Monday, October 31, 2011

Haunted Greetings!

There is ONLY 54 more days until Christmas.  Aisles in just about every shopping store have been committed to Red & Gold and all things sparkly.  As a matter of fact, this has been the case for several weeks already.  The Black and Orange and all things spooky are already collecting real cobwebs in crushed cardboard boxes shoved onto a clearance table.  How sad it is, that as a society, we seem to race through all the different holidays and changing seasons.   When it’s all said and done, another year has passed, chocolate has been consumed, spiders, cobwebs, and ghouls are tucked back into storage boxes and crammed back into storage all just to quickly move on to the next big occasion.  That is - IF you even bothered to get them all out and on display in the first place.
This year was a little different than previous years.  I BLINKED and it was the weekend of Halloween.  Seems like just last week we were floating on a turquoise lake, baking underneath the hot sun. **sigh** There are no eerie displays of graveyards or giants spider webs consuming the outside of our house.  There were no elaborate outfits and oily face paint.  That being said, we couldn’t just let this haunted season past by without a little participation…..
Instead of “spooking” out our full-sized house, We decided to scale it down a little, and I had the brilliant idea of purchasing a “cute” project for Jason and I to do together, thought why not, it has to be good for at least a laugh….and best of all - looks easy.  Boy was I wrong.
Whoever thinks that building a Haunted Gingerbread House is for just for kids is very mistaken.  It is a complex –patience testing project that should only be attempted by those who either have a lot of time on their hands, or vast amounts of beer and wine to give you the endurance required for project like this. OH, don't forget enough self control to not consume the glue (frosting) and decorations before completing the project. (the pre-packaged “kit” is portioned controlled!)  Black tongues (we had to make sure the glue tasted correctly), several hours of holding the walls up…and even an overnight drying session before we could be assured the house would even continue to stand, turned into a morning decorating session… carefully watching as the jelly beans slowly drooped off the roof until the glue (frosting) dried enough to hold….whew.   All said and done, we conquered that stubborn Haunted Gingerbread House  kit finally.  In my opinion - I don’t think our little “fun” project turned out THAT bad:

Our Spooky Home

Even though our “full sized” house didn’t get all decked out, we just couldn't over look the traditional pumpkin carving.  An evening trip to the local grocery store had us digging through the “leftover” pumpkins(as of course we left the pumpkin hunt to the weekend of Halloween), searching for the perfect additions.  The intent was to get 1 “each”, doing the complicated math long hand; that would mean 2 pumpkins total.  What came home in the trunk of the car was double.  I mean, really, we couldn’t just leave one (or two) behind, how would you feel if you were the LAST one.  The one sitting in the crushed cardboard bin, all lonely…knowing you were the one no one wanted….   The only right thing to do, was bring all 4 home.
Living up to some of the names people call me…(Martha)… I couldn’t just carve out a simple toothless grin and dorky eyes.  I had to challenge myself.  I HAD to choose the carvings that would test my skills using the “pumpkin master’s tools” that I just HAD to have last year…. 
Our Pumpkin "Family"
Even my honey was a ROCKSTAR this year!!
Hopefully these will show the neighborhood kids, we aren’t looking for an “egging”, we are just a little more....ummm…subdued… this year…  There’s still candy to be handed out, and I promise, not ALL the good stuff has been eaten yet... 
The fact that we are lacking in the “trick-or-treating-kids” department didn't stop us this year from some halloween festivities.  We have our beloved Duke, who is a very forgiving, always wanting to please Border Collie.  May as well throw in  “Dog Snob” to the list of names, and yesterday, after dressing Duke into his own Dragon costume, I believe I’ve earned my right to be said “Dog Snob”.Duke was fantastic amongist a  chaotic scene of pets and their human owners alike, at one point even played a little shy, trying to give me hugs and cuddle in close.   I have to give huge props to our local Bosleys Pet Food Plus store ( ) as they do throw a cute little “Yappy Hallowe'en Event”, which pet owners where invited to dress up their beloved pet and take them to the store where they were able to socialize a little, try several “cookies” and take home their own trick-or-treat bag of sample goodies.  All this after having their pictures taken by Now there is a women with patience and obviously a love for animals, even those dressed as dragons, devils and pumpkins!  I can’t wait to see how Duke’s portrait turned out!  (yes...*eyerolls* I am one of THOSE pet owners)  When all was said and done, we had one pooped lil’ dragon, and a couple good giggles of the outfits that some people made their dogs (and even a tuxedo wearing cat) parade out in public with. 

Duke in Dragon costume, enroute to Bosley's!

The last bit of celebrating comes in the form of the annual company potluck.  The one where you are supposed to be a little bit more creative than normal, and come up with a “spooktacularly scrumptious”item to share…. Being that I had committed myself to several hours of sawing and carving out of pumpkins, I had little time left of the weekend to prepare a truly unique snack.  During a mad-dash grocery shop post Yappy Halloween Event, leaving an exhausted Duke Dog and a hungry man waiting in the car with pizza ready for pick up….  I came up with these:
Lazy-Girl Dirt-n-Worms Cupcakes
·         Butter Pecan Cake Mix (yes yes I know I cheated)
·         3 eggs / milk / oil  (all the requirements on the back of cake box above)
·         Mini cupcake pans
·         1 prepared batch of Cookies&Cream Pudding (YES, another boxed item in the baking supplies aisle)
·         Chocolate cookie crumbs
·         Bag of sugared gummy worms
·         Halloween cupcake liners
Mix up cake batter per directions on the box
Fill mini-cupcake pans ¾ of way with batter
Bake until toothpick comes out clean
Place 1 mini cupcake into each cupcake liner (I used full sized liners so I’d have room for the worm and pudding)
Dollop of pudding onto each cupcake, sprinkle the chocolate crumbs on top of cupcake/pudding. 
Decorate with sugared worms.  POOF – in less than 20 minutes, you’ve got yourself a spooky snack to share.
To all of those who will be out haunting the streets this evening; enjoy.  I hope you bring home pillow cases stuffed of “full sized” yummy treats.  To those of us who do not have the pleasure escorting the various lil’ goblins around… make sure before you pack away the spiders, webs and gravestones to haul out the decorations for the next upcoming holiday season, take a moment to stop and enjoy something SPOOKTACULAR.  Time flies fast enough on its own.  It doesn’t need our help.

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