Tried and True Halloween Stuff

Sometimes I have new ideas.

Sometimes, lots of times, I just stick with the tried and true.

Royal Icing is my tried and true.  It helps me make a quick treat into something unique.  Even if I don't have the time to make cut out cookies, I can throw together a box of brownies in an instant.  I used my coffin cookie cutter and royal icing to dazzle up my quick brownies.
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Pumpkin popcorn balls are tried and true.  I blogged about them a couple years ago.  And now they are an every year tradition.  Easy.  Fun.  Done.
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Target Dollar Aisle is my tried and true.  Whenever I need a cute little container for treats or pops, Target is my BFF.  I just have to make sure I get my pick early in the season.
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Martha is my tried and true.  She showed me how to make little pumpkins out of a small orange treat bags a few years ago.  And I keep making them, every year.  (I added a little leaf and tag).
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Squeezie bottles are my tried and true.  This pic is 2 years old, but it shows that even your littles can make gourmet caramel apples with the help of chocolate drizzles.  Oh how I miss our cousin craft times.  MOVE BAAAAACK!
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Pinterest is my tried and true.  I saw this pin and had to copy the branches coming out of the pumpkins. I got really crazy with the branches this year thanks to a friend who took me spooky branch hunting!
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Sometimes it is just warm and cozy to stay inside my box and stick with what I know.  Or copy what is on pinterest.  :)

I get creative when I'm in the mood.  But when I'm not in the mood, I stick with the tried and true.

What are your Halloween "tried and trues?"  Do tell.

Halloween Cake Pops and Pop Stands

Say hello to my little friends...
Can I quote a movie I've never seen?  K.  Thanks!  ;)

I've been cake pop-ing the days away lately and growing quite attached to these seven little guys.
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Who could resist something so small, chocolaty and festive?  Not I...  Not I.
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I must give credit where credit is due to the lovely Bakerella!  She is a genius I say, genius!
Here's a link to her Halloween cast of characters that served as my inspiration.
I was pretty stoked to be made a "pop star" on her site for the second time.  It's like they say about getting multiple academy awards, "It is just as thrilling the second time around." {cry, cry, cry}
Okay, I'm being over dramatic, but life is more fun(ny) that way.

Cake pops are nothing new and there's about a million tutorials and books on how to do them.  But I wanted to just tell you a few hints about how I made these.  I will skip the beginning part about making the cake balls since Bakerella explains that so well.

I've already told you about my candy eyeball hoarding.  I explained how simple they are to make in a somewhat simple guest post.  Go check it out.  I already had a big bag of eyes ready to make these little monsters come to life!
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I have developed a serious crush on Dracula.  With that receding hairline he is simply irresistible!
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Frankie is down with his full head of hair but he seems to be almost flaunting it.
He has a scar to keep him humble though.
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Are they horns or ears?  Does it matter?  He is darling.
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Well, as you can see, I've spent too much time with these things as I am now talking as if they are real people.  I will try to do a reality check and start talking about them as if they are food.  Only food.
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Pumpkins were easy.  I needed easy at this point.  My house was thrashed by the time I got to these.
My kids bring food into the toy room if I'm not looking.
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Yep, they are getting even easier.  I needed to tidy up just enough to give the illusion to my husband that I have it all together.  Yes honey, I can totally care for the kids and the house AND spend hours doting over tiny pieces of cake.  {ahem}
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Just one more won't hurt.  It involves 3 chocolates.  I could always just not sleep.  Hehe!
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So before the blissful marathon of cake pops came the adventures in woodworking.

You see, I envisioned a place where my little guys could stand up straight and secure.  Something more solid than styrofoam.  I knew it would be so simple (this word is used very loosely) to make some out of 2 by 6 boards.  My hubs chopped them all up and I measured the holes 2 inches apart.  He advised that the only way the holes would be perfectly straight is if I used a drill press.  Drilling them by hand would inevitably leave you vulnerable to human error.  So I got my hands on a drill press.  Thanks friend!
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After I drilled, I finally used that belt sander my dad gave my for my birthday.  I wasn't excited about storing it, but it did make fast work of sanding these babies.  Thanks dad!

