These adorable—and not crazily intensive—graveyard Halloween cupcakes are deceptively easy to make. The cupcakes and frosting can be homemade or store-bought. Same goes for the cookie dough you use for the gravestones. And you can enlist the kids’ help in decorating the cookies and in crushing store-bought chocolate sandwich cookies to make the graveyard dirt.

To give the graves an extra-spooky look, add any creepy candy you can find. You got this, mom

Recipe FAQs

How do I get the right consistency for my royal icing?

For these spooky sweet cupcakes, you want your icing to be of writing consistency. That is, you don’t want it flowing out of your piping bag, but you shouldn’t have to struggle to get it to pipe, either. For more information on how to thin it to the right consistency for your project, see this article on How to Decorate with Royal Icing.

Can I make these ahead of time?

Yes. You can assemble the cupcakes up to 1 day before serving. Store them in a covered container at room temperature.

☞ Want more Halloween cupcake recipes? Try these:

Three graveyard Halloween cupcakes with mini pumpkin candies and crosses on a piece of slate.

Graveyard Halloween Cupcakes

5 / 2 votes
These graveyard Halloween cupcakes are easy to make, can be made the day before, and are perfect for your Halloween party. Store-bought cupcakes and roll-out cookies mean that all you're really doing is decorating (the fun part!)
David Leite
Servings12 servings
Calories193 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Chilling time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 55 minutes


  • piping bag; cross cookie cutter or card templates for cross-shaped headstones


  • 1 batch your favorite store-bought or homemade roll-out cookie dough, any flavor, whether sugar or butter or gingerbread or chocolate or Swedish spice
  • 12 store-bought or homemade cupcakes with chocolate frosting
  • All-purpose flour, for the work surface
  • Royal Icing
  • Black food coloring paste
  • 6 Oreo cookies
  • Mini fondant or marzipan pumpkins or other creepy candy of any sort, (optional)


Make the cookie gravestones

  • Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 2 hours.
  • When the cookie dough is ready, arrange a rack in the center position and crank the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Lightly dust a clean, dry surface with flour and roll the cookie dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Use a cross cookie cutter or place a cross template on the dough and carefully cut around it with a small, sharp knife. You’ll need 12 crosses total.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: It’s a good idea to bake a couple more than a dozen cookies in case of accidental breakage.

  • To decorate, thin the royal icing if necessary to create a consistency for writing and tint it black with a smidgen of the food coloring paste. Spoon the icing into a piping bag or into a resealable plastic bag and use scissors to snip off one of the very bottom corners. Pipe an outline of frosting around each cross-shaped cookie headstone. Pipe dates or names on the headstones, too, if you like. Let the icing set.

Frost and assemble the graveyard Halloween cupcakes

  • Crush the Oreo cookies finely in a food processor or put them in a resealable plastic bag, seal, and crush with a rolling pin. They should be fine enough to resemble dirt.
  • Scatter the crushed cookies over each cupcake and firmly but gently insert the bottom of a cross-shaped cookie into each cupcake. If desired, decorate the cupcakes with candy.
Halloween Treats Cookbook

Adapted From

Halloween Treats

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 193 kcalCarbohydrates: 31 gProtein: 0.3 gFat: 8 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 0.003 gCholesterol: 0.01 mgSodium: 96 mgPotassium: 29 mgFiber: 0.2 gSugar: 27 gVitamin A: 0.2 IUCalcium: 3 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Annie Rigg. Photo © 2012 William Lingwood. All rights reserved.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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