Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Halloween 2020: The Global Pandemic/Pre-Presidential Election Edition

 The kids didn't even make costumes this year, and it's nevertheless our scariest Halloween yet!

This afternoon, as I drove by the Planned Parenthood with my arm out the window flipping off the abortion protestors, some guy yelled at me, "Trump is still #1! You have a nice day, Ma'am!" 

I don't totally know what to do with that. Like, my side of the conversation was very much a non-verbal, "I don't like how you want to strip away my body autonomy," and his was all, "I love stripping away your body autonomy! Also I love racist, homophobic, nepotistic sex criminal tax evaders! But at least I'm not going to call you a bitch!"

I guess he's not spending his evenings low-key planning the overland route he'll take with his daughters to Canada while evading the hunter squads that want to traffic them into government-mandated reproductive slavery because an "originalist" version of the Constitution basically has women listed as property...

Or how about another sign I saw, held by a woman protesting... a reasonable response to a global pandemic, I guess?... that proclaimed that she chose not to live in fear.


I, myself, am pretty busy living in all the fear over here, but in my free time I've been working my butt off trying to give my teenagers some magical memories of their second-favorite holiday even though they can't do any of their favorite things:

Such as trick-or-treating.

Trick-or-treating with friends.

Trick-or-treating from the local fraternities and sororities.

Trick-or-treating at the nearby state park.

Trick-or-treating in our favorite neighborhood with all the epic decorations.

There's already so little time left for them to enjoy the kid-version of Halloween, and now they've lost one more year.

I'm trying to make it up to them with at-home versions of sugar. Every Halloween treat they've ever wanted to try making? We have made it this month.

Check out our caramel apples that almost worked!

I'm a little bummed because I am all the time bragging how Serious Eats never does me wrong and their recipes always work for me and they're impossible for me to mess up, and yet this Serious Eats caramel apple recipe did NOT teach me how to successfully make caramel apples:

We used the candy thermometer and everything, and yet all the toppings and most of the caramel ended up slumping off of our apples. Fortunately, we're not a very fastidious people so we just spooned it all back on and ate them anyway:

They were delicious!

Will's Halloween foodie dream wasn't particularly spooky, but it was something that I know she's long wanted to do with the apples that we get from our local orchard:

Made-from-scratch apple pie, homemade pie crust and all!

I don't particularly like pie--I mean, I guess I technically like anything that has that much sugar in it, but I could tell you off the top of my head probably forty sweet treats I'd rather have--but even I thought that this pie was astoundingly tasty. And clearly the rest of the family agreed!

I kind of want to try hand pies next, but after making our traditional apple cake and several pints of applesauce, we're almost out of apples!

Here's another new recipe that we tried this year:

The kids are exceedingly fond of cinnamon rolls, and cinnamon rolls in the shape of bloody guts did not gross them out at all:

If anything, I think that baking them like this made them even more soft and tender, and the cranberry chutney that I mixed into the cream cheese frosting added not just those disgusting blobs the exact color of clotted blood, but also a lovely tang!

Here's one food tradition that I gave up on this year:

Yep, everybody's carving pumpkins and I'm not forcing any of them to save me the seeds in a separate bowl for roasting. I'm the only one who ever eats them until I start sneaking them into everyone else's food a few weeks later, but I just cleaned out the pantry and found a ton of nuts, so I've got enough going on sneaking nuts into everyone's food for the foreseeable future without adding a bunch of pumpkin seeds to the mix.

Will's pumpkin turned out adorable, but Syd's is inexplicably terrifying this year. It watches me through the family room window, and every day its smile collapses a little more into a grimace of pained loathing.

This is also only food-adjacent, but Will and I are smack in the middle of making ourselves a whole apothecary of spooky potion bottles:

I've only got a few finished out of the ton that we have planned, but they're seriously awesome and the best way to use up old bottles!

Okay, back to the food!

Every year, Matt's mummy meatloaf is more terrifying than the year before. This year, the kids specifically protested the pecan rotten teeth--see why I have to sneak nuts into their diet?--but I thought it was brilliant. That's a dozen fewer pecan halves that I'm going to have to grind up, stir into muffins, and then insist that I didn't!

We've got scary movies planned for every night this week (along with binging Supernatural, because my other hobby is attempting to get the kids hooked on my favorite weird TV shows so I have someone to watch them with), and on Saturday after dark, I'm going to lock the kids in their room and then hide candy all over the house. I'll turn off all the lights, give them each a flashlight, and release them to hunt for their Halloween candy.

At least the evening sugar high will be the same as every year!

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