FOR THE CUPCAKES
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and the softened butter in a large mixing bowl.
Start beating on low speed just until everything is combined. It will have the appearance of coarse sand.
In a small measuring bowl whisk together the milk, egg, and the vanilla together and then slowly pour half of this mixture into the flour mixture.
Beat on low speed till combined then increase the speed to high speed. This will get rid of any lumps.
Turn the mixer back down to slow speed and pour in the rest of the milk mixture.
Continue to mix for a couple of more minutes until the batter looks smooth. Do now over mix.
Scoop the batter in the prepared muffin pan, filling two thirds full.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the cupcake bounces back when lightly touched. You can also test to see if it's done by inserting a toothpick in the center and if it comes back clean then they are ready.
Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely, before icing.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE ICING
In a large bowl, beat together the icing sugar, softened butter and cocoa powder on low speed, just until it comes together.
Add the milk, a couple of teaspoons at a time, while on low speed.
Once the milk is fully mixed in, switch to high speed and continue to mix until the icing is light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes.
The longer you mix the icing, you will note that the lighter and fluffier it becomes. YUMMY!
When ready spoon the icing over the cupcakes or simply use a piping bag if you prefer.
Prepare 2 cookie baking sheets with silpat baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.
Place the candy melts in a small microwaveable bowl or container.
Melt on 50% power for 1 minute and then stir the candy melts very well.
Return the candy melts to the microwave and continue to melt and stir at 15 to 20 second intervals.
Sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the popcorn. (you can use any salt you prefer)
Toss together the salted popcorn with a few tablespoons at a time of melted chocolate until you get the desired color. Make sure to toss very well.
Divide the popcorn between the 2 prepared cookie baking sheets and spread them out evenly in one single layer.
Drizzle more melted chocolate over the layers of popcorn and quickly sprinkle generously with your choice of Halloween sprinkles so that the sprinkles have a chance to adhere to the melted chocolate. (make sure to set aside a little of the melted chocolate to assemble the popcorn over the cupcakes)
Let set till the chocolate hardens.
Special note: You can thin the melted chocolate with vegetable oil, one teaspoon at a time, for easy drizzling.
ASSEMBLING THE POPCORN
Once the popcorn is set, break off into small pieces and strategically place over the iced cupcakes, starting at the outer part of the cupcake working yourself to the top.
You can fill in any gaps with smaller pieces of popcorn by dipping them first in a little bit of melted chocolate (this will act as a glue) and then insert into the gaps.