Monday, November 1, 2010

First Halloween!

We had lots of fun celebrating Alice's first Halloween over the weekend, complete with  some of my favorite traditions. I love traditions, especially ones unique to your family, and especially ones associated with a holiday. For me, traditions are what define the holidays and how they feel. It's what I look forward to all year, and my celebrations just don't feel right or complete if all my favorite traditional pieces aren't there. 

We kicked off our celebration on Friday when Jon and Alice visited my office during our Halloween festivities. When I was trying to decide on Alice's first costume, I figured she should probably give a shout out to the Hundred Acre Wood. Unfortunately, all the real Disney Winnie The Pooh costumes are for 12 months and up and 6-12 month clothes are still pretty big on my skinny minnie. When I found this little kangaroo costume, I thought it would be perfect Kanga & Roo costume, and I just knew that Jon and I would have to dress up to match. 

A little Kanga & Roo
I sewed a little blue shirt for Kanga's little Roo puppet, and we found the perfect pieces to turn ourselves into Christopher Robin and Piglet. And of course, Balloon had to tag along! 

On Halloween, we started the day with pumpkin bread and Trader Joe's gingerbread coffee and then headed up to Santa Clarita to check out the Lombardi Ranch pumpkin patch. With TONS of pumpkins, a maize maze, Scarecrow Alley in the middle of a sunflower field, a hayride, live music, petting zoo, hay bales, and sno cones, it was well worth the drive. Although I missed tromping around in the furrows of an actual patch, it was a convincing approximation and highly preferable to getting a pumpkin from the grocery store or parking lot "patch." Alice checked it all out and I think she approved of everything except sitting amongst the pumpkins with her bare toes touching the dirt and hay floor. She was much happier to sit on dad's lap for the obligatory photo with softly out-of-focus pumpkins in the background...

After we got home, I scrambled around in the kitchen to roast my very first butternut squash (for a new recipe I'm trying out for lunch this week - I'm excited and nervous to taste it today, I hope it's delicious enough to blog about!), cook dinner, and carve a pumpkin. Growing up, part of our family's Halloween tradition was to have mac & cheese for dinner before trick-or-treating. I think this became a tradition by accident when my mom tried to fix a quick dinner that we would actually sit down and eat in all the chaos of costuming and anticipation of candy. The next year I probably said, "but we ALWAYS have mac & cheese on Halloween!" Sadly, I could not make mac & cheese this year, since Alice has me on a completely dairy-free diet, so we decided on jambalaya instead. While it's not quite as quick and easy as mac & cheese, it's perfect for the weather and seems like a great way to fill little bellies before they eat themselves into a sugar coma. I followed this recipe, more or less, and it was a great first effort. I can see this dish becoming a new tradition in our house, kicking off the fall/winter holidays at Halloween, and then closing them out at New Year's.

dress in style and go hog wild, me oh my oh...
After dinner, we settled in to watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," and hand out candy to the paltry few trick-or-treaters on our street. Although I would have liked to see more little boys and ghouls, we were able to shut off the porchlight without hordes of candy-crazed kids knocking down our doors. In fact, we were able to go to bed at 8:30 as per usual without hearing any more little feet on our street, which helped alleviate my guilt at having a half-full bowl of candy in the house... All-in-all, it was a great holiday, just the way I like it, and I can't wait to continue the traditions next year!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

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