Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dressing Up Your Pets For Halloween

If you’re like most people, you enjoy dressing your children up in costumes for Halloween. When you discover that there are pet costumes available, it makes this time even more enjoyable.

There are so many different pet costumes that it’s easy to dress the family dog to match or complement your child’s costume. For example, your son can be dressed up like a cowboy, and so can the pet. If you want to make it really cute, though, dress the dog up like the cowboy and the kid up like the horse the cowboy rode in on. If you have a small or medium-sized dog, this will be hilarious!

Is your child going as a pirate? Then, dress the dog up like one, too. Capt. Hook and Smee — the two main pirate characters in the movie “Peter Pan” — is a good idea. The pet costume for Smee is very simple — a red stocking cap, light blue-green and white striped shirt and pants to match. All of these can be purchased or made in your dog’s size so that he will not trip or be hindered by them.

When your little cowboys or pirates (human and canine) set out to trick-or-treat, don’t be surprised if they bring home a double batch of goodies. Caution your child, though, to make sure he doesn’t share his candy with his pet, as chocolate and other types of candy are dangerous for dogs. You’ll be along anyway, so you can make sure everyone is safe.



For safety’s sake, however, it’s best to have the child and pet to wait until they are back home before enjoying their goodies. This way, you can inspect the candy closely while the dog is occupied enjoying his regular treats and a good drink of water after his night of trick-or-treating.





Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween is around the corner ....




    Halloween is around the corner, which means it's time to find the perfect costume. Don't fall short on creativity this year and be like all the other ghosts, goblins and witches on the block. Highlight your unique personality, and be the hit of the night by personalizing your costume.



* Don't forget the "we" in Halloween: Whether you're looking for a couple's costume, dressing up as the cast of "True Blood" with your friends, or doing your own thing, it can be helpful to get feedback on your ideas.
One easy way to do this is to use Bing Shopping, as it allows you to share shopping lists with friends via email and Facebook to get their advice, all within a couple of clicks. Not only will your friends help you pick the right outfit, but you'll feel confident you're one of the best dressed for this ghoulish day.

* Think outside the coffin: Nobody wants to show up as the fourth witch at a party, so get into the spooky spirit of things and explore options that are outside the norm. To start, look around your house for creative inspirations and accessories. You never know if your next idea comes from something you see in your fridge or junk drawer. Also, consider creating a mash-up Halloween costume that combines two ordinary ideas into one extraordinary masterpiece. Think "Werezombie," or perhaps "Ronald McDonald Trump" - a painted clown face with a dark suit and an impressive comb-over. The beauty of dressing up is that the possibilities are endless and there's no such thing as being too creative.

* Don't be "tricked" into spending tons of money. Instead, "treat" yourself to the best deals in town. To find unique costumes and accessories, check out local discount stores, The Salvation Army and thrift stores. Also, try to find new materials by going to garage sales in your neighborhood. Not only will you protect the cash in your cauldron, you'll be more likely to find materials and accessories that others won't have. Halloween is the perfect time to prove how someone else's trash can become your terrifyingly terrific treasure.



* Think it through: While customization is important, it's never fun to go to a party with an uncomfortable costume that you have to change out of after an hour. Sky-high stilettos might look great with your Marilyn Monroe get-up, but will leave you with aching arches that'll scare you more than that haunted party you're attending. Make sure you think about how your entire costume - including shoes and makeup - will fit and feel at the events you plan to attend. If you know you're going to be in a cold location, going as Tarzan in a loin cloth is probably not the best idea.

* Start planning now: If you plan on purchasing a ready-made costume to suite your personal style, start checking out stores early to make sure you are picking from a wide range of styles and sizes. To add personality to your ready-made costume, consider adding fabric glitter, fake blood or tulle. It's a quick and easy way to make your costume go from frightful to fang-tastic. Look at websites such as BingHalloween.com to get ideas and find your signature look.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spookily Stylish Halloween Decorations

These Halloween decorating ideas combine eclectic & dramatic displays for unique Halloween decor.



