Halloween Sugar Cookies

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I look for any occasion to decorate with royal icing.  I’ve been looking forward to making Halloween sugar cookies since I learned how to use royal icing, but my baking schedule has been fairly hectic lately and I didn’t think I would get around to it.  Then a friend asked if she could order some cookies for her Halloween party – the perfect excuse!

Halloween is such a fun and festive time with all its creepy creatures, there are practically limitless possibilities for decorating.  I had tons of ideas but obviously did not have the time to employ them all, so I’ll just have to save some of them for next year.  The spiderwebs are my absolute favorites.  I had been planning on making those all year long, but had only thought of doing them in boring black and white.  Then Bridget’s blog inspired me to add a pop of color and it really took these cookies up a notch.  I love them!

The pumpkins were an obvious choice to brighten up the color palette and also because I happened to have a pumpkin cookie cutter at home.  I was a bit skeptical after cutting out the pumpkin shapes (they just looked like a lumpy circle) but decorating made all the difference.

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea if I would be able to pull off the skull and crossbones cookies, but I was happy with how they turned out.  This is definitely a case where I was really glad I had practiced sketching out the skulls before icing so that I knew exactly how to make them look the way I wanted.  (I have some pretty funny sticky notes on my desk at work now that are probably making my coworkers wonder if I have issues.)

The “Boo!” and “Eek!” cookies were a last minute idea, but I thought they rounded out the cookie groups well.  This is a good example of how a regular cookie cutter can become something more festive with just a little creativity.

Every time I use royal icing, I learn a few more tips about how to do a better job.  This time, my tips are more logistical:

  • I cannot stress enough how much it helps to plan out your cookies in advance by making a sketch, as well as a list of icing colors you will need.
  • Be sure the drawings you have made are feasible for translation into icing.  It’s easy enough to draw something with a pen, but another matter entirely when using a piping bag.  Keep that in mind and don’t get too fancy with your designs unless you have a very fine tip ready (and lots of time!)
  • This time, I made all of my icing colors at once and it made the entire decorating process go much more smoothly because I didn’t have to stop in between and color more icing.
  • I have had questions from several readers who have had issues with tiny bubbles in their royal icing.  This is a common problem with an easy fix.  The bubbles are created by the air that is incorporated into the icing while you stir it for thinning purposes.  After thinning, cover and let the icing sit about 10 minutes before use.  Most of the air bubbles will have risen to the top and can be eliminated with a quick stir of the icing.

For all my previous posts with more tips on sugar cookies and royal icing, see these posts:
Christmas Cookies
Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Valentine’s Cookies
Onesie Cookies
Andrew’s First Birthday Party
Wedding Sugar Cookies
Home, Sweet Home Cookies

63 Responses

  1. Your decorating skills are uncanny!

  2. Reading you from france where halloween isn’t very popular…it’s a pity because your cakes look so… yummy!!!
    Congrats!!Keep making me dream of so good food ; )

  3. I am so so impressed!

  4. Love, Love, Love your cookies!!! The spiderwebs look SO good in those colors (thanks for the link)! 🙂 And, the skull & crossbones are the coolest! I love them all actually! Make me want to go back and re-do the ones I made last night! 😉

  5. I just had to comment on these because they are absolutely stunning! These are the best Halloween cookies I’ve seen! The colors are vibrant and smooth. I wish I were as creative as you are.

    Could you do a video or step-by-step photos of this process one day? I know you’re busy, so I will just wait with baited breath. 🙂

    • Hi Memoria,
      I would be happy to do a step-by-step post about royal icing! I have been thinking of doing one for a while. I’m already planning some cookies with royal icing for Thanksgiving, so I’ll try to get that post together then.
      🙂 Annie

  6. Wow, gorgeous cookies! I love decorating with royal icing too but I don’t have the patience to do it very often 🙂

  7. Annie, your cookies are amazing! I don’t know how you do it! Being a doctor, mother, wife and an outstanding cook/baker! I have a full time job with crazy hours, two kids, and a husband, and I cook but not like you do! Share your secret, girlfriend!!! You are so talented!!

