Halloween Makeup Recipes

Make your own Halloween makeup. It’s safe, inexpensive, and easy!

Corn Syrup Blood
16 oz.  White corn syrup
1 oz. red food coloring
1 oz. washing detergent
1 oz. water
A drop of blue food coloring
Mix the ingredients together and voila – blood. Remove the washing up liquid if you want to make edible blood. Adding condensed milk makes it less transparent and more like real blood. The blood is extremely sticky and can stain skin and clothes so makes sure its washed off quickly. Use a stain remover on clothes.

Face Paint Recipe
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp water
1/2 tsp cold cream
2 drops food coloring as desired
Mix ingredients and apply.

Clown Make-up
2 tsp white shortening
5 tsp corn starch
1 tsp white all purpose flour
glycerin as directed
Food coloring as desired
Mix together the shortening, corn starch and flour. Add 3 to 4 drops of glycerin to make the mixture creamier. Apply.

Rose Smith is the owner of HalloweenHowl.com and author of several ghoulish party ebooks. Designed for “trick or treaters” of any age, we invite you to come visit. Create creepy crafts, discover interesting tips and tricks, play spooktacular games and take part in many other hauntingly fun activities. http://www.halloweenhowl.com

Halloween Traditions for the Less Spooky Family

Our family has pretty much stopped trick or treating. We live in a rural area, so most streets have no street lights and homes are on large lots and tend to be spread out quite a bit. While I am not against it altogether, my husband and I have decided over the last few years to find alternate activities, and nowadays it is quite easy.

One of the alternate activities we participate in is our local elementary school fall festival. The kids are allowed to dress up (there is even a costume contest), plus their are booths set up where children can exchange their tickets to play a fun game. Everyone always wins — candy and other goodies!

Another yearly activity in our family is decorating our home for the Autumn season and for Halloween. We have decided to forgo the “scary” decor for more seasonal decorations: scarecrows, pumpkins, fall leaf garland, and other delightful signs of fall. Our family also has great fun cooking up fun Halloween or Autumn themed meals, snacks, and sweets during this time of the year. And, like many families, we also enjoy visiting our local pumpkin patch and picking out our own pumpkins and then bringing them home for carving and pumpkin seeds!

Yet another enjoyable tradition in our family is watching the less-scary Halloween movies and cartoons. Even though my children are getting older, every year we still watch “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”. It has become a family tradition that I am sure will continue for many, many years.

If you are looking for even more fun Halloween traditions to start with your family, try these! Your children will love doing this, as I am sure you will too!

The Pumpkin Phantom
When you go out pumpkin picking, pick out an extra pumpkin to surprise someone with! You can surprise a senior citizen, a teacher, a single person, or just about anyone! Next you must get a note or card ready to give with the pumpkin. Since you will do this in secret, make sure you choose a method, such as your computer or cutting out letters from magazines or newspapers, so that the receiver won’t be able to recognize your writing. Your message could say something like this:

Dear _____________________
Happy Halloween from the Pumpkin Phantom!!!

Then that night put your kids in the car and drive to the home of the person you are giving it too. Have one or more of your children sneak up to the home and place the pumpkin on the steps and ring the doorbell (or knock) and run like crazy back to the car! It is a lot of fun and a great way to do something fun for someone else!*

The Fun & Sneaky Family
Here is a variation of the above idea, but this is done with candy and a poem. The intention is to start a chain reaction of sneaky families!

Decorate a paper bag (or use a basket if you wish), and put in the bag a paper pumpkin, a bunch of candy or other goodies or treats, and a note that says:

Happy Halloween!
A fun & sneaky family has come to town
To leave you some goodies that we see you have found
If you do not wish to disappoint all
Continue this greeting, this “sneaky family call”
Buy or make some treats, 2 paper pumpkins, and two notes like this
Deliver them to 2 neighbors who may have been missed
Don’t let them see you, be sneaky, no doubt
And make sure they put their paper pumpkin out.
Next, you have only one day to act, so be quick
Leave it at doors where a sneaky family hasn’t hit
Deliver at dark, where there is no light
Ring the doorbell and run, and stay out of sight
Last but not least, come join in the season
Don’t worry, be happy — you need no good reason
Be cool, have fun, and remember don’t be seen
Share the spirit of Halloween!
(Don’t forget to hang your paper pumpkin on a door or window so other sneaky families will know you’ve already been visited.)

Have a Happy Halloween!

 About The Author: Brandie is a freelance writing mother of three children. She is also the editor of the Family First Newsletter and a scrapbook artist. To find out more about Brandie’s creations, visit: http://www.bmvcreations.com Also, check out her latest scrapbook & home related auctions:http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/bmvcreations/

*This idea is from a past issue of “Friend”, a children’s magazine published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The History & Legends of Trick or Treating

The story behind trick or treating dates back to the earliest times, when people wore masks when droughts or diseases or other disasters struck. They believed that the hideous masks could frighten off the demons who brought about their misfortunes. The pagan festival of Samhain came at a time of year when the weather was turning chilly and the cold, envious ghosts outside were constantly trying to trick mortals into letting them in by the fire. People who went out after dark often wore masks to keep from being recognized.

Similar practices went on throughout Europe. In parts of England the poor once went to houses singing and begging for soul cakes or money. Until very recently children would dress up as ghosts and goblins to scare the neighbors, but there was no trick or treating. Around 40 years ago people began to offer treats to their costumed visitors Spanish people put cakes and nuts on graves on Halloween, to bribe the evil spirits.

The Irish brought Halloween to America in the 1840’s although the custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have its origins in a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for “soul cakes” made of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they promised to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. It was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, would expedite a soul’s admittance into heaven.

Over time the custom changed and children became the beggars. As they went from house to house they would be given apples, buns, and money and other treats to insure that the ghosts or goblins didn’t play tricks.

More Halloween History

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com, a favorite net destination for recipes, cooking tutorials, holiday and entertaining ideas, celebrity chef interviews, cookbook reviews and more. Sign up for their free cooking newsletters! http://www.fabulousfoods.com

History and Legends of Halloween

The word Halloween has its origins in the Catholic Church, coming from a contraction of Hallowed Eve. November 1, or All Saints Day, is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints, but the history of Halloween goes much farther back than the Catholics or the name.

In 5th century BC Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The Celts believed that on this day ghosts walked and mingled with the living. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en) which marked the third and final harvest of the year, the Celtic New Year.

The reason the Celts celebrated this day as New Year, rather than Yule like other European pagans, was probably due to the fact the that the sun is at its lowest point on the horizon, as measured by the ancient standing stones of Britain and Ireland.

The Druids sacrificed to their deities by burning victims in wicker cages. Prior to the ceremony, all other fires extinguished and were then re-lit from the sacrificial fire.

Today modern pagans and Wiccans celebrate Halloween or Samhain as the New Year, the day when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. The pagan god dies at Samhain, only to be re-born again at Yule. For these pagans, Samhain is a day for remembering and honoring the dead and celebrating the eternal cycle of reincarnation.

Pope Boniface was instrumental in superimposing a Christian festival over the pagan traditions. Originally, the holidays took place on May 13, but a century later, Pope Gregory III changed it to the present November 1. October 31 was no longer the last day of the year and Samhain was reassigned to the Feast of All Saints.

It is interesting to note that many of the customs surrounding the observance of the Christian All Souls Day also center around accessibility to the dead. In fact, many customs with their origins in pagan traditions have survived to the present. In addition to the souls of the dead alleged to be roaming about, the devil, witches and other assorted monsters and goblins are believed to be at the peak of their supernatural powers.

In Europe, Halloween eventually evolved into a celebration for children. “Ghosts” went from door to door asking for treats, or else a trick would be played on the owners of the home. When millions of Irish immigrated to the United States in the 1840s the tradition followed them. Find out more about the history of Trick-or-treating!

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com, a favorite net destination for recipes, cooking tutorials, holiday and entertaining ideas, celebrity chef interviews, cookbook reviews and more. Sign up for their free cooking newsletters!http://www.fabulousfoods.com

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

This quick bread is a yummy way to use some of your pumpkin harvest and is a great addition to any meal or just to eat on it’s own.

2 eggs, beaten slightly
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned or prepared pumpkin
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and pumpkin, mixing well. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda and mix until just blended. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.



Halloween Costume Safety Tips

A chill is in the air and the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. Children are back in school, but there’s only one thing on their minds….Halloween is coming. “What am I going to be this year?” they wonder. As usual, parents will be dragged to the mall to check out all the latest and greatest in Halloween costumes. Some will opt to make their own. In either case, here are some costume tips to help make your child’s Halloween safe and fun.

