Rachel's Table

The Spider Queen Bakes (thanks to the world wide web)

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.

Axl and Slash, during their “Welcome to the Jungle” phase

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 Tinkerbell…

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.

You lookin’ at me?

I won Scariest Costume, for obvious reasons

Spider Queen

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:

4 eggs

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.

Ready for the dry ingredients

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.)

Ready for the oven

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.

Ready to pipe

I added some creepy spider rings to my cupcakes to match my costume.

Bite-sized terror (the best kind)

BOO! Happy Halloween!


  1. Nicole

    Your costume angst turned into costume domination. And those cupcakes, pumpkin heaven. The more I discover about you the more proud I am to call you HGF. xo.

    • Aw, HGF, thanks for hosting a spookilicious party and serving that delicious chili. 🙂 My only regret is that I didn’t get more pics of the Spider Queen and Mario together!

  2. OMG Rachel! I love your costume! You definitely rocked the scary spider look! Isn’t Halloween makeup the best?!

    I made two loaves of pumpkin bread yesterday and we are already down to just the heel of one of them now! B and I can’t get enough of that stuff. I will try your cupcakes too! Quick question for you because you bake and cook a lot- I bought a thing of vanilla frosting this week for some chocolate halloween cupcakes I’m going to make and I want to jazz it up. Do you think it would be possible for me to mix a bit of cream cheese or butter in with it to make it more creamy?

    • Hi Emily! I so enjoyed being Spider Queen. I wish I could wear that costume every day! haha.

      I would soften cream cheese on the counter overnight and then blend it with the frosting. It would make it less sweet and definitely creamier. I’m honored that you are asking me for cooking advice! 🙂

  3. Holy swizzle sticks. I’m with Nicole – the more I learn about you, the more I love you. Did you seriously do that make-up YOURSELF? From watching a YouTube vid???

    You look like you’re ready for Hollywood. And then you baked amazing cupcakes. And you’re funny.

    You know, there’s a fine line between love and hate, and by hate I mean raging jealousy.

    You are amazing!!!

    • The best thing about this comment: “And you’re funny.” Okay, two things: “Holy swizzle sticks.”

      I could not have managed this by myself; I can barely put my regular makeup on (in the car while driving to work). My sister-in-law did the makeup and hair. She’s AMAZING! My hair was crimped! I swear, I haven’t had this much fun since dressing up as Queen Esther in 1986 (it was a harvest party, not a halloween party).

  4. Halloween’s just so great. I, though, every year – EVERY YEAR – hit around October 25 and then panic because I want to come up with a cool costume and then can’t and then scramble… I need to start working on it in July.

  5. Pingback: Amish-Inspired Sweet and Tangy Cabbage with Chicken Sausages « Rachel's Table

  6. You rule, coolest costume ever! I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in years. And those pumpkin cupcakes look so good. Too bad I’m already hyped on on sugar (stealing a bit from my kids’ candy stash already today….shhhh)

      • And thanks for leaving out the small detail that you might be a squish-er and not a save-er. You can thank them for letting you know where your defenses (a/k/a/ ant openings) are down. Plug that hole, or just leave spidey where he is to manage your ant problem free of charge.

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