Change the World

Halloween Cupcakes

Darkness falls across the land

The midnight hour is close at hand

Creatures crawl in search of blood

To terrorize your neighborhood…

Who doesn't love Halloween, right?! Apart from the scary movies and costumes, spooky baking is my favorite Halloween tradition. I've created five fearfully frightful designs to decorate a moist chocolate cupcake. Give all five a go, or just take one or two designs to decorate your dozen.


1 cup plain flour

¼ cup of unsweetened good quality cocoa powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp of salt

¼ cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in 2 tsp of water

1 tsp vanilla essence

2/3 cup of buttermilk

Line muffin tray with cupcake liners and turn oven to 350°F.

Put flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium sized bowl and stir quickly with a whisk until all lumps have disappeared. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric beater for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until each eggs in fully incorporated with the mixture.

Add the vanilla and dissolved coffee and beat for two minutes.

On a low speed, add half the flour mixture, then add the buttermilk. Add the rest of the flour mixture until just combined and the batter should look smooth.

Using an ice-cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners to a ½ inch below the top. I actually had enough mixture for a 13th cupcake, which worked out well as a good tester-cupcake.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.

If you are to try tackling all five designs, follow the below instructions. If you are just sticking to one, such as the pumpkin cupcakes, just make the orange icing and follow the below instructions.


¾ cups of butter

3 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar

¾ tsp of clear vanilla extract

2 tbsp. of whole milk

2 heaped tbsps. of good quality unsweetened cocoa

Orange and green food coloring (or yellow, red and blue to mix to make the appropriate colors)

Cream butter with an electric mixer, then add vanilla. Gradually add one cup of confectioners' sugar at a time, beating well on a medium speed. Make sure all sugar is incorporated by scraping the sides of the bowl regularly. Omit or add the milk to make your perfect consistency.

Divide into three bowls – one for the chocolate, one for the orange and one for the green icing. Sift the cocoa into one bowl until fully combined, then put aside. Make the other two bowls your approved shades of orange and green using the food colouring.

Now, if you REALLY like icing, you may want to double this recipe. Sure, there will be some left over, but I've known people to spread icing on toast before, when they thought that no one was looking.

Spider Cupcake

Spider Cupcakes

Chocolate icing

Black licorice rope

Mini marshmallows

Chocolate sprinkles

Melted chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Cover cupcake with chocolate icing, spreading with a warm knife to coat evenly. Pour chocolate sprinkles into a dish and dip the cupcake in to cover. Roll around gently in saucer to cover completely.

Cut mini marshmallows in half, and using a homemade piping bag*, dot melted chocolate on the mini marshmallow halves for pupils.

Also with the melted chocolate, pipe two small 1 and a half inch smile lines, about a half inch apart. Then stick the eyeballs in a row onto the lines of chocolate, that way when they harden, they will keep the eyes in place.

Cut the licorice into 3.5 inch pieces and stick 4 in each side of the spider cupcake. If the “leg" sticks out, pinch the top of the leg protruding from the cupcake and curl the legs under as required.

*You can use a small plastic sandwich bag and cut the corner to make a small hole. If you have an icing head, cut a slightly bigger hole and squeeze the head into the hole in the bag.

Jack-o'-Lantern Cupcakes

Jack-o'-Lantern Cupcakes

Orange icing

Melted chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Green sprinkles

Cover cupcake with orange icing, spreading with a warm knife to coat evenly. Pipe a jack-o-lantern expression with the melted chocolate in a piping bag*. Dust the very top of the pumpkin with green sprinkles.

Pumpkin Patch Cupcake

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Green icing

Pretzel sticks

Melted chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Candy pumpkins

Wilton's icing head #233

To make the fence, take five pretzel sticks for each pumpkin cupcake; three for the fence posts and two for the cross bars. Use the melted chocolate chips to glue the sticks together. Use quite a lot on one side to ensure they stick properly.

Use either a bought or homemade piping bag* and attach icing head 223. Pipe green icing onto the top of each cupcake, squeezing the bag gently at a 90 degree angle and pulling away to make the icing appear like blades of grass.

Place 3 candy pumpkins on each cupcake. Once pretzel fences are dry, stick into the cupcake behind the pumpkins to appear like a fence.