Costume Safety Tips

  • If purchasing a costume from a store, make sure the label states that it is made from a fire-retardent material. If you’re making your own costume, be sure to pick materials that are also fire- resistant.
  • Costumes should be loose enough around the body so that warm clothing can be worn beneath it without it being too loose that it snags on items.
  • Have your child try the costume on a few days before wearing. Make sure that it does not drag on the ground. Pants and robes should be hemmed up so that your child’s feet are showing. Tripping and falling is the leading cause of accidental injuries on Halloween.
  • As much as we’d love our children to wear light-colored clothing, some costume themes (vampire, witch, etc.) just wouldn’t look right in florescent yellow. Instead, add strips of reflective tape to the front and back of all costumes, including their trick or treat bag. Remember, children don’t drive cars, therefore they do not have any idea on how long it takes a driver to stop a car after they see the child. The sooner a driver can see your child, the safer your child will be.
  • Make sure the costume is easy to get out of. Preferably, it should close with snaps or velcro strips. If you must use zippers or buttons, make sure they are located in front of the costume and easily reached by your child.
  • Children should wear well-fitting, flat shoes, not high heels.
  • Wigs and beards should fit properly and should not cover ears, nose or mouth.
  • Use makeup instead of a mask. Masks obstruct vision and children find it hard to breath when wearing them.
  • If your child insists on wearing a mask, make sure it has large eye openings (cut them bigger if you have to), and openings for the nose and mouth.
  • When purchasing makeup, make sure it is labelled non-toxic. However, some children (and adults) break out in a rash with the heavy petroleum-based makeups on the market. So, I’ve included some homemade recipes below for those of you who would like to create their own Halloween makeup.
  • Props and accessories should be made of a flexible material. They should not be rigid, sharp or overly heavy.
  • Sew a name tag into your child’s costume, giving their name, address and phone number.
  • Remove makeup with shortening, cold cream or baby oil and tissues. Thoroughly wash face with soap and water after removal.

Rose Smith is the owner of HalloweenHowl.com and author of several ghoulish party ebooks. Designed for “trick or treaters” of any age, we invite you to come visit. Create creepy crafts, discover interesting tips and tricks, play spooktacular games and take part in many other hauntingly fun activities. http://www.halloweenhowl.com

Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is a yummy way to use some of your pumpkin harvest and is a great addition to any meal or just to eat on it’s own.

5 cups flour
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 large can pumpkin or pumpkin puree
2 cups nuts (optional)

In a large bowl, mix together vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs. In another bowl, mix together flour and baking soda. Add flour and pumpkin alternately to the egg mixture. Add nuts. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Preserving Your Pumpkin Harvest

By the middle of September you already have a pretty good idea which pumpkin is going to be your prize winner this year. The big one with the round smooth face will make a perfect jack-o- lantern come October, as will the tall skinny one that seems to call out “Pick me!” as you gaze out over this year’s pumpkin patch with childlike anticipation.

So after you’ve picked the best pumpkins to carve and display, what do you do with the rest of them? I’ve discovered some interesting and unique ways to use up every last bit of your pumpkin crop this year.

Everyone knows you can toast and eat pumpkin seeds, but did you know you can also sprout them? First soak them by placing them in a glass jar with just enough tepid water to cover them. Cover the jar with cheesecloth, holding the cheesecloth in place with a rubberband at the neck of the jar. Let the seeds set in the water overnight to make sure they’re nice and soft. The next morning, drain the water from the jar by gently turning the jar upside down until all of the moisture is gone. Place the jar out of the light (in a closet or cabinet). The temperature should remain at about 70 degrees. Rinse the seeds in the jar 4 to 6 times a day. After 3 days you should have approximately 1/4-inch sprouts. Rinse them once more and set the jar in a sunny window for about a day until the sprouts grow tiny leaves. Eat them in salads, sandwiches, or add them to soups and casseroles. They’re very healthy and easy to make!

You can also make flour out of fresh pumpkin. Cut the raw pumpkin into chunks, cut off the skin the best you can and dry in the oven. Grind the dried pumpkin in the blender or a food mill. Use pumpkin flour as a partial substitute for all-purpose flour in your favorite breads and other baked goods. Store in an airtight container.

Last but not least, why wait to enjoy the fruits of your labor? Try these easy quick bread recipes. Quick breads are easy to prepare because you don’t have to mess around with yeast and waiting for the dough to rise. You just mix a few ingredients together in a bowl, pour into a loaf pan, and bake! It’s really that easy.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who publishes the Creative Homemaking Recipe of the Week Club, a weekly newsletter that contains quick, easy dinner ideas and money-saving household hints. To subscribe send a blank e-mail message to mailto:FreeRecipes-subscribe@egroups.com. Visit Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com and in the Home and Garden section of Suite 101 – http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/creative_homemaking

Goofy Spooks Halloween Cake

You don’t have to be a master chef to create a fun and festive Halloween cake that your kids will love. Try this easy recipe for success!