Petrifying Perched Birds


Summon images from Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds with this eerie wall display. This tree is painted on the wall, but you could get a similar (and nonpermanent) look by sketching a tree onto rolled paper, cutting it out, and taping it to the wall. Prop two ladders against the image and wire a swarm of artificial ravens to the rungs and some branches. Guests will be ducking for cover.




Spiderweb Chandelier
    Drape a chandelier in shredded strips of cheesecloth to create wraith-like forms above a dining table, making sure the strips avoid contact with bulbs to prevent the risk of fire. Giant spiders on the walls will make dinner guests scared in their seats.



Chilling Chair
    Halloween is the perfect time to display torn and weathered furniture. This worn chair gets a spooky makeover with an iron-on bird transfer. Make your own chair design by printing a scary image on transfer paper and ironing it to the cushion.
      Frightful Front Door
        Set a dark mood by disguising the view inside the front door. Cut black paper to fit the door glass and any side windows, then trace and cut out Halloween shapes. Tape the black paper to the windows and cover the cutouts with yellow tissue paper. Your spooky designs will glow when you turn on the interior lights. Line the path to the door with glowing pumpkins.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Make Halloween frightfully easy and affordable

    Make Halloween frightfully easy and affordable


    (ARA) - Halloween decorations and costumes are meant to be frightfully fun, but the price tag for pulling together the big night doesn't have to be scary.



    Here are three fun and unexpected ways to keep costs low and let the creativity shine with enchanting accessories, do-it-yourself decorations and devilishly simple party planning.



    Keep costumes personal and affordable

    Masks are an easy and affordable way to jazz up a kid's costume. They are also a great alternative for moms who don't want to dress up in full costume, but still want to get in the spirit. Host a pre-Halloween Masquerade Mask party and invite each guest to bring one embellishment - sequins, glitter, feathers and buttons - to create one-of-a-kind masquerade masks. The host can provide paper masks, glue and scissors, and set up a designated area where kids can decorate their own masks with friends. Plan to make it an annual gathering and remind everyone to save materials throughout the year.



    Decorate on a dime

    Take advantage of free resources and do-it-yourself crafts to use as decorations and fun activities for the whole family. Visit Target.com/Halloween to download free printable pumpkin and eerie decorative lighting stencils. Print out the stencils and have the kids cut them out with safety scissors for pumpkin carving or painting. Kids can glue stencils onto white paper bags to line the driveway or walkway and place flameless candles inside the paper bags for an extra spooky Halloween glow. Moms can apply trick-or-treat bag iron-ons to a white canvas tote to complete the Halloween look from head to toe.




    Simplify party planning

    Many people find the idea of hosting a Halloween gathering stressful. "It doesn't have to be," says Sabrina Soto, Target Style Expert for Home. "Small touches can make a big Halloween statement - try placing a decorative notecard that says 'witches brew' next to the punch bowl and one that says 'eye balls' by a bowl of peeled grapes."



    Make a glam centerpiece with mouth-watering Halloween treats displayed on a spider web two-tier tray, flanked by spooky candelabras with black and silver candles. It instantly creates an eye-catching focal point on the table with a spooky Halloween feel. A big trend this year is haunted gingerbread houses; have kids decorate them at the party for a fun and delicious activity.



    For take home gifts, pack treat sacks with apples and tooth brushes with cards saying "fang scrubbers." (The other moms will appreciate the healthy gesture.)



    "Halloween is a time to be creative and let your imagination guide you," says Soto. For more creative and affordable Halloween tips, costumes and decorating ideas, visit Target.com/Halloween.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    This is a fast and easy Halloween cupcake recipe anyone can reproduce.





    This is a fast and easy Halloween cupcake recipe anyone can reproduce. Decorating items such as candies, frosting and food coloring can be substituted to accommodate all your holiday cake and cupcake recipes.


