One thing that has always been a favorite to me in the world of vintage is the arts and crafty look that a lot of the party decorations had. They didn’t have the internet showing them the sacred path to beautiful professional looking parties by pointing them to YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. They didn’t have Amazon to help get whatever will complete their party at their doorstep in two days.
So for Halloween I choose to try my hand at decorating cupcakes with two vintage decorating ideas, Peanut Pumpkins and Kitschy Owl, and one inspired by the mid century – the Candy Corn Flowers. All the cupcakes start with a frosted cupcake. It does not matter how you get there – box mix with container of frosting, completely homemade, or what I did a box mix with homemade frosting. Just use your go to method. Also all of these items can easily be bought at your local grocery store. It would have been one trip for me if the first store was not out of the gumdrops.
Now let me talk real quick about how I was a hypocrite. I made the candy corn flower cupcakes and was happy. Then I did the owl cupcakes from a 1960s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and was overjoyed with the outcome. Lastly I worked on the peanut pumpkin cupcakes from a 1950s newspaper article and I was utterly disappointed. They looked like a three year old did them. Not quirky and kitschy like I was hoping. Surely I could not post them. No one would know that they ever existed. And I almost did just that. I then realized that was the point of this post. Quick, easy and cheap ways to decorate the cupcakes using vintage ideas. So I sucked up my pride and added them to the platter. The interesting thing is that while taking pictures those weird little pumpkin cupcakes were the ones that kept making me smile.
So lets talk about how to make all these easy cupcakes:
The Pumpkin Peanuts – You need one cupcake frosted with orange tinted frosting, one green gumdrop (or jelly bean) and several red skinned Spanish peanuts (or you could also use raisins or small black or brown jelly beans). Then you place the green gumdrop at the top for the pumpkin stem and then arrange the peanuts in a smiling face.
The Candy Corn Flowers – You need one cupcake frosted with white frosting, one black gumdrop and nine pieces of candy corn. Place the gumdrop in the center and arrange the candy corn around the gumdrop in a circle. I used nine candy corn but you can use less.
The Kitschy Owl- You need one cupcake frosted with either white frosting or chocolate frosting. One jellied orange slice, and two candy pumpkins. Cut the orange slice in half lengthwise but be careful as the candy can be a little sticky. Then cut along the curve edge of both slices to cut out a “C” shape. I found that kitchen shears worked the best for this step. Then arrange them like the picture above. Cut out a triangle shape from the left over candy and place for the owl’s beak. Then place the two pumpkin candies for the owl’s eyes. I ended up cutting mine in half as they sat better on my cupcake.
Here are two more ideas for neat vintage Halloween cupcakes:
Owl, Witch and Cat Cupcakes: Better Homes and Gardens Birthdays and Family Celebrations (1963)
The Peanut Pumpkin: Jardine, Winnifred “Food in Fun: When Goblins, Witches Parade Mom Needs Homemade Treats.” The Deseret News and Telegram, October 30, 1958.