Cake & decorations:
1 box chocolate cake mix (ingredients needed will vary per brand, usually eggs, oil, and water)
cinnamon red hots
Cherry Heads (or other round red candies)
miniature marshmallows
licorice vines; cut into two inch lengths
miniature chocolate chips
gum drops
orange jellied candies
large marshmallows

6 tbsp butter or margarine
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk

Prepare cake as package directs. While cake is baking, prepare frosting and decorations (below).
Frosting: Cream butter and vanilla in a small bowl with mixer and medium-low speed. Mix until completely creamed together. Alternating, add cocoa and confectioner’s sugar, beating at medium speed until creamy. Add some of the milk with the remaining sugar and cocoa until you reach desired consistency. You will use all the cocoa and sugar, but may not use all the milk, depending on your desired consistency. Set aside.

Decorating the Cake: When cake is completely cooled, pour the frosting on top and spread evenly. Carefully place your critter decorations (below) on top of the frosting and press down gently to set. Get ready for some happy faces!
Preparing the Decorations: The key here is to use your imagination. We have given you a few examples, but create whatever critters you like!
INCH WORMS Using 5 gumdrops and two cinnamon hots per worm, line up the gumdrops, one in front of the other. Use a toothpick to create indentations in the leading gumdrop. Insert cinnamon hots for eyes.
ANGRY EYES Place two large marshmallows next to each other, on end. Place a cinnamon hot in the center of each marshmallow for eyeball. Using two 2-inch long licorice vines, create angry eyebrows over the cinnamon hots.
SPYING EYES Use miniature marshmallows for the eyes and miniature chocolate chips for the eyeballs. Use a toothpick to create a little hole in each marshmallow top, then insert the pointed side of the chocolate chip into the marshmallow.
CREEPY CRAWLIES Using a toothpick, poke three holes completely through the sides of an orange jellied candy. Insert licorice vines for legs, poking through the other side and pulling them through. Use toothpick to create small holes in “head” and insert two miniature chocolate chips as eyes.
GOOFY EYES Stand two large marshmallows on end, top with cinnamon hots or raisins for eyeballs, in cross-eyed fashion.
MARSHMALLOW SPIDER Place large marshmallow on it’s side. Use a toothpicks to poke three holes on each side of marshmallow to insert legs. Use licorice vines for legs, gently press into the holes. Use two miniature chocolate chips for eyes.
BUG EYES Stand two large marshmallows on end, top with Cherry Heads for eyeballs.
SKULL Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut a large marshmallow in half lengthwise. Cut triangular slits out of sides to create jawbone effect. Use toothpick to insert holes for eyes, use miniature chocolate chips. Cut a small piece off of a licorice vine for straight mouth, and a tiny piece for nose. Use a miniature marshmallow for the neck.
MUMMY IN A COFFIN Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut a large marshmallow in half lengthwise, but not completely. Unfold the marshmallow and lay it down, open side up to create the coffin. use a miniature marshmallow for the head, and body. Cut up a miniature marshmallow for the arms and legs. Use small pieces of licorice vine for the mouth and eyes.

Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She and her husband live in southern Nevada. She is also the owner of FamilyCorner.com Magazine at http://familycorner.com She can be reached at mailto:WebMom@familycorner.com

Freaky Frugal Halloween

Retailers love Halloween. Kids love Halloween, but what about parents?

With early preparation and frugal shopping, Halloween can be a relaxing holiday and a wonderful opportunity for families to spend quality time together. An online poll at Halloween Magazine shows that Moms are spending anywhere from $50 – $250 yearly buying costumes and decorating the house. How can you enjoy a freaky Halloween and still be frugal?

Be creative and involve the whole family. Start by looking at your resources and work with what you have. Jan in Mapleton, Utah used her resources by dressing her children in her husband’s UPS uniforms from work. The parents were the packages wearing big boxes with “handle with care” and “fragile” stickers. They were the hit of the neighborhood!

Since I have small children I try to purchase or make costumes that can be used for other purposes like Princess themed birthday parties or use storybook characters for school dress-up days, etc. Remember to check out online auctions and goodwill stores for costume ideas too. Clearance Sales are my favorite.

Carve amazing Pumpkin jack-o-lantern using the free patterns found online.

Try dressing up a scarecrow and have it up a few days prior to Halloween so the whole neighborhood gets used to seeing him as a fixture – then substitute a real person dressed as a scarecrow Halloween night!

Another cheap trick – Dig up small shovels of grass, then remove and spread a little of the dirt throughout the yard. Next fill the empty holes with grocery bags and puts the sod back on top. When Trick or Treater’s walk on it they feel like the ground is moving!

Save your 1-Gallon plastic ice-cream buckets, let the kids decorate them with markers or with adult help paint on eyes with glow in the dark paint!

The best way to enjoy a frugal and freaky holiday is to Plan ahead, be creative and look for unusual resources as an alternative to spending money!

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Webb is a SAHM of 4 and designs decorative large Magnetic Fridge Calendars. Her calendars are made entirely out of heavy duty magnet, guaranteed not to slide off when the kids slam the fridge door! PERFECT Christmas Gift Idea! Visit her site: http://www.Note-Ables.com or e-mail:Rachel@Note-Ables.com

Halloween Costume Ideas for Couples

Finding couples Halloween Costumes has always been a challenge! Over the last few years I have seen many different ones at Halloween parties. Here are several ideas to inspire you!

  • Nurse & Doctor
  • Pregnant nun and priest
  • Sonny and Cher
  • Pirate and wench
  • Cowboy and Indian woman
  • Aladdin and Jasmine
  • Belle and the Beast
  • Aurora and the Prince (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Zena the warrior princess and Hercules
  • Esmeralda and the Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Ariel and Eric (the little mermaid)
  • Cinderella and Prince Charming
  • Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse
  • Peter Pan and Wendy or Tinkerbelle
  • Tarzan and Jane
  • Dorothy and the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion or scarecrow
  • Wonderwoman and Superman
  • Superman and Lois Lane
  • Batman and Catwoman
  • Ken and Barbie
  • Princess Leah and Hans Solo
  • Morticia and Gomez from the Addams Family
  • Fred and Wilma / Barney and Betty
  • Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm
  • Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky
  • I dream of Jeannie and Major Nelson
  • King Kong and Faye Rae
  • Megara and Hercules
  • Dalmatian and Cruella DeVille
  • Shrek and Fiona
  • Arabian Knight and Arabian Princess
  • Arab Sheik and Harem Girl
  • Willy Wonka and a Chocolate Bar
  • Sexy Police Woman and Crook
  • Hawaiian Hula Dancers
  • Toga Party People
  • Biker couple
  • Snow White and a dwarf
  • Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl or Rabbit
  • Cinderella and the prince
  • Austin Powers & Vanessa
  • Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf
  • Alice In Wonderland and the Mad Hatter
  • Raggedy Ann and Andy
  • Rapunzel & the Prince
  • Robin Hood and Maid Marion
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Little Bo Peep and one of her sheep
  • Bride and Groom
  • Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein
  • Sylvester the Cat and Tweety
  • Bird Babs and Bugs Bunny
  • Angelica and Tommy from the Rugrats
  • M&M’s Hershey Kisses – one a Kiss, the other a Hug
  • Lifesavers Candy
  • Ronald McDonald and Fries
  • Dr. Evil and Fembot
  • Queen Amidala and Anakin Skywalker Jedi or Jar Jar Binks
  • Disco Era Couple
  • Cowboy and Cowgirl
  • Playboy bunny & Hugh Hefner
  • Flower Power Groovy Couple
  • Elmo and Cookie Monster
  • Big Bird and Grover
  • Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Flapper Girl and Prohibition Gangster
  • Mr. and Mrs. Clause
  • Elves making toys
  • The Grinch and little Lisa Who
  • Easter Bunny and an Easter Egg
  • Joseph and Mary (biblical)
  • Cheerleader and Football Player
  • Renaissance King and Queen
  • A Pimp and his Prostitute
  • Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe
  • Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler
  • Drew Carey and Mimi Johnson
  • Bride and a groom

Whatever it is that you are this Halloween we hope you have a good one!

Jess Bali and her husband reside in Alberta Canada where they raise their daughter. Together, they have learned that marriage is probably one of the toughest challenges in life, but the most rewarding. She is the editor of YouMarriedHim.com, a community that fortifies marriages and offers great support for when you need it the most. For more information or to visit the site please go tohttp://www.youmarriedhim.com

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a time for fun; it’s also a time to remember safety as the little ghouls and goblins are out an about.

