I haven't been able to keep up nearly well enough on the news as I would like due to a rolling series of illnesses that have been tumbling through my household. Cold and flu season is upon us! And so is the Halloween season. This will hopefully mean that I will have more Halloween-related pictures for next week's newsletter, which falls directly on the holiday. But in the meantime, we have the Pre-Halloween Newsletter Extravaganza! PHNE..? This will include some tips, recipes, entertainment, and history on All Hallow's Eve!

Here are some Halloween tips to keep in mind!

# Carry a flashlight
# Walk, don't run.
# Stay on Sidewalks
# Obey traffic signals
# Stay in familiar neighborhoods
# Don't cut across yards or driveways.
# Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
# Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground.
# Shoes should fit (even if they don't go with your costume)
# Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house.
# Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props.
# (If no sidewalk) walk on the left side of the road facing traffic
# Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
# Approach only houses that are lit.
# Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know.
# Make your child eat dinner before setting out.
# Children should carry quarters so they can call home.
# Ideally, young children of any age should be accompanied by an adult.
# If your children go on their own, be sure they wear a watch, preferably one that can be read in the dark.
# If you buy a costume, look for one made of flame-retardant material.
# Older children should know where to reach you and when to be home.
# You should know where they're going.
# Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring the candy home to be inspected before consuming anything.
# Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks suspect.

# Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip the young ones.
# Pets get frightened on Halloween. Put them up to protect them from cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.
# Battery powered jack o'lantern candles are preferable to a real flame.
# If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing.
# Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won't be blown into a flaming candle.
# Healthy food alternatives for trick-or-treaters include packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be microwaved later.
# Non-food treats: plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, coins.

And of course, remember to secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) somewhere discreet on your Halloween attire in case there is any need of it!


Here as well is something for those of you who are carving pumpkins this season; it's a recipe for a delicious Halloween treat: PUMPKIN SEEDS!


    * Pumpkin seeds
    * Cooking spray, olive oil, or butter
    * Optional: Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, or other seasoning of choice

Rinse pumpkin seeds. Use your fingers to remove all the pulp. Drain pumpkin seeds and discard pulp. Spread out on paper towels on a cookie sheet to dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 F.

Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, butter, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.

Bake about 1 hour, tossing every 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool pumpkin seeds before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 months or refrigerate up to 1 year.

If you like your toasted pumpkin seeds extra-salty, soak overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt to 2 cups of water. Dry an additional day, then proceed as above.

You can also make these cinnamon and sugar style for those of you who have a sweet tooth.



* For those of you who are looking for costume ideas to make at home, click here! It has a lot of good ideas for cheap and easy costumes that you can make at home. It even has suggestions for homemade makeup!

* And for those of you who are looking for recipes for healthy Halloween treat alternatives to giving out wads of sugar wrapped in sugar surrounded with a layer of PERHAPS MORE SUGAR, click here! You should also know I enjoy my wads of sugar wrapped in sugar surrounded with a layer of perhaps more sugar, though...

* If you're looking for some entertainment to get into the Halloween spirit, check out some of the specials listed here! There are lots of classics listed on here that I've been watching since I was just a little girl. I remember being very, very afraid of the ghosts on the Garfield special, and feeling so bad for Charlie Brown always getting the rock. I would also heavily reccomend seeing Hocus Pocus.  


To read up on the history of Halloween all around the world and learn the origins of many of the rituals of the holiday, read up on its Wikipedia entry here. You'll probably find that its history is far more complicated than you might have believed before!


If you want to have even more fun with this information, I would reccomend sharing it with your children. See if they can draw the modern-day practices that come from the old timey things, learn a few new names for the same holiday, and understand how other cultures practice it better. For some, Halloween is after all not just an exuse to act as a dispensory of sweet things, but a time where the spirits of those who have passed are given honor and solemn recognition. It was also a time where the bounty of a harvest was exuberantly celebrated by the people whose lives literally depended upon it. It's a special time with religious significance, and signifies another piece of that cycle which has kept the Earth and all the people who live on it alive for countless millions of years.

So make sure to give proper thought to this question: Did whomever named the orange then come across a pumpkin and then regret their choice? I know this was used with the carrot, but it seems equally applicable to pumpkins as  well:


I mean, come on. They're really orange!


See you all next week for the Actually On Halloween Edition!