The Denver Zoo really knows how to decorate for Halloween! When we visited in early October, there were many displays of animals and dinosaurs made out of pumpkins scattered throughout the zoo. This was my favorite of the pumpkin displays.
Here’s a brief summary of the Halloween party we had last year, for a crowd of mostly three-year-olds (with a few older and younger siblings joining as well). We had a number of activities for the kids set up around the house:
- drawing and Halloween stickers
- silly monster craft (see below)
- stick the nose on the monster game (see below)
- spider web game
- monster bowling
And for fun, yet relatively healthy, party snacks we had:
- pumpkin mini muffins
- orange and black fruit (cantaloupe and blackberries)
- cheese slices cut into pumpkin and ghost shapes (see below)
- apple cider
I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with pumpkin pie over the years, but after making this recipe, we’re definitely on again.
The recipe is for “crustless” pumpkin pie, but I used a store-bought gluten-free crust with it and it still worked out great. One important note about the recipe: you are supposed to chill the pie in the fridge for six hours to “set,” so plan your time accordingly!
The internet seems to be full of people hosting over-the-top Pinterest-perfect Halloween parties for their kiddos. I just don’t have that kind of time or motivation, but we hosted a lovely little party for a bunch of two-year-olds just the same. Here’s how it went down.
We scheduled the party for mid-morning since toddlers are generally least prone to melt-downs at that time of day. We also roll with a pretty healthy-eating group of families (and I didn’t want a house full of sugared up toddlers), so we kept the party food Halloween-appropriate yet simple and healthyish. I made pumpkin mini muffins, orange and black fruit (cantaloupe chunks and blackberries), and ghost toast!
The ghost toast was just bread cut into ghost shapes with my trusty ghost-shaped cookie cutter, topped with cream cheese and flax seeds for the eyes and mouths.
For drinks we had apple cider and water.
The kids weren’t old enough for complicated games and activities, so we spread out paper, Halloween stickers, crayons, and some Halloween pictures to color on a coffee table. At another table we set up a foam pumpkin decorating area.
And perhaps the most fun activity was provided by Mother Nature – a sunny day and leaf piles to play in!
This yummy gingerbread from the recipe in the first BabyCakes cookbook contains my favorite secret ingredient: pumpkin (also featured in my favorite brownie recipe)! I also love the cookbook’s suggestion to throw in some flax meal to covertly add more nutrition to this tasty snack.
These brownies are super fudgy and yummy, plus they include a nutritional bonus of a fair bit of vitamin A thanks to the pumpkin in them!
I use Chocolate-Covered Katie’s recipe, but I double the recipe to fill an 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ pan. To make them gluten-free, I use oat flour. I use a little less sugar and chocolate chips than suggested in the recipe, and swap the volumes of oil and almond milk to reduce the fat just a bit. Deliciousness!
For Veggie Thanksgiving (Canadian edition), I made these pumpkin spice mini cupcakes based on the BabyCakes recipe. I made half of the batch pumpkin spice cake with vanilla frosting and the other half was chocolate chip pumpkin spice cake with chocolate frosting*. Everyone loved them, and I thought the candy garnishes were pretty cute, although the candy corn wasn’t vegan (no gelatin, but they contain egg whites).
Also, we had so much amazing food at Veggie Thanksgiving! Jeff made an unturkey stew, I made curried mashed sweet potatoes, and our wonderful guests brought stuffing, zucchini ratatouille, chickpea curry with quinoa, perogies (spinach and cheese), curried cauliflower, homemade cranberry sauce*, and ginger cake. It was fantastic!
*Later, I made a batch of pumpkin spice muffins filled with the leftover cranberry sauce! This is a delightful flavor combination, if I do say so myself.
Pumpkin cornbread muffins are one of my fall favorites (remember when I made them last year and gobbled them up before I could take a picture?). And now they can be gluten-free as well as vegan!
- 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
I’m not the kind of girl who buys a lot of stuff. I may go on the occasional imaginary shopping spree, but I don’t actually buy much in real life. I’ve even mostly kicked my shoe-buying habit (lousy pun intended), but replaced it with a new vice: tea.
Although I clearly have enough tea to keep me and all of my guests going for some time, over the last couple of weeks I’ve let my guard down and started buying more tea. I bought this ice wine tea at the Peggy’s Cove gift shop. It’s not bad, but it really smells like wine and that kind of weirds me out.
And then on a sunny lunch break I stopped by World Tea House, a lovely tea house in downtown Halifax, and was suddenly moved to by autumn-ish teas:
Pumpkin spice and caramel apple…they each taste like the most delightful aspects of fall in a cup. Maybe someday I will combine the two for a super duper fall taste tea experience.