There’s a Snow Storm Heading our Way!

There’s a snow storm heading up the east coast.  In celebration, I just made myself a bowl of my favorite winter breakfast, steel cut Irish oats, blueberries, cinnamon, walnuts, and milk.  My tummy is happy and warm, although I could use another pair of socks right now!  We are getting ready for Halloween and all that it entails!  Time, once again, to

Time for Practical Magic, homemade style.

Halloween is really big in our neighborhood!  That’s because we have one of the very few actual neighborhoods around here!  Most people on the island live out in the country, so at Halloween, they pack up their cars with their goblins, mummies, pirates, Harry Potters, Darth Vaders, Batmen, Spidermen, princesses, and vampires, and head toward the more densely-populated island towns, to go door-to-door where the houses aren’t three miles of dark dirt road apart.

So, our neighborhood is like the Candy Cane Lane of Halloween.  And everybody, up and down the street, does their part; we decorate our porches, carve pumpkins, light candles, and play creepy music.  And Mother Nature does her part by supplying the necessary outdoor ambience. 

In the cold dark night, woodsmoke blowing in the wind, sparks flying high into the black sky; our neighborhood of old houses with deep shadows that leap from tall hedges, huge overhanging trees, and leaves rustling ominously in every corner, is very scary — flashlight beams bounce off walkways and curbs, landing for a moment on something, omg, while mommies and daddies stand nearby as islands of safety for big-eyed babies in bunny suits.  It’s pure childhood-imagination gone wild.

We’re the house with the ghost in the upstairs window.  I found this guy years ago, and he’s there, lit up like a beacon at the end of our street, year after year, hopefully throwing a little tradition into the mix.  He’s there now; upstairs in the bedroom over my head, shining out into the street, alerting all the children that pass by our house, “it’s almost time!” (Part of the “working-them-into-a-frenzy” promotion that I like to do to encourage the true spirit of Halloween.  A frenzied child is a happy child.)

With so many children in our family, when I was little, Halloween was something we looked forward to all year. By the time it arrived, the anticipation was almost too much to bear; planning our costumes, digging through our closets and “the costume box” we could easily get ourselves worked into a dither . . . just thinking about being out after dark, anything could happen.  Free Candy!  The scavenger huntishness of the thing; oh booooyyyyy!!!!  We swallowed our grilled cheese sandwiches almost whole so we could get our makeup on and get out there!

Halloween isn’t as simple as it once was, but the kids don’t know that, all they know is how much fun it is.  It’s their time.  Something universal that seems to have been invented just for them. 

   We know so many of these people, it’s fun to see them on our porch!


We carve three pumpkins with stars, a really big one, a large one, and a medium one.

I draw the stars on with a pencil, then use a small sharp knife to do the cuts.  I sprinkle cinnamon on the inside of the tops, and pop in a votive candle. They light our front porch and look pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.



Windfall in the yard, branches that come down during storms, get recycled!

Joe got the pumpkins up above the door yesterday.

We make up a crock of steaming hot cider, and serve it in hand-warming cups-to-go to all the good moms and dads going patiently door-to-door with their children.  If we add spiced rum to it, it becomes an “Undertaker.”

It gets dark by 5 ish, but our littlest ones start coming at dusk, so by 7 pm on Halloween, it’s pretty much all over.  And that’s when our friends come by for Texas Chili, Corn Pudding with Maple Syrup (in one of those darling leaf bottles), and homemade marshmallows we put on long forks and roast in the fireplace. We’re getting ready; this weekend we will cook up a storm.

And if that other storm, the one with the snow in it, should work it’s way over to us, we are ready for that too.

Because we are cozy here in the Heart of the Home and wishing you the very same. 

And because inquiring minds want to know . . .  we HAVE a winner for our darling cut-glass banana dish!!!  And suddenly, again, I’m wishing I had 1,740 of them!!! I sent the lucky person an email and will let you know when I hear back.  What I really loved was all of your comments!  Fabulous homemaking tips! I took notes! I already tried the one where you rub your onion-smelling hands on stainless steel and it takes away the smell — it works! Thank you so much girlfriends!  Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!   ♥  xoxo

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249 Responses to There’s a Snow Storm Heading our Way!

  1. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Lucky trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood! What a fun time for little (& big) goblins, princesses, etc. Loved your scary pictures – BOO to you too! I’m going to make the cider for my PEO group, thanks for the recipe! BTW, the Ham & Sweet Potato soup was yummy & so was the Iowa Cornbread with the honey butter, oh yeah! I’ve been testing the Halloween candy I bought, so far, so good, tough job though. Congratulations to the banana boat winner! Stay cozy! Hugs!

  2. Patricia says:

    Can you believe it? We got 2″ of snow here in upstate NY yesterday! Our scarecrows all have little hats of snow. I’m looking forward to Halloween (snow free!)…we always go trick or treating with them then back home for a late supper and candy sorting….I think I’ll borrow your Halloween menu, Susan. 🙂 Alice (my 5 year old) was home from school sick yesterday so we bundled up on the couch under a layer of quilts and watched “Hocus Pocus” and drank cocoa. It was a lovely little day (despite the nasty cold!)

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky! Sorry your daughter is sick, but sometimes it’s worth it!

    • K. Ross says:

      Snow before Halloween??!!? My son and I are jealous! We’re originally from the north, now living in southern Virginia . . . my son is 16 and misses snow days and sled riding — and I miss my snowmen!! Stay bundled up and enjoy the cuddling. Get well soon, Alice!!

  3. Paulie says:

    LOVE your blog, just love reading your blog……..Oh how delightful this all looks and feels. If I could only turn back the clock a bit now. How I miss all of the smells, bells and whistles….Our trick or treaters are all but phased out here now….and we are lucky if we see five at best……but it is oh so wonderful to have it all back again through your blog… you are such a gem Susan! How I love the decorations and the pictures you have here! I can almost smell the apple cider on the stove now. SNOW? are we heading for another snowfall today? We have such a beautiful blue sky here and it is sunny and bright out and the fall color is hanging in here where I live in a not too far away place from you in New England!
    Aren’t we blessed? Aren’t we truly blessed?

    • sbranch says:

      We are! Joe is putting down the last of the storm windows, this is it! Beautiful here too . . . but something is working it’s way up from DC, and mostly (I hesitate to say this) inland!

  4. Susan says:

    We had the first snow yesterday. None stuck so that’s good blessings. Trick or Treat night here was held last night. Our DS had asked us over to help hand out the treats as we are out on one of those dark dirt roads where no one every comes for treats. Everyone drives into town where houses easily reach totals of 500+ kids wanting a treat. So fun! Loved the Bach! Played it full blast this morning while washing up. Hope you made popcorn balls as treats too. Enjoy!

  5. Maryellen says:

    I so wish I lived in your neighborhood!!

    • Jacquelyn W. Las Vegas says:

      What wonderful decorations! Your ghost is truly inspiring…reminds me of my oldest son’s favorite movie, “Ghostbusters” (he’s 30 and it was the first film we saw together in a theater). I have the “Autumn” book open and getting the Chili fixins together for our Halloween supper. We don’t get many trick or treaters any more but have to have the treats handy, just in case … Could require “testing” here too …:-) No snow in Las Vegas. Happy Halloween everyone!