  8. You are amazing!

  9. These cookies are awesome, I love the purple and green on the spiderwebs! I’m definately feeling inspired to use some of your designs and get baking today! 🙂

  10. These are amazing! I love the skull and crossbones!

  11. I’m always looking for excuses to make sugar cookies as well! I love these…super cute!

  12. These cookies are so festive! You have a true artistic talent when it comes to icing decorating :).

  13. These are all sooo adorable, but my favorite is the spider webs too! Purple is my favorite color so I love that you incorporated it! I am so impressed with the skull and crossbones – they look perfect!

  14. These look amazing! I’m seriously impressed by the spider webs and the skulls! Do you have a tutorial on one of your previous posts about how to work with royal icing?

    • Hi Kara,
      No, I do not yet have a step-by-step tutorial but after a couple of requests, I will be working on one very soon. Thanks for asking, it should be up sometime in the next month.
      🙂 Annie

  15. Beautiful!!! Some of the best cookies I have ever seen – your decorating skills are awesome!

  16. Beautiful cookies! I love the spiderwebs. You have such a steady hand!

  17. Love these! I love making cookies for themes or holidays! Though I normally cheat and paint on dried royal icing lol.
    I love the spiderwebs – the colours are so vibrant!!

  18. Those are so festive and fun! I really need to try the royal icing…I’m just a little intimidated. Great job!

  19. Here I was all proud of the cookies I made for this weekend, and now not so much. 😉 Seriously though, these are awesome. I love the vibrancy of the green and purple on the spider ones the most.

  20. These look so cute! I’m hoping someday I can learn how to decorate with royal icing! I love the “Eeek” and “Boo” ones! Super cute!!

  21. Your cookies look so amazing! You are one talented cookie decorator! I think my favorite are the spider webs…I love all the colors!

  22. hey annie,
    i’ve been looking for a blog to teach me all abt fondant and icing but i haven’t found one until today. 🙂 thanks for sharing with us all of these, i really really appreciate it so much. 🙂

  23. These are insane! There is no way I could do that with icing! I love them!

  24. Wow, those are fantastic!! How do you get your black icing so very black? Mine usually comes out looking rather purple. The skull and crossbones are phenomenal.

  25. […] grinning at your iMac unexpectedly? Such was the case when I saw these perfectly cute and spooky halloween sugar cookies on Annie’s Eats. These little cookies instantly had me in the Halloween spirit! I think […]

  26. hi annie! I leave you comments for the first time. You have a great site with a single word. I’m trying recipes are perfect. also wonderful and very cute baby:))
    cookie decorations is wonderful i hope i made it 😦

  27. You are SO talented!!

  28. These are so pretty! Love them!

  29. Wow! What a great variety of cookies, they all go so well together. I am planing to get my hands on some sugar cookie and cookie icing making! Thank you for sharing and all of your great tips!

  30. I love the spider webs! You did a fantastic job on the decorating. I have never done any royal frosting before.

  31. Those are seriously some beautiful cookies! I can’t believe how perfect your letters are- you’ve got one steady hand girl!

  32. They look PERFECT and are oh so cute – love them!

  33. Great cookies! You have given me the courage to make bowling pin cookies for my son’s bday party. By the way, you have the absolute BEST penmanship for a doctor that I have ever seen 😉

    • Hi Ariana,
      Good luck! I know they will turn out great. And in regards to my handwriting, I hear that often 🙂

  34. These are wonderful! So beautiful, seriously. 🙂

  35. Hi Annie! These look amazing! I’m making and decorating sugar cookies for the first time tomorrow… I’ve been looking forward to that all week. I was just wondering, when you do the spiderweb cookies, do you fill them in all black and then pipe the colored rings on immediately, or do you let the black icing dry a little first? Thanks, and have a great Halloween.

