Ideas for Halloween Fun

I thought that today I would pay attention to the calendar because it’s that time of year when the world wants to get scary  . . . and eat!  And I have lots of ideas for that!  Starting here, with a Halloween menu and some of the little things that make life sweet . . .  Not sure if it fits but I’m in the mood for French MUSICA!

Everything from spiderwebs in your soup to pumpkin ice buckets and plastic spiders floating in the your ice cubes ~ and don’t forget popcorn night and those wonderful old movies ~ maybe start a little project for a Christmas gift with a favorite old movie on TV.

 Shop your house and find things to decorate: celebrate harvest with apples, pears, pumpkins and squashes, old quilts, candles, jars of fresh herbs and marigolds, baskets, leaves, acorns and pine cones . . . make small seasonal vignettes.  Let the last tomatoes from the garden ripen on a kitchen windowsill.  Sleep with the windows open so the stars and the moon can watch over you.

Set out old books and magazines with covers that remind you of what you love. . .

Cook and invite your friends over . . . It just wouldn’t be fall for us without our favorite Chili recipe — get the best chili powder you can find at your market ~ we usually get the kind you can buy in bulk ~ or bags of it in the Mexican food department.  This recipe isn’t particularly hot, as in spicy (or “pica” as they say (brilliantly) in Mexico), but you can add a quarter tsp. of red pepper flakes if you’d like to feel a little more heat.  It goes delightfully with the sour cream!  Here’s the recipe:

Click HERE to see step-by-step directions for making this special Chili. This would be a very good place to use your sour cream spider web, especially for a Halloween dinner.  Serve things in heavy pottery, wooden bowls, pewter, ironstone, brown and white transferware, red Spode.

Invite your friends (no matter how strange they might seem to the outside world, you know their hearts are in the right place) ~ ask them to wear their hats.

“It’s not what’s on the table that matters, it’s what’s on the chairs . . .”

Another good place for the sour cream spiderweb mentioned in  EAT, DRINK AND BE SCARY at the top of this page . . . is my elegant

It’s all delicious with . . .

Or this next one, one of my favorite recipes ever . . . every delicious thing of the season, cinnamon-dusted roasted apples, plump raisins that pop in your mouth, thick pork chops, moist with celery and onion stuffing, and sweet potatoes . . . in one big casserole that makes your whole house smell like heaven.

Here I am, in my favorite fall apron (that I love even if it does make me look like a country road), stuffing “Jack-be-Little” (did someone say Jack?  waaaah) Pumpkins with apples, leeks, squash, mashed with butter and cream.

You can have one on each plate when your guests arrive, or serve them on a large platter, they are such a knock-out . . . you can also stuff them with the Sweet Potato Casserole on p. 65 of my Autumn Book (cream cheese, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, walnuts, nutmeg, yum!).

When it’s turkey-day, surround your roasted bird with these and when you bring it out people think they stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting.  Know what?  Make just one for you and one for someone you love.  That’s good enough.

Here’s an easy placecard I made one year.  I used letter-stamps for my friend’s names and burnt the edges over the flame on my stove holding the card with tongs.  Be sure to blow out the flame quickly before the whole thing burns up!  You can lean the card against a tiny vase of flowers, cut a slit in a mini-pumpkin and slip it in there, lay it on top of the napkin or tuck it into a small pine cone.

I always forget to take pictures of my Corn Pudding until it looks like this.  It’s the most wonderful easy, delicious dish in the world.  Here’s the RECIPE.

And now, the must-have of the season . . .

If you have never made this before, please take this opportunity to do it!  And make the lemon sauce.  This is an amazing dessert: tender fragrant deliciousness. ♥  Warm cake in a puddle of cold lemon sauce with whipped cream.

Go on a wild goose chase . . .

While it bakes and fills your kitchen with gingerbread fragrance, grab a sweater and go outside and poke around.  Take your scissors and see what kind of wild things you can gather to decorate with.  Or plan a walk in the wild and windy woods, bring nature indoors ~ wild asters, windfall apples, or rose hips, whatever is local to you. Everyone has something, you might be surprised when you go out to look.

More MUSICA? Is it time yet? Oui!

It’s really unending all the wonderful decorations you can make with things you find on the ground.

“October gave a party, the leaves by hundreds came . . .”

Last year we grabbed a few fallen branches and leaves and wound them with bittersweet to decorate our front door.

Cinnamon, being so good for you, is great in this ice cream and nice thing to have in your freezer for small unplanned celebratory moments.  ♥  I speak from experience.

Fly your colors, Girlfriends . . . air your down comforters for the winter. Bring fresh fall air inside.

It doesn’t have to be very much for you to feel like something is special about today. A little vase of flowers is all you really need.

And then of course, there is the possibility of TWINE …. a four o-clock cup of tea with a friend, and then, when it’s five o’clock somewhere, perhaps another kind of surprise from the fridge . . .

