I’m pretty sure these Jack-o’-Lantern Cake Pops from Bakerella’s Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats (Chronicle) have made me a cake pop convert. Her exhaustively detailed instructions and advice turned what could’ve been an intimidating project into something easy and fun and adorable. Since the method is basically the same for all the cake pops, you can start with the easier, one-color ones and move your way up to the more complicated projects. These Jack-o’-Lanterns are the perfect pops to start out with for Halloween because they’re pretty straightforward but also cute and creative. What great gifts, as well as a fun activity to do with kids! I’m excited to try more of these.

Jack-o’-Lantern Cake Pops

You’ll need:

48 uncoated Basic Cake Balls (recipe below)

48 ounces (3 pounds) orange candy coating

Deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl

48 paper lollipop sticks

48 green Tic Tac mints or similarly shaped candy

Styrofoam block

Black edible-ink pen

Basic Cake Balls

Makes 48

You’ll need:

18.25-ounce box cake mix

9-by-13-inch cake pan

Large mixing bowl

16-ounce container ready-made frosting

Large metal spoon

Wax paper

2 baking sheets

Plastic wrap

Notes: I used carrot cake and vanilla frosting, but you can use any combination of cake and frosting you want. Also, I took Bakerella’s advice for first-time cake poppers and only made 12 cake pops so as not to overwhelm myself, so I divided this recipe by 4 and froze the leftover 3 sections of cake for later use.

Bake the cake as directed on the box, using a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Let cool completely.

Once the cake is cooled, get organized and set aside plenty of time (a couple of hours) to crumble, roll, and dip 4 dozen cake pops.

To crumble the cake, cut the cake into four equal sections. Remove a section from the pan, break it in half, and rub the two pieces together over a large bowl, making sure to crumble any large pieces that fall off. You can also use a fork to break any larger pieces of cake apart. Repeat with each section until the entire cake is crumbled into a fine texture.

Add three-quarters of the container of frosting. (You will not need the remaining frosting.) Mix it into the crumbled cake, using the back of a large metal spoon, until thoroughly combined. If you use the entire container, the cake balls will be too moist.

The mixture should be moist enough to roll into 1 ½-inch balls and still hold a round shape. After rolling the cake balls by hand, place them on wax paper-covered baking sheets.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.

Place the candy coating in a deep, microwave-safe plastic bowl. These bowls make it easier to cover the cake balls completely with candy coating while holding the bowl without burning your fingers. (I usually work with about 16 ounces of coating at a time.)

Melt the candy coating, following the instructions on the package. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a spoon in between. You can also use a double boiler. Either way, make sure you do not overheat the coating.

Now you’re ready to dip. Take a few cake balls at a time out of the refrigerator or freezer to work with. If they’re in the freezer, transfer the rest of the balls to the refrigerator at this point, so they stay firm but do not freeze.

One at a time, dip about ½ inch of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and insert the stick straight into a cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through. Dip the cake pop into the melted coating, completely covering the cake ball, and remove it in one motion. If the coating is too thick, gently tap off any excess. Hold the pop over the bowl in one hand and tap your wrist gently with your other hand.

Immediately insert a Tic Tac on the very top of the pumpkin pop. Hold in place until set, and let dry completely in the Styrofoam block. Repeat with the remaining pumpkins until they all have stems.

Draw on jack-o’-lantern faces with a black edible-ink pen, and let dry completely in the Styrofoam block.