I loved that I was able to make different sized stands that hold the exact number of cake pops that I wanted.  Custom deluxe!  I'm pretty much obsessed with these cake pop stands and the christmas ones are under way.  I'm even thinking I should give a couple away when we hit 1000 fb peeps.  Good idea?
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And you know my policy that cellophane, tags and ribbon make everything better.
Pretty fun gift if you ask me!
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I was pretty stoked about the finished product.  Sometimes ideas don't turn out like I had planned.
But sometimes, this time, they did!  It was all worth it!

p.s.  As I scan this post, I'm noticing that it is very apparent I am running low on sleep.
p.s.s.  If you have sent me an email/fb message, I'm really trying to catch up...Sorry!
p.s.s.s.  I got bangs.  Nothing to do with this post, I just thought you should know.

Pumpkin Lovin'

I'm the kind of girl that wears white after labor day, wears flip flops in the winter, buys purses from Target and believes it's ok to make pumpkin bread any time of the year. Without fear of persecution.

Pumpkin is too good to save for October and November. There are some days in March that just need pumpkin. I won't apologize.

I decided to come clean with my pumpkin lovin' by giving each cubby in my entryway it's own pumpkin.

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And, to give your belly some pumpkin lovin', here is one of my favorite pumpkin treats from Our Best Bites. I usually quadruple the recipe and keep it in the fridge so I can get out the ice cream and add the pumpkin mix for one, two or eight milkshakes at a time.

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Who would make 8 milkshakes? And only share four with their kids? Probably some chick that wears white after labor day.

Pretty Pumpkin Party

I had a few screws loose in my head when I decided to throw two birthday parties in two days. I often overestimate my abilities. But, alas, 14 little girls and 20 teenagers came, they squealed, they ate, they left. And I survived.

Camille wanted a pumpkin party but not scary pumpkins or pumpkins to eat, she wanted cute pumpkins. I made little shirts for each of the girls with an appliqued pumpkin on it.

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Which matched the invitations.

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We played games like "Prickly Pumpkin" (Hot Potato), "Pumpkin, pumpkin, patch" (Duck, duck, goose) "Pumpkin, pumpkin, whose got the pumpkin?" (Button, button, whose got the button?)

They painted pumpkin masks.

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And had pumpkin food (but not pumpkin flavored of which yumminess is lost on 6 year olds)

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And pumpkin sandwiches that they could add faces to with lots of pumpkin parts made of fruits, veggies etc.

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Pumpkin cake

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Don't laugh, it's not my best work but it was one of the best tasting cakes I've made. It makes a denser, pound cake better for the pumpkin to stand. I finally used a Wilton's pumpkin cake pan that I bought on clearance at least 8 years ago....one of my better investments.

1 package (18 ounces) Favorite cake mix
1 package (4-serving size) instant pudding and pie filling mix
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil

And two of my pumpkin pinterest finds, put into action. Don't you feel so awesome when you actually do a project from one of your pinterest boards?

Scrapbook paper pumpkins

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Tissue paper pumpkin favors with candy inside.

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Here are three special nuggets of wisdom learned this weekend, which I am now passing on to you....

1. When you buy fingernail polish and practice painting pumpkins on your own nails, just know that kids' fingernails are microscopic. And it won't work.
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2. When you try a special technique learned on pinterest to bleach around letters of a shirt you should a) follow the directions and use spray adhesive and b) empty the bleach from the spray bottle before your son tries using it as water to iron his church pants.

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3. Little girls squeal louder but teenagers eat more. Be prepared on both counts.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Halloween Classroom Entertainment

There's a chill in the air, my pumpkins are on my porch and yes, I've already purchased and eaten a bag of Halloween candy.

I love fall and love that at our new elementary school they have a Halloween carnival where the kids are able to wear their costumes! We are used to only "harvest" parties with pumpkins, scarecrows and an occasional spider since they are allowed to study insects.

Regardless of how PC your school is, here are a few of my tried and true classroom party ideas, or halloween fun with your own kids.
(I claim no responsibility if you get fired from being room mom for bringing a skeleton craft.)

GHOST BINGO

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You can bring little candies and call out the numbers. For upper grades you could even call out addition, multiplication or division problems instead of just the number.

Here are the links to several versions of the Bingo cards, you could still have more than one winner at a time, but I was counting on having the kids divided into small groups and some kids not paying attention or not knowing math, is that wrong?

