Nathan Hale, a soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, famously said,
“I only regret that I have but one month to celebrate Halloween,” or something like that.
I can relate to Captain Hale’s sentiments. I love the month of October and Halloween and each year I try to do it bigger and better than the year before.
Let them eat soup
I’ve inadvertently set a high standard for myself. My kids enjoyed last year’s Mystery Halloween Menu so much that they’ve asked that we do it again! If you missed last year’s article when I wrote about our new family tradition, here’s a taste:
“First, start by setting a fit-for-a-ghoul Halloween table. In order to keep the cost low, I use my holiday dishes, Halloween decorations I already have on hand and some skull straws and an orange table liner I purchased from the dollar store.
Now that the table is set, create a “mystery menu,” from the meals you were already planning on serving. If you are having spaghetti, change the name to “Worms and Gut Sauce.” Or, if you are having chili, change the name to “Ground Goblin Brains with Beans.” Just be creative with the names. If you have young boys, like me, you’ll score extra -cool-mom points for the gross-out factor.
Adding food coloring is another inexpensive, but fun way to add some creepiness to your Halloween dinner. For instance, Black as a Bat Meat Loaf or Purple People Eater Chicken Pot Pie.
With their stomachs full of a spooky, but square meal, a few pieces of candy before bed shouldn’t be a big deal.”
In an effort to “outspook” last year’s Halloween feast, this year I will make soup in a pumpkin. No, not pumpkin soup, but soup cooked in a pumpkin. The recipe and instructions from Cooks.com are as follows:
SOUP IN A PUMPKIN
1 well shaped 5 lb. pumpkin1 c. grated cheese (Mozzarella or Gruyere)1 c. cooked ham, chopped2 c. toasted croutons2 c. creamPinch of nutmegSalt and pepper
Remove top of pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and stringy portion. Fill pumpkin with layers of cheese, ham, and croutons. Combine cream and seasonings. Pour into pumpkin, adding more cream, if necessary to fill shell. Cover with aluminum foil and place pumpkin in baking pan. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring several times. Remove pumpkin from oven; place on large serving dish. Top pumpkin with lid and serve soup from pumpkin "bowl". Serves 4.
A recipe with ham, cheese, cream, and in a pumpkin, even, can’t get much better than that!
The early decorator catches the millipede
To “outhaunt” last year I had to start early. I started decorating for Halloween in September! It’s an illness, I’m sure.
Mini Me and I created a Halloween tree from a small tree branch we painted black and decorated with little ghosts hung by gingham ribbon. I stuffed and tied squares I cut from an old white sheet to create the ghosts “bodies” and Mini Me used a marker to draw on their spooky faces. Our ghostly tree is now a centerpiece for the coffee table in our living room. My next project was the outside.
I’ve never ventured far past the front door with my Halloween decorations, although I have admired the effort of others. A couple years ago, someone in my neighborhood recreated a spooky graveyard in front of their house, complete with headstones and cobwebs, minus the bodies, I think. I hope.
Decorating our front yard was a group effort. Boy #1, Boy #2, Mini Me and I created a giant millipede.
We used eight pumpkins of various sizes, a couple bags of carrots and a four foot length of rebar.
First, the boys performed the lobotomy on what would be the millipedes head and I carved the freaky face.
Mini Me was in charge of preparing the “body.” After I cut the pumpkins in half, she worked to “disembowel” them. Then, the cleaned-out pumpkin halves were laid end to end in an “s” pattern on the grass to create the millipede’s body.
Next, we drove the piece of rebar into the ground at an angle and left enough of the length sticking out to support two pumpkins and the carved-out head, giving the effect that the millipede was rising up to eat you, I mean, meet you.
Finally, we carved small holes in the side of the pumpkins to insert the carrots or “legs” of the millipede. The result is a great yard decoration to outdo anything we’ve done before, until next year.
If you pass out candy, they will come
For the first time ever, I will meet the trick-o-treaters half-way; I will pass out candy from my driveway.
We are going to give our door bell a rest. Secret Agent Man and I will set up a couple of lawn chairs and light the fire pit and watch the costume parade as it comes and goes. What a great night it’s going to be with our fire, our bowl of candy, and hordes of ghouls, fairy princesses, and Jedi knights. I’ll be sad when it’s over.
I can imagine Captain Hale during the American Revolution doing something similar. Standing around the campfire with the other soldiers, trying to stay warm and thinking to himself, “October is almost over, perhaps now, I will just give my life for my country.”