Halloween is the Fourth Family Holiday

Ten years ago, I was a recent college graduate with an 8-month old godson, and all my Halloween excitement returned from my childhood. This adorable little guy was barely old enough to do anything exciting, but his existence itself was exciting. He would look adorable in a costume and one day procure me all the Almond Joys he could fit in his sack. I envisioned this future long before it came.

It was around this time that my family began celebrating Halloween together again. A tradition was born. Each year, we’d gather with the growing troupe of tiny humans as they trick-or-treated through my aunt’s neighborhood. We’d hand out candy from the house dubbed the most entertaining door to trick-or-treat in the area, and the cackling of my mom and her two sisters could be heard from blocks away (because they set up an outdoor sound system, and someone gave them microphones. Rookie mistake).

A year ago, Brian and I moved into our house one week before Halloween.  It was just, you might say, our housiversary. I trekked to my aunt’s house, while Brian held down the fort, sad because I was afraid this would be my last Halloween with the kiddos. I knew with a house of our own, I’d want to decorate and revel in the joy of our Halloween space. I love throwing parties and I suspected I would want to have people over for Halloween, while I handed out candy to the neighborhood kids.

To my surprise and delight, my aunt informed us all that she was done hosting our family Halloween festivities. She passed me the proverbial torch without my needing to even ask!

All my dreams were coming true.

In just a few short days, my family will head over for a kid-friendly fiesta. Little A (who isn’t so little anymore) already knows that he’s got to find the Almond Joys for Auntie Chrissy. And I’ve got everything I need to mix the slightly scary with the bright and happy for a Halloween Spooktacular that can’t be matched!

Of course, the spider den in my bathroom hasn’t come down, but I did add an extra white light to offset some of the creepy atmosphere. The baby doll massacre is still holding strong in the kitchen,  because the kid in our family don’t scare easily. (Plus they probably won’t even notice amidst the candy overload that is Halloween…)

10 Ideas for a kid-friendly halloween party

Tiny Human Approved (Ish) Decorations

  • Banners and signs. In an effort to brighten the day for some of my favorite tiny humans, Brian and I are going to add a few kid-friendly decorations to our house, like these DIY Happy Halloween flags and Lil Monster flags from Harry & David or some of the foodie signs we found at the dollar store.

Harry and David Halloween banners

  • Previously lit candles with dripped wax. Brian and I have bleeding candles that we previously lit during a romantic candle-lit housiversary dinner in which we dined on a blanket picnic and watched several of the Harry Potter movies. The hot pink “blood” on the candles is just creepy enough to fit our home and just bright enough not to scare anyone.

If you're afraid to light candles when you have a large party, pre-light the bleeding candles so the wax drips down and gives the cool appearance of bleeding candles

  • Black Light Activated Chalk. In our garage, where we keep coolers of drinks, we’re going to set up an area with a black light, because we have chalk that glows in black lighting! Brian wants to write things like “Help Me!” And “Turn back!” How fun would that be?

  • Halloween Village. You’ve likely seen me singing about my Christmas village, but did you know I also have a Halloween village? The Lemax Spookytown collection makes my heart go pitter patter.

My Halloween village (Lemax Spookytown) is my pride and joy of Halloween. I love it more than my Christmas village

  • Pumpkins and witches’ hats. This is one of my favorite little spots in our house. It’s in our dining room, which I’m obsessed with perfecting, and it’s also just adorable in a light-hearted and fun way, that almost makes up for my creepy doll collection.

I love this display of light-up electric pumpkins with witches hats, creepy cloths and fall foliage

Tiny Human Friendly(ish) Treats

  • Halloween Chili. We’ll have our traditional Halloween feast of chili and hot dogs. I’ll be making my homemade turkey chili recipe and Vienna Beef hot dogs in separate Crock Pots. I may even make some fresh cornbread to go with the chili. Or pasta to make chili mac like I did a few Halloweens ago. We’ll see how ambitious I’m feeling.

My homemade turkey and veggie chili is sure to be a hit this Halloween.

  • Puking Pumpkin. I’ll also be making the same guacamole display I created for our adult Halloween party, so it shouldn’t be difficult for Halloween proper. The kids will laugh and Brian’s homemade guacamole is the BEST.
This puking pumpkin is always the hit of the party. I made homemade guac, carved a pie pumpkin, and surrounded it with chips

This puking pumpkin is always the hit of the party. I made homemade guac, carved a pie pumpkin, and surrounded it with chips and a pair of skeleton hands I found at the dollar store.

  • Creepy Face: I’m debating the concept of the really disgusting face I made last year for our party. It’s one of my favorite snacks, Harry & David Pepper Relish with cream cheese, but when you put it on a blank white mask, it looks…horrifying.
Bashed Skull: A plain mask that I got at Michael's painted in cream cheese and covered with jalapeno jam. Serve with crackers. I don't know why, but no one wanted to eat this one.

I called it a bashed skull, though it’s less bashed, really…and more just gross face…Helena on Facebook  said her kid called it a decomposing head, which was awesome.

  • Finger cake. This was easy and fun to make. I just baked a double batch of cake in a large stone baker (because I am slightly lazy and didn’t want to like…make a layer cake or anything tricky), frosted it, and topped it with some candy fingers and gel icing decoration.

