Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! and its National Caramel Apple Day!

Halloween history can be a tricky thing to talk about with your kids.  The metamorphosis of Halloween form the harvest celebrations of the past to the candy and costume fun of today can get a bit confusing.  Since today, the celebration for us is totally different from the celebration of this day from centuries ago we really do not feel it is necessary to get into all the facets of the holiday with the children.  We do not believe in ignorance so a little history can go a long way. Here are the basics of the Holiday so that Children can understand it. 

Many years ago people believed in spirits, both good and bad.  They believed that the spirits did good and bad for people.  Now, a culture of people known as the Celts lived long ago in what is now known to us as Ireland, France and England.  Harvest was a huge time for these people and the fall and when all their crops came in for the winters food supply.  The Celts held a ceremony or festival called Samhain to thank the good spirits for their help in the harvest and healthy crop production. As a part of Samhain, which is pronounced as sow-en, people wore costumes and told fortunes having a great time with wonderful food.  This does sound kind of like our harvest celebrations and carnivals of today.  

Many years later other beliefs and religions spread throughout Ireland, France and England.  November 1st was a holiday that celebrated and honored martyrs, people who died for their religious beliefs, and that day became known as All Saints Day.  The night before All Saints Day was known as All-Hallows, now called Halloween.
Now since November 1st was known to be a holiday for saints and martyrs ,or good spirits as the Celts believed, it was thought that the night before October 31st was a day for bad spirits.  Halloween then turned into a scary time for the people who believed that the evil spirits would wander the earth causing trouble and bad things to happen.  In order to ward off the evil and feel safe they carved vegetables out for lanterns. 

And now onto today, Halloween is a celebration that is to celebrate the fun and food and good times of the Samhain (summers end) festival of the old Celts with the costumes and celebratory aspects and pumpkin carving for happy safe light. 

Great site that has 40 different Halloween Vectors, Fonts, Brushes and Stamps! 

National Caramel Apple Day:

What is a caramel apple?
Caramel apples or taffy apples are created by dipping or rolling apples-on-a-stick in hot caramel, and sometimes then rolling them in nuts or other small savories or confections, and allowing them to cool.

More elaborate apples use white chocolate over the caramel to hold a variety of candies, nuts or cookies. Tart, crisp apples such as Granny Smith are preferred to contrast with the soft, sweet caramel.

Caramel apples are usually consumed as treats at autumn festivals such as Halloween, in the wake of the annual apple harvest.

Origin of this Holiday?
Our research did not find the information of who created this holiday or why October 31 was picked. The red candy apple came first but research says Caramel apples were invented by Dan Walker, a sales representative for Kraft Foods, in the 1950s.

Make your own Caramel Apples!
You can make them in all shapes and sizes.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

31 days of Halloween with kids! Easy Last Minute Costume Ideas - Day 30



Easy Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas


Friday, October 29, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Eyes - Day 29


Make these adorable scary eyes.  We created our own eyes that we think you will like.  We trace the templates on the bright Halloween color foam sheets.  We then use 3000 glue to assemble them together.  We then use the non-stick wall stuff to place them all around the house and even outside on the fence.

31 Days of Halloween - Last minute crow branches - Day 28


Quick last minute halloween decorations:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Halloween Movies for kids! Day 27


Here is a great list of Halloween Movies you can rent for the kids this year. 

Some of these movies will bring back "scary" childhood memories. The great classics never get out-dated, especially holiday classics. These Halloween titles are G, PG, or NR (the movies which are not rated were all made for children) ; however, many of these movies still have scenes that may be frightening for very young children. For shows with even less fright potential, check out the list of Halloween DVDs from Preschoolers' Shows. For older kids, see the list of Halloween movies for older kids, which are slightly scarier.

We broke it down in 3 category's (Kids, School-aged and Preschoolers)

Kids Movies:


Preschooler Movies:


School-aged Kid Movies:

National Pumpkin Day with kids!

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin seads, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin roll, we all have a favorite pumpkin food. Today, National Pumpkin Day, is the perfect day to celebrate, eat or carve a pumpkin. National Pumpkin Day is celebrated on October 26th of each year. This unofficial food holiday pays tribute to the underrated pumpkin, which has many uses besides being sacrificed to Halloween. Pumpkins are a vegetable, similar to gourds and related to squash.

