Yes, I used a large star tip & a disposable bag, both from Wilton.
It's not necessary to add the pudding and applesauce; however, I find it makes the cupcakes moister and adds a nicer, richer vanilla flavor. If you don't have those/don't want to use them, you certainly do not have to.
And this frosting is sweet and creamy--not at all chalky, though I do know what you mean! If the frosting seems chalky/pasty, add some more milk to fluff it up and make it creamier.
Howdy, I found mine for a buck each at Michael's craft store, but I'm pretty sure you could find 'em at Hobby Lobby, Joann's, or even Walmart in their seasonal baking section :) Look for coupons for craft stores online, too, so you can save money!
--Hi! I actually was given this apron as a gift from my dear friend, Katrina. I believe she purchased it at a gag gifts and costume shop called Evangeline's here in Sacramento. But I also have a cupcake apron from Anthropologie. it's still available online & super cute with bows!) & I've picked some up off eBay before as well!