    • Hi Rita,
      Yes, you are correct, I flood the webs with black and then do colored rings on top immediately. There is a link to a post showing the technique in step-by-step photos just underneath the picture of the cookies. Hope that helps!
      🙂 Annie

  36. What is the trick to a good deep black with Wilton Gel coloring? I always end up having to add some cocoa powder to deepen it. I have sugar cookie dough ready to cut in the am but am dreading the mixing of the icing. Any special tips for deep color? Thank You! The cookies look amazing and with that lettering you should consider being a surgeon!!

    • Hi Mishelle,
      All I used was the Wilton gel. It may look a bit gray while it is still wet, but once it dries it becomes the nice black color. Hope that helps!
      🙂 Annie

  37. TOTALLLY , AND COMPLETELY *A W E S O M E * !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. These are really cute. The spider web ones are my favorite they turned out amazing.

  39. Your decorating skills amazing me! How long did these take you?

    • Krystle,
      I’m not sure! There is so much inactive time while you let the icing set, not that much is actually spent on the detailing. I would say active time – maybe two hours max?
      🙂 Annie

  40. these are awesome looking awesome job!

  41. Great Halloween cookies!

  42. Wow. You are pretty darn talented! They’re perfect!

  43. Annie, you have become a regular in my list of lookups. Your Halloween desserts are AMAZING. Would you consider adding a category of Halloween to your site categories so that I can lookup the category next year (and hopefully) have a winning dish to take to the office party)!

    Please keep the recipes coming, I am cooking right along with you!

    • Hi Shirra,
      So glad you enjoy the blog! Yes, I have actually been planning on coming up with various holiday categories this year so that those recipes are more easily accessible – so I will be taking care of that. Thanks for the suggestion.
      🙂 Annie

  44. Annie! I am a new subscriber to your blog. WOW! You are amazing! A resident physician, a mother, and an INCREDIBLE chef! I am inspired. I want to make these cookies for a bridal shower I am having in a couple weeks.

  45. I love your recipes and pics! I have one question though. I made the spider web cookies yesterday and the icing set up very well. I put them in a ziplock container overnight, and today, the icing is bleeding and definitely not hard anymore! What happened? This is my first experience with royal icing.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Did you refrigerate the cookies? That can cause the icing to bleed and melt a bit, because of the condensation when it chills. That is my only thought – otherwise, I’m not sure what happened!
      🙂 Annie

  46. I saw you mention a tutorial on icing sugar — that would be awesome. I just can’t wrap my mind around how you do the spiderweb cookies. Everything looks amazing!

  47. Annie,

    I must know…What type of sugar cookie dough/recipe do you use? They look perfect. How do you get them so thick yet not puffy and not brown? Does that make since? Mine always puff up and end up not looking like the mold/cutter I used and them brown on the sides…Once again, your look PERFECT! 😉

    • Hi Christi,
      If you look all the way down at the bottom of this post, I have linked all the previous sugar cookie and royal icing posts, starting with the post containing my sugar cookie recipe. It is my favorite, they taste great and hold their shape well!
      🙂 Annie

  48. Hey Annie, I’ve been waiting to do these since last year when I discovered your blog! I read everyday. Can I ask a question about your awesome spider web cookies? What colour wilton gels did you use? I can’t seem to find any greens or purples that ‘pop’ like yours seem to do?

    Regards from the UK. 🙂

    • Steph, the basic Wilton gels can “pop” just depending on how you use them. They don’t look like that concentrated in their little bottles though. I just used whatever their purple color is, and I think leaf green for the green.

  49. Thanks very much. I’ll give it a whirl! 😀

  50. annie,
    When you take more than a day to decorate your cookies, do you cover them in between each stage?

    • Not usually, since the whole point of it taking longer is the long drying times. Covering them could potentially mess up the icing. But once dry, they could be stored at various stages. I usually don’t.

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