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Halloween Sugar Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 1 hour + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


2 dozen

Updated: Aug. 23, 2022
I've been making these Halloween sugar cookies for about 40 years—first for my children and now my grandchildren and all their friends, too. I make about 20 trays a year to give away to trick-or-treaters. —Pamela Shank, Parkersburg, West Virginia
Halloween Sugar Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons water
  • Optional: Yellow, orange, green and black paste food coloring


  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Shape dough into 2 portions. Shape each into a disk; wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. Halloween-shaped cookie cutters. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, beat confectioners’ sugar, shortening and enough water to reach spreading consistency. Tint frosting and decorate as desired. Let stand until set.
Halloween Sugar Cookies Tips

Do you have to refrigerate the dough when making Halloween sugar cookies?

It's tempting to roll out and bake these sugar cookies right away, but don't skip refrigerating the dough first. Letting the dough chill prevents the cookies from spreading in the oven, which is especially important if you're making Halloween shapes like ghosts, cats and bats rather than circle cutouts. You want the shapes to be recognizable, and chilled dough will help keep them that way.

How else can you decorate Halloween sugar cookies?

Any Halloween-themed cookie cutter could work for these Halloween sugar cookies. Look for a witch's hat or, if you're going spookier, a coffin-shaped cookie cutter. Triangle-shaped sugar cookies decorated with orange, yellow and white frosting look just like candy corn. Even circle or square cutouts are easy to turn into Halloween cookies with a little imagination (and frosting)—you can pipe on a spiderweb or mummy, or an adorable Frankenstein. Or focus on Halloween colors with your sugar cookies. Try orange and black frosting, matching sprinkles, and "Boo!" spelled out in black icing.

How should you store Halloween sugar cookies?

After you frost the Halloween sugar cookies and let the frosting set, you can store them between layers of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container, which will protect the frosting. They're better fresher, but these cookies should last for 3 days, or up to a week at most. Get more tips about how to store cookies, and then check out more of our Halloween cookie recipes after these are gobbled up!

Lauren Pahmeier, Taste of Home Associate Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 182 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 18mg cholesterol, 103mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate (25g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

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