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October 03, 2019

Halloween | Homemade Treats, Menu Ideas & Easy Decorations

Halloween is one of those nostalgic holidays for me.  We lived in the country so we didn't have Trick-or-Treaters.  On Halloween night we would go "in town" to my Granny's house to hand out candy - we thought that was more fun that going from house to house ourselves.  But I think there was part of me that was a little envious to see gaggles of neighborhood friends running up and down the dimly lit streets.  

While there are certainly many times in my adult life that I wished we lived in the country, on Halloween night I am always glad that we live in a neighborhood.  Excited goblins, princesses and wagon pulling parents fill our streets, tramping from house to house, while fire pits fill the air with woodsmoke.   All of the feel good warm and fuzzies.  It is one of my favorite nights of the year.

I love old fashioned, simple holidays.  While our house dons fall pumpkins and leaves during the entire season, we only get the spooky Halloween decorations out a week or two before the 31st.  We go crazy with spider webs outside, cut out black paper bats that 'fly' around our mantle, door ways and walls inside, carve jack-o-lanterns and make silly treats.  Unlike Christmas, it is a holiday that really is just about the decorations.  And it is fun!  We don't buy many actual "Halloween" decorations (besides the spider webs... and that smoke machine), but usually craft everything ourselves out of basics - my favorite way.  

I go overboard on pumpkins, but that is just something I've come to embrace.  It is going to happen every year.  I collect them everywhere I go - looking for really unusual and pretty ones.  They all just amaze me.  As heirloom varieties have become more common, I really go out of my way to find unique ones that have a lot of character.

These photos of our home are from last year after hosted the School House Open House.  I had an excuse to over buy, so I took advantage, and used them to fill our window boxes after it was over.

Halloween treats can be so much fun to make.  When I was looking around for inspiration I was overwhelmed with a lot of really ugly looking treats.  Everything looked too sweet, too colorful or just too much.  I like my treats to be a little more simple than most out there, delicious classics but just sort of dressed up for the holiday.  These are all recipes that I make other times of the year, but I've decorated them to be perfect for Halloween.  I'll share the recipes over the next couple of days.

Classic Chocolate Sheet Cake
Chocolate Spider Tarts
Chocolate Cupcakes + Vanilla Buttercream
Chocolate Chip Cookies
(a chocolate theme here...)

Halloween Tags

Pumpkin Moonshine Tags : Each fall Emma and I read "Pumpkin Moonshine" by Tasha Tudor.  This old fashioned jack-o-lantern reminds me of those in Tudor's classic watercolors.

Trick or Treat Tags : I have carried this same design for many years, and each year I want to have it reprinted.  I just love it.

 I made all of these treats utilizing the essentials that I always keep in my kitchen :

I created these Heirloom Pumpkin Cupcakes using a boxed cake mix, homemade frosting and a couple of simple essentials.  I've included all of them in this cupcake kit, complete with photo decorating instructions.  Everything will be packaged up in a Kraft box, perfect for a gift or project with your littles.

The kit will include 4 piping bags, gel food colors, 48 cupcake wrappers and an instruction card.

These cupcakes just fit in my Kraft Boxes since they aren't too piled high with frosting.  

Class Party & Bring to the Office Ideas

Now that Emma is in 2nd Grade, thinking of creative class treats has become routine for each holiday.  Her school requires store-bought packaged treats (boo), so packaging them is a fun way to give that special touch.  I still like to wrap up gifts for friends and the teachers - and they can be homemade : )

Here is a collection of both of my favorites.

Kraft & Cello BagsKraft & Glassine Treat Bags can make the ugliest candy wrappers disappear and Cello Bags have a way of making very simple things look great.

We like to invite family over to our house for trick-or-treating.  I usually make a soup or chili to keep going on the stove and a festive dessert.  This is my favorite menu : 

Trick-or-Treat Menu

Braised Beef Chili
Jalapeno Cheddar Scones
Spinach Dip & Veggies
Chocolate Sheet Cake (with Google Eyes, see below)

Pumpkin Beer
Hot Apple Cider (simmering on the stove)

Happy Halloween (planning!)

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