Halloween – Things to Do, Make and Bake

It’s Autumn (my favourite time of year) the leaves are falling, the wind is whistling and the nights are somewhat darker – perfect for Halloween antics and dressing up the house for some seasonal fun. So here are some things to do, make and bake.

When I was just a young girl (for the record, I’m 40 and have no issues with this)…. Halloween was celebrated, but not quite as is today: we would do apple bobbing, dress up a little, carve turnips or swedes (who ever saw a real pumpkin 30 years ago in the UK) and parade about the streets playing trick or treat with lit up jam jars and turnips in hand.

The neighbours didn’t seem to pleased about trick or treating then – it wasn’t as popular as in the US.  We saw more curtains shut or folks pretending to be out (with the TV on) than we saw front doors open and gifts of sweets – some even reluctantly pushed a few coins into your hand to get rid of you for fear you’d pull the flowers up as a trick!

The biggest tradition for this time of year was Bonfire Night on November 5th and when I was younger both parents and children took part: collecting wood for the biggest bonfire, making hotpot, toffee apples and cinder toffee and the not so brilliant, but appreciated ‘Standard’ boxes of fireworks that were available then.

Since having my own children, our generation has made Halloween a fun-filled time to be shared and enjoyed amongst our communities and it is a lot safer, with parents taking part in the home and also on the trick or treat rounds.  I have known families stock up on goodies and dress the doorways of their homes and be disappointed if not enough children have come round in their best Halloween costumes and with smiling, anticipating faces.

I just love traditions and love to see children (and parents taking part).

Over the last few years I have spent the preparatory part of Halloween and sometimes even Halloween itself, over in the US: New York, Boston, Washington. My favourite was in New York and I have never seen pumpkins as big or the biggest displays of Autumn Fayre in shop windows and doorways that have complimented this traditional celebration. If you want to see Halloween at it’s best – visit New York at this time of year!

Seeing all the beautiful colours encouraged me to not just go out and buy the stuff available in the shops (which we are seeing more of year on year) but to get a bit creative with the window and door dressing with bold colours and surprisingly at less cost!

First of all, its not all about the fancy stuff you can buy – but about how much you involve your children and family.

Secondly, with a bit of imagination, you can do a much better job.

Which pumpkin to choose

Pumpkins:  You can buy these cheaply these days and they are readily available a few weeks before Halloween – buy them at least a week before for the biggest and the best and your local market is usually the best place for this. If you have been lucky enough to grow some (some of my neighbours have) then you will be the proudest parents to display your own and the kids will have loved seeing them grow.

Carve out your pumpkins and remember to keep the seeds (they are good as toasted toppings and in some recipes – you might even have a go at growing now you’ve remembered) and keep the

flesh (the hard bit of the pumpkin youv’e scraped out) – this can be baked or steamed to make it ready for recipes (remember to sieve out the liquid after cooking).

Pumpkin Pie with pecan and ginger base topper – Halloween Favourites

My recipe for Pumpkin Pie is the most popular of them all. A traditional recipe that is surprisingly sweet with the warm flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger. This Halloween and Thanksgiving favourite is even more special with the addition of a crisp layer of gingersnap and pecan pressed into the base. An unforgettable Halloween favourite!

Pumpkin Cheesecake – a nice alternative for Halloween

An alternative to Pumpkin Pie (if you find it a bit sweet) is Pumpkin Cheesecake I love all things cheesecake; it’s smooth, creamy, the cheese makes for a great carrier of extreme flavours (most people leave this plain and rely on the toppings, but this is a missed opportunity for contrasting flavours). Adding pumpkin and spices of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg makes this a seasonal dish with all the familiarities a cheesecake should offer.

Pumpkin Drop Scones – perfect for those Halloween Tea Parties with children

Pumpkin Drop Scones are great for Halloween Tea Parties. A very easy recipe to make (one for the children to join in with). These tasty scones with a little spice can be served warm as they are, with butter or for an extra tasty treat you can add jam (or citrus lemon/orange curd) with cream.

Great for lunch boxes too!

Pumpkin Cake – you can make into layers if you choose

Looking good on any Halloween table is this Pumpkin Cake You can serve with the frosting on the top or you can layer the cake as many times as you like and add the frosting between layers (sprinkle walnuts and drizzle maple syrup for effect). The mixture could also be used for cupcakes, but remember to adapt the cooking time to suit.

Display your Pumpkins in the most visible window downstairs in your home in the week before Halloween, to encourage other parents to take part and let them know they are in a Halloween Family Friendly area. Then on the day of

Halloween (31st October) transfer them to your dressed up doorway to show off throughout the day and night (light the candles at dusk for early Trick or Treaters).

