It's Singing Owl's turn:
"All Hallows Eve (Halloween) is near. As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. We didn’t yet worry about razor blades in apples or popcorn balls or some of the other concerns people have with Halloween these days. Halloween was a chance to be mildly scared, and better yet, to dress up and pretend to be something we really weren’t. Let’s talk about that a bit, but then let’s add in some food ideas for this year. Where I live the leaves are falling, the temperature is chilly and pumpkins are for sale everywhere, along with many kids of apples. What's more, the "Holiday Season" will soon be upon us. ACK! I could use a new idea for dessert. So, here we go…"
1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
First there was the school Halloween parade and carnival. Every classroom had to create their own booth, manned by volunteer parents. No schoolwork that day, just awesome fun. Then my neighborhood had the best trick or treating. If you were going to get a candy apple from the lady on the corner of the cul-de-sac you had to go there first, and you had to go there early. Then the rest of the neighborhood was fair game in order. It was a safer time and I could go trick or treating by myself from the age my son is now. There were a couple haunted houses to walk through where you had to put your hand in covered bowls of spaghetti (guts), olives (eyes) and jello (brains) before getting your treat from the "adult" dressed as a hideous witch. And THEN (she said sounding like Edith Ann) you got to go home with your friends, dump out all your candy, trade for favorites and eat eat eat till you were sick to your stomach!!
2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?
We have a neighborhood in a neighboring town that is required by the city to do it up for Halloween. People drive in from miles around to trick or treat here. The houses are spectacular. There are some special effects industry people who do amazing things. It is mayhem. You have to run to keep up with your child as they move from house to house at lightspeed. And you're all done in 1/2 hour.
What's sadly changed now is that, while I don't have to go through the candy, because the neighborhood is safe, we still throw half of it out, because too much sugar is a huge issue these days. This is from kids just not getting the exercise that we used to get in the regular course of our days. I have a friend who would tell her children that if they left most of their candy by the hearth that the "Great Pumpkin" would leave them a toy. But we have enough toys and that is another issue as well. The too much stuff these days issue.
I feel that nowadays life is just so very full of homework, video games, television, too many toys, it has become cluttered. Too cluttered. The simpler days were healthier, even if we did eat too much candy on Halloween night. Our dinners were home made and not processed and over salted and sugared. We walked to school and walked home. We ran every single day of good weather after school and on weekends. There was one, maybe two cartoon shows on during the week and only for an hour on Saturday morning. I believe all of these things have ruined much of Halloween today.
2. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else? Caramel with chocolate and toasted pecans.
3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
Love Jack-O'Lanterns. They have these really cool kits with fancy designs that we do. Then use them until they grow fuzzy mold in the middle. These are like the ones we've done. They're from Yankee Halloween.com (for some reason the link didn't work.)
4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.
This year I did not decorate for the first time since Wonderboy was born. This was because of having to move my mom. Fortunately he is a forgiving child. Usually I deck the house out, inside and out. Scarier nowadays that the child is older. We have a flying bat, lots of window and mirror clings, a giant spider for the front yard a witch that flies into the tree, just for starters. Here was a fun thing last year:
5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?
I LOOOVE pretending to be someone else. Probably why I started my working life as a starving actress. Are you kidding? This is my holiday. I'd dress up for Wonderboy's school, but it would mortify him. When we threw Halloween bashes though I would dress up. One year I dressed as "Sitcom Mom", with the apron and the beehive and wearing pot holders.
Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.
Easy apple (or any fall or even summer fruit) tart: One package puff pastry thawed. Unroll it, shape it into a very large square and let it rest in the fridge. Cut up the apple or fruit into uniform pieces. About an inch square. Flavor as you will. With apples the amount of sugar depends on the tartness of the fruit. And I like to add a shot of Calvados along with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix with the fruit. Let it macerate just a tad. Then bring out the puff pastry. Swab it with melted butter. Glob on the fruit, sprinkle with brown sugar and nuts, and dot with butter. Fold in the edges of the pastry. Does NOT have to be neat. Pop it into a 400 degree over till it's done. I don't know how long. About 15 minutes or so. Puff pastry cooks fast, so keep an eye on it.
Or: baked apple: Cut off the top and core large apples. Scoop out just a bit more and save for applesauce. Fill with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, good old Calvados again and top with butter pats. Bake at 350 till done.
And y'all come on back later this weekend now. "Living With Familiar Strangers" will continue.