October is my favorite month of the year. I just love the brisk cool of fall, how the shadows get deeper and the sunlight and the leaves turn gold. The spooky sound of a blustery breeze blowing through corn stalks thrills me. I love October so much that I am becoming cheesily poetic only three sentences in to this essay. And I do realize “cheesily” is not a word.
I had high hopes that every day in October I would offer a uniquely fall How-To or at least offer a unique piece of fall lore or information. How to make drawing ink out of black walnuts. How to make a haunted gingerbread house. Dissect a hedgeapple and share more stories and history about those weird osage oranges.
Pickle some yard-long beans to look like spooky, pickled snakes (or worms). Hunt for paw paws and then see what they taste like (I’ve heard a cross between a banana and a mango!). Actually prepare something with the pounds of persimmons falling from trees in our yard. Hunt for other native Missouri fruits ripe this time of year. I’ve barely scratched the surface of October and it is already the 10th! I thought that to collect myself and get in, the proverbial, game of October glory (and Halloween), I would look back on the past few years’ October tricks and treats.
I made this costume for the Spy when he was two. He also wore it when he was three.
You might think that I like Halloween so much, surely the kids would need new costumes every year? Not so! I love the tradition of using our homemade Halloween costumes more than once. For two reasons: 1. Homemade costumes take a long time to make and 2. I am incredibly cheap. HAhahah just, uh, kidding. It’s because it is a fun tradition! How many uses can we get out of the pumpkin? The skeleton? We love pulling the costumes out of the bin with the spooky decorations. And when they are too small to be worn, I think I will hang them up and use them as decoration! Especially this masterpiece:
There may be slight modifications. Maybe a little pink heart?
A bow and eyelashes were added to the pumpkin last year:
I am not really into giving step-by-step instructions and prefer to make my “how-to’s” sort of vague and encourage readers to just make it up as you go along. Because that’s what I do. And because writing clear, concise, step-by-step instructions is about as fun as, well…something really boring. So basically the pumpkin is just some orange fabric circles with an old towel sewed in between the layers (toastier and sturdier!) and then black fabric sewed on for the face. The skeleton is a black sweatshirt and sweatpants with an anatomically correct skeleton painted on it in white acrylic paint (I used a picture from an anatomy book as an example).
For the Spy, he wears my husband’s old Marine Corps gear (this year he’s adding a scary mask and will be a “Zombie Marine”):
Though I didn’t use a stencil for the leaves, I did use real squash leaves from the garden as the inspiration!
So this year’s pictures of the kids in their garb are going to look A LOT like last year’s. But that is sort of what traditions are all about! Here’s a few more tricks and treats:
To make a decal like this for a cake I just make royal icing, pipe the shape onto a piece of parchment, let it dry then peel it off and slap it on the top of the cake. Well I don’t really slap it but you know what I mean. Royal icing dries rock-hard. It’s pretty tough.
And a garden blast from the past: