Browsing the archives for the Halloween tag.

Gearing up for Thanksgiving!

California, Kids

One of the things I really love about the date difference between Canadian and American Thanksgiving is that since American Thanksgiving is after Halloween the holiday season kicks off with Halloween and keeps rolling until New Years! So fun! In Canada since Thanksgiving is before Halloween there is sort of a whole lot of nothing going on in November and then BAM, Christmas. I always say I’m going to leisurely knit my Christmas projects throughout the fall and be done comfortably before Christmas, and then I tend to knit it all in December. Not so awesome. I’ve already made a decent dent in my list!

Halloween really ran away from me! My aunt came to visit from Canada and we ran all over LA showing her some of our favorite places and had such a blast I was exhausted and half asleep before reaching my bed each night. Tiring but so so fun. Our second Halloween in California was spent the same as our first, in Manhattan Beach and it was just as much fun as last year – if not more so since we know where we are going now. Our girls went as princesses and our son went as a Minecraft creeper! Since all of us play Minecraft it was an especially silly costume for him to wear!

We had a Halloween party with my girls’ besties, we made caramel apples, pumpkin donuts with eyeballs, creepy soft green cookies (with more eyeballs), and played so many silly Halloweeny games!

Now we are gearing up for Thanksgiving! I’m testing out some fun and festive recipes I’ve never tried and I will also make some tried and true family favorites and I have about a dozen bread recipes I have been waiting to try. It’s hard to get into bread baking when it’s 80 degrees, and now that it’s cooling off a bit I’ll have a chance to make a few loaves. I’m also hoping to knit some leaves and pumpkins to hang in the window, this is our second autumn in California and while I love, love, love life without seasons, not going through them makes me want to decorate seasonally. So funny to me, as I have never really had the desire to decorate with leaves or snowflakes or anything. I don’t want to actually deal with real leaves or snow though!

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Frankenstein Cereal Treats with 19 Sleeps Left!


With over two weeks to go until Halloween still, the kids are finishing up their costumes with accessories and makeup ideas. I would have loved to sew their costumes, but my sewing machine is in Canada. I know, I probably say ‘my (insert precious thing I should have brought with me) is in Canada’ at least once a week. That’s ok. I’ll either get it back soon or I’ll get another one. 🙂 So this year they are rocking store bought costumes, but they’re jazzing them up so they are not so pedestrian. This weekend is a pretty big deal at our house. First, tomorrow is the season premier of Walking Dead and my husband and I are impossibly hooked on it. I will make something to celebrate it, and since it’s pretty Halloweeny on it’s own that wont really interfere with the countdown. However, Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving and even though we plan to do up American Thanksgiving in a serious way, we’ll be celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving too.

These little treats are so simple, they’re just cereal squares, but with a little twist to make them Halloweeny! Just a few extra ingredients and a little extra time and you’ve got cute little Frankenstein treats! My littles used them as puppets before they devoured them.

Frankenstein Cereal Treats

3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups rice cereal
green food coloring
Halloweeny sprinkles
green mini marshmallows
candy sticks
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Make the cereal treats as you normally would. If you don’t normally, I swear it’s super simple. Just melt the butter in a big pot and add the marshmallows, stir over low heat until the marshmallows are melted. Add the vanilla and the green food coloring. Once the melted marshmallows are completely green, go ahead and add the cereal. Make sure you mix it until it’s all green with no extra goopy marshmallow hiding anywhere. Then flatten it into a 9″ x 13″ pan, it works best if you either wet your hands and use them or spay the back of a wooden spoon with cooking spray and use that to flatten.

Frankenstein Cereal Treats Frankenstein Cereal Treats

Now you’ve just made green cereal squares. Make them Frankenstein by cutting out rectangles, poking a stick in the bottom and dipping the top of melted chocolate chips and then sprinkling Halloweeny sprinkles on for hair! Put the rest of the melted chocolate into a small pastry bag (or a small zipbag with a tiny hole snipped in the corner), and pipe on eyes and a mouth. Don’t forget the little knobby things! Put a small drop of melted chocolate on two green mini marshmallows and stick them on the sides of his head.

Frankenstein Cereal Treats
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Clothespin Bats, Balloon Spiders and 20 More Sleeps


We have been decorating our home this week. There are Scooby Doo Halloween decals on windows, silly banners in the kitchen, and even purple and orange lights strung up here and there. Too cute! My littles wanted to also make some Halloween decorations, they are still in the midst of gluing and painting and getting sticky with more ideas, but here are a couple we did this week.

The clothespin bats were our inspiration for our bats. We didn’t follow all the directions, because one of my children is 4 is just wants to attack everything with glue. 😉

All you have to do is paint a wooden clothespin black, cut out two bats from black construction paper (using this template) and glue the bats to the clothespin! Super easy and so cute. My two littlest ones made these themselves! Secure the bats to the clothespin by gluing down the middle of the clothespin, and once bats have been glued to both sides, glue the tips of their wings together. Voila! Done!

clothespin bats clothespin bats
clothespin bats

This black widow balloon took literally 5 minutes, maybe less. You need a black balloon, black streamers and red construction paper. I found that this looked best in a corner, but you could really put it anywhere. I taped the streamer ‘legs’ directly to the balloon, and to the wall in two places to mimic their little knees. Are they knees?! You know what I mean. 😉 My very literal 7 year old pointed out that it didn’t really look like a black widow because there were no markings on it….so we fixed it. When we lived in the woods, we had about a zillion spiders in our lives and man am I ever happy to be away from them all.

clothespin bats

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Make a Haunted Gingerbread House with 21 Sleeps Left!


Whenever we count down to something that is a month or more away, the kids never have a hard time being excited. It might be harder for me to muster enthusiasm if theirs was not so infectious. They are legit hyped about every holiday we celebrate and every birthday between them all, I love it. So with 21 sleeps to go until Halloween, you’d think they’d be fizzling out for a bit but no, not even close. Especially when I busted out the gear for a haunted gingerbread house. You can get a kit like this Wilton one or of course you can make your own. Usually at Christmas I make one big one from scratch but when they really want to whip one up, I’ll bring home a ready to go kit. With this, we used a kit for the house and I added a bunch of sugar embellishments that I bought for cakes.

There are a few silly ideas I’d like to try out this month that are usually reserved for Christmas, but after watching The Nightmare Before Christmas yet again, it really makes me want to do Halloweeny versions of Christmas fun. Which I guess is exactly like when I have the urge to Halloween-up Christmas stuff in December!

This afternoon we’re working on decorating and some kid’s crafts. They saw all the orange, black and purple gear and got really excited!

Make a Haunted Gingerbread House Make a Haunted Gingerbread House
Make a Haunted Gingerbread House Make a Haunted Gingerbread House
Make a Haunted Gingerbread House Make a Haunted Gingerbread House
Make a Haunted Gingerbread House
Make a Haunted Gingerbread House
Make a Haunted Gingerbread House

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Celebrating 22 Sleeps with Halloween Rainbow Cupcakes


Rainbow cupcakes are so fun to do and you can make them fit any occasion. The first time I made them I used primary colors for Wee One #3’s kindergarten classmates. This time around, I used black, purple and orange. Since black mixed with white or an off white is usually gray and not actually black, we used chocolate cake for that part and vanilla cake for the purple and orange. It worked perfectly!

If you have your own favorite vanilla and chocolate recipe feel free to use those. It really doesn’t matter. I’m pretty partial to these though, and I’ve been using them both for a long time. If you are going to use cake mixes, please don’t tell me about it. 😉

I used my stir and bake chocolate cake for the black portions and the vanilla cake recipe from The Red Hen.

Whip up your cake batters, whichever ones you choose. Then add black food coloring to the chocolate batter, and divide the vanilla batter in two. Add purple to one and orange to the other. Then layer the colors however you like, I went with black, orange and purple. Following the baking time and temp for your recipe. Once they’re cool, melt some candy melts or tint some white chocolate to drizzle over top!

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A Really Gross Snack and 24 Sleeps To Go!


I know, I know. This is gnarly. Not even just gross, but gnarly. Fun too though, right? Especially for the littles. I think the very first time I saw this was on Noble Pig, and since then I’ve seen it all over the place. My kids thought they were equal parts gross and amazing.

There is so much Halloween insanity going on around here. Pumpkins galore, like whoa we have a lot of pumpkins to carve. Big ones, small ones, medium ones, white ones – even those neat bumpy ones (they’re called knuckleheads, for the record). There’s also a lot of costume preparation, though again, the littles want something specific they have seen and considering I left my sewing machine in Canada, I’m not really arguing with them about it. When I get my hands on a sewing machine though, watch out!

In the meantime, I’m all about the festive food. This is not really a recipe, all you’re doing is dressing a graham cracker up like a band aid and you know, finishing it off with a little smear of blood. No biggie.

Graham Cracker Band Aids

-graham crackers
-cream cheese (or icing)
-seedless strawberry jam (or red decorator’s gel)


Just break the graham crackers along their ‘perforated edges’ (though really, do they ever break clean?!), use a knife to clean them up a bit. Then spread on a little cream cheese (or frosting) just in the middle. Try to level it out into nice little rectangles.

Now just add your little dollops of blood. I had seedless strawberry jam on hand and it’s yummy with cream cheese. The recipes that call for the decorator gel will work just as well though!

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25 Sleeps and Halloweeny Donut Holes


What to make when you’re meeting up with some mommy friends mid-morning and your littles are busy doing cursive and Lit? You whip up some donut holes, of course! The prep time was maybe 10 minutes and total baking time was 15. I pointed a fan at the kitchen counter and they only took a few minutes to cool. Then I mixed the glaze and used a fork to cover and lift out each donut hole, immediately covered them in festive sprinkles and put them back on the counter in front of the fan. They dried super fast and everyone who had one really liked them. I had two left on our way home when we ran into a neighbor and gave them to her to share with her little.

Fast. Easy. Yummy.

Halloweeny Donut Holes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
various festive sprinkles

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

Very straightforward. Mix all the dry, then cream the butter and the sugar and add the wet ingredients. Once it’s all combined, slowly mix in the dry ingredients and voila! Roll into balls, and bake.

While they’re cooling, mix the confectioner’s sugar and milk for the glaze.

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Zombie Eyeballs and 26 Sleeps till Halloween


This is not really a recipe, it’s just an idea and comes together with 5 ingredients. You don’t even have to turn on the oven, the microwave will work for this too! Totally perfect for a last minute addition to a Halloween party or potluck.

Zombie Eyeballs

-square pretzels
-green candy melts
-black icing
-assorted M&Ms
-red sprinkles

Arrange the pretzels on a baking sheet (or a plate), then place one green candy melt on each pretzel square. Either pop the tray in the oven for about 10 minutes at 300 or microwave the plate for 5 minutes. Whichever method you choose, make sure to check on the candy melts so they are just melty and not burny. 🙂

Zombie Eyeballs

Once they’ve melted and you’ve taken them out of the oven, push one M&M (‘m’ side down) onto each candy melt and then dot each M&M with a tiny bit of black icing. Now sprinkle the red jimmies over all of them and voila! Creepy zombie eyes!

Zombie Eyeballs
Zombie Eyeballs

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28 Sleeps till Halloween with Halloweeny Chocolate Chip Cookies


Truthfully, when my littlest tossed the orange and dark chocolate chocolate chips in the cart last week I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I did know however, that there can never be enough orange and black around this month. I’m trying to avoid random baking this month since I want to do up as many Halloweeny treats as possible, and when I saw that one of my favorite Canadian chefs, Michael Smith posted what he claimed to be the best chocolate chip recipe ever, I was tempted to just go off course and bake them because I wanted to see if they really were the best ever (so far each of his ‘best ever’ claims that I’ve tested have absolutely been the best). Then, I remembered those seasonal chocolate chips and started making them pretty much right away because now that they could be deemed Halloweeny, there was no reason not to make them! Right?! I know!

As I was making them I realized I had used the last of the brown sugar on some butter tarts and though I swear there is an extra bag (there is always an extra bag) I couldn’t find it anywhere and ended up using granulated sugar instead. Guess what? They’re amazing. I’m going to do them again with brown sugar and I have no doubt they’ll be even better.

Best (Halloweeny) Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Fairly simple. Preheat to 375 and whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.

With a mixer or food processor cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Then add the corn syrup, egg and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl before slowly adding the flour mixture. Now stir in your chocolate chips and you’re ready to go!

Halloweeny Chocolate Chip Cookies  Halloweeny Chocolate Chip Cookies

I scooped out the dough with a 1/2 tablespoon and overpacked it a little. I rolled it into a ball and then flattened it out with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar for a little sparkle and crunch on the top of the cookie. I baked for exactly 13 minutes and my kids have nearly eaten the whole batch already. That’s a win!

Halloweeny Chocolate Chip Cookies
Halloweeny Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Candy Corn Brownies and 29 Sleeps Till Halloween

Domestic, Kids

When I find a recipe that works for run of the mill things like brownies, I tend to stick with it and only deviate when it changes the flavor. I don’t know how many times I’ve made this recipe, but I know it by heart and didn’t even bring the cookbook it’s in with us to California. I love that cookbook too, The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book. My go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe is from the same book. 😉

I love how 1953 it is to point to a Good Housekeeping recipe as my family’s favorite. Probably more than a person should, really.

Candy Corn Brownies

via The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
+ handful of candy corn

The brownies are crazy simple. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and mix all the dry in a medium bowl and set aside. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla one at a time, stirring until each ingredient is mixed in. Whisk in the dry ingredients and pour it all into a greased brownie pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Candy Corn Brownies and 29 Sleeps Till Halloween

Then? Make them Halloweeny by studding the tray with candy corn!

Candy Corn Brownies and 29 Sleeps Till Halloween
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