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I love magic – childhood magic is my favourite kind.  The not-quite-sure if it’s real or not, tingly feeling of awakening on Christmas morning to a sack with your name on, especially sent to you from the North Pole; or the wonder of finding a pastel hued Easter egg secreted away in the dewy fresh blades of grass in the back garden on Easter Sunday morning, realising the Easter Bunny had been hopping around the garden.
 You see, my parents made so much magic for me and my sister that when I became a mommy at the age of 34, I was almost fit to bursting with ideas for my own family.  So many ideas in fact, that there are more of them than there are hours in each holiday to celebrate – and my husband is often at his wits’ end will testify to that.
Christmas, Easter, Hallowe’en – I’d stored them up, written them in brown papered idea books – and then came Pinterest, which exploded my lists and scrapbooks.  
And now it’s October.  Every Hallowe’en we continue building our family traditions – and with each year that passes, they’re a little more fine tuned for simplicity’s sake, and a little less stressful.  I’m learning to let go of Pinterest perfection [although I’m pinning the cupcakes we made here today onto my board!].   

For our family, there are a few essential components to good Hallowe’en celebrations – the pumpkin patch, dressing up for the neighbourhood trick or treating, our pumpkin carving light parade…and the boys’ favourite part, the Hallowe’en tea party at home.  
This week we’ve had a pre-Hallowe’en tea party and made trick or treat cupcakes with Mars products!  If you need the recipe it’s really simple, but here’s quick rundown of what we did…
After heading out to our local hypermarket, we bought mini Mars Bars [for our chocobats later], Maltesers [spider eggs] Galaxy [chocolate chunks] and spooky M & Ms.  When we got home, we rolled up our sleeves and got busy in the kitchen!
  • We used our muffin recipe and added chopped Mars’ Galaxy chocolate chunks into the mixture, baked in the muffin tin.  You will need pretty big cakes for the trick or treat part so we made big muffin-cupcakes.
  • Once they are cooled, carve the centre from the cake on an angle so that a cone shaped piece is removed.
  • Chop the top from the cone piece as you’ll need this. Eat the bit you chopped off.
  • Inside the hole you’ve created either place sweets – we used spooky M & Ms – or a sparkly spider.  We also coated some Maltesers in edible glitter as treasure for the spiders to protect.  
  • Place the top on and ice as usual.  We made a lemon buttercream as it tasted better in green and purple we decided!
  • Hand out to guests and see whether they are holding a trick, or a treat!
According to Jensen, zombies often get confused and eat the topper first which is why they like brains better than cupcakes.  Makes sense I suppose.
If you’re new to celebrating at Hallowe’en, here are our top thirteen [for spookiness] Hallowe’en traditions:
Growing our own pumpkins.  This is much easier than you think.  Pumpkins are crazy, they go everywhere before you know it.  The hard part is protecting them from snails and slugs.  We have managed two big pumpkins this year – and improvement on last year’s one solitary little friend.
Visiting the pumpkin patch.  I will drag my husband out to Surrey to visit the patch where the boys ride the zipwire, pick pumpkin each and eat cake from the farm shop.  It’s an annual photograph taking mission and with three boys it’s getting near on impossible, but still I’ll endeavour to succeed/annoy my children.
Carving the pumpkins.  This takes plenty of gusto because hollowing out five pumpkins takes quite a bit of muscle.  The designs are always very sweet though and I may have a signature look now I fear of a winking pumpkin.  Daddy’s pumpkins are always impressive though.
Planning our costumes.  Every year we plan, every year they change their mind or we run out of time and are on Amazon the day before.  Not this year though. This year I was prepared.  
Buying sweets to hand out to neighbours and bagging them up.  The boys love handing out sweets to other trick or treaters and bagging up little 10p sweet packets makes for a busy and quiet hour in front of the tv with them as they concentrate on counting ten sweeties per bag.
Wearing new skeleton pyjamas.  Each year we manage to get new designs from the USA and we love them.
Lighting the lanterns on our doorstep.  The lights go into the pumpkins and we spend half an hour on the doorstep and in the porch trying to get everyone to lean into the glow so we have spooky pictures.
Hallowe’en Tea Party.  We make little chocolatey treats like these cupcake muffins and pumpkin shaped sandwiches, make some chocobats and enjoy a little pumpkin party.  We discovered using mini Mars bars was even more delicious this year – particularly as they are committed to improving the quality of chocolate for us!
Bat Prints – or pumpkin bottom prints.  We try and do these every year.  The bat prints are best done outside [think black paint in your house]. Seeing our little ones’ hands [or bottoms if they had their way] grow year on year makes me teary.
Hallowe’en Baskets – filled with crafts and bits and pieces like googly eyes and pumpkin lights, they make a welcome diversion from all of the sweets and chocolate.
Reading “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” and watching Spookily the Square Pumpkin.  We have other Autumnal books and films, but we save these two for Hallowe’en especially.
Pumpkin flavoured foods.  Pumpkin spiced warm milk, pumpkins spiced pancakes, french toast…you name it, we spice it.  
Only for the grown ups – a scary movie and the Jiffy Pop popcorn from Scream.  We order it off the internet and watch something that will haunt and terrify me for weeks.
Happy Hallowe’en!  We’d love to hear about your traditions, too!

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  1. Oh, I love that there is a surprise inside! What a fun treat! And thanks for the reminder… time is ticking if we want to make it to the pumpkin patch! Hoping to go this week.

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