Hello, and Happy Halloween! We've never really been huge on Halloween around our house for ourselves, and since we don't have any little kids anymore, Halloween has certainly lost what little pizazz or fun it used to have. But, it IS fun to see how all the neighborhood kids have grown since last year!
But, I have done a few Halloween theme crafts lately. I've made some pumpkin spice cupcakes with orange cream cheese icing. They were soooo easy, it's almost a trick!
(Sidenote: Like my make-shift cupcake stand? It's two plates with a drinking glass in the middle, ha ha! Hey, make do with what you have I say!) I, for one, don't like recipes that involve a lot of ingredients. Get too many ingredients involved and I start flaking out. But I saw this recipe floating around the internet lately and knew immediately it was right up my alley. You take a box of spice cake mix and a 15 oz can of pumpkin, mix it up and put it in the cupcake pan. Cook it at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and you're done. See? Told you it was easy! I did put one egg in the mix as all the ones I'd seen around blog-lands looked kind of flat and I thought maybe an egg would help fluff it up a bit. Sure enough, mine are some tall cupcakes (maybe a little too tall, can't fit it in your mouth all at once!), but good and moist. I took some store bought cream cheese icing, mixed it with the hand mixer (I always do this because the added air not only makes it easier to spread but increases the size making it go farther) while mixing in some yellow and red food coloring until it became the orange I wanted. And TA-DA, Halloween-y cupcakes. You could probably doll them up even more with some candy corn on top or something, but I didn't have any. Love that this recipe can also carry over to Thanksgiving. I'm thinking I'll try it in a loaf pan or something for that? Maybe try a carrot cake mix instead of the spice mix? Or maybe throw some nuts in there? Use sweet potato instead of pumpkin? Or on one of those "bad" days, throw in some chocolate chips? Hmmm......the possibilities!
I also crocheted my next door neighbor's little boy a stuffed jack-o-lantern (you can also see him peeking around in the picture with the cupcakes above), and I crocheted their newborn little girl a pumpkin hat. I figured with the baby being born so close to Halloween, a costume for her was the last thing on Mommy and Daddy's minds so she can now at least sport around the visiting family as a little pumpkin. You'll have to imagine it on a little baby's head, though. As I've said, we don't have little ones here anymore and the dog simply refused to wear it!
I'm sorry but I don't have the sources of these two patterns readily available. I just did Google searches and these were a couple that popped up. If you need it though, leave me a comment and I'll do some digging for that info. I know I altered the one for the stuffed jack-o-lantern a little, as I didn't like the way the stem was just sewn on the top as the pattern called for. The neighbor's little boy is sweet and lovable, but let's face it, he's only 18 months old and can be a bit tough on the toys. Thought it better to have that stem as an actual part of the pumpkin and not easily ripped off! (Yes, the vine and leaf are still sewn on, but at least he'll still look like a pumpkin if they are ripped off. Ha ha!)
Well, gotta get the pounds of candy ready for handing out to the trick-or-treaters! Yes, I said POUNDS! We live in one of only a few subdivisions in the immediate area, so we can get nearly a hundred trick-or-treaters. I usually have to buy about 12-15 pounds of candy, to be sure to have enough. We used to be the ONLY subdivision, it was more like 30 pounds of candy every year. Geesh....for once, I was kind of thankful when "urban sprawl" started working it's way into our area. At least now, the other two subdivisions get to share the candy-load! :)