Bingo Card #1
Bingo Card #2
Bingo Card #3
Bingo Card #4
Bingo Card #5
Bingo Card #6
Bingo Call Cards


Q-TIP SKELETON

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All you need is black paper and have the kids dip the ends of the q-tips in glue. Have the kids cut and glue the head, too.
If you would like a sheet of skeleton heads, and who wouldn't... you can download here...

Skeleton Heads

SPIDER HATS

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Grab a pack of the big black construction paper from the teacher and pre-cut 8 strips of paper the long way for each child for the legs. Pre-cut the band for the head, too but wait to size the headband on the kids head and staple. I traced the eyes ahead of time but the kids cut them out. The kids can accordion fold the legs (some better than others). You'll need some adults to staple the legs on.

Some other fun games are "Hot Potato" but use a pumpkin to pass around. When the music stops, you're out of the circle. Play "duck, duck, goose" but change the words to "Pumpkin, pumpkin patch" or "Ghost, ghost, witch."

And just for old time sake, here is a song that our mom always sang at Halloween and it scared me to pieces! You may not want to bring it to your classroom, but sing it to your kids, they'll thank you.

"It's Halloween The lamp is lit around the fire we children sit telling ghost stories bit by bit Till sister Jane says SHHHHH. (Verse gradually gets louder as you get near Sister Jane and then SHHH quiets every one.)

Who's that creeping cross the kitchen floor, Who's that peeping round the bathroom door, Who's that SCREEEEEECHING till it's throat is sore....... (Pause then) IT'S A GOBLIN! "

And now that I've sung that song, I can't help but continue my trip down memory lane and show you Big Bird a.k.a. Miss Ashleigh feeding candy to our dog, Poohsie. Sorry, Ash, I love ya!

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Silhouette Cookies

The problem is that we just can't stop.

Callye (Sweet Sugar Belle) and I are soooooo inspired by pinterest that we have a long list of cookie inspiration.  I'm sure those of you who have been on "pinterest inspiration overload" can relate.

So my latest inspirations are silhouettes.
Take a look at all of these Silhouettes on Pinterest.

You've seen basic, generic silhouettes.  Like this random old lady.
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But what I love about the crafters in blogland and on pinterest, is that they are making silhouettes of their own children into beautiful home decor!   Nie Nie's silhouettes were the first ones I remember noticing, back in 2008 or so when I became addicted to her style, story and blog.   So, naturally, I wanted to make silhouettes of my children into cookies!
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The first thing I did was to take a profile picture of my kids.  They were horrible quality pictures, but it didn't matter for these purposes!  I printed them out in a 2.5 inch size.
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Then I took my cookies that were ready with a base layer that had dried 24 hours.  You can refer to this post for details on that.
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I cut out those little pictures and placed them on my cookie.
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You can decide which way you want the silhouette to face.
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Then I simply traced an outline with an edible ink pen and colored it in.
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But I didn't really like that you could see brush strokes.  Maybe my pens are low on ink, but I prefer the raised look of using icing for the silhouette anyway.  So you can just outline and then fill in with icing.
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I found that it's a little harder, even with a #1 tip to get their little profiles as exact with icing.  In fact, when I told my son that this cookie was of him, he denied it was him.  Then in further discussion, he busted out with a perfect movie quote from Tangled.  He said, "they just can't get my nose right!"  I was dying of hysterics!  My four year old has great comedic timing, which makes me even prouder than silhouette cookies.  Anyway, I added a little dotty border because I'm addicted to this border right now.
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With Halloween around the corner, I've seen silhouettes used in a cute and spooky way!  I made a few trick-or-treater silhouette cookies here.
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These were made by simply putting the picture into my kopykake projector.  It just helped me skip the step of cutting out and tracing.  These are just internet graphics, but these would be so cute if you actually made one of your kids in their costume from years past.  Now I know how to pose my kids in such a way that they will make cute silhouette costume pictures for next year.  Done.
Karen's cookies made some darling halloween silhouette cookies too that are even more detailed!
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Now you have to go over to the Adventures of Sweet Sugar Belle and swoon over Callye's Sunburst cookies.  Sunbursts are all the rage you know.  And they are about to be your favorite cookie too!
Sunburst Cookies
This is the latest in our series.  Check out our previous cookies here:
Pinterest Inspired Cookies
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