Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love it all – the brisk breeze in the wind, all of the little ones dressed in their favorite characters with little eager faces waiting for candy and even the occasional haunted house visit. I know that there is often controversy with regard to Halloween but I refuse to feed into the frenzy. Halloween to me is about candy, sweet treats, trick or treating, chili, cornbread and smiles on all my grandbabies’ faces.
When my children were small, we always made a big deal of Halloween. We would pay a visit to their grandparent’s house, dress in our fun costumes and hit the road to gather as much candy as possible. Upon our return to the house, there would always be a big pot of chili and cornbread to be devoured by the cold and happy trick or treaters.
Now that my children have grown, we all try to continue to carry on our family traditions for my grandchildren. Costumes are the main source of topic a few months ahead and the theme of the costumes will change several times before a costume selection is made.
The main difference between then and now is the business of our schedules. My daughters own a company, Greenhouse Picker Sisters, specializing in rentals for weddings. I started working for the company about 4 years ago and I have learned very quickly that October is one of the busiest months in the wedding industry. Who knew that so many people wanted to get married in the fall.
Several years ago, my daughter Holly started hosting a Halloween bakeoff for the children. When I say bakeoff, I really mean decorating contest. With the amount of events in October there is very little time to eat dinner so baking is definitely not on the agenda.
To keep things simple, Holly ordered cupcakes from Food Lion (yawl Food Lion cupcakes are so good and cheap) with plain white icing, orange icing and some with no icing. She then proceeded to purchase every sprinkle, candy eyeball, gummies, bats, bones, ghosts, fangs, and candy corn that she could find from Amazon, Michaels, Target and Hobby Lobby. Next she purchased premade icings (so I hate the taste of premade icings but the kids could care less) in so many fun colors – orange, black, green, purple and white. She also purchased plain cookies in Halloween designs. With all her purchases she was able to come up with a small village of options for cupcake decorating.
With all her children and their friends in place around a perfectly decorated table the kids set off on their quest to decorate the perfect cupcake. She came up with several rounds with different themes – Fall Fun, Creepy Crawler, Scariest and Graveyard. She purchased small prizes for the winner of each round. We also purchased pizzas to feed the hungry decorators.
It was so fun to see how each child immersed themselves in full decorating mode. You would have thought that they were competing for a million dollars. Of course a huge amount of gummies, sprinkles, and icing were consumed in the decorating process but that was part of the fun.
The children love their “Bake Off” and really look forward to it each year. One thing I have learned from children is that it is not important to them how fancy things are. They don’t spend hours on Pinterest or social media in a frenzy to see if they can meet the standards of perfection. They just remember the fun, the messy process, the sugar consumption and the prizes at the end. Yes it is messy and yes there is a huge amount of sugar consumed and yes sometimes it is not always convenient but the memories that are made and the pictures that are taken will last a lifetime. I love that both of my daughters love to carry on family traditions with their children.
If you are looking for a easy fun event for your children, go to your local supermarket and purchase those prebaked cupcakes and cookies. Buy the premade icing and an abundance of sprinkles. Spread it out on a table and let the kids go at it. It does not have to be extreme and it does not have to be perfect. It just has to be fun. Isn’t that what we are all after a little fun in our lives? I know I am and the smiles on the little faces is all worth the effort and the mess.