How To Throw a “Nightmare Before Christmas” Viewing/Baking Party

We’re just a little bit (a lot) obsessed with The Nightmare Before Christmas. For nostalgia’s sake, I’ll tell you how the obsession first started and why: It was all thanks to a Disney Classics Songs CD I used to play in the car when our oldest daughter was 2 (Does anyone even used CD’s anymore? We haven’t used them in so long, that I can’t even remember where this particular one is).

She heard the song “What’s This?” (one of the best Disney songs ever) on track 8 and it all was downhill after that. She memorized it in under 2 weeks since we were required to play it during every car ride, and 6 months later we were visiting Mr. Skellington himself and his adorably undead girlfriend Sally onboard Disney Cruise Line’s Halloween on the High Seas (Oh how I miss it. Sad face because there’s still a cruise travel ban as were still in the Covid pandemic.) And ever since that year we’ve been obsessed.

And I don’t mind one bit since I’m also a huge Tim Burton fan. But this year was actually the first year though that I let them watch the movie in its entirety—I was always a little bit nervous they’d be scared but they handled it pretty well. They’ve been begging me for years so I wanted to make it a bit special for them—so much so that the second time we watched it, we turned it into a full scale event. (Though if you follow me on Instagram you already know that Family Movie Night in our house usually is a full entertaining/baking event anyway.)

The perks of social media are that you sometimes find things you didn’t even know you were looking for—such as in the case of the next few links to some of the cupcakes we baked. After seeing them, I decided “heck yah, we’re having a Nightmare Before Christmas viewing/baking party!” And it all started with two fellow Disney loving bakers’ posts: Neurotic Mom’s Spider Cupcakes here and witch cupcakes here, and Spoonful of Sugar Baker’s Jack Skellington cupcakes here. They both looked so easy and kid-baking friendly. And the idea of a Nightmare Before Christmas movie event brought me right back to that favorite Halloween cruise where they do tons of Nightmare Before Christmas events. From there it all sort of spiraled and the kids and I made a bunch of Halloween Town characters, and—dare I say it—they actually turned out pretty darn good! All materials and step-by-step instructions are listed below.

Materials Needed (all can be found in the Baking/Halloween section at the grocery store) :

  • Your favorite Cake Mix (store bought or homemade)
  • Vanilla frosting (store bought or homemade)
  • Chocolate frosting (store bought or homemade)
  • Green food dye (both regular and all-natural work fine)
  • Oreo Cookies (this will be the witch’s hat)
  • Hershey’s Kisses (part of the witch’s hat and Mayor of Halloween Town)
  • Twizzler’s Pull and Peel (spider legs)
  • Maraschino Cherries (spider body)
  • Black Writing Icing
  • Candy Eyeballs
  • Spreading knives or spoons
  • Optional: 3 piping bags, 2 round piping tips, and 1 star tip. (This makes frosting the cupcakes much cleaner/neater looking—well, neat-ish, after all, the kids are making these.)

Prepare First:

  1. Bake cupcakes according to instructions. Let cool completely.
  2. Color half the vanilla frosting green with the food dye. Set aside.
  3. If using piping bags, place the green frosting in one fitted with the star tip, and the chocolate and vanilla in another fitted with the round tips.
  4. Cut each Twizzler whole into about 4 pieces. (I tried separating them at this point and it was much more difficult and messy than just cutting them whole and having the kids separate as they use them because they can get pretty sticky.)
  5. Pour all decorations into small bowls for easy access, and cut tip off of black writing icing.
  6. Slice about 6 cherries in half—you could always add more later if wanting to make more spider cupcakes.
  7. Bonus points if the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack is playing in the background.

Decorating the Cupcakes:

  • Jack Skellington
    • Pipe a thin layer of vanilla frosting onto a cupcake. Spread evenly using spreading knife or back of spoon. Pipe two black ovals for eyes, downturned slits for nose, and for his bony smile pipe a smile line with lines going through it vertically.
  • Witch
    • Pipe green frosting in a circular shape onto a cupcake. Top with one Oreo cookie. Pipe a tiny dot of frosting (any kind) on top of the cookie and place a Hershey Kiss on top.
  • Spider
    • Pipe either vanilla or chocolate frosting onto cupcake. Lay flat each half of a maraschino cherry in the center. Peel apart Twizzler pieces and lay down four on each half of cupcake for the legs. Pipe dot of frosting onto the head and place one eyeball.
  • Mayor of Halloween Town
    • I’m very proud of this one, because my daughter created it. She’s obsessed with the mayor now and wanted to create his double-sided head. She started with piping half a cupcake with vanilla frosting and the other half with chocolate. (Think half-moon shapes of each.)
    • She lay down one two eyeballs, one on each side. She then drew one half of his smile with the black writing icing on the vanilla side, and used a piece of red Twizzler for his smile on the chocolate side.
    • She topped the entire cupcake with a Hershey Kiss, but looking back now I see that we could even have made them the same way as the Witch hat and topped the cupcake with an Oreo cookie and then a Kiss on top of that—either way works fine.
  • Oogey Boogey
    • Start by piping a thin layer of chocolate or vanilla frosting on the entire cupcake. Then take the green icing and draw a triangle with a tail (honestly, the best way to imagine this is to imagine the Poop emoji—just draw a green poop emoji for his head). Use the knife or spoon to spread the green evenly. Draw two long and thick upturned slits for his eyes and one long thick smile with thick line in between for his open mouth/teeth.

When finished decorating it’s time to watch the movie together as we eat them! This was obviously the best part, and in true Disney Family fashion, we all had to sing along together, especially when our favorite songs “This is Halloween” and “What’s This?!” came on—took me right back to the sing-alongs on that cruise and made me look forward to the next sing-along on the next one—hopefully next Halloween.

From my family to yours, we wish you all a very happy and safe Halloween 2020. 2020 isn’t cancelled completely—we just have to rework our mindsets of our favorite activities and make them suitable to be done at home. Please tag me @mommyinginairplanemode on Instagram if you try these out during your next Family Movie Night, I’d love to see!

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