You know, as I was dipping these in the black sugar last night, I was thinking I could’ve done it with Oreo crumbs, too. It would lose the sparkly effect, but then you’d have eyes peeking up out of dirt instead — kinda spooky that way, too

  • annieseats

    Yes, that would also work. Great idea!

  • Kat Moore

    OK, I’m absolutely an idiot when it comes to this stuff, but where’d the picture go? Am I doing something wrong? I had these flagged to try making this year, but now the pic isn’t showing up for me to remember what you had done for inspiration. Oops!

  • annieseats

    Fixed! Thanks for bringing that to my attention. About this time last year, some super fun glitch (insert gigantic eye roll) caused about the last two years of photos to be broken throughout the site. I had to go back through and manually fix them all. I have done most of them but every once in a while I find some that I need to fix (and some broke more than once). Glad to have these fixed now with Halloween a week away!