Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween: Celebrating the Fun in this Fall Holiday

 Halloween is just around the corner and while many enjoy celebrating, there is a lot of controversy surrounding this holiday.

Are you one of those who is on the fence about Halloween? Let me share with you a few reasons why this holiday isn’t all about scaring and spooking.
When I think of Halloween, the first images that come to my mind are not goblins, witches, and spooks—rather I think of hayrides, frosted pumpkin cookies, and beautiful fall leaves. I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed Halloween. It’s not a scary holiday, it’s a holiday full of fun family traditions and opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the season.

I love carving pumpkins and over the years we’ve become a little more sophisticated with our carving. Now you can easily pick up a pumpkin carving kit, complete with a mini-jigsaw and complex patterns to make the coolest looking pumpkins. You can also look up pumpkin carving patterns on the internet. There are all kinds of cartoon characters and other fun designs you can carve into your own jack-o-lantern.

One of our family traditions is to make delicious sugar cookies in delightful Halloween shapes like pumpkins, witches, cats, etc. I have always loved decorating a pumpkin-shaped cookie using candy corns and M&M's for the eyes, nose, and mouth.
My mom has a delectable sugar cookie recipe which makes a huge batch. In fact, growing up we often gave out sugar cookies to trick-or-treaters! Yummy! Now that’s a treat!

Here’s the recipe: Makes about 45 cookies
Mom’s Sugar Cookies
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup butter (one cube)
1 cup sour cream
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp baking soda dissolved in sour cream
1 tsp. baking powder
5 cups flour

Cream sugar, eggs, butter, sour cream, vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill for at least 2 hours. Roll out and cut cookies.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
* The best tip is to not allow the cookies to even get brown. Barely done makes a tender, soft, and delicious cookie!

Another Halloween activity we enjoy is visiting a pumpkin patch. We go on a wagon ride to huge fields of pumpkins and walk around looking for the perfect jack-o-lantern to be. The kids love being able to pick out their own pumpkin and are thrilled every year as we ride into the pumpkin patch.

What are some of your favorite Halloween activities?
Here's a link to a hilarious Halloween cake we made last year.

I hope that you can make this Halloween special for your kids. You don’t have to concentrate on legends, scary spooks, and witches—instead concentrate on having FUN!

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