October 17, 2011

How We Do Halloween


Earlier this month I shared what fall was like for me, especially growing up. Now, also in participation with Hallmark's Life is a Special Occasion focus in October, I thought I'd mention the little traditions I celebrate with my kids.

So, how do I put this? My husband and I were brought up with different views on Halloween. We chose to just cross that bridge when the kids were older. And when that bridge came, we tiptoed around until we both agreed the kids could dress up and trick or treat.

We're still cautious about what they are exposed to regarding haunted houses and scary costumes, so yes, we tend to censor that stuff for now. We trick or treat in our small neighborhood and go early when the younger kids are out. Sometimes there's a party at church or school and we go to what we can.The fun parts and the dressing up - we do that, and they love it.

This year Noah really wanted to be a skeleton and thus began the almost impossible search to find one that wasn't frightening. We did come across an x-ray costume, but I admit I still think the mask looks a bit mad. So, it gets little face time around here. Carter first made two big pointy hands out of yellow construction paper and called it a scorpion but while shopping for Noah's 'stume he decided to be a robot instead. Ivy has several to choose from and this past weekend for a party she went as a green monster. She also plans to be a butterfly princess and girl with a blue wig. And Gray was set on being Batman from the very beginning.

Fall photos

As much as I dream about a beautifully decorated home for all seasons with the clever trinkets and coordinating colors, despite a few pumpkins outside, I really don't do anything else. I want to, but it just never seems to happen. And that's okay. Sometimes a glass pickle jar full of colorful mums on the table is just enough and it makes me smile and anyway. 

Fall photos

A bit of a sidenote- another goal of mine has been to get more of my photos into frames instead of them just hanging out in my computer. So, in an effort to make my home more festive, I took pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes this year and actually put them in some frames. (If you can believe it, I had not one picture of Ivy in our house.) Ordering a few 1-hour prints is super affordable and great at giving the appearance that I really have it all together... (perfectly imperfect, right?) And hopefully this will force me to remember to change them out for Thanksgiving and Christmas and beyond.

One thing we definitely do every year is carve pumpkins - if only to harvest their seeds for baking. In the past we've tried to follow those fancy carving patterns but have found just creating whatever we could get those darn kid-safe knives to cut is totally awesome.

I roast the pumpkin seeds by first separating the seeds from the pumpkin strings as best as I can, then rinse out in a colander. Most recipes call for patting them dry with paper towel or even microwaving for a short time but I usually am impatient and skip that step. I toss them in a bowl with olive oil and salt (and sometimes cayenne pepper if I'm making a batch for myself) and put in the oven on 350 for about 30-45 minutes, using a spatula to turn them once or twice. Take them out when they are crispy and starting to change color. Delicious!

Spooky Veggie Pizza

I needed to bring a spooky treat to the party the other night and the only thing I tend to make for such an event anymore is veggie pizza - because I know my kids will eat it and also it's crazy-easy. This is based off an old Pampered Chef recipe from a billion years ago and I just arranged the veggies to help with the spooky part (click on photo for recipe.)

How do you do Halloween? Do you do Halloween? Have any perfectly imperfect fall moments you'd like to share? Comment or link to your post below - I'd love to read about it!

Hallmark is compensating me for participating in the Life Is A Special Occasion campaign. It would be awesome if you'd sign up for their promotional emails (you might even see me in there!) by following this link. I am partnering with Hallmark to spotlight Life Is A Special Occasion  for the rest of this year. As always, all content and opinions expressed are my own.


  1. My friends make that veggie pizza for every occasion, it's so yummy.

    I agree I love the idea of seasonal decor, but my biggest thing is that I don't have space to store anything for 3/4 of a year. So, one day, maybe.

  2. Liv- same here. No room for much, so even just a little bit helps!


  3. You're just so precious, Steph.


  4. I want some more veggie pizza, please.

  5. I love Halloween so much...but don't like the spooky part of it. I won't let my kids dress up as anything dead...just hits too close to home.
    We have a ton of costumes that we can't use anymore because it is not cold at Halloween here! ARGH! So, I am making some warm weather costumes now :)
    Also? I love that veggie pizza from Pampered Chef. YUM.