    1 - red velvet cake mix
    1/3 - veg oil
    1 1/3 - cup water
    3 - eggs
    1 - ready made chocolate frosting
    1 - ready made vanilla frosting
    Green Food Coloring Dye
    Festive food candy piece ideas
    Festive Halloween sprinkles ideas
    Foil cupcake baking cups
    Baking sheet
    Pastry bag w/tip
    Electric Mixer
    Small Pot


    Blend, mix and bake according to the manufacturers instructions on box cake mix. Add 20 drops of food coloring to vanilla frosting and blend well. Pour icing into pastry decorating bag w/tip and fill cooled baked cupcakes by pressing in the top center and squeeze until the cupcakes puff up and icing oozes out. Melt the chocolate frosting over low heat and pour over cupcakes. Top with your favorite festive Halloween candies.





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    I thought this would be a great easy treat to make for busy dads and moms........And perfect for a halloween party....



    Pumpkin Cupcakes

    Makes 12

    Ingredients:

    1 cup of Sugar
    1 cup of All Purpose Flour
    1/3 cup of Vegetable Oil
    2 Eggs
    ½ tsp of Vanilla Extract
    ¾ cup of Pure Pumpkin Puree
    1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
    1 tsp of Baking Soda
    ½ tsp of Baking Powder
    ¼ tsp of Salt


    Process:

    1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, line a 12 piece muffin tin with liners and set aside.
    2) In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, eggs and pumpkin puree. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until everything is incorporated.
    3) Using an ice cream scoop, fill the liners about 2/3 of the way full with the batter. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    Let cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

    And its always easy to find something to put on top of the frosting to make them look more festive like candy corn, orange & black sprinkles ,ect.


    Save $0.60
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    October Recipes


    October Recipes
     
     
    Franken-Faces

    Yield: 10 cakes
    Ingredients:
    • 1 20 ounce (family-size) frozen pound cake, thawed
    • Green food coloring
    • Yellow food coloring
    • 1 16 ounce can vanilla frosting
    • 1 cup dark-chocolate frosting
    • 10 chocolate graham crackers
    • Green M&Ms
    • Yellow jumbo confetti sprinkles
    • Black confetti sprinkles
    • 1 tube red decorating icing

    Make It:
    1. Cut pound cake in half lengthwise. Then slice across every 2 inches to create 10 rectangles.
    2. Mix green and yellow food coloring in vanilla frosting (one yellow drop for every two green ones). Place 2 tablespoons of frosting into a small zip-top bag; set aside. Spoon remaining frosting into a microwaveable container and heat on high, stirring every 15 seconds, for about 45 seconds or until it is the consistency of heavy cream. Pour frosting over cake pieces to coat completely. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until set.
    3. To decorate: Spoon dark-chocolate frosting into a 1-quart freezer zip-top bag. Snip a very small corner from both the green and chocolate frosting bags. Place each cake on top of a graham cracker. Pipe a nose on the center of each cake and use green frosting and attach a green M&M to each side of the cake for "bolts". Press two jumbo confetti sprinkles in each cake for eyes; then use dark-chocolate frosting to secure two black confetti sprinkles on top to form pupils. Pipe on hair, eyebrows, and scar with chocolate frosting. Squeeze a wiggly line of red icing for mouth.

     

                                
    Witch Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes
     
    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 cups chocolate frosting
    • 1 4 3/4 ounce package chocolate cones (Nabisco Oreo Cones)
    • Orange nonpareils
    • 1 16 ounce can vanilla frosting, divided
    • Neon-green food coloring
    • 12 cupcakes, removed from paper liners
    • Chocolate chips
    • Green tube icing
    • Red tube icing
    • Mike and Ike Tangy Twister candies
    • Chocolate Jimmies
    Make It

    1. Place chocolate frosting in a freezer-weight zip-top bag and snip off a small corner. Pipe base of cones, dip in orange nonpareils, and set aside.
    2. Place 1/2 cup vanilla frosting in a another zip-top bag and snip off a small corner. Tint remaining frosting green and frost cupcakes.
    3. Turn cupcakes on sides, then place decorated cones on top. Using vanilla frosting, pipe eyes on cupcakes. Attach chocolate chips for pupils and pipe a dot onto chips. Use red icing for mouths, green icing for warts; shape candies into noses. Pipe chocolate icing onto cupcakes for hair and sprinkle with chocolate jimmies.