Dressing the Doorway:

You can buy so many things and the shops would be happy to let you, given that they are stocking more and more these days – but let your children make some things and get a bit colour creative yourself.

Let your children make a pumpkin, ghost or skeleton garland to hang in the window (high enough away from the pumpkins with candles in) or to colour pre-printed pictures, cut out to display in the window. Drawing with crayons and painting over with watery paint is very effective for that spooky look.

Place a few logs in your porch way or entrance to stand your pumpkins on; put fruit like apples and oranges in a bucket or in small piles around your pumpkin display; add small potted plants with orange and russet coloured flowers or leaves. This display will attract a lot of wows, you will lift spirits and feel you have really contributed to the days events. The good thing about this kind of display is that it can be left out for days after Halloween and still look good.

You can still put the fake cobweb in the doors’ entrance laced with spiders (a favourite of mine) and something that I though was really effective was Halloween recorded music playing whenever there were children by the door.

All of the above recipes are available by clicking on the links and you can find them in HoniesKitchen on my blog.

Now nip on over to @TheBoyandMe Blog for some more Halloween fun by other Bloggers by clicking this ‘Show off Showcase‘ Link  or the one below and then ‘Home’.

Happy Halloween!

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About HonieMummy (HonieBuk)

Mum of two girls (16 & 9) and step-Mum to one boy (15). All of whom are bright, fun-loving, creative and musical and make me proud and despite his disability (CP) my step-son and family face challenges with a smile and the will to succeed. Love to travel (mainly US/Canada/Scotland), passionate about photography, music is a must, always in HoniesKitchen, love a bit of crafting and I'm learning to knit (maybe even crochet). I'm a networking junkie and of course there has to be time (quality time) with my amazing family! I like to Blog infrequently whenever it takes my fancy and I don't mind sharing my ups and downs, advice and querky ideas with you all. I will mostly post recipes and photos of food, family and travel. I love to review products that my family and me would use - I kinda consider it my 'duty' to let you all know if something is as good as it says on the tin and a 'must buy' product, that all families should know about. Find these in HonieLikes. If you like what you see, please tell me - I work hard at these things :o)
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18 Responses to Halloween – Things to Do, Make and Bake

  1. Love this round-up post! I’d love to visit New England area in the ‘Fall’ and see the ‘pumpkin’ festivities. Brilliant recipes, think of trying out your pumpkin pie, ‘cos I keep thinking about it.

  2. Oh and cheers for linking up to ShowOff ShowCase.

  3. Liz Burton says:

    Yay! Someone to share enthusiasm with for this time of year! I love it too.

    Your pumpkin carving is great. I’m going to check out your pie recipe. I never seem to get enough flesh to make a pie with, this year we had spicy pumpkin soup. Nice, but I bet pie would have been nicer!

  4. Liz Burton says:

    LOL! You’re funny!

    Never knew you could get pumpkin in a tin *dashed off to supermarket to scour shelves*

    • The first time I made it, it was from a tin of pumpkin purée. Mind that was 20 yrs ago when we were still running round with candles in turnips (who ever saw a real live pumpkin then?) I have ‘heard’ you can still buy it in tins (off to google to find out where now!)

  5. A fabulous round up! I have never heard of pumpkin cheesecake before! x

  6. I love your pumpkin layered cake!!! I want to try that!!! We made the mistake of carving our pumpkins a week early- I noticed today, that the orifices had been sealed by mold! Eek! Lesson learned! Thank you so much for linking to the Halloween Blog-Hop!

    • Next year when you carve your pumpkin – scoop out the seeds and the stringy, slimy bit first and then use a desert spoon to scrape out a reasonable amount of pumpkin flesh – it will come out like sorbet (shredded). It’s a bit time consuming but keep going till you are happy that you have as muhc as you want – you are unlikely to take too much!

      Also, make sure you keep the chunks that you have cut out (slicing the orange skin off).

      Put the chunks and shredded pumpkin in an electric or stove top steamer for about 20-30 mins and then seive out the excess liquid pressing it against the bottom of the art of teh pan it is in.

      Allow to cool and chill i the fridge till you are ready to use in your recipes.

      Hope this helps 😮

  7. Mari says:

    Wow, loads of fabulous ideas here – nice to meet you 🙂

  8. Pingback: Pumpkin Pie (with pecan & gingersnap base layer) | HonieMummy Blog

  9. Pingback: White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Cups | HonieMummy Blog

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