You can include a gummy worm in your Vampire’s Kiss for a special Halloween scream fest!  This is actually our favorite thing for April Fool’s Day, here in a glass with coffee in it, or at the edge of the shower drain, both work so very well. (This is part of the DNA that develops when you are born into a large family. Torture of your fellow man naturally comes with the territory.)


OK Twine time for me.  Must go…. Hey girls!  Ain’t we got fun? xoxo

23 Responses to Ideas for Halloween Fun

  1. Debs OBrien says:

    I love scrolling up and down these pictures, all the beautiful Autumn colours everywhere~~especial favourite I think is your laundry line! My heart soars when it sees a line full of clean laundry drying in the breeze~~how odd am I? That smell, oh! I bury my nose in freshly dried linen, a scent no candle, no matter how good can recreate!

    Such fun! I’ve decorated, but I’m really the only one who gets to see it, and the Postman, Tesco deliveries, and couriers, for I live down the bottom of a muddy lane and everyone goes past. I won’t have any callers on the night either, but it doesn’t matter. Then, I shall take down the Hallowe’en trims and bump up the Autumn ones as we fly headlong into Thanksgiving!

    Waving spookily from Across The Pond! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      My first little house on the island was in the country with nothing else around it and I never got any kids either. Most everyone on the island takes their children to the neighborhoods to do their haunting. So I did what you do, Debs, lit the candles for myself, put the pumpkin on the porch and counted my blessings!

  2. Mary says:

    Tres fun, Susan! I just might have a party for Halloween!!
    Love to you!

    • sbranch says:

      We always do when we’re home, a drop-in for the neighborhood (where two of my best girlfriends live) after trick-or-treat is over and the front porch lights have gone out, they come to my house to eat chili and corn pudding in front of the fire . . . it’s the best. This year my girlfriend Martha is taking over for us.

  3. Arline in LA says:

    Hi all,
    Chili and Vampire Kisses (WITH the worm) tonight. It is finally getting “chilly” in CA. See you all in SLO! Arline in Burbank

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, chili around here (Palo Alto today) too. You know I’m coming to Pasadena, to Vromans don’t you, Arline? SLO is going to be the most fun, but Vroman’s is pretty darn close to you! See you soon!

      • Arline in LA says:

        Thank you Susan! How did I miss seeing that? Making plans today with best friend Anne and we will be there! Get to see the girlfriends twice. Cool!

  4. Donna Hardin says:

    Oh, such fun! Thanks or sharing! My kids have been blessed by your creativity as they have grown up with your books gracing our home. I must say though, I have yet to try the Iowa cornbread…it looks delicious and being an Iowan, I have decided to add it to this week’s menu! I love your posts…thanks for sharing your world. Was a lovely respite with my lunch and cup of Pumpkin tea today! Hugs from Iowa, Donna & Miss Spenser

  5. Lee Rose says:

    Great ideas and recipes. I can’t get to the kitchen fast enough. Happy Halloween!

  6. mari1017 says:

    Oh yeah…we got fun!!! Great post!!! Enjoy your Halloween!!!

  7. Cathie Huhn says:

    Please send me your web news and ideas. Love all your books! Thank you for all you do!

  8. Love the Halloween ideas…and I am already thinking Christmas after reading the Yankee Magazine spread on you and your beautiful Vineyard home, decorations and entertaining tips….

  9. Pingback: out of my gourd for sophie’s squash + a recipe for butternut bisque | Jama's Alphabet Soup

  10. Shirley Graham says:

    We live in an apartment now and don’t have any treat or treaters but I still take out all of my pumpkins etc. Patio table has a huge mum and pumpkins & my witch stands guard in the flower garden. My favorite is a tiny bird holding a pumpkin that always sits on my kitchen counter this time of year. Also have some tiny paper pumpkins that I have saved over the years & love them! Still have a little red wooden apple (in a mix) that my oldest grandson chewed on when he was little (23 now). Brings back lots of memories. Love the leaves & the holidays!

  11. Becky in Maryland says:

    I’m going to put my boots on and go walking through the woods today. I hope to find lots of beautiful things for fall decorating. I love your recipes and I especially love your handwriting- or typing font. I can’t decide which it is. But I’m going with handwriting! 😉
    Happy Friday to all the Girlfriends!

  12. Nona Leidig-Arnold says:

    I sent you an old fashioned letter a few weeks ago, but here I am wanting you to know how special you have made my holidays. You reinforce family, friends, love and laughter are most important! I have given many “Joy of Christmas” books to my dearest friends until unhappily I cannot get them anymore. I take time out each year to relish the magic of the Holiday season….you bring to life all the magic and wonderment to inspire me to re-inact my childhood. Thank you Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      You are so dear, Nona . . . I keep thinking I’ll make time to answer mail, I keep everything, but never seem to get to it. Thank you for your sweet thoughts! XOXO Have a wonderful day!

  13. Mary says:

    Susan – where can we find your recipes now – the index to look for the recipes is now gone? There were several like the Kale Soup we loved!!!! Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you!

    • sbranch says:

      Let’s see, not sure what you mean. The Indexes are still in the books and so is the Kale Soup, if you mean Heart of the Home, it’s still there.

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