  • Cross only at corners when trick or treating. Never cross between parked cars.
  • Walk facing the oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk.
  • Always remove masks before crossing streets.
  • Carry a flashlight.
  • Be aware of cars that may be turning into or backing out of driveways.
  • Never go inside a stranger’s house.
  • Parents need to know the route their children will be taking and make sure children are accompanied by an adult. Set time limits on when children should return home.
  • Instruct children NOT to eat treats until they return home and parents have had a chance to inspect those treats.
  • Never eat home made treats made by strangers.
  • Only eat commercially wrapped products and if you have any suspicions, throw it out!
  • Make sure costumes are made of brightly colored, flame retardant material.
  • Put reflector strips on the costume, so that children can be seen.
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes or long dangling pieces that a child may trip over.
  • Drive cautiously on Halloween Eve, when excited kids could dart out in front of your car.
  • Remove obstacles from lawns and steps to prevent children from tripping or being otherwise injured.

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com, a favorite net destination for recipes, cooking tutorials, holiday and entertaining ideas, celebrity chef interviews, cookbook reviews and more. Sign up for their free cooking newsletters!http://www.fabulousfoods.com

Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkins are abundant in the autumn – and are a delicious ingredient in many recipes. You can prepare pumpkin for baking at home rather than buying canned pumpkin and save the seeds to dry and roast too! Smaller pumpkins  (sugar pie pumpkins, or other smaller varieties) are typically better than their larger ‘jack-o-lantern’ counterparts.

There are three ways to transform an uncooked pumpkin into the puree used in baking:


  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks.
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender.
  • Let the chunks cool, then purée the flesh in a food processor or mash it with a potato masher or food mill.


  • Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp.
  • In a shallow baking dish, place the two halves face down and cover with foil.
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender.
  • Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.
  • For silky smooth custards or soups, press the pumpkin puree through a sieve.


  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Microwave on high power for seven minutes per pound, turning pieces every few minutes to promote even cooking. Process as above.
  • You can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin purée for up to three days, or store it in the freezer up to six months, so you can enjoy fall pumpkins for months to come.

Halloween Fun and Games

Play these friendly Halloween games during classroom celebrations, parties or family get togethers. Involve both the kids and the adults for a howling good time!

Guess How Many: Fill a jar with candy corn and have guests guess how many are in the jar. (Don’t forget to count as you put them in the jar!) Place the jar near the door and hand each guest a 3×5 card to put their name, their guess and their favorite Halloween candy. Halfway through the party read them all off and announce the winner.

Halloween Memory Game: Place a few themed items such as a candy corn, apple, mini pumpkin etc. on a tray. Show the tray to the guests for a few seconds, then have them write down (or call out) as many items as they remember.

How Many Words: Hand each person a sheet of paper printed out with a Halloween word or phrase such as Haunted House, Trick or Treat, or Scarecrow. Do these on the computer so you can include some small Halloween Graphics. Ask each person to make as many words as they can out of the letters in the phrase or word you’ve given them!

Mummy May I: One child, or an adult, is “mummy”. The other children stand in a straight line, with the mummy standing in front of them with enough distance for them to move forward towards him or her. (It’s really neat if you can rip up an old pillow case or sheet and stain them with leftover coffee or tea to wrap around the “mummy’s” head.) The children move toward mummy by asking permission to take steps. For example, a child could ask, “Mummy May I take ten steps forward?” The mummy can be creative as to the type of steps they ask to take, such as giant monster steps, pixie steps, as well as ogre, howling dog etc. Mummy answers, “Yes, you may” or “No, you may not,” and the child must follow her instructions. If the child moves when he or she has not been given permission, they must go back to the starting line. The first child to touch mummy becomes mummy in the next game.

Who’s Got the Pumpkin: Place everyone is a circle. Start a song (Halloween themed songs like Monster Mash are neat to use!) and toss a mini pumpkin to one person, they throw it to the next, and so on until the music stops. The person who is caught holding the pumpkin has to leave the circle. The last one left is the winner and keeps the pumpkin!

Halloween Hunt: Using the same idea as an Easter Egg Hunt hide little bags of candy corn, or other fun candy around the back yard. Set the kids loose and let them find the candy. Be sure to keep back several extra in case someone does poorly. You can give them a few more!

 Written by Brenda Hyde. For more Halloween Fun, Food and Ideas visit Brenda at http://oldfashionedholidays.com for year round holiday tips and ideas.