Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween, Old and New

Pumpkins, candles and scaryyyy movies, oh my!

You know what that means. It’s Halloween!

October 31st is always so much fun. Overindulging in candy, consuming pumpkin-flavored-everything, creating your own costume because you can’t find anything for adults that doesn’t start with the word “Naughty” (i.e. “Naughty Miss Muffet” “Naughty Little Bo Peep”…seriously Halloween, stop turning the innocent figures of my childhood into, uh, skanks).

These things always make the end of October special. But this year, my Halloween was extra special. Why? Because I’m in France, and get this…

The kids had never carved a pumpkin before. 

Do you see that face? She is so into it. And I am, too! I had a blast sharing such a fun fall tradition with my French kiddos!

We actually celebrated Halloween a day early, meaning that yesterday afternoon was filled with all the things I’d normally be doing today. Like what, you ask? Well…

1. Teaching the kids how to gut a pumpkin. Super glam.

2. Helping them decide which kind of face to carve into our jack-o-lanterns (scary? silly? important decisions had to be made.)

3. Roasting the pumpkin seeds and turning them into a yummy granola. (more to come)

4. Lighting the jack-o-lanterns and using them as table decorations at dinner time.

5. Sporting our masks from Venice for lack of better last-minute costume options.

6. Watching a scarrrrry movie. (they’re too young for Friday the 13th, so we watched La Ligue des Gentlemen Extraordinaires (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in French, with subtitles en anglais pour moi).  

So it wasn’t 100% traditional, but I think that’s what made it even more special.

And now, recipe time!

Mmmm. Looks too good to eat, almost!

Just kidding…half of that bowl is already gone.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed, Cranberry, and Dark Chocolate Granola

Step 1

After glamorously gutting your pumpkin, rinse seeds in water. Soak until extra (sorry, for lack of a better word) pumpkin guts come off, then pat dry with a towel. 

Step 2

Mix towel-dried seeds with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and stir until coated. Stir in a mixture of brown sugar (about 2 tbsp), white sugar (about 2 tbsp), salt (about 1/4 tsp) and cinnamon (about 1 tbsp, or as desired). Resist the temptation to eat before roasting (it will be difficult, what with the buttery-sugary-cinammony smell and all).

Step 3

Roast in the oven at 350 degrees on a greased cookie sheet for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through to make sure that seeds are toasted evenly.

Step 4

Let seeds cool completely. Chop up a bar of dark chocolate. Yep, a whole bar. Remove dried cranberries from package. When seeds are fully cooled, stir in chocolate pieces and cranberries. Eat immediately. 

The finished, toasty, cinnamon-y seeds, sans chocolate and cranberries.

Trail mix on the left, plain cinnamon seeds on the right.

So, so good. So easy, too!

And now, your feature presentation:

The Ghosts of Halloween Past

Best, obviously, if viewed with spoooooky music (or at least the Scooby Doo theme song) playing in the background.

1995 hay-ride with the bestie, baby!

Sorry but, how cute are we with those pigtails? Get real.

My six-year-old self LOVED this flapper costume. So sassy! Dad gets an A+ too.

I’m a natural red-head, obviously. Wilmaaaaaaaaaa! 

Let’s flash forward to 2008? 2009? Either way, it’s me and the moms at the Dallas Arboretum Pumpkin Patch (And um, pumpkin house. So cool, right?)

2009 Halloween Party with United Friends/United Cerebral Palsy and volunteers in Augora Hills, California. One of my favorite fall memories. Miss these wonderful friends!

Jack the Ripper? Meet Karley the Carver.

Okay, actually no. That’s very scary. I only look dangerous here—really, I’m at a mini Halloween get-together with my sorority sisters. I think I had just finished my third mug of apple cider and fourth bowl of cinnamon-y pumpkin seeds when this photo was taken.

And of course, I have to revisit my favorite-ever-Halloween-costume.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, anyone? 

Seriously though…2009 had it going on Halloween-wise!

And this year? I’m an American.

Okay, so technically I’m always an American. But I’m in France for Halloween this year, which means that my sailor-y striped sweater counts not only as a costume, but as a creative costume.


Bisous, mes amis! Less treats, more tricks this year. Oh, and Happyyyyy Halloweeeeeen, of course!


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