Candy Corn Cupcakes

What happens when I start searching for Halloween-themed recipes on Pinterest? I find lots of cute ideas for desserts and start making elaborate plans for baking cupcakes and brownies and a cake and Rice Krispy Treats.
Then I dialed back on the whole “sugar up my partner and coworkers” endeavor. I decided to bake a cupcake a week, and that has since been dialed even farther back to just one cupcake because of time and trying to eat healthier.

I was still planning on four different cupcakes when I bought the ingredients for the first (and only) ones I made, so it just happened that the design turned out to be Candy Corn. The cupcakes weren’t Candy Corn flavored, just colored. I used this recipe for the vanilla cupcakes and this one for the vanilla buttercream. Then I divided the batter in half before adding food coloring. I was relatively proud of myself because I avoided mixing the colors too much when I poured them.

The orange ended up being a pale after baking; the yellow didn’t seem to show up at all. And the powdered sugar for the buttercream made a mess of my stand-mixer and counter. Plus the only cupcake liners in my cabinet had white and blue stripes.

But my Candy Cane cupcakes were still cute. And they tasted A-MAZ-ING. Like, that cake recipe is going in the recipe box amazing. The buttercream ended up being super sweet, which tasted best when I hadn’t gone too buttercream-crazy on a cupcake.

I’m really, really happy with how these cupcakes turned out. Especially since they’re probably going to be the only Halloween-themed desserts that I’ll make this year.

‘Tis the Season of Spooks & Scary Movies

Haunted houses and vampires and zombies are year round in my house (well, apartment,) so I don’t exactly need an excuse to curl up with a scary story. But indulging during the month of October is different; the world just feels better suited for watching horror movies.

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed any of the not-so-creepy classic horror DVDs lined up on my shelf. And there’s no better time to dust off the plastic cases and revisit a bunch of old favorites.

In a perfect world, what movies do I want to watch this month? Oh, just a few…

  • Dracula 
  • Frankenstein
  • The Wolf Man
  • Dracula, Dead and Loving It
  • The Black Cat
  • White Zombie
  • Bowery at Midnight
  • Spooks Run Wild
  • The Mummy
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Bag of Bones
  • Son of Frankenstein
  • The Babadook (Netflix)
  • Young Frankenstein (Netflix)

And with me being me, there’s bound to be a bit of live-tweeting while I’m curled up on the couch and watching these movies.

Now I’m not so out of it as to think that I’ll get through all the movies I want to watch. Between a full time job and going to school full time, I barely have time to do laundry and squeeze-in half an hour of writing a week. But these movies will serve as a creepy little carrot to coax me through the work.

Do you have any must-watch movies this time of year? Or any good (non-gory) horror movies that I should check out?

The Trouble with Seasonal Stories and a Wild Imagination

I’ve found that the general rule for submitting seasonal articles or stories is to send them at least six months in advance. Occasionally there will be exceptions; maybe a month for a newspaper or even up to a year ahead of time for some magazines. Editors get their story shopping done early so things can go to print and be on store shelves in time for the holiday.

Planning ahead with writing is not one of my better skills. The spirit of the season usually jolts my muse awake a week or two ahead of the holiday, and I discover dozens of story ideas floating around inside my head. I want to write them now, while the holiday still runs rampant around me. Then I get halfway through and realize that it’s too late to submit it for this year.

The story lingers for a while before dying on my hard drive. It’s forgotten during the year and never revised if it even gets finished. I rediscover old stories, reading over them while thinking this is such bad writing. I always feel like my old stories are too far gone for saving. But wait, I have an even better idea for this year.

And this happens every year without fail.

Take now for instance. My muse has already spit out ideas for Halloween and Thanksgiving stories. They aren’t fleshed out yet. A scene for each has played on a movie screen in my head. I’m starting to think that my muse is sitting on the playback button.

A yellow cab picks up a fare at the gate of an old, New Orleans style cemetery with the raised, marble tombs. The fare–a young man in a black suit–directs the cab driver to take him to an old house by the river. He requests the driver stay at the house as he will be back out. There is a noise that sounds like a gunshot from inside the house, and the young man walks out with an old man who has blood on his shirt. The driver, too afraid to say anything, drives the pair back to the cemetery. The young man pays the driver before revealing that’s he’s the grim reaper. The man was just murdered by his wife, and the grim reaper was bringing him to the cemetery. 

A young woman sits at home on Thanksgiving, waiting for her husband–an attorney–to come home so that they can head to his parents’ house for dinner. She’s pacing the house as she tries to talk herself into being happy and thankful during the holiday. At the same time, she’s dreading dinner because she doesn’t want to face her in-laws and their sympathy, pity, and grief. Through her conversation with herself and her wanderings through the house, it’s revealed that she nearly died during a miscarriage. The tension she has felt with her husband is seen as well, especially when he comes home from work. 

See how these have just enough sketched out to make my imagination grab the bit between its teeth and run? I’m worried the details will bog me down once I start writing. But at the same time, I don’t want to let these ideas rot. They could be great stories. I won’t know until I write them.

Do holidays give you seasonal inspiration? Have you ever submitted any holiday pieces for publication?