There are so many pumpkin crafts and ideas out there. We love to carve our pumpkins into pictures, like owls, and bake the seeds for a tasty night time snack.

Pumpkin Anatomy:
Found this perfect description of pumpkin anatomy HERE from Pumpkin Nook.  Great site to teach the kids!

Pumpkin Cooking:
This website has step by step with pictures on how to cook and puree your pmpkins:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
Thais website also has step by step instructions on how to roast your own pumpkins seeds!

For more great pumpkin ideas and recipes visit the Pumpkin Nook HERE

So celebrate National pumpkin day, be creative and enjoy this favorite Fall squash.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Halloween Fun Food Day with the kids!


Today we had our annual Fun and Facts Halloween Party! 
Today we had a great Halloween dinner with the kids. We are in our countdown to Halloween. We created a lot of crafts that we have blogged about previously on our blog and we created a fantastic gory meal that we could all have fun with. We all wore medical outfits that we found at a discount store and really had a good time creating lots of scary Halloween foods.

This was a fabulously fun time and we all enjoyed creating and eating everything.

Matthew: "I think today’s dinner was really fun and gross, IT WAS SO COOL!!!!!!!"

Lauren: “I loved it, it was fun, and the ribs were my favorite and the smoke in the punch"

Stay tuned for ALL the details and the pictures!

Monday, October 25, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Halloween Breakfast ideas with kids! Day 25


Halloween Breakfast ideas with kids!

Spooky Pumpkin Pancakes with Black Cinnamon Syrup
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups buttermilk (*I used powdered)
4 TBSP melted butter
4 TBSP canned pumpkin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice

- Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with no stick spray.
- Combine eggs, buttermilk, butter, pumpkin, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
- Use an electric mixer to blend ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend with mixer until smooth.
- Pour or scoop the batter onto hot skillet, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
- When the batter stops bubbling and edges begin to harden, flip the pancakes. They should be golden brown. This will take from 1 to 2 minutes.
- Flip the pancakes and cook other side for the same amount of time, until golden brown.

Serve warm with syrup or get creative with the Black Cinnamon Syrup, recipe below.

Makes approximately 16 pancakes.

Black Cinnamon Syrup 

(recipe from the clever Not Martha)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • black food coloring gel
In a saucepan combine sugars, flour and cinnamon. Add vanilla and water. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. As it heats squirt in a little of the black food coloring and mix in, add more until it's as dark as can be (it doesn't take much). Allow to boil for a few moments until the mixture has noticeably thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to put into a plastic squeeze bottle. Syrup can be made ahead and refrigerated.  Warm syrup before serving by placing the squeeze bottle in a bowl of warm water(not boiling). Let each person decorate their own pancake!
Bagels with Pumpkin Cream Cheese
recipe from TidyMom
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
4 TBSP brown sugar
Beat all ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate.


2 large eggs
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbs granulated sugar
4 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, crushed
Eight 3/4-inch thick slices of day-old French bread

1. In a low-lying, flat bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.

2. In another low-lying flat bowl, place crushed cereal.
3. Heat skillet to medium-heat, brush with butter. Quickly dip bread on both sides into the egg mixture, then cover both sides of the bread with the crushed cereal. Place in hot skillet, reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Heat 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining bread.
4. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Servings: 4

Yield: 2 slices per person

Cooking Tips:
*This recipe really is best with French bread that is a day or two old- if it’s too soft, it will absorb too much of the liquid and turn out soggy.
**Do a quick dip into the liquid. You don’t want to soak the bread in it.
***You may leave off the crumbled cereal if you don’t wish to add crunch. (It’s good though!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

31 Days of Halloween with kids! Cake Pops - Day 24


Halloween Cake Pops!
These Cake Pops are the cutest thing!  These are all from Bakerella.  We are making eyeball cake pops for our Halloween Fun Food Day with the kids.



Make a Difference Day

We were misinformed on the actual date of "Make a Difference Day".  It was actually yesterday.  To read more, visit this website:

Here is a great website for next year that you can enter your zip code and find events in your community so you can then "Make a Difference"


Saturday, October 23, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Halloween Candy Wrappers - Day 23


 Candy Bar Covers
Found these adorable candy wrappers last year and thought we would share the idea with you all.  They are from Skiptomylou.org and you can click HERE for the templates!

