Hi all

I can’t believe it’s that time of year already when the smallies are begging us to take out the halloween decorations (well mine are anyways).  I have always been a bit on the squeamish side coming from a family of girls so all the grizzly halloween decorations out there don’t really do it for me.  Now, as I am Mum to 2 small boys, I know it won’t be long until I will have Halloween tombstones and ghoulish creatures popping out from every crevice for Halloween but until then, I am going to keep it a bit more rustic and inviting.  There are a multitude of ways you can give you home the non-creepy halloween feeling so I will just touch on a few.

Pumpkins

I love pumpkins and don’t think anything quite spells Halloween as much.  They have that lovely autumn colour and harvest feel.

           

As in the above images, pumpkins can have funny faces or words cut out on them.  You can also place them on steps, window sills or on the ground and the more the merrier!!  They can also  just be lined up on your outdoor bench with a cartoon witch or vampire for a lovely halloween feel.               

       

The other way to use pumpkins is as a traditional jack o lantern.  An old Irish tradition, the humble pumpkin symbolisees the need for protection at Halloween and when placed in windows they are suppost to ward off evil spirits.    Here’s how to make your Jack O Lantern:

                 

You Will Need

  • A sturdy spoon
  • A black permanent marker
  • A small sharp knife and a larger serrated knife (supervise children at all times)
  • A large bowl

What You Do Next

  • Wash your pumpkin
  • Cut a circle around the stalk at the top, removing ‘the lid’
  • Scrape out the pumpkin flesh and seeds inside, transferring it to the bowl.  Cover and store in the fridge until later.  Leave about a half inch in thickness in the pumpkin wall
  • Draw a face directly onto your pumpkin using the marker.
  • Use a sharap knife to cut out the stencilled pieces.
  • Insert a tealight into the pumpkin after dark and you have your Jack O Lantern (Keep and eye on it though as it can pose a fire hazard)

The beauty of this is that you will have pumpkin left over to make lovely pumpkin and bacon soup:

Your Will Need:

For Soup

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 600 g of chopped pumpkin
  • 200g smoked bacon diced
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 pints basic vegetable stock (cube is fine)
  • salt & pepper

For Bacon Croutons

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 rashers of smoked bacon
  • 55g day-old bread, crusts removed

How You Make It:

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onions and cook over a low heat, stirring occassionally for 5 mins until softened
  • Add the pumpkin, bacon and nutmet, stir well, then cover and simmer, stirring occassionally for 5-8 mins
  • Pour in the stock, increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 mins
  • Make the bacon croutons.  Heat the oil in a frying pan.  Add the bacon and fry for 4-6 mins on each side, until crisp and it has released all its fat.  Meanwhile, cut the bread into 1-cm/1/2-inch squares.  Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.  Add the bread squares and cook, turning and tossing until golden brown all over.  Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly.  Blend the soup in a blender or with a hand held blender.  Return to pan, season and reheat.
  • Serve sprinkled with croutons and crumbled bacon.

Some Other Halloween Ideas:

Halloween Tree:  We all have a Christmas Tree so why not a Halloween Tree.  I think this is a lovely idea.  Just bundle some sticks together and secure with some wire into an urn or heavy vase and then decorate however you like.  The kids will love this one too and it’s a great home for their many decorations made at home and at school.

Sheet Ghosts:  These are really easy to make and not too scarey!!  Get some old white bed sheets and some cloth or cotton stuffing.  Bunch up the cloth or cotton and gather in the centre of the sheet.  Tie a string around the bottom of the bunched up material for the ghosts head.  Draw or stick on a face and hang from your porch or a tree.

BOO Garland:  Garlands with BOO written on them can look really nice across doorways or pictures and is more funny than scary.

Halloween Table:  Keep your table decor in tune with the Halloween colour scheme and use plenty of pumpkins also if entertaining.  I think the below image is lovely with pumpkins running down the centre.  Some of them have been cut out to hold candles.  The table runner is perfectly in season also.  If it was my halloween table, I would probably sprinkle a few plastic spiders on the runner also just to add to the theme:

I could write all day about Halloween decor as there is so much choice out there.  I hope I have given you some small bit of ‘friendly’ Halloween inspiration.  We’d love to hear if you have any ideas to add.

Until next time & Happy Halloween

Olive:-)

www.thehomebarn.ie

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