  6. I love the last picture, with the beautiful fall tree! Your home, even though it is big looks so cozy and inviting! Enjoy your holiday 🙂

  7. Deborah says:

    Hi Susan….love the blog today…you make every day an occassion! The frenzy thing made me laugh, and I remember those days sooo well, the race to the attic to pick out our choice of costumes, the big bowls of candy, making up bags of goodies to hand out at the door,..the brief supper that evening in anticipation to head out and gobble our way down the street in the leaf strewn and wild weather!
    I love your menu, sounds so festive and delicious!
    Well, I had to scrape the windows of heavy frost this morning to get going to work, and a few miles away people had to break out their shovels as central NY did get the first snow nearby. i am not ready to give up the “frost on the punkin” yet! ( I just love to say that)!!
    Also wanted to tell you the Willard was spectacular as always….it brought me much joy, I appreciate your hard work! Have a wonderful and happy, safe Halloweeny!

  8. mari1017 says:

    BOO! to you and Joe!!! Snow on Halloween – wow – you returned home just in time 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend – this is a fun post 🙂

  9. Kate B. says:

    This year we will really luck out! We are suppose to have dry weather for Halloween, that means no garbage bags over the kids costumes! We live out in the country, down a long dark road, so we never get trick-or-treaters. We go to the grandkids house with our candy and help out. It’s so much fun, and the costumes are fantastic. I think I’ll take your chili and cornbread, and maybe some cider too. I was so impressed by the number of post to your blog, almost 1670 the last time I looked. You got a lot of people excited about sparkly glass! To use an old phrase, “You are so cool!” Love ya, Kate

  10. Mama Bear says:

    We saw snow on top of the mountain at 5000+ feet when we were on our Fall vacation last week.
    I loved reading Willard and reading this blog post….we don’t have many Ticker Treaters anymore now that we’re down here almost at the end of the street but a few will come by…I love seeing all the little ones in costume…they’re so sweet. I will most likely dress as a cat and greet them at the door but not play scary songs as that scares some of the little ones away….I love everything Fall.

  11. Christie Ray says:

    We are getting ready for our first Halloween in our new old cottage here in historical Franklin, Tennessee..mums and pumpkins and pansies and gourds…lanterns and luminaries ready…I don’t know who will be more excited;))) me or the visiting children… I can just smell your cider and chili and maple syrup…might have to put some of that on the stove Monday night!! We went to a Halloween party thrown by sis-in-law, and for a hostess gift, I presented her with your Autumn book (with some dried yarrow tied in a pretty sage green bow…looked so very darling!!) and she squealed with delight!!! She has loved you for years, and when I told her how much I was enjoying my copy..I could hear the longing in her voice. You just make us all so happy, dear one! I am also enjoying the vintage picnic basket I purchased from your “vintage “stuff”… It is perfect for all the produce coming from friends’ gardens, and will be perfect for a picnic lunch on one of our many Saturday day trips;) thank you again for all you do. (btw..did my letter arrive yet? My little roses are still blooming! I can press some more since you are about to get some snow) have a wonderfully cozy day,

    • sbranch says:

      I already know who’s most excited! I know just how you feel! I’m so glad you got the picnic basket! It was a little beauty I couldn’t pass up! Happy Halloween Christie!

      • Christie Ray says:

        …and I just had to leave the little Susan Branch ribbon on it;) I just love a cute ribbon!
        Happy Halloween to you and your sweetheart,

        • sbranch says:

          I tied that on there myself, that’s so neat!

          • Christie Ray says:

            Well, then, my dear, all the more reason it shall stay;))

            P.S. Update on recipe box for daughter…she loves that I’m doing this for her, and I have my longeberger one, that I am preparing for oldest son and fiancé…and I am filling in the ” home cooking traditions ” for me:). So everyone is happy. I love this big book with all the fun stuff that goes with it! Kiss kiss …hug hug!!

          • sbranch says:

            They will love them, and of course, they already adore YOU!

  12. We live on a cul de sac which I like to refer to as a Dead End on Halloween. Although all of the neighbors spookify the houses and have lots of candy, sadly we don’t get very many trick or treaters. Thank you for the idea of adding cinnamon to the Jack o Lanterns…we will be giving that a try! Happy haunting!

  13. Nellie says:

    Oh, how I would love to trick or treat on your street! What a wonderful Halloween “dress” your house wears!
    We live in a one-street neighborhood, with few-to-none trick-or-treaters. When the girls were growing up, we were in another location, and my husband would go with them while I stayed home to hand out goodies to those who came to our door.
    Our Halloween activities will center around a “Trunk or Treat” event at our church, combined with a Chili Cook-off/dessert contest to benefit the church camp that is an hour away. I am registered for both, and will be making two gallons of chili plus a Red Velvet Cake by Sunday afternoon!
    Our “snow” today is pouring rain! Low temperatures are to be near freezing by Saturday night.
    Your Halloween night feast for your friends sounds scrumptious! Enjoy! xoxo

  14. Pam says:

    It all sounds great fun. We don’t celebrate Halloween in England as much as you do in the US. It’s certainly more popular than it used to be but not quite the same. I’ll be thinking of you all on Monday night. (We are off to a Rugby match so will be away from home).

  15. Lynn McMahon says:

    Hi and Happy Halloween!
    I enjoyed reading all the comments & household tips 😉 cFun work today so the tips will have to wait darn……
    I need to toast the pumpkin seeds and get ready for my granddaughter’s Halloween party at school. Tomorrow my service group will be helping out for the Boo at the Zoo, ( 300 little monsters?) which is always a great time. I wonder what the popular costume will be this year? My first Halloween my mom made me a gypsy. Do kids now a days even know what that is??
    Simple times and happy memories…. your blog reminds me of that every time I read it!

  16. Pom Pom says:

    Hi Susan!
    I posted a picture of our new wood pile today, too!
    Do you remember the Halloween scene in One True Thing? Oh, I love it. Kate speaks of the “hum” of her college town and they go to a Halloween town festival. Finally, her daughter starts to understand the underpinnings of her mother’s depth.
    I had cider for breakfast.
    Your house looks fantastic! Love that ghost in the window. I found a sweatshirt that says, “If the boot fits . . . ” to wear to school on Monday. We’ll listen to The Black Cat. Today, I just may have to make an owl out of a paper bag. I said I would and I will! I’ll be Ramona Quimby but I won’t squash Susan’s owl. Happy Halloween, Fall Girl!

  17. Kimi says:

    Hi Susan

    I want to tell you how nice the house looks! simple yes because that’s all it needs! I love the simplicity of the leaves in the window! You know that saying Susan less is more well you got it!. Happy Halloween….

  18. Ann Y. says:

    Congratulations to the banana dish winner….it was so sparkly ! What a treat ! LOVED your blog today becuase it described Halloween the way it should be. I have a ceramic light up ghost that my dear aunt made me when she was in her 90’s and took up ceramics as a hobby ( I know, I want her genes!) and I have that in my dining room….but I love your idea of putting it in a window upstairs…I have just the window and am going to move it today. I have had my jack-o-lantern out for a week getting everyone in the mood, and a ghost wreath on the door. I just LOVE the visitors we get on Halloween night. My candy is ready to go and hidden away so nobody eats it all before the big day. Snow headed here, too….what a cozy weekend we have in store….I borrowed the 1979 Dracula DVD with Frank Langella from the library….a fire, popcorn, quilts, hot cocoa, and a good movie with my honey….BLISS ! Wishing you the same !

  19. Sharon Sieppert says:

    I wish I lived in your neighborhood. It would be so much fun.

    We don’t have many kids come trick or treating anymore but we still hand out candy to whoever comes. Pumpkin is waiting to be carved.

    I have a question about the Spiced Cider. I have been looking for Apple Cider but cannot find any. I found some Pressed Apple Juice. I am not sure if that is the same thing. Do you think that would be a OK to use as an alternative?

    Thanks for your help. Happy Halloween. Have fun on Monday.