     


    Ghostly Graveyard

     
    Ingredients:
    • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
    • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
    • 6 cups crisp rice cereal
    • 12 oval cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
    • 1 tube white decorating gel
    • 1 can (16 ounces) chocolate frosting
    • Halloween sprinkles

     

    Directions:
     
    In a large saucepan, combine marshmallows and butter. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until melted and blended. Remove from the heat; stir in cereal. Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. dish; cool. Cut into 12 squares and set aside.
         Cut a 1/2-in. piece from the bottom of each sandwich cookie. Crush removed cookie pieces; set aside. Write "RIP" on each cookie, using white decorating gel.
      Position cereal squares on a large serving tray. With 2 tablespoons frosting, form a circle on each cereal square; top each with a decorated cookie. Sprinkle reserved crumbs around tombstones; add Halloween sprinkles.
       
      Yield: 12 servings.

     

     
     



    Strawberry Ghosts

     
    Ingredients:
    • 30 fresh strawberries
    • 8 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon shortening
    • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

     


    Directions:

     
     
    Wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate and shortening at 50% power; stir until smooth. Stir in extract.
    Dip each strawberry in chocolate mixture; place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, allowing excess chocolate to form the ghosts' tails. Immediately press chocolate chips into coating for eyes. Freeze for 5 minutes.
    In a microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Dip a toothpick into melted chocolate and draw a mouth on each face.
     
    Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

     

     
    Pudding People
      These frightful treats are inexpensive and fun to make. To make it, follow these steps:
    1. Start with purchased vanilla pudding cups or homemade pudding divided into small dishes.
      2. Use melted chocolate and a small paintbrush to paint monster faces on the inside of clear plastic cups.
      3. Refrigerate until chocolate is hardened.

      4. Add green food coloring to vanilla-flavored pudding.

      5. Pour into prepared cups, top with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, and refrigerate at least one hour.

      An alternative: Paint jack-o'-lantern faces inside the cups, substitute yellow and red food coloring to turn the pudding orange and use pretzel logs for stems.
     


    Tombstone Taco Dip


    Ingredients:
    • 16-ounce can refried beans with green chiles
    • 1/4  cup bottled salsa
    • 2/3   cup bottled ranch salad dressing
    • 2   teaspoons taco seasoning
    • 1 1/2  cups finely chopped cooked chicken
    • 1   7-ounce pouch refrigerated guacamole
    • 1/2   of a 2 1/4-ounce can chopped pitted ripe olives, drained
    • shredded lettuce
    • 10-inch tortillas


     


    Directions:
    In a small bowl, combine refried beans and salsa. Spread refried bean mixture in a 2-quart rectangular dish. In a small bowl, combine ranch salad dressing and taco seasoning; stir in chicken.
    Spoon on top of the beans in an even layer. Spoon guacamole in small mounds on top of the chicken mixture.

    Carefully spread to an even layer.
    Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours before serving. Just before serving, place tombstone characters into dip. Sprinkle the graves with chopped olives and shredded lettuce.
    Serve with tortilla chips.

    Tortilla Graveyard Characters: Using cookie cutters or a knife, cut 10-inch tortillas of any flavor into gravestones, cats, owls, bats, fence rails, and a tree. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until firm and crisp. Cool on rack.

     

    Surprise your little goblins with monster-headed cupcakes filled with a slimy surprise-green pudding.



    Ingredients:

    • 2 dozen cupcakes from your favorite recipe
    • 3.4-ounce box of vanilla-flavored instant pudding
    • green food coloring
    • 1 cup of green melting candy (we used Wilton Candy Melts)
    • 24 large marshmallows
    • skewers
    • waxed-paper-lined baking sheet
    • M&M's Minis
    • small serrated knife
    • chocolate frosting
    • black gel
    • 2 green Tic Tac mints
     
    Instructions:
    Bake and cool 2 dozen cupcakes from your favorite recipe. Prepare a 3.4-ounce box of vanilla-flavored instant pudding. Stir in drops of green food coloring until you have a shade you like, then place it in the refrigerator to chill.
    Next, microwave 1 cup of green melting candy (we used Wilton Candy Melts, available at party supply stores) for 1 minute at 50 percent power, then stir. If necessary, heat in 15-second intervals until completely melted. One at a time, spear 24 large marshmallows with a skewer and roll them in the melted candy, coating the sides. Set them on a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet, add M&M's Minis for eyes, and place them in the refrigerator to chill.
    With a small serrated knife, remove a 1-inch-wide chunk from the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a tablespoon or so of the pudding, then spread chocolate frosting around each pudding hole.
    Cover each pool of pudding with a chilled marshmallow. Add black gel facial features and 2 green Tic Tac mints for bolts.
    Finally, top each monster head with a bit of frosting and muss with your finger or a fork. Keep the cupcakes chilled until serving time.



    Dylans Candy Bar



      

    These scary-good Halloween treats, prepared and eaten on the same fork, begin with a doughnut hole dunked in white chocolate.


    Ingredients:

    • 2  11-ounce bags white chocolate chips
    • 12  doughnut holes
    • Semisweet chocolate chips
    • Tube of red decorator frosting
    • 2   tablespoons vegetable oil

    Instructions:
    To coat a dozen doughnut holes, melt the white chocolate chips with the oil over low heat (and keep the chocolate warm while you work). With a fork, spear each doughnut hole and submerge it in the melted chocolate to coat it, then gently tap off any excess.
     

    Stick a semisweet chocolate chip with its point cut off onto each doughnut hole, cut end first. Place the forks (handle side down) in a mug and allow the chocolate coating to harden.
     




    Use a tube of red decorator frosting to add squiggly veins radiating out from the pupils.


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    Spiderweb Pumpkin Cheesecake
    This spiced cheesecake makes an appearance on my Halloween table every year. 
    Everybody gets a kick out of the candy web and chocolate spiders.


    Ingredients:
    • 1 3/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
    • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
    FILLING:
    • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    TOPPING:
    • 2 cups sour cream
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    SPIDERWEB GARNISH:
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, melted
      Directions:
    Combine wafer crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a greased 10-in. springform pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Whisk in pumpkin, cornstarch, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice just until blended. Pour into crust. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.


     
    Combine topping ingredients; spread over filling. Bake at 350 degrees F for 6 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minute. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan; set aside.
     For spiderwebs, draw six 3-in. x 2-in. half circles on two sheets of parchment paper on top; tape both securely to work surface. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, cream of tartar and water to a boil over medium heat. Boil, without stirring, until mixture turns a light amber color and candy thermometer reads 350 degrees F. Immediately remove from the heat and stir. Cool, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until hot sugar mixture falls off a metal spoon in a fine thread.
     Using a spoon or meat fork, carefully drizzle syrup over half-circle outlines and inside the outlines to form spiderwebs; reheat syrup if needed. Cool completely. Place melted chocolate in a resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe 1-in. spiders onto parchment or foil; cool completely. With remaining melted chocolate, pipe two or three dots on each web; attach spiders.


     Remove sides of springform pan. Cut cheesecake; place a web on top of each slice and remaining spiders on the side. Refrigerate leftovers.
     

    Footnotes:

    We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212 degrees F. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.


    Dylans Candy Bar



     
    Pumpkin Cake
     
     

    Yield 1 - 10 inch bundt cake

    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
    •  
    Directions:
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch bundt or tube pan.
     
    Cream oil, beaten eggs, pumpkin and vanilla together.
     
     Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined. If desired, stir in some chopped nuts. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
     
    Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a plate and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

     

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