Coffin Treat Box

Tools and MaterialsDecorative paper
Black cardstock
Large glue stick
Plain printer paper
Bone folder
Craft knife or scissors
Paper clips
Halloween stickers
Rough twine, at hardware or craft stores
Coffin box top and bottom templates
Full-sheet double-sided adhesive (optional)

Coffin Treat Box How-To1. Fully adhere decorative paper to black cardstock with a large glue stick or full-sheet double-sided adhesive.
2. Print top and bottom coffin templates on regular 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper. Place one template on each sheet of lined cardstock and staple around the template to hold in place. Do not staple inside the lines of the template, as this will create holes in your finished box.
3. Using a bone folder and ruler, score on the dotted lines of each template, pressing through to the paper and cardstock underneath.
4. Using a craft knife or scissors, cut on solid lines of templates, working from the inside out.
5. Fold sides and tabs of both top and bottom where scored. Using a glue stick, glue tabs to inside of box bottom and lid as shown in the template. Clamp with paperclips to secure until dry.
6. Fill bottom of box with candy. Add stickers to top of lid and place lid on top of box. Wrap a 1-yard piece of rough twine around the coffin a few times, and tie to secure.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Coffin Treat Box - Martha Stewart Crafts

Friday, October 22, 2010

31 Days of Halloween with kids! Halloween Punch - Day 22


Halloween Punch Recipes!

Red Halloween Punch

This is one of the easiest non alcoholic drink recipes you will ever find. It is sweet, thirst-quenching and looks pretty darn bloody. This red punch is great not only for Halloween but for any occasion.
Ingredients (for about 20 servings)
  • 48 oz. chilled cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 liter chilled ginger ale
  • 1/2 cup chilled lime juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
Combine cranberry juice cocktail, ginger ale and lime juice together in a large punch bowl. Stir well. Float cinnamon sticks in the punch. 

Magic Potion Punch

  • 16 Servings
  • Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) lime gelatin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 quart non-carbonated lemon-lime drink, chilled
  • 1-1/2 quarts lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • Dissolve gelatin and sugar in boiling water; add cold water. Transfer to a punch bowl. Stir in lemon-lime drink and soda. Yield: about 4 quarts.

Ghoul Punch
  • 12 gummy spiders
  • 1 vinyl glove
  • 1 gallon tropical fruit punch, chilled
  • 2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • 1 quart raspberry sherbet
  • Pour water into an ice cube tray; add a gummy spider to each of 12 compartments. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Fill glove with water; tie or seal and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  • In a 7-qt. punch bowl, combine punch and soda. Add sherbet and ice cubes. Remove glove from hand-shaped ice; add to punch. Serve immediately. Yield: 32 servings (6 quarts).

Gummy Worm Punch

  • 12 Servings
  • Prep: 15 min. + freezing
  • 4 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 2/3 cup thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 2 cups water
  • 20 gummy worms
  • 4-1/3 cups lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • In a punch bowl, combine the apple juice, orange juice and lemonade concentrate. Pour water and 1 cup juice mixture into a 5-cup ring mold; add gummy worms. Freeze until solid. Meanwhile, refrigerate juice mixture until chilled.
  • Just before serving, add soda to juice mixture. Unmold ice ring by wrapping the bottom of the mold in a damp hot dishcloth; invert onto a baking sheet. Place worm side up in punch bowl. Yield: 3 quarts.

Black Punch with Hand

1 (.13 ounce) envelope unsweetened grape soft drink mix
1 (.13 ounce) envelope unsweetened orange soft drink mix
3 quarts cold water
2 cups white sugar
1 liter ginger ale

To make a frozen hand, wash a disposable glove, fill with water, seal with a rubber band and freeze until hard. Stir together grape soft drink mix, orange soft drink mix, sugar and water until solids are dissolved. Combine with chilled ginger ale just before serving. Dip the frozen hand briefly in warm water, then peel off the glove. Float the prepared hand in the punch bowl for a ghastly effect.

Hawaiian Red Punch

1 large bottle of red Hawaiian Punch
1 large bottle of ginger ale
1 large bottle of apple juice
1 large bottle of cranberry juice
You can freeze some red dyed water inside a heart shaped mold or another kind and float that in the punch.

Bloody Punch with Floating Hand

  • 3 cups (500 mL) cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 cups (250 mL) apple juice
  • 1-1/2 cups (250 mL) grape juice
  • 2 cups (500 mL) caffeine-free cola
  • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen strawberries
Cooking Instructions
  1. In a large pitcher or punch bowl, combine the cranberry juice, apple juice and grape juice. Stir, then refrigerate until you're ready to serve. At the last possible moment, add the cola, the strawberries and, of course, the Floating Hand of Death (directions below).
Floating Hand
  1. In a measuring cup or jar, stir a few drops of green food coloring into some water -- not too much, just enough to give it a slightly decomposed tint. Pour the greenish water into a disposable rubber glove (the stretchy kind -- make sure it's not powder-coated inside) and tie the top securely. Place in the freezer for several hours or overnight. At serving time, peel the glove off the hand and deposit icy hand in chilled punch. 

Mad Scientist Punch

  • 16 Servings
  • Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) frozen pineapple-orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 envelope unsweetened orange soft drink mix
  • 2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • 1 pint orange sherbet, softened
  • In a punch bowl, combine the juice concentrate, water and soft drink mix; stir in soda. Top with scoops of sherbet. Serve immediately. Yield: 16 servings (4 quarts).

How to add Dry Ice to your Punch Cauldron
Dry Ice turns an ordinary party punch into a spooky Halloween brew. Start with 2 punch bowls of different sizes. The smaller bowl will hold the actual punch while the larger bowl will hold the smaller bowl and the dry ice. With tongs or gloved hands (dry ice can freeze your skin) , place chunks of dry ice in the bigger container. Place the smaller bowl on top of the dry ice. There is no need to add extra ice to the punch as the dry ice will cool the punch nicely. Just before serving, pour some hot water over the dry ice. Continue to add hot water and dry ice as needed. Be very careful when using dry ice! Handle only with tongs or heavy gloves! Do NOT put the dry ice directly in the punch or touch it with bare skin, it can burn and should NOT be ingested.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!

31 Days of Halloween with kids! Dramatic Halloween Curtains - Day 21



Black Trash Bag Halloween Curtains

  • Black trash bag large enough to cover window
  • Scissors
  • Painter’s tape
  • White grease pencil or crayon
  • Double-stick tape

  1. If trash bag has a built-in cinch or ties, cut a straight line across top. Cut open sides and bottom so you have two pieces of equal size.
  2. Tape one piece over window, securing it tightly on all four sides.
  3. Use a grease pencil to draw a simple design that resembles curtains and a valance. It does not need to be perfectly symmetrical. Remove tape and cut out shape.
  4. Tape other piece of bag to a flat surface, then tape cut-out shape on top of it. Use grease pencil to draw a similar, slightly larger shape. There should be some areas where shapes overlap and others where they don’t, adding depth to curtain.
  5. Remove tape, crumple up both pieces, then open. Do it again. (This helps disguise creases in trash bag.)
  6. Secure top and sides of larger piece to window frame with double-stick tape. Tape other piece on top of first.

Spooky Black Halloween Curtains

This picture is from Wife Soup blogspot.  She had taken 2 of Martha Stewart's ideas and combined them to come with these curtains.  Martha Stewart provides the template for the black curtain, click HERE to get it.  Wife Soup provides extremely detailed instructions HERE

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

31 Days of Halloween with kids! Potion Labels - Day 20


Free Halloween Potion Labels

We have collected several places that will give us FREE Halloween Potion Labels that you can then print out yourself and adhere to any bottle for your Halloween Party!

Simply visit HERE at Love Manor's Flick'r site and download any of these:
You can find these 3 great Vintage Poison Labels below and a few more HERE from Spookshows

You can download and print these labels HERE from "design, wash, rinse, repeat"

 You can print these adorable labels from Fantasy Jr. HERE
Free Apothecary Labels that you can write your own scary words on.  Get them HERE from Craft Quirky Fun

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