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Food, Lifestyle

Putting the happy in Happy Halloween

Daughter Alexa dresses up for Halloween (Ann Steriti)

There was a time in America when costumed children skipped with reckless abandon through the streets of their neighborhood without fear or trepidation. Parents and neighbors left doors wide open and awaited doorbells announcing goons and ghouls wanting fistfuls of candy. The best part for people answering a door was to try to figure out just who it was demanding a “Trick or Treat.”

My, how times have changed. Today, children are escorted door-to-door by parents to protect them from a world that sometimes seems creepy and crazy. You see the light  from flashlights before you spot the kids.

I want to time-travel back to the days of my childhood when Halloween was different. My mother would joyfully create costumes for me and my sisters every year. We loved dressing up as Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the three bears. Our all-time favorite costume were teddy bears sewn out of fake fur. I honestly don’t know who had more fun, me and my sisters or my mother. Another wonderful memory gifted to us.

When it was my time to create magical Halloween memories for our daughter, Alexa, I was a working mother and had little time to sew costumes so she traversed the neighborhood in a store-bought costume (guilt trip). Although I did not have time to sew costumes, like you I wanted to create happy Halloween memories for our family;  

baking Halloween cookies, trick or treating and counting candy were some of the ways we introduced Halloween joy into our home.  

Baking is something I am good at, and boy did I bake cookies.

 

Here are eight delicious ways to keep the fun and lighthearted happiness in Halloween.

  • Visit an apple orchard and make candy apples together.
  • Watch a spooky movie and enjoy with caramel-coated popcorn.
  • Bundle up and enjoy a family fall picnic.
  • Create a spooky supper menu to enjoy together before you trick or treat.
  • Warm up for Halloween with a family candy treasure hunt in your home.
  • Invite a family to paint or carve pumpkins with your family
  • Who doesn’t love spooky stories and s’mores around the fire pit?
  •   Fill your home with the wonderful scent of something sweet baking.  

 

Here is one of my favorite fall recipes:

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

 

Filling ingredients

16 oz. cream cheese (room temp)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

2 teaspoon vanilla

 

Pie ingredients

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

4 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 1/4 cups butter (room temp)

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons molasses

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin

1/2 cup buttermilk

 

Filling

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and butter together in a bowl until smooth.

 

Pies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl.

Using a mixer, beat butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla in a large bowl to blend.

Add eggs, beating until well mixed.

Beat in pumpkin.

Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing alternately with buttermilk.

Beat until mixture is just combined.

 

Scoop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 13 minutes.

Cool on cookie sheet. Spread 2 tablespoons of filling on flat side of pie and place second pie on top.  Repeat until all pies are filled.

 

Most important: Enjoy the sweet smell and delicious flavor!

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