  20. Everything about this post makes me smile! I live in “slightly” less upscale neighborhood than you and Joe, but my daughter and I have fun decorating for Halloween and passing out treats to all the neighborhood kids!
    I hope you get a snowstorm (if that’s what you really want LOL!) and go put on another pair of socks!
    Hugs and Happy Weekend!

  21. Angie(Tink!) says:

    “Eat Drink & Be Scary”….Perfection Sweetest Sue… Oh How I Love Love Love this Halloween Blog! Thank You! “Willard” was Beyond Scrumptious! Thank You! OH How I Love Your Ghosty Boy in the Window & Your Boo too! & Hooray for Joe Putting those Adorable Pumpkins over The Magical Door! Yay! One Day I Do Believe I will Be Trick~or~Treating in Your Neighborhood! 🙂 Pure Halloween Enchantment!….Ok… Saturday Night Herbster & I are Going to a Halloween Party & I shall be Dressed as…Tinkerbell…Hello?lol Herbster won’t wear Green Tights to Be My Peter Pan… 🙂 Yikes! but He is Dressing Up as Captain Hook! (A Pirate’s ♫ Life for Me! Where’s The Rum? 🙂 )Yay! & of Course On Halloween I shall Dress Up as a Glittery Sparkly Witch with My Ruby~Red Shoes!( & We all Know Click~Click There’s No Place Like HOME) I think I shall Have My Apple Cider Brewing in The Crock~Pot… Excellent Idea Sweet Sue! Thanks! & When Taylor & I Carve The Pumpkins On Sunday I Think I’m gonna Carve Your Starry Pumpkins too! Simply~Scrumptious! Wishing You & Joe & Kitty The Happiest Most Fun Halloween! Trick~or~Treat! xoxo Booooooooooooooo! & always a Poof! ♥

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Angie, but I only see you as Tinkerbell!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        ♫♥♫♥♫♥ Tinkerbell Every Day! ♫♥♫♥♫♥( but even Tink wants to dress up on Halloween! Yay!) 🙂 P.S. Snow! You are gonna get Snow! We can Dye it Orange for Your Trick~or~Treaters! Yay! Stay warm & Cozy Dearest Sue! xoxo “Eat Drink & Be Scary” I L♥ve this! 🙂

  22. K. Ross says:

    I can remember being so excited about finding the right Halloween costume — or better yet, making one! Your world, Susan Branch, transports some of us back to our wonderful childhoods . . . and for your “younger” readers, gives them great ideas to copy for their little own homes and little ones. Nothing beats October, November, and December. Nature takes a complete turnaround, puts away her frilly pastels, and shows us her more rustic side. Ahhhh . . . smell the air!! I think I can smell your cider!

  23. Linda Pintarell says:

    Loved the Halloween tradition pixs. Live on a small cul-de-sac so my next door neighbors and I have a tradition. We set up out front with tables, chairs and a little fire (almost a tailgate party) – and pass out treats to kids and a little hot mulled wine for parents. Main reason…it saves our dogs from going ape everytime the door bell rings AND we get to spend a little time with treaters and neighbors. Great fun! This is a Southern California Halloween – none of the white stuff in sight!

  24. Brenda Taylor says:

    Hi Susan! Every day I am so excited to read your blog! I find myself clicking on the link (which I have bookmarked at the top of my computer) several times a day just to see if maybe there is something new. Love the inspiration you give to me! You remind me to enjoy life and home and inspire me in so many ways. We are looking forward to Halloween in this house too! My three are so excited to host our annual Halloween party and trick or treat venture around the neighborhood. We don’t have snow in the forecast yet, but it will be chilly! Going to use your Apple Cider recipe to warm us up when we get home. Thank you again for your inspiration!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m excited about the blog too, and click on it just to see what people are saying!! Thanks Brenda!

      • Brenda Taylor says:

        Forgot to mention that I was in Coupeville, Washington where part of Practical Magic was filmed as it was in progress. They were filming the “town” scenes where their shop is. Actually saw Sandra Bullock in person! Pretty cool to see a celebrity and all the excitement of a movie filming in a little town like Coupeville when you are on vacation!

  25. Tricia B. says:

    Hi Susan, Lovely post as usual!! Thank you for always sharing. You are such a peach. Or perhaps a “pumpkin” to be festive!! We are going to carve our pumpkin tomorrow…thank you for the tip of the cinnamon. I never thought of adding it to the top of the pumpkin. Ooooh it will smell so yummy!! Congratulations to the Banana Dish winner!!! Be safe and take care especially if you get your snow storm. Happy Friday to you. Happy Weekend!! GOD Bless!! Hugs and Love, Tricia B.

  26. Sandy says:

    My northern California Halloween will not look anything like yours but will still be fun. It would be lovely to walk around your neighborhood though. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Twenty years ago on Halloween was the infamous “Halloween Blizzard” here in Minnesota–so we never know when to expect the first snow. My mother used to make our costumes and though we have no photos of them, my cousin recently found a photo of all of us decked out for Trick-or-Treating and it was a treasure! Our townhouse is off a main street with lots of houses that all decorate so that street gets all of the kiddies in costumes, alas, none come into the townhouses. We are the only townhouse here that is decorated, has lights on, and has a bowl of Halloween candy on the bench by the door–and usually no one comes. 🙁 Where we used to live, Norm and I used to dress up in costumes to hand out candy–we really enjoyed it! Oh well, we still carve pumpkins and will be ready in case something changes this year… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I used to live where no kids came by too; missed them! Now our friends who live out in the country come to our house to help us hand out the candy!

      • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

        Pat, we were living in Deephaven, MN on that infamous Halloween night. I remember it soooo well. My husband took our little daughter out and somehow they came home with lots of candy. Don’t know how they made it through those big drifts the blizzard made! Sweet memories of Minnesota!

  28. Sheri says:

    I love that you hand out apple cider to the parents. I’m going to try both that idea and your recipe!

  29. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Also meant to say “Congratulations” to the winner of the banana dish! And, Susan, you realize you have created a run on banana dishes at the antique shops? LOL 🙂

  30. suzyblatz says:

    Oh to be a kid again, We here in Las Vegas had the first snow on Mt Charleston before the 10th of October. We took a celebration picnic basket full of goodies up on the mountain and had a picnic. Originally from Michigan the first snow should be celebrated as is the last snow. Your Holloween home is gorgeous, but in the picture of the trick or treaters I see the house with NO Shutters….this year the shutters will be back due to Joe’s hard work. BRAVO Joe. I want to come live on your street and be your neighbor…summers only! Have a fantasticly scarey Holloween!

  31. Karen P says:

    How fun, Susan! I love that cute ghost in the upstairs window! And the “not-so-scary” skeleton greeting everyone at the door is precious! I WANT, WANT, WANT your fairy wand! So sweet of you to hand out spiced hot cider to the moms and dads. I’ll bet they love you for it! Happy Halloween! BOO!!! xoxo…kp

  32. Barbara (WA) says:

    I used to work downtown in a small community nearby. On Halloween, the street is closed for several hours and all the merchants have candy for the trick-or-treaters. I used to buy candy for 3000 kids for the shop! The fun of seeing all those costumes, whole families dressed in themes from Dad to the baby, even the dog! We are empty nesters who live on a dark, rural road and haven’t had any trick-or-treaters for years but I buy my favorite candy “just in case”. Your house looks festive, not too scary, and so beautiful surrounded by Autumn.

  33. Jenny says:


    Recently went to the Post Office and bought Mark Twain stamps in your honor. (And bought Gregory Peck stamps in my honor!) 🙂
    Thought you’d want to know. Happy Halloween!

