This is the week that I must make hundreds of Halloween shapes of sugar cookies for the month that has become known as "Marlene Halloween Cookie Extravaganza." I know it sounds crazy, but I'm just going to make the cookies and store them in the freezer first. I need all the strength I can muster up to spend an afternoon trying to decorate the little things.

Kelly Cordes
Kelly Cordes


My Aunt Marlene makes these cute little pumpkin cookies every year.  I thought I would try to take my spin on it and add these scary, or goofy-looking ghosts. It's turned into a tradition that has been passed down to two more generations. I thought it looked like a fun project...but I quickly realized that It's a lot harder than it seems. hat is tipped to you for your painstaking efforts to bring a little cookie joy to us every Halloween...and all year long..for all the other amazing treats you make.

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Here are my tips for an enjoyable cooking-making experience.

Kelly Cordes
Kelly Cordes

I stopped by Crafts Direct and bought pumpkin, bat, and ghost-shaped cookie cutters. I've tried the frosting mix in the past, but it's just not the same as making my Mom's traditional frosting which is great on everything.  I usually make the cookie dough from scratch, but unless you have the time and patience to make the dough, roll it out, cut it out, bake it, freeze, and decorate it?  You can totally skip the dough.  Pillsbury cookie dough is pretty dang awesome, and it's hard to beat. You just pick up a few rolls and get to rolling out the dough, and then cutting out the shapes.


  • Frosting Decorating Mix for sugar cookies or make your own
  • Tubes of black, orange, and white frosting (or make your own)
  • Candy corn
  • Food coloring
  • Halloween cookie cutters; ghosts, bats, pumpkins
  • 4 rolls of Pillsbury cookie dough (or make your own...if you dare). You can find this in the refrigerated section at your grocery store
  • Flour
  • Wax paper
  • Rolling Pin


Have a large clean space for rolling out your cookie dough.  Make sure you flour your baking area, flour your rolling pin, and put a little flour on your hands. Roll out the dough to the thickness you prefer, and cut out the cookies. I think it's easier to make all your ghosts on one sheet, then pumpkins on another, and bats on another. I probably made 2 pans of each...and remember that the cookies will expand when you bake them, so once you cut out the cookies put them on the pan at least an inch apart so they don't bake together.

Bake your cookies and freeze them one day...and then choose a different day for decorating. It works much better.  When the cookies are frozen, they are so much easier to work with, and the frosting hardens quicker as well.

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I actually purchased some frosting in a bottle in orange, black, and white, to do some outlining, but I'm not good at it. It did work well for the ghost you don't have to be perfect.

Candy corn is easy to work with and is a quick cute decoration to use for your pumpkins.

My frosting recipe is simple..but deadly. Once you try it, you may eat buckets of it without after day. It will drive you to the edge of sugar insanity.


You'll need melted butter, a drop of milk,  vanilla, and almond extract, as well as a bunch of powdered sugar.  Add 4 cups of sugar to a bowl. add in about 1/4 of butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon almond extract, and mix.  when it starts to get thick, start adding in just a teaspoon of milk at a time until you reach the desired consistency that you want. then I added red and yellow food coloring to the remainder of the frosting to make an orange color to frost my pumpkins. I also had a few bat cookies left over so I added a little blue and green trying to create a black frosting for my bats...but I never really achieved it...but it was good enough. It was sort of a fun greenish-blue color...very cute for my little bats.

After the frosting dried, I took my black bottle of frosting and made eyes and a mouth on my ghosts.  A really cool after-effect was it made these little tiny lines that looked like something from Jack Skellington!  You could also use cinnamon dots for the eyes.


A lot of people think that the cookies are going to be ready to package up immediately..but not so fast. You're going to have cookies drying all over your kitchen for a little make sure you have room and you have time.  :-)


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