Panic was setting in. I was indecisive and pessimistic about the near future. I was loosing sleep at night, having nightmares of goblins, zombie pirates, and evil queens. I felt as if EVERYTHING was hanging in the balance. Believe it or not, my indecision had nothing to do with politics.
This past weekend, my lovely friend Nicole threw a Halloween party at her house. Costumes encouraged, of course. I received the invitation four weeks ago and immediately began planning a costume. I’ve only dressed up one other time in my adult life when the husband and I rocked Slash and Axl Rose at an 80s-themed party.
I wanted to make sure I made up for lost time with this year’s costume.
The brain racking and internet searching commenced and I settled on a mermaid…
Then Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz…
Then Peter Pan…
Then a mermaid again after seeing a very cool makeup tutorial on etsy. I ordered a mermaid tail from eBay and some “scales” from Amazon, but when the mermaid costume arrived, the top just didn’t work. With the party only a week away, I went back to the easiest alternative–Peter Pan–and ordered a green, red-feathered cap from Amazon. Realizing the whole reason I wanted to be a mermaid was to wear amazing makeup, I changed my mind again. (After all, there’s no way Peter Pan would be adventourous with his makeup, being a boy and all.)
It was time to bring in an expert. My sister-in-law/hair stylist/makeup artist, Kaila, referred me to YouTube to check out some spider makeup tutorials. Jackpot!
Seeing as it was the Monday before the party I was relieved. Something about this costume just felt right. Searching Amazon again, I ordered spider web “arm warmers” and cob web wings (they arrived next day thanks to my Prime membership). Adding those accessories to shiny black pants, a sparkly tank top, and tall black boots, my villainous spider costume was born and a very important decision made.
This last minute costume would have been useless without hair and makeup courtesy of the talented Kaila. I felt completely in character. I didn’t want to remove my makeup and spider web arm warmers before going to bed that night.
I did, however, want to devour the leftover pumpkin cupcakes I made for the party, thanks to a recipe I found on Food Network. Paula Dean knows her way around a baked good, and I adapted her recipe, adding nutmeg, local pumpkin puree, and using mini cupcake tins instead of a traditional 9 x 13 baking pan. Make these for your next Halloween or fall bash!
Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cake:
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups pureed pumpkin (click here to see how to roast and puree a pie pumpkin, or just use canned)
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated is best!)
For the icing:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (I leave the cream cheese and butter out on the counter all day when I make this frosting)
2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two (or one if that’s all you have) mini-muffin tins with vegetable oil.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar and oil in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin and mix until combined. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture a little bit at a time and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.
Spoon batter by the tablespoon-full into the mini-muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Repeat until all the batter is used (makes about 48 mini cupcakes). Let cool completely before frosting. (Adaption: you can also use a greased 9×13 glass baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.)
To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar a little at a time and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla . Spread onto cooled mini cupcakes OR spoon half the frosting into a ziploc bag, pushing it into one corner. Twist the opened bag closed, snip the corner off and use as a piping bag.
I added some creepy spider rings to my cupcakes to match my costume.