  34. Ann says:

    Love your decorations! And I agree that Halloween is one of the few things left that is just for children and makes them feel special. Let’s hope it stays that way for a long time. I can’t wait to see all my little neighborhood friends in their costumes. Still trying to come up with a costume for our collies, Husky and Lady. All the kids know them and pet them after they get their treat.

    • sbranch says:

      I received an email the other day of dogs in costumes that had me in tears laughing . . . there are a lot of good ones out there!

  35. Peggy Cooper says:

    Already had our first snow earlier this week here in Southern Colorado. The sunny weather is back so the little ones won’t have to bundle up too much on Halloween and can show off their costumes. Last year was our first in our little house here, and we had scads of trick or treaters, so I’m looking forward to giving out lots of goodies to the little ones. I’ve already gone through a couple of bags of candy corn myself, so it will be good to be getting some of the sweets out of the house.

    Your handing out apple cider to the folks reminds me of the one year I spent in Ayer, MA. The whole town was like a giant Halloween party, and people went all out to decorate their houses and make things extra spooky. The funeral home opened their garage doors where the hearses would normally be, and had tables set up with warm cider and mulled wine for the grownups. It was incredible. My kids were in elementary school at the time, and are now in their 30’s, and still talk about that being the best Halloween ever.

  36. Brenda says:

    Love that you get to participate in the party. When we moved to our house in the woods after the girls all flew the coop, we quit getting trick or treaters. But our youngest grand daughter’s birthday is on Halloween and the grands are all together for her party so we get to see them all dressed up. My car broke down on the way to work this morning so I am back at home doing homey stuff and reading your post. Thanks for sharing all your recipes, waiting, waiting for my Autumn book to come. Today would be just perfect for it to show up since I am stuck at home.

  37. Country Gal says:

    Oh I would love to go Trick or Treating in your neighborhood ! Your house looks great so pretty. Loved this post and photos. Here in our country village we dont have any kids Trick or Treating as most of the families with kids are Mennonites . So it will be once again a quiet Halloween for us here at Our Country Cove . Have a wonderful day and a Happy Halloween .

  38. Jacqui G says:

    One word…~delightful!~ Your post just sent me over the Halloween-heaven edge 🙂 I’m playing a fortune teller in a scary haunted house (to benefit Hugs Not Drugs Organization). My husband and I do this every year to help them raise money, and hundreds of people come to be scared! We have a special place for little ones who would be too frightened, we call it “The Chicken Coop” hee hee. We do it for the whole weekend, it really makes my Halloween! Have yourself some wonderful tricks and treats and enjoy those kids in their costumes- Happy Halloweeeeeeen! xoxo Jacqui

  39. Marissa says:

    Snow already?! Wow! Your home looks warm and cozy; and ready for the cold days ahead.

    Thanks for sharing your Autumn Spiced Cider recipe! Sounds delicious!

  40. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    Since I now have an actual house I love to “decorate” the front yard and on Halloween I dress up as a witch and pass out candy. I bought my costume last year and have perked it up with some additional add-ons from my handy sewing machine. I’m pretty sure that some of the neighborhood kids think I’m putting on my true look for the year but they love me anyway (I’m the cookie and cat lady!). Immediately on November 1st I put out all my Thanksgiving decorations in the house. I don’t have much but I have a small house so it doesn’t matter!! I sure do love the Autumn!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      My first house was a one bedroom here on the island, and I dream about it all the time. It was so fun to wallpaper, only took one roll to do a room. Very nicely inexpensive!

  41. Martha Ellen says:

    Hi Susan, Your home looks great all dressed up for Halloween! I love how you embrace life and everything it offers us. Living each day to the fullest is gift to ourselves and our families! I made your chicken with cream sauce over happy rice last night for dinner—My husband declared it a winner! It’s chilly here today in VA so I made your tomatoe soup for lunch–it was so fresh tasting and tummy warming–we loved it! Thank you Susan for all your inspiration and congratulations to the banana dish owner! xoxo♥

  42. GraceinAZ says:

    We don’t “do” Halloween any more, but when we did, we decorated almost as much as at Christmas time. The kids always love the fun, don’t they? Enjoy the season and the kiddos! I am a new follower. Hugs, GraceinAZ

  43. Pat says:

    Hi Susan
    I just wanted to let you know that I visited the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo last week after reading your blog post! My husband and I were on a sightseeing vacation, traveling from San Diego to San Francisco. We drove along the Pacific Coast highway and visited many CA missions along the way. I was so charmed to read about the Madonna Inn on your blog while I was staying in a hotel one night in San Simeon, and I really hoped to be able to visit it. It appeared like magic as we drove along the road on our approach to San Luis Obispo and I squealed with joy when I saw the sign! My husband pulled into the parking lot and I ran around taking photo after photo. I’ll be putting it on my blog sometime in the future. Thanks so much for telling us about such a wonderful place!

    Happy Halloween!

  44. Judy says:

    Well, I didn’t find an e-mail from you so know I didn’t win the banana dish but that is okay I will try to find one somewhere now that I know they actually exist. Halloween in your neighborhood sounds wonderful. I saw your comment about the e-mail with the dogs in costumes. I received that e-mail this morning and also had a good laugh at some of them. I thought they were quite creative. I always made the costumes for my children and my favorite was when my son was Mickey Mouse and my daughter was Minnie Mouse. I took them to a contest at the local store and people just gasped as they walked in but it was the year of the Ninja turtles so they didn’t win (actually I’m sure my son would have preferred being a Ninja turtle). We had fun with it anyway.

  45. Pamela Jo says:

    We are waiting for snow here in eastern PA, too. It’s such a beautiful day today that I can’t believe we might be under 6 inches of the white stuff tomorrow! I don’t think it will stick to much…surfaces aren’t cold enough. It IS starting to feel very chilly, though. We’ll see!

    Love the CREEPY music! Halloween is so much fun! I went Trick-or-Treating with my friend as a child. His mom was very creative, just like you. One year she fitted him up in an inverted box, glued a paper table cloth over it and party plates and such on top of that. He was a TABLE! His head popped through the middle of the box and he wore a hat which his mom attached silk flowers to…His head was the centerpiece! It was a great thought, but he couldn’t hold his candy bag, open doors, or walk very well, as he couldn’t see his feet or move his arms! The BIG DISASTER (which I just KNEW was coming) happened when he got stuck in the doorway of a neighbor’s house. Couldn’t get in or out. Finally we shoved him really hard (hey, we wanted our candy! LOL!) and he fell into the house…However, the tablecloth and remains were stripped right off the box. The rest of the night, he was simply an upside down box with a head full of flowers stuck in the middle! What a night! What fun & fond memories!

    Have a great weekend. We’ll have to compare snowfall amounts next week!

  46. Trish K says:

    This is my favorite time of year. Thank you so much for sharing all the beautiful photos. We didn’t get enough rain here in Missouri, the leaves are just barely changing, and I’m afraid a storm or wind will ruin it all. I’m like a kid again, the anticipation is building for me reading about Halloween on your island. I’m going to make that cider for sure!

  47. Judy says:

    Oops forgot to mention that my son is living in Boston and he texted me last night that you are expecting snow there. One of his favorite things he enjoys about the east coast is the amount of snow that they have. We sometimes go a whole winter without snow here and he loves all that snow. Wish I was there to enjoy it with him. Last year he sent me pictures of the cars on the street buried in the snow. We never see that here it so was pretty amazing to me.

  48. Dolores says:

    What fun your neighborhood is! Lucky children and adults too!

    We live in the country so don’t get Trick-or-Treaters, but we always decorate anyway for everyone else who happens by this time of year, and for ourselves too. But this year I am hoping the new little neighbor (a three year adorable little girl) down the hill will come by! I have already planned the decorated cookies and special treat bag!

    Thank you so much for the “trip down your lane” again! Loved it!

  49. Mrs.T says:

    We had snow last night and it is still clinging to places like the porch roof, tops of cars, etc. It’s sunny today but COLD, so the snow is not melting except in very sunny areas of the yard. We leave for 2 weeks in northeastern Nevada next week … I shudder to think how much snow we could come back to. Now, THAT’S scary.

  50. Laura B Jenkins says:

    Well, you beat me to it! I was going to tweet this a.m. about our Touchdown Chili for dinner last night, in honor of our first real cold front here…love your menu for the Halloween weekend!! Boston had snow last night, and some due today! Just a nice dusting of the white stuff, nothing sticking…anyway, enjoy all of your fun trick-or-treaters Monday eve!! Booooooooooooo! ps. the stainless steel trick works on garlic fingers, too…

  51. Holly says:

    Happy Halloween! Your home is picture perfect, all decked out with Fall.
    I miss all the little kids dressed up, excited, and ruddy red cheeks. We don’t get trick or treaters to our home. We’re converting a warehouse into living space/loft (almost finished) and studio space for both of us. The far back end of the warehouse would make a great haunted house….. maybe for next year. Love reading about all your preparations.

  52. Oh Susan ,you know how to write an inspired post! I had to send this to a friend who loves Halloween but is feeling a bit down this year…I thought this might cheer her up. So much to love over here..(esp eating the grilled cheeses in one bite)!!

  53. Sandra says:

    OH mercy! I just came back across the mountains from grocery shopping and wish I’d not put it off so long. The store was a *madhouse* what with the snow storm headed our way -Appalachian Mountains, VA-, end of month, payday…ugh! I wish I had remember to shop earlier in the week.
    There is some apple cider left from making apple butter yesterday and with your lovely receipt will make a delicious addition to our supper of sausage and lentil stew…thank you!
    My woolen sheep slippers are on my feet and, I do believe, I’ll be in my nightgown early tonight. Autumn is slipping into winter and I’m all cozy and ready.

  54. jeannine leonard says:

    Looks like we will be trick or treating with the kiddies in the snow,, kind of pretty,if the flakes are big and feathery. We will have to see how the weather pans out. Thanks for the menu, sounds so yummy, I am going to make this and hopefully we will have company over also. Snow on the pumpkins this year
    at Halloween, not Thanksgiving, like last year. Enjoy your Halloween, and yes we watched Charlie Brown last night.

  55. Dale Worness says:

    Love your “Halloween” house. It looks older and much spookier without the shutters. I remember my first trick or treating adventure when I was 5. (MANY years ago, I might add!) My older cousin took me to 3 of our neighbors houses and I was to too scared to say a word, even though I had practiced saying “Trick or treat! Money or Eat!” all day. Wonder if they gave me any candy? I don’t remember what my costume was, but my Mom was very “creative”. The following year I was Sherlock Holmes and the year after that I was Uncle Sam and I had no clue who either of them were! One year she sewed fringe on my old Brownie uniform and I was an Indian princess! It was so much fun when in grade school when we had our costume parade in the halls and would go back to our classrooms for a Halloween party. Those were the good ole days! I love to see the little kids now in all their cute costumes. Hope you enjoy your snow! It’s 74 degrees here in FL so no “white” Halloween for me! Love your
    “starry” pumpkins!

  56. I LOVE this post – especially the pictures! This is the best time of the year!

  57. Kirsten Wichert says:

    I would like to add my congrats to the winner of the banana dish! I will join the many others who will be on the lookout for one!
    Well, it is finally cooler here at night which makes for much better sleep. But today it is in the 80’s again! It’s supposed to be like summer all weekend. I’m not complaining but I do look forward to the cold. Sometimes it’s even summer at Christmas. You know, Susan, because you grew up here. I’d hate to admit that sometimes I miss New Jersey! LOL
    Thanks for the beautiful blog post to remind me what I’m missing. And I will be making cider today, too! ; )

  58. Kathy Thompson says:

    Happy Halloween, Susan…and all the girlfriends out there! Make it a safe and scary and fun one.

  59. Kathy Thompson says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but there’s agonna be a “double feature” at our house tonight. I’m putting on “Practical Magic”…and “To Kill a Mockingbird” with that wonderful Halloween-time scene where Scout is dressed up like a ham. Those movies, some popcorn and hot apple cider … ah, autumn at its best.

  60. Gumbo Lily says:

    You do Halloween right! We always took the kids to town because there wasn’t much trick-or-treating out here in the country. Lots of fond Halloween Memories. I still like to put up the spooky stuff for the grandgirls.


  61. pat addison says:

    Hapy Halloween Susan, i hope you and Joe have a hauntingly fun and Happy Halloween. ahhh the happy memories of being a kid again and gulping down supper so i can get into my costume and get out the door to get the treats, it was a magical time. we had a wonderful neighborhood to go trick or treating in, and some of those places had the best candy around and the best decorations. i can remember my dad making a coffin that opened up and he would sit up in the coffin and grab at the kids. they would scream and squeal and run and it was all in good fun, and dad made some kind of clickety noise machine that soundede raspy and rusty and scared the pants off you as you approached the door and the coffin. the windows had scary decorations in them and the porches had lots of lit pumpkins, Halloween was my dad’s favorite holiday as he checked all of our candy ( my brother’s and mine) and we always found our hershey bars and milky way bars missing..we knew dad snitched them. one year we got a cat, spooky, and spooky was fond of this box in my closet, kept sitting in it. so on Halloween i put all my candy in the box and spooky sat on it and would not let dad have any candy, or me. well i was able to get some candy by distracting her long enough to have one of my brothers grab some candy, but my hands were scratched to bloody pieces that year. loved that cat, and my dad was not too fond of her…wonder why??? LOL!!!!! will definitely be trying that spiced cider recipe, and brewing up some of my spiced tea this weekend, good for chilly days and nights. we set up a haunted graveyard in our front yard, and the kids just love it year after year. heres a tip to keep the pumpkins from going bad too soon, rub a little vaseline or petroleum jelly on the cut edges of the pumpkin and it won’t spoil so fast. everywhere you cut with a knife, put the really works!!! Have a Happy and fun Halloween, Happy Haunting everyone. hugs…. 🙂 BOOOO!!!!!!

  62. Joyce says:

    Loved your post about Halloween and seeing your beautiful house all decked out for trick or treaters. Your enjoyment of life is so evident in your posts and all the tips you share with us help make everyday life enjoyable for us too. Thanks for your wonderful blog. Hope you stay all warm and cozy during the snow with Girl Kitty tucked warmly in your lap.

  63. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Love love love all the beautiful pictures. It looks so warm and cozy at your house for Halloween. I went to the Stratford Antique Center today, its a big huge place to walk around and guess what??? I found a milk glass Banana dish. I am so excited. I just kind of figured I wouldn’t win so now I have one. I love it.
    I love the star pumpkins. You are so creative
    happy day and weekend

  64. Carilyn Wolski says:

    I love, love, love your Halloween decorations….what a gift to all of those who visit you on the 31st!!!! After reading your new Willard yesterday, a burst of energy overcame me, and I finished the last of our cozy home’s Halloween attire. Lots of orange, purple and black here and there. It is dressed and ready for the trick-or-treaters on Monday. Thank goodness I found where I hid the candy.(Last month after bringing it home from the store I hid it in a secret place, so my hubby and I would not eat it all up before the special evening.) Now, I just have to stop eating the candy corn!!!! I hope your jack-o-lanterns have winter caps, they may need it when the snow flies up your way. Stay toasty warm Susan, and I’m very happy for the winner of the banana holder…..congratulations galore!.

  65. Sylvia Faye says:

    I have some steel cut oats that I purchased sometime back now and as yet have not used it; so just got me wondering just how do you cook it??????? How much do you use for two people and the rest of the ingredients you mentioned sound mouth-watering, n’est-ce pas?

    You and your husband sound like the kind of neighbors I’d love to have next door. I’d love to be coming for some of your mouth-watering chili. I made some this week as we had our daughter, her husband, and two younger family members (12-14) with them and the chili was so tasty with fresh garlic in it and of course we had Southern style biscuits with it.

    I have made corn bread and growing up in Virginia I certainly ate my share of it and loved, loved it but neither mom nor I have made corn pudding.

    With gratitude,
    Sylvia Faye

    • sbranch says:

      It’s 1 c. water to 1/4 cup oats. Bring water to boil, sprinkle in the oats, stir, bring back to boil, then reduce heat and cook until it’s the right consistency . . . stir every so often while it’s cooking. Joe likes brown sugar on his, but I just like walnuts, blueberries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Apple is delicious too. You will LOVE the corn pudding recipe in my Autumn Book, it’s truly one of life’s great pleasures! 🙂

  66. Gert says:

    Oh Susan..*snow* already? It’s too early don’t you think? The first snow I remember on Halloween was back in 1961 & boy was that a surprise! We took my little cousin ‘trick or treating’ which included a trip over to my Grandmas for her famous molasses popcorn balls… smile…

    Your home & Halloween times sound and look so fun! I remember making bags of popcorn & candies for the kids..when my children were at home. One time I ran out so had to run to the store & get more candy, race home & make more bags up… Fun times…

    Congratulations to the winner of the glass banana holder! (I kept checking my e-mail..but guess I didn’t win…lol) thank you so much for doing this wonderful give away you are so sweet!

    Enjoy your yummy Halloween dinner with your friends…and especially that “Iowa” cornbread!


    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Gert — yes, waaaay too early for snow in this neck of the woods . . . but it looks like it will bypass the island and just go inland, I’m happy/sad, but probably mostly happy!

      • Gert says:

        Ha..ha..ha I bet mostly “sad” —not! We are always kind of anxious for that first *snow* but soon tire of it due to the work of removing it and not being able to get out and go as much! (at least for us more mature people!) stay warm enjoy your Halloween!


  67. Oh Susan! How cozy your home looks with fall leaves on the ground and still on the trees, Your windows lit up, pumpkins above the door and on the stairs, Love it! (psst, you have a ghost in your upstairs window!) How perfect! I see your candlesticks on your table, I love those! They look so perfectly happy there! I wish I’d thought to put my cider on my cr pt this morning, its chilly out, but not like where you are, Our friend texted from upstate ny this morning to let us know abt the snow! Stay warm,
    Happy Halloween, have fun! are you dressing up?
    Boooo! Keep kitty inside!

    • sbranch says:

      We’re having a party the same night, I will be running from front door to stove, and believe it or not, I’m not much of a costume person! I might wear a witches hat, for festivity!

  68. Sarah says:

    Oh, that Bach music brings back a fond memory. I taught Music Appreciation a few years ago to Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders. When we were studying Bach, I took them on a field trip to my church, which has a massive pipe organ, like you would find in a cathedral. Some of the pipes stick out horizontally, so I had the students stand under them. The church organist met us there and I told him to blow us away. He started in with those unmistakable opening notes of Toccata and Fugue, and the children squealed with delight as he proceeded to rattle our sternums until they practically disintegrated. 🙂 It was an unforgettable experience.

  69. Lee Ann G. says:

    I can see why the kiddos like coming by your house on Halloween! You and Joe make it so exciting and s~c~a~r~eeeee!!!! So fun!

    I want to take this Cider recipe to work next week. It will make the entire place smell yummy all day, that is if it’s not all gone by noon. I figure I can make it ahead and then reheat it up in a crockpot. Keeping it warm all day doesn’t change it’s flavor does it Susan?

    Congratulations to the unknown winner of the glass bananna dish!

    ♥Lee Ann

    • sbranch says:

      We usually don’t have it around very long, but I think keeping it warm all day, if anything, would enhance the flavor as it distills a bit.

  70. Rachel Lucas says:

    Ok ok…this snow stuff? You can have it for a little while…I can see that would be kind of fun. But then it needs to GO…scat….scram…& not come back til Christmas! Because it can be sooooo disruptive. And I’m just not standing for it….do you hear? Falling leaves and chill air is all we need!! Happy Hallowe’en xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I was afraid you’d hear about this! They are saying this morning that the storm will be going inland, so that’s one thing. I will blow it all away personally, don’t worry, it will be fine for you!!!

  71. Jennie says:

    Your home is magical! But even more than the perfect ambiance, good smells, and generosity that seems to flow from it- I can tell it’s the love of life that you and Joe put into living that is what really makes the magic. Hope it’s a warm and cozy weekend, snow or not!

  72. Heidi Rose says:

    We don’t have any snow here in the Seattle area, but we DO have rain, and lots of it! It’s been pouring down which has put me into a cookie-baking mood. I have a batch of your yummy “Grandma’s Frosted Molasses Cookies” in the oven right now. 🙂 Oh, how I wish I could zoom across the country and see your delightfully spooky neighborhood and go trick-or-treating in New England! *sigh* Thank you Susan for sharing the Halloween fun, and your cookie recipes too!

  73. laura says:

    I love your blog post today, such fun and it brings back so many memories!! Also, I see there are pumpkins across the doorway…now, I think I read somewhere, maybe twitter, that when Joe puts up the pumpkins you would do a twirl…so, did you? 🙂

  74. Anita says:

    Congratulations to the winner of the banana dish, whoever you are–and a surprise for someone else–I found one today myself!!!–in a little antique shop in Paris Michigan–It’s a white,milk-glass dish, and has two matching candlesticks–Lovely!!–WestMorland is the maker–only $39.00 for the whole shebang–and believe it or not–I did not buy it–but left it there for one of YOU to find–(we’re retired and “downsized” so I don’t dare keep collecting)–I told the owner of the shop that I would share the information with everyone here.It’s very pretty and has a lace-like edging on it. Hope someone snaps it up soon. Hugs to all you girlfriends out there, especially you Susan.–Anita in W.Michigan

    • sbranch says:

      That was nice, so anyone near Paris, Michigan can find it. I think I know that design, it’s really wonderful. Hope it’s still $39 by the time someone gets it! 🙂

  75. Veronica says:

    Willard “is” wonderful! Such a delight to the soul.Be blessed…..And,
    Thank you! Grandpa. Happy Halloween.

  76. Becky Farnsworth says:

    So why do you put cinnamon on the bottom of the pumpkin top? I’m sure there is some wonderful reason behind it! I learn so much from you! Thanks for your blog and all of the ways you have shared over the years!

  77. Pamela Jo says:

    A question for you, Susan~
    Is that tissue paper honeycomb pumpkin new, or is it vintage? I used to have a few when I was young, but they are no longer around. I should have been more careful with them…they were so delicate! I’ve looked everywhere for new ones, but have not had any luck finding them. Those paper pumpkins were some of my favorite Halloween decorations, and seeing yours brought back happy memories!

    • sbranch says:

      I think anyone who has ever been a kid loves those things! Mine is old, but only maybe 10 years or something . . . if you have a Hallmark store around you, maybe they would have one. Some sort of traditional old stationery store.