This finger cake was easy to make. I baked a double batch of cake, frosted and decorated it.

  • Candy. OMG! These candy brains were the easiest things ever to make. I thought I was being punny and clever making pumpkin brains with pumpkin flavored candy melts and candy molds. I recommend sticking to regular candy melts, FYI.

I love the way these candy brains looked after they came out of the mold

Of course, the taste of those candy melts left me jonesin’ for something a little more delish. Like Harry & David truffles. Drool
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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Harry & David. I was compensated to share the contest and free printables, but never to give my opinion. You get that for free, as always. Additionally, some links in this post are affiliate links and any purchases you make through my links will earn me a small commission. 

What decorations and food do you make for Halloween? Do you celebrate the holiday like us with family and friends? What are your Halloween plans?

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Sorry. No Candy Here. Halloween Grinchy McGrinchersons are Over Powered by the Lack of Trick-or-Treaters

What. The. Fuck. Happened to Halloween? For the last nine years, I’ve taken my godson, nieces, nephews and their pals out on the hunt for candy. Each year it seems to get more and more sparse, both in the people handing out candy and the tiny humans racing from door to door to door for candy. Our trick-or-treating adventure has been in the same location for the last nine years. Friday will have been our last year spending Halloween at my aunt’s house. The torch has been passed to yours truly, as all my Clark Griswold dreams come true in a single year. House with the love of my life. Hosting My Family Halloween. Hosting Brian’s Family Christmas (and adding my family – OMG it’s going to be amazing). Side notes aside…Brian stayed at home to do some recon on our own trick-or-treaters, while I made my way to my aunt’s house for the fourth family holiday.

Brian was responsible for purchasing candy and 5 or 6 bags of freakin’ candy later, he informed me that we had maybe 6 or 7 groups trick or treat at our house. Well, my friends…after I take over, kids are going to be lining up down the block next year. I hope. It may take a couple years for word to get out…but they’ll come in droves. Oh yes. This Griswold means business.

One of the things I noticed this year, was the number of signs proudly displayed on homes stating NO CANDY! With a huge townhome complex of hundreds, if not thousands of homes, you would expect that the kids wouldn’t have to go far to fill their buckets and let us get home to be free from the FREEZING, SNOWY Chicagoland Halloween weather…instead it was one in six houses that had candy. And that’s being generous.

Sorry No Candy

No Candy. Sorry Bye-bye. Wow.

No Candy

Back-to-back signage.

 

Now, I remember this when I was a kid, sparingly. OKAY FINE. My grandma went out and bought one of those “Candy Here!” signs…and then wrote a big giant permanent marker, “NO” on top of it. But it was less common, I think.

Then there were the please take one buckets. Some empty and some full. You can tell the type of candy can make a difference…

Please Take One - Empty Bucket

This bowl obviously had the good stuff.

Please Take Two

This house said please take two. And the kids we were with did.

And there were, of course, some people handing out some candy and having oodles of fun with it. This lady was really happy when the kids knocked on her door and was SUPER sweet. She even let me snap a pic of her treat bowl!

 

Cool Halloween treat container

How cool is THAT bowl?

But what was truly sad was the lack of kids out trick-or-treating. It makes me really sad. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the number of families that no longer celebrate Halloween and trick-or-treating. Or the families with kids who have allergies (and my heart totally goes out to y’all). Or people who go to Halloween parties. Or it was just too fucking cold. And so on and so forth. But it makes me sad. We came across maybe 6 or 7 other groups of kids. Total. Brian said we had about 6 or 7 groups stop at our house for candy. Which leaves us with A LOT of Brian’s favorite candy.

Luckily, my godson is pretty much the world’s greatest child on the planet, and every time he say an Almond Joy in a treat box, he picked it and ran it back to his Auntie Chrissy. This kid is more than precious. He’s pretty much the best godson ever.  And the kids seemed to have a good time getting treats.

Did you go trick or treating this year? Did you find that there were fewer trick or treaters? Fewer candy houses?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Activities That Don’t Involve Booze That Make Valentine’s Day at Work Fun

Cheese tasting lessons (obviously my contribution to the team)

Cheese Tasting

I explained the art of letting cheese sit to room temperature before consumption to enhance the flavor profile. Basically, I made them eat cheese twice. Once, when it was cold, and again when it had warmed to room temp. Because I’m fucking awesome.

Candy necklace eating contest (also my contribution to the team)

Candy necklaces

Chocolate Roulette (also me)

It only took me three pieces of chocolate to find the coconut truffle!

It only took me three pieces of chocolate to find the coconut truffle!

It only took me three pieces of chocolate to find the coconut truffle!

Star Wars light saber battles thanks to glowy light sabers in our valentines!

Star Wars Valentines

Who can make their boyfriends feel the worst after receiving floral love from the office Cassonova?

Flowers from co-workers

Guess who keeps leaving the secret Valentine messages?

Secret Valentine

How to divide 8 chocolate covered strawberries by 10 people

Chocolate covered strawberries

One co-worker brought in delicious chocolate covered strawberries to share…but some of us wanted to eat more than others! Om nom nom.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, Blog Friends.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!