A Giddy Halloween: 2015

Happy Halloween everybody!

Now, I’m not dressing up this year because a) grad school and deciding to not have a job this semester = not that much time or money to make a costume, b) Halloween falling on a Saturday didn’t give me much of an incentive since I don’t get to wear it all day at school and c) this guy:

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This is my first wee nephew! He was born on Oct 21st, 2015 at 6:21 p.m., and thus will remain known as McFly for the rest of his life. But yeah, his due date was Oct. 29th so I didn’t plan much in case he was born then or on Halloween.

NEXT YEAR, however, I plan on throwing a Halloween party at my last semester (I’ve decided to do my MA in 1 1/2 years instead of 1 year, I’ll explain later) and the best Halloween costume ever, especially since I’ve been skimping the last couple of years and literally just throwing something together.

Luckily, I was able to celebrate Halloween a little early with the kids I babysit with the gingerbread graveyard. What is the gingerbread graveyard? Three years ago I found a coffin cookie cutter and for a Halloween craft I made little gingerbread coffins for them to decorate. The following year, I got a cake board, grave stone molds, and a lot more candy to make a gingerbread graveyard. THIS year, since I would be 400 miles away at school, we wouldn’t be able to continue the tradition as usual.

So, taking inspiration from the Gravity Falls‘ episode “Summerween,” I decided to have Summerween with the kids! First, I had them make Jack-o-melons (their first Jack-o-lanterns):

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And then we did more than just a gingerbread graveyard, we did a GINGERBREAD HAUNTED HOUSE!

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Let me tell you how…fun…it was getting Halloween stuff in early August. Thankfully I still have the headstone and skeleton chocolate molds, as well as leftover Halloween sprinkles from last year. Candy corn is available year round, as well as gummy worms, Reese’s pieces, and black licorice. I went to Party City and picked up electric green suckers and candy sticks, and orange and black gum balls.  The old dirt is made from ground up graham crackers, while the new dirt is made from ground up chocolate Teddy grahams.

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Now I don’t have a gingerbread house cutter (which I’m going to buy next time I’m at Michaels, since the Christmas stuff should be out), so I basically eye-balled it when I cut out the house pieces. I filled any gaps with icing and candy. Next time I’ll try to remember the technique of refrigerating the cut cookie dough before baking it to keep it from getting too puffy.

I wish I marked down which royal icing recipe I used, but there’s a bunch on the internet, and the good stuff is the stuff with egg whites in it. I also added some cocoa powder to the mix before adding black food coloring to make it look a nice deep black.

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There were two things I needed but were unavailable to me: ghost peeps and candy Jack-o-Lanterns. Since the kids loved these so much, I decided to make my own. The pumpkins are made with Jack-o-lantern chocolate molds, but I was in a bit of a hurry and they didn’t come out as nicely as I wanted. A much bigger hit were the marshmallow ghosts. I used a marshmallow recipe from my Miette cookbook and cut out ghosts with a ghost cookie cutter. Even though they tasted good, they were a bit too floppy, so I’m going to give Alton Brown’s recipe a try to see if it’s a bit firmer.

Anyway, I’ll be baking cookies and cake and doing homework today, so I hope all of you have a happy Halloween!

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