  78. Marilyn says:

    What a beautiful post! I do find myself getting homesick for the NE this time of year. Autumn in the NE should be on everyone’s bucket list, don’t you think? 🙂

    Trick or Treating is really dying out in our neighborhood but I still do decorate for the holiday. The sight of pumpkins appearing in stores still gets me excited!

    I bet your neighborhood is the pride of MV! It’s absolutely lovely!!! I’d love to be sitting in one of those Adirondack chairs enjoying this time of year.

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

    • sbranch says:

      You might need a couple of blankets and a hat if you did, but it would be wonderful for the eyes! I do think everyone should see New England in the fall…the history alone is enough to send a person to the moon, not to mention the charm of the little villages and white church spires.

      • Marilyn says:

        I totally agree, Susan! Whenever I return to visit family in Upstate NY, I swoon at the sight of white church spires, tree lined streets and the charm & coziness of villages.

        You really capture all that warmth and charm in everything you do! That’s just one of the reasons I’m such a fan of your work, Susan.

        Marilyn (in Dallas)

  79. Cheryl Colazas says:

    Oh how I love Halloween! Such sweet memories of dressing up, finally being allowed to go on two blocks like my older sisters and brother, separating and trading our candy once we got home!!!! Then when my boys were young, creating those memories for them, making costumes, taking them Trick or Treating. I even love given out the candy to the tons of children that come our way. Thanks for the memories!!!!

  80. I do so love reading your blog Susan; it’s almost like getting a mini Susan Branch book each post 🙂

  81. Robin says:

    Cinnamon on the inside top of the pumpkin!! Oh my, I have got to do this!! Have never heard or thought of that. Can’t wait!

    Have a wonderful Halloween!!


  82. Katherine says:

    Hey Susan,
    Wishing you an-almost-happy halloween!!!!!
    You mentioned Practical Magic—great movie; great book (assuming you know of them).
    Also, so funny you mentioned the gingerbread cake because today I had company and baked the gingerbread cake with lemon sauce and whipped cream, your potatoes anna and the red pear salad in your Autumn cook book along with a maple chicken, apples and shallots dish.
    Thanks for giving the great recipes! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Yum, you are so welcome. I need some red pear salad myself! Among other things. Did you cut out the potatoes to leaf shapes?

      • Katherine says:

        Actually—couldn’t find leaf cookie shapes—so instead did bats!!!!
        Also, quick Q—I’ve been wanting to make your “Witches Brew” from Vineyard Seasons, however was going to make a “virgin” version. Should I substitute the brandy for anything in particular?

  83. Janie Phillips says:

    Happy Halloween Weekend, Sue! Your house looks perfect. Now let’s just hope the ghosts don’t get lost in the snow 🙂 xoxo

  84. Francine says:

    They should have trick or treat for adults! I enjoyed Halloween as a child, again as a mom, and just today I spent hours baking and decorating sugar cookies for my two tot grandkids who are having a Halloween party tomorrow! I’m excited!! I LOVE the ghost in your window. I have decorated the house for my husband and myself. Strings of orange lights, spiders hanging from the light fixture above our kitchen table. Lit (fake) pumpkins, and my favorite lamp….a black tissue paper cylinder with a orange cresent moon on it. LOVE IT! Last year my grandson was 2, he lives two blocks away, and every night after they got his sister to bed, his mom would have to bring him over (per his request), and we’d turn off the lamps and sit by the glow of the Halloween lights. He loved it! This year, his house is more decorated, so I guess he’s happy to stay home!

  85. Nancy says:

    Lucky kids on the Vineyard! Love the music! 😉

  86. Carie says:

    Loved your stories about Halloween. My son who is 14, is so excited for Halloween, it has always been his favorite!!! We have been through all the costumes through the years….superheros, scary monsters, vampires. This year he is Waldo ….Where’s Waldo….and what a cute Waldo he is!!! I will spend the day getting stuff ready….special treats for the special nieghborhood kiddos we know….and special treats for the Oh So Adorable Little Little ones!!! Can’t wait, love this time of year!! Wish I could Trick or Treat at your house!!! Enjoy!!!

  87. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Thank you for the Halloween celebration. So fun and your home is so inviting. We had a foot of snow on Thursday so I guess it’s your turn now. It was 82 on Monday and snowing like crazy on Thursday! Supposed to be in the 60’s and dry on Halloween. So happy for the little tricksters! Enjoy your celebration and stay warm and cozy! BTW – Congratulations to the winner! I was cleaning glass all day long 🙂

    • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

      Oops – sorry Colorado – I meant Wednesday! Time going too quickly – losing track! Hope you don’t get too much Susan. Can be awfully hard on the trees this time of year. We lost several!

      • sbranch says:

        So sorry . . . losing trees is a terrible thing! I don’t think we are going to get the snow, only the storm, 50mph gusts, rain, but not snow. Out here in the ocean, we’re a tiny bit warmer than the mainland, 40’s instead of 30’s.

    • sbranch says:

      So something good came from it!

  88. karen saunders says:

    susan!! i just got back from a two-week cruise in the med. and i have to tell you that on the cruise ship they had a computer room and for .69 cents a minute (youch!!) you could go on-line. so i would go on-line and try to read your blogs as fast as i could but the computer was too slow and it was toooo spendy. so FINALLY my husband bought $100. worth and GLORY-BE!!!! i got to read your blogs!! (did you get a little sea-sick from the roll of the boat when i was reading them???…) i guess it’s final….i am adicted to your blogs!!
    tee hee!! karen saunders

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, I love it . . . that’s definitely a good hint that maybe you are! What a nice husband you have!

  89. Hi Susan!

    What a fun post. You must live in one of the best neighborhoods ever… great trick or treating AND the president drives by in the summer! Way to pick a place to live!

    With eight kids, all of whom still dress for Halloween in some way or another, the run up to Halloween in pretty fun at our house. Every year we get out the box of “old” costumes and they try them on and have a great time being monkeys and tigers and deviled eggs (yes, a large foam egg, sprinkled liberally with red glitter “paprika” and little devil horns… it’s hard figuring out how to make a realistic egg!). We also have the fabulous costumes bought at Disneyland a few years ago. We were on our first Disneyland visit and had that “Oh, why not, we’re at Disneyland!” feeling as we strolled through the World of Disney shop at Downtown Disney. That’s the feeling that causes you to be Captain Hook and Peter Pan costumes for your children, along with individual Build-a-Bears and matching B-a-B strollers… Talk about overconsumption! Anyway… do you think that those costumes were ever worn on Halloween? Of course not! By the time Halloween rolled around, there were all sorts of other outfits that simply had to be worn!

    My favorite costumes always start with a wig… I don’t remember why, but one year we were late in getting costumes together for three of the little boys. Three mullets (two brown, one blond), three A-shirts and flannel shirts and three pairs of torn jeans later, and we had the funniest little hillbillies ever. There’s something very funny about a three year old dressed like that…

    As for Halloween movies, I think “Arsenic and Old Lace” is pretty fun… Raymond Massey as the returned brother is pretty scary!

    Take care and enjoy the snow… That sounds awfully cozy!


    P.S. We had a craving for Pineapple Upside Down Cake last night and used your recipe from the Summer book… First time and it was FABULOUS!

    • sbranch says:

      So many good memories in the making, it will be fun to read your kid’s blog someday! Did you drink the vanilla sauce? 🙂

  90. I have been clicking “get new mail” in my email all evening, ever since I got home tonight and read that there is a glass bottomed banana boat winner and you have sent her an email. I checked my junk mail too, repeatedly, just in case it got put with my “pharmaceuticals of ill repute” sales offers & my “UK lottery winnings announcements” (I “win” a lot of UK lotteries if my email can be believed but that’s about all I ever win…) Your email to me must be lost…Can you check to see if it is still in your “drafts” folder? Thanks

    • sbranch says:

      Checking . . .

