I admit it. I look at Pinterest and feel like I should be able to throw together this awesomely amazing birthday party for The Boy in my spare time. Then, I remember I work and don’t have spare time. I do try to do something cute for his birthdays though. We don’t go all out. We only have family over to celebrate. He’ll have a big party with friends in a few years, but right now, we are keeping it small.
And it all starts with Halloween.
Tip: Think about Halloween
Coordinate decorations between holidays to save time and money.
Wait – you say. Why are we mixing Halloween and birthdays? Here’s why. Our church does a Trunk or Treat every year where you decorate your car for the kids to come along and get candy. What I did this past year was use the decorations that I planned on using for The Boy’s birthday in February for the Trunk or Treat car in October. Meaning, I got to re-use this stuff and I only had to make one trip to the party store. Score! How does this work with a toddler’s attention span? By using the same decorations and allowing him to continue playing with them in between Halloween and his birthday, we’ve been lucky enough that he continued to like the idea of having his birthday be the same thing he was for Halloween. We didn’t do this the first two years and it might not be possible this next year, but it’s something to consider if you have an obsessed kid.
This past year, we also had our first trip to Walt Disney World with The Boy planned. We knew we’d be there during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, so we decided to coordinate Toy Story inspired costumes for the Party, the Trunk or Treat at church, and his birthday. Getting to use some of this stuff three times made my frugal self happy and it made decorating and planning a LOT easier.
Now for the Cupcakes
This is not so much a recipe as an assembly guide. I don’t have time to bake things from scratch. If you’re honest, you probably don’t either.
Tip: Invest in two cupcake pans
Why? They’re cheap and that means you can fit the entire batch of batter in two pans and not have to bake for twice as long.
What you need:
- 1 box cake mix (plus all the ingredients to mix it up)
- 2 cans of butter cream frosting
- 1 tube neon green gel coloring dye
- green gummies
- black jelly beans
- 1 package candy eyes (make sure the package contains at least 72 eyes)
- green toothpicks
Preparing the cupcakes
- Bake the cupcakes.
24 cupcakes takes just slightly under a 1/4 cup batter each for a typical boxed cake.
- Refrigerate or freeze the cupcakes while you mix the frosting to make them easier to frost.
- In a mixer, mix the green dye with your butter cream frosting until you get the color desired. This took about 1/2 tube of the neon green gel for two cans of frosting.
- Frost the cupcakes.
- Cut the green gummies into triangular pieces. My gummies were Easter gummies, so they were not very easy to make triangles. I eventually was able to make rectangles and then cut those for the triangle.
- Cut the black jelly beans into quarters to get as close to a “smile” as possible.
- Put a bit of gummy on top of the green toothpick. Bonus: this helps keep the top of your container from getting frosting on it.
I bought one of those Toy Story cup cake stands, but I think these would have been just as cute lined up in rows. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with how sturdy this stand was for being only a few dollars. I think it might be worth it, though, to invest in a real cupcake stand for the future.
Now that your army is complete, you can take over the world.