Spider Cobweb Cupcakes

Spider Cobweb Cupcakes

Chocolate icing

Melted white chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Small board covered in foil

Put melted white icing into a piping bag* and drizzle a cobweb shape onto the small board covered in foil. See pictures of cobweb for design. Put in fridge for 30 minutes or until hardened. Place atop of chocolate cupcake.

Graveyard Cupcakes

Graveyard Cupcakes

Chocolate icing

Green icing (for grass)

Chocolate sprinkles

Melted white chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Wilton's icing head #233

Using a sharp knife, cut off the very top of the cupcake. Then, halve the top and stick the two halves back to back using the melted white chocolate to form a half circle. Pipe RIP with the white chocolate from a piping bag*. Using the back of a warm spoon, put a line of chocolate icing down the middle of the cupcake and place the tombstone near the back. Cover the chocolate icing with the sprinkles to give the appearance of dirt.

Use the same technique for the grass icing as the pumpkin patch cupcake, create grass around the tombstone to cover the rest of the cupcake.

And grisly ghouls from every tomb

Are closing in to seal your doom

And though you fight to stay alive

Your body starts to shiver

For no mere mortal can resist

The evil of the Thriller…

Enjoy – mwhahahaha!

Show Comments ()

World's First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV Positive Donors

Sperm Positive, started by three non-profits in New Zealand, hopes to end stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Change the World

9 Stories That Celebrate the Experience of Gay Fathers Living with HIV

This World AIDS Day, we dug into our archives to find 9 stories that bring awareness to and celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV

December 1st is World AIDS Day — a day to unite in our collective fight to end the epidemic, remember those we've lost, and bring much needed attention and money to support those who continue to live with HIV and AIDS. For us at Gays With Kids, it's also a time to lift up and celebrate the experiences of fathers, so many of who never thought they'd see the day where they would be able to start families.

Towards that end, we've rounded up nine stories, family features and articles from our archives that celebrate the experience of gay fathers living with HIV — the struggles, triumphs and everything in between.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How This Dad 'Redesigned' the Holidays After Coming Out of the Closet

Rick Clemons describes how he made the holidays work for him and his family again after coming out of the closet

What I'm about to describe to you, is something I am deeply ashamed of in hindsight. I was a jerk, still in a state of shock and confusion, and "in love" with a handsome Brit I'd only spent less than 24 hours with.

I was standing in the Ontario, California airport watching my wife walk with my two daughters to a different gate than mine. They were headed to my parents in the Napa Valley for Thanksgiving. I was headed to spend my Thanksgiving with the Brit in San Francisco. It was less than one month after I had come out of the closet and I was so caught up in my own freedom and new life that I didn't realize until everything went kaput with the Brit on New Year's Eve, that if I was ever going to manage the holidays with dignity and respect for me, my kids, and their Mom, I was going to have to kick myself in the pants and stop acting like a kid in the candy store when it came to men. Ok, nothing wrong with acting that way since I never got to date guys in high school and college because I was raised to believe – gay no way, was the way. But that's another article all together.

Keep reading... Show less
What to Buy

Shop with a Purpose with Our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Want to find amazing gift ideas while *also* supporting LGBTQ-owned and allied businesses? Look no further than our 2019 holiday gift guide!

'Tis the season to show loved ones you care. And what better way to show you care, by also supported our LGBTQ+ community and allies whilst doing it! Shop (LGBTQ+) smart with these great suggestions below.

Keep reading... Show less
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Newly Out Gay Dad Feels 'Demoted' After Divorce

Cameron Call showed up to his first family Thanksgiving since coming out and getting a divorce — and struggles to find himself "stuck with the singles."

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his first article here.

Denial is an interesting thing. It's easy to think you're potentially above it, avoiding it, assume it doesn't apply to you because you'd NEVER do that, or maybe you're just simply avoiding it altogether. After finally coming out, I liked to think that I was done denying anything from now on. But unfortunately that's not the case.

And this fact became very clear to me over Thanksgiving.

Keep reading... Show less

New Report Details the 'Price of Parenthood' for LGBTQ People

A new report by the Family Equality Council takes a deep dive into the current state of cost for becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person

Parenthood is expensive. But parenthood while queer is still prohibitively costly for so many segments of the LGBTQ community interested in pursuing a family, according to a new repot by the Family Equality Council, titled, "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood."

Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Regardless of annual household income, 45-53% of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents for the first time or add another child to their family. Those making less than $25,000 a year are considering becoming parents at very similar rates as those making over $100,000.
  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse