Halloween evening five years ago, I was on my way to one of my graduate school classes. Small children clad in costumes were just beginning to emerge with their parents to participate in the annual tradition of trick-or-treating. Seeing them brought back so many fond memories. While Halloween as an adult is fun, nothing beats the childhood experience—it’s magical. A thought crossed my mind: “I can’t wait to have kids of my own. How fun it will be to experience Halloween through their eyes.” As I drove along, I imagined all the special activities I would plan, food I would make, and events in which we would participate. Little did I know, I was newly pregnant, and those experiences were right around the corner.
I was correct: Having a child certainly makes holidays a lot more fun—and a lot more work! But it’s all worth it. My son, now four years old, is starting to grasp the ideas of Halloween, dressing up, and trick-or-treating. We spent our October reading ghost stories, watching spooky (kid friendly) movies, going to fall festivals, visiting old grave yards, carving pumpkins, and participating in the very best of Halloween traditions: TRICK-OR-TREATING. We had such a blast!
Last year, my son chose his first Halloween costume: Han Solo. My nerd-heart rejoiced! This year, he insisted on being Marshal, the firefighting pup from Paw Patrol. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed, but Marshal is his current hero. So, a costume was made. I used white sweatpants and a white long-sleeved hooded shirt to make the body of the costume. The spots were cut out of black felt and attached to the body using fabric-fusing tape. The ears were made of white, pink, and black felt, then sewn onto the hood of the white shirt (without the hat, they reminded me of Dobby ears, but it didn’t bother the little guy). The tail was made using white and black felt, stuffed with bunting, and sewn into the seam of the sweatpants. Marshal’s vest was made from a red zip-front sweatshirt; I simply removed the hood and sleeves, then reinforced the seems/hem using red thread. To make Marshal’s collar, I used yellow grosgrain ribbon; the pup tag was made with yellow, orange, red, and gray felt. I ordered a plastic fireman’s helmet and pack set from Amazon, then made Paw Patrol shields out of gray and white felt for both. I was pleased with the final product and my son was over the moon. When he saw his reflection in the mirror after donning his costume, he joyfully said, “Mommy, I’m Marshal!” That moment was incredibly special.
Halloween has always been a favorite holiday. Decorations go up on October 1st and come down November 1st. They consist of pieces I’ve colected over the years from a variety of places, including the Paisley Christmas Shoppe in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, where we enjoyed annual vacations for many years (hopefully we will return in the future). I’m not into scary decorations, but rather ones that are rustic, focus on Jack-o-lanterns, witches, and silhouettes. I love setting the scene around the house. Everything feels more special with decorations.
Food & Events
We were traveling for two weekends this month, so I didn’t plan/host as much as I might normally. We were able to get in A Spooky Family Movie Night, and made it to two local fall festivals.
My little monster had a Halloween party with his preschool class and I signed up to provide sweet treats. I decided to keep it simple and make rice crispy treats, decked out with Halloween sprinkles (purchased at Target). Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I made “Monster Cookies,” too. In doing so, I used Ree Drumond’s recipe for Angel Sugar Cookies, but gave them a devilish twist by rolling them in purple, orange, and green sanding sugar, then pressing multiple sugar eyes into the cookies once they were baked (if you try to bake the cookies with the eyes in place, the eyes will melt—I learned this the hard way). Individual servings were created by placing one rice crispy treat or two cookies in 4×6-inch glassine bags, tied with black and orange 1/8-inch wide satin ribbon. They were presented in a purple felt Halloween basket, which was a gift from a friend.
Last year, we were invited by dear friends to trick-or-treat with them in their neighborhood. As we walked around, we talked about how we needed drinks and food on the go. We joked about pulling a wagon with the necessary supplies next year. Well, we made that a reality. This year, we used our collapsible Radio Flyer wagon to pull a “cocktail party on the move.” Three families got together to make this party happen. My wonderful friend, Sonja, made some incredible pepperoni and cheese rolls (I seriously could have eaten an entire pan, they were so good), chocolate chip-pumpkin cookies, and a delicious Zuppa Toscana for everyone to enjoy when we returned. I made Deviled Eggs, Veggies & Dip (ranch dressing for the kids), Buffalo Wing Humus with Pita Chips, and Sweet & Spicy Pecans. Every cocktail party needs a drink, so I made Spiced Sangria, which was transported in plastic pitchers with sealed lids and stored in a cooler with ice. For convenience and preservation, everything was kept in Tupperware containers. I did not have time to decorate the wagon, but I did provide clear plastic tumblers and Halloween-themed cocktail napkins. We also made sure to have a garbage bag on hand to collect trash. One thing I wish I had included was wet wipes. Unfortunately, the evening was so chaotic (I mean, come on, you’re trick-or-treating with a flock of kids ranging in age from 2 to 7), I didn’t get any pictures. What’s important is we all had a great time!
Now that Halloween has come and gone, I’m already starting to think and plan for next year. I hope you and your family enjoyed the holiday (and the month of October) as much as we did!
Amazing Grace Corn Maze & Fall Festival