  6. hey Steph.. I'm with you..not totally sure how I want to embrace it yet - our gal is just turning 2 soon, so i can stall a bit longer, the best is that her b-day is the 29th so I just get to dress her up fun(ny) for her birthday each year! ;o)
    Cute munchkins there still!
    needle and nest design

  7. Halloween is my favorite "holiday" and I can't wait until the twins are old enough to dress up and enjoy it. My first two (22 and 20 years old) always loved it too. My oldest's birthday is Halloween, so it was particularly special every year for us.

    I love that you framed photos of them in their costumes. You've given me a great idea! I think I'll do that and keep them in our Halloween decorations box. Then every year we can take them out and display them as part of our household Halloween prep festivities. Fun!

  8. I love this post and I swear you have just wrote about my life. My husband and I both had different ways of celebrating when younger (not that one was right and one was wrong...just different)now we have a 8 year old with a desire to dress up scary and I won't have it. We opted for a nicer skeleton last year and an alien this year. Both cool for him and not scary for me or his younger siblings.
    I also have great intentions of decorating all festive but my time and money seem to go towards other things like pumpkin patches and costumes. We have started having a Halloween themed family night with special decorations and food. Then we also participate in our church's trunk or treat. That's it for us....and plenty I might add.
    Glad to know I am not alone in the scary costume dilemma!

  9. Love the monster costume! It is adorable. I am the same way when it comes to decorating for holidays. All we have is our pumpkins in front of our house as well. I love your idea of putting pictures of your kids in there costumes in frames. So cute.

  10. ivy is precious. can you say that about a screaming green monster? I supposed, because Mike Wasowski is precious. Or funny or soemthing like that!


  11. I love Halloween, it is like the "Ready, Set, Go!" to the holiday season. But, like you, I don't like the scary side. Some of the really spooky stuff seems like a celebration of evil in the world and I don't want to expose my kids (or myself) to that. So, for us costumes are about celebrating something we love or that makes us laugh. Nothing that would scare someone is allowed. And we go Trick or treating as soon as the sun is down and turn off our lights to trick or treaters pretty early (around 8).

  12. I didn't grow up trick or treating. Wasn't allowed. I was very hesitant to take my kids out, but when we moved to this town it became easy to go...there's ONE neighborhood that goes all out and we feel safe and see lots of people we know walking around. After the school HarvestParty we head there and the fire station and then go home. NO scary costumes - but thankfully neither of the older ones have ever asked.

    I love your row of frames!!! You've inspired me to get some new photos in my frames in time for the party we're throwing on the 29th - our first Halloween Party (only doing it because the regular hosts are in the middle of a remodel). Thankfully my MIL offered to loan us all her decorations so I don't have to start from scratch.

    Speaking of frames - one way to organize and make it less of a huge project is to have a frame with one or multiple openings that you change out every season. For me, that's a four photo frame. Four favorite photos that I update every season and then I can add to an album once I'm done displaying them. It's a great way to get a slice of life so to speak without too much effort.

    The jury is still out on the rest of the frames in my house - do they NEED to be updated or is it OK to keep older (favorites) out year after year?

  13. Love your pizzas and frames! You're so clever.

    I also grew up in a Halloween-ambivalent home. We were allowed to trick or treat but could never wear a scary or evil costume. My boys are still little but may want to challenge me on the scary costume bit when they're older!

  14. I'm so bad about framing pictures too these days. MUST be better about that!

    My G is going to be a skeleton too. I'm good with that one but we also stay away from too scary stuff. Just not my style.

    And we love Halloween, mostly for the chocolate. ;)

  15. We don't do Halloween yet (the littles are only 4 and 2, so it's not a big deal for them right now), and we're not sure that we ever will. It seems that every other house we drive past that is decorated for Halloween is glorifying violence and making it "cute," and it just turns my stomach. I love the idea of fun fall celebrations, costumes and neighborhood friendliness, but I'm not sure I can get past all the "happy death" stuff. But that's just me, and I always love reading other people's fun Halloween posts!

    Joy's birthday is Nov 5, and this year we are seeing the benefit of a birthday right after Halloween - costumes and fall decorations are way cheap for her party!

  16. I absolutely, positively adore those frames! Makes me wish I was better about actually printing my photos!


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