      • Well, since I still haven’t gotten your email, even after you went and checked on it for me (very nice of you , btw – Thanks) then I must not have won. Sigh. I am going to go now & practice being a gracious loser. Did you ever watch the Rockford Files? Once, Jim Rockford (James Garner) was nominated for P.I. of the year and he knew he wasn’t going to win. He kept telling himself and everyone else, over and over, “the nomination is the award”, “the nomination is the award”. I should try saying this, it might help me cope. I know I was not nominated for anything here at Blog SB, but if I had won the Glass Banana Dish I would have put it on my mantle LIKE it was an award… It is very trophy like.

        • sbranch says:

          Have faith Karen, because there is always always always, a next time 🙂

          • Ahhhh, there IS always next time! My faith is restored. I will enter to win the next neato thing you give away that I never even knew existed and now won’t be able to live without…Hope really does spring eternal. I am skipping off now to swap the laundry feeling much, much, much better. Thank you for not giving me a glass banana dish. I am a much better and stronger person for it…

          • sbranch says:

            The whole wonderful Pollyanna view of life on lovely display!

  91. Joann says:

    I just LOVE the little ghost upstairs!!!!! For the past 9 years, we’ve lived in the log house in the country…..and yes, no one came to our house, but right now we’re in the temporary rental and there are a ga-zillion children in this neighborhood, so I’m expecting a solid night of entertaintment!!! I might have to dig out the ‘ol gorilla costume and sit still on the front porch while they come to the door!!!! OOH….that’s a good idea!!!!

    OK, my snow must be coming your way…..get those extra socks on!!


  92. warm and fuzzy reading your blog today from a most definite wild, wet, and windy west Wales as we batton the hatches for yet another onslaught of foul winter weather that has not learned that we are still in autumn! I think our Hallowe’en will be a bit of a damp squib if this continues for it is not fit outside for man nor beast. It is a few days of hunkering down indoors with mugs of steaming hot chocolate, or a certain someone’s Autumn Spiced Cider:-) to chase away the ghosties blustering about outside and shrieking down our chimney pots . . . with our tummies full and warm with oatmeal! I freeze fresh raspberries and blackcurrants by the container-full all summer long to bring a hint of summer to my winter morning breakfasts . .

    • sbranch says:

      We’re blueberry pickers around here, and do the same thing! A taste of summer all winter! Happy Haooowloween Deborah!

  93. Francine says:

    Did you ever try replacing apple juice for the water in your oatmeal?? Yum!

  94. Ginny Stanley says:

    Hi Susan!
    Happy Halloween to you, Joe and Girl Kitty! Love your pictures – especially the carved pumpkins. Wish I too lived in your neighborhood. Being in Mass. during Halloween is on my bucket list. To me, it’s like being at Times Square for New Year’s – it would be the ultimate experience.
    We also live in the country where we don’t have trick or treaters ( there’s hardly any little ones around here anymore). I really miss not giving out candy and since no one comes I don’t do much decorating either. However, I do have wonderful memories of when I was a child, usually going to a busy neighborhood with my cousins. Back then there was no time limit like there is now so we would go for hours on end. Those were such good times. Thanks for the memories Susan!
    ps – I consider you a “soul sister” – we have so many similar likes – the latest being that we’re Sandra Bullock fans – she’s one of my faves!

    • sbranch says:

      If it’s around Halloween, Salem is a wonderful little historical MA town that goes all out for Halloween, but has lots of serious attractions and fall beauty to see. Thanks Ginny!

  95. BOO HOO…..(I didn’t win the banana dish); BUT, so happy for the winner!! Your home looks amazing and I sure would Trick or Treat there….when we were small children my Mother made Halloween so special with decorating the house and getting our costumes (made of fabric) all ready…I was a tiger and my tail gave me fits…ha.. and we lived in a big housing development (my Dad was in the Service) and we would go up one street and have a full bag of candy and have to go home for another bag….I will always remember the year it was raining and some poor child’s bag broke and kids just pounced on their candy like they didn’t already have enough…when we moved to IN and had to go out in a car the homes were so far apart it just wasn’t the same. My Dad took us out one year and we had prepared all afternoon so excited and we had our traditional meal…grilled cheese and tomato soup and the magic hour had arrived and we were all packed in the station wagon and was 1 mile from home when a Racoon ran across the road and Dad put on the brakes; turned the car around and took us back home to get his good ole coon dog “Blucy” and off to hunt the poor critter they went!!! UGH we were so disappointed. Susan, I have to tell this memory that is stuck in my head forever….there was this one family that obviously did not enjoy the Holiday; and you all know how you just have to taste a treat without parents checking it, well I absolutely love candy corn and couldn’t wait to try it and opened my little pouch (in the backseat of a dark car), and was so shocked to taste REAL FIELD CORN!!!!! We never went to that house again….hope everyone has a FUN, SAFE, HALLOWEEN!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Amazing memories!! I can’t believe your dad went coon hunting instead of taking you for candy!!! We would have “told” on him big time! LOL!

      • Oh we did and even Mother was surprised we weren’t having an absolute fit….my Dad is retired Air Force and in the 60’s when children were too afraid to argue with a parent (we knew better)….we just accepted it!!! My Dad wasn’t big on candy/sweets for us so it was the only time of year we actually got to eat some of it!!! I think when they “sorted” our stash they threw away more than we kept??? HA I am lucky enough to still have my parents Dad is 91 yrs. old and Mother is a young 84 years old and I will always remember that Halloween for sure!!! P.S. The coon got a treat that night also….his life!!! Yah…I’m a big animal lover and was secretly wishing it got away….shhhhhh

  96. Michelle Meyer says:

    What a great post! It really puts me in the fall-ish spirit — as if I weren’t there already! I’m curious, you said you sprinkle cinnamon on the tops of your carved pumpkins, does this give off a wonderful cinammon-y scent?? I would love that!

  97. Sarah says:

    It’s snowing like CRAZY here in northern Virginia right now. It started in the middle of the night and we already have about 3 inches. But there’s a reason it’s not supposed to snow until AFTER the leaves come off. 🙂 The branches are so heavy with their leaves still on, and now this snow, they are popping and cracking all over the place. We’ve already lost some really big limbs. But man, is it gorgeous. Being from Texas, this is the Halloween treat I can imagine. 🙂 It’s coming your way, East Coast girls! 🙂


  98. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    I grew up in Iowa and what I remember best is – even as a really little 7 year old – we kids would go out our front door with a crowd of our friends and literally run from door to door for hours. We and, apparently, our parents never worried about any harm coming to us. They would stay home handing out candy till we finally showed up with frozen faces. We would get lots of homemade cookies, popcorn balls and apples. When we finally got home we would poor our piles of candy out on the floor and divide, sort and measure it! Finally, Daddy would come in and start eating our bounty while we’d squeal “No Fair”!!!!! Our older kids grew up pretty much the same way but, sadly, our youngest had to be chaperoned for safety and we really watched the candy. Those were the good old days but our grandchildren have their own fun and traditions – someday they will probably say the same thing to their little ones!

  99. Anna says:

    I love your pictures Susan! Halloween is the beginning of such a lovely and fun couple of months. Your cider recipe is one that I have been using for years and I love it! Also, I make a weekly Halloween menu for the week before Halloween and last night I made your bug potatoes and the children LOVED them! Totally creepy but perfect. Thanks for all the inspiration.

    P.S. I’m watching the snow pour down and I’m in awe that it is only October!

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