Singing Owl posted her first Friday Five last night (way to go!) recalling the fond memories of Halloween while growing up. THese are her questions and my reponses, but I'd love for everyone to feel like thay can play along in the comments if they'd like. :)
1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
Halloween was always a big deal when I was a kid. My mom loved decorating for it, so we were always "the scary house" in the neighborhood. We had ghosts and cobwebs, of course, but also sound effects (wired to cleverly disguised speakers around the porch) and my mom always answered the door in her Bear Monster costume - an old ratty wig, scary mask, and a tattered fur coat that has been in the family forever. The big bonus though, was that if you could get over being scared to go to the door (and stand there when the Bear monster answered) my mom also only gave out full sized chocolate candy bars! She was always very creative with our costumes as well, and my family often chose costumes by theme so that my brother and dad and I all went together as we were walking around the neighborhood. Several years we won prizes (like the Wizard of Oz year where I was Tin Man or the Christmas year where I was Rudolph complete with light up nose).
2A. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do? Yes, we do. I think it's a great exercise of imagination that doesn't necessarily get encouraged many other ways. I have also been taught that it's a fun holiday (see previous questions) and don't see what the big deal is. However, since coming to the midwest (I grew up in the Northeast) and experience Bible Belt culture, it's intriguing to me that so many people feel otherwise. I will say, however, that I think it's important to teach kids that it's not all about the costumes, candy and haunted houses - that there's a background to this holiday that is grounded in spirituality. I think we should let kids dress up and have fun, but also teach them about All Saints' Day and the meaning behind what they do.
2B. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else? I am not, and never have been, a fan of candy coated apples of any kind. I find that they are sweet enough already and hard enough to eat without making them sticky and gooey. If I had to choose one or the other, I'd go caramel without nuts.
3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them? This is interesting because I usually get pumpkins every year and we put them out on the porch just as decoration until we get around to carving them. However, we've discovered that squirrels love to snack on them! We just bought our first house and moved in about a month ago, and both pumpkins that we bought have little teeth marks and flesh scraped off around the tops. We had a similar incident at our previous home, but growing up I never had a problem! I guess we won't be making jack o' lanterns this year, although we may still scrape out the seeds and toast them - yummy!
4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures. Since we're still settling into the new house, we haven't really taken the time to decorate much this year. We have our pumpkins out on the porch and one lawn decoration that was easy to put out without too much planning or time. Eventually, I want to go all out like my mom used to do and I'm excited that I have a house where I can do that finally!! It means there's going to be shopping in the near future (after the actual day when they put everything on sale, I'll stock up for next year).
5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality? I don't think I actually pretend to be someone different, but I like to dress up and it makes me feel different. For example, a couple of time in the last few years I've dressed up as a nun (which goes over great in seminary!). It somehow makes me feel connected to my Catholic roots and is fun to be in a costume, but I don't really change my behavior. I've never been a very good actress (lots of people from high school can attest to that) but always love the costumes!
Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones. I'll have to post this later when I get home, but my recipe will be for Apple Pudding. It's not like a tapioca, milk based kind of pudding, and it's not really like a bread pudding, but something in between. It's basically apples, flour, sugar and butter with a little bit of spices. It's super easy and a BIG favorite in our little family. One year I made it often enough that Trouble's uniform didn't fit after she had the holidays off from work. Moderation is the key! I haven't even thought of making it yet this year, but the weather is definitely telling me that it's time - yummy!