Friday, October 28, 2011


   This recipe comes from www.bonappetit.com .  Make some for one of your kids school Halloween parties and you'll be the hit of it!!

How to Make "Bleeding" Cupcakes for Halloween


   Provocative series like Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood have made vampires the sexiest thing since sliced bread that has been molded into the shape of a sensuous woman.

   That is why bleeding cupcakes are sure to win any Halloween/Sexy-Themed Baking Contest you might enter this week. They're not only showy and delicious, but super simple to put together as well--just like the scripts for all those dramas. (I'm just kidding. Don't bite me.)

Here's how:

1) Bake cupcakes using your favorite recipe.

2) Once cooled, dig a small lump of cupcake out of the top. Set the removed chunk aside.

3) Pour a little bit of an edible, reddish, runny substance, such as strawberry jam or cherry pie filling, into the hole.

4) Re-insert removed chunk.

5) Frost the top (thereby covering up the evidence of step 2).

6) Dip a toothpick into some of the leftover jam (filling, sauce, red icing, etc.) and stab the top of the cupcake twice to give the appearance of fang marks.

Put these cupcakes out on your Halloween snack table and you will be crowned the buffet vampire slayer


  Brought to you by www.marthastewart.com .  I'm getting ready to make a batch of these so that they can hang upside down on my porch.  Welcome trick-or-treaters in hair-raising style by turning your front porch into a bat cave.


Tools and Materials

Hanging Bats

  1. Print our half-bat template; then fold a piece of thick black paper down the middle, place the template on the fold, and trace. Cut out, and unfold. Use a bone folder to crease wings (and fold opposite the direction of body fold).
  2. Poke holes in the bat for monofilament: in the tail for an upside-down bat, in the wings and head for one that's right side up. Hang from ceiling with painters' tape or removable hooks.


History of the Woolly Worm Festival

  When Jim Morton first put a blade of grass in front of a woolly worm, he had no idea that the fuzzy critter at his feet would lead to a festival that draws nearly 20,000 people, 140 vendors, 1,000 worm trainers, and national media crews to the town of Banner Elk.
Morton was one of the founders of the Woolly Worm Festival. "October of 1973 was my first autumn in this area," says Morton. "That was when I first learned about the woolly worm's role in local folklore. A gentleman who worked at Grandfather Mountain told me about woolly worms being used to forecast winter.
   Morton, who is always interested in area lore, tucked the knowledge into the back of his mind. "Some years later, I was invited to a meeting where they were trying to get some ideas together to possibly form a merchant's association in Banner Elk. It was a preliminary gathering. I was not a merchant, but I accepted the invitation to go to the meeting. I told the people who were there that I thought Banner Elk would benefit by having an annual event of some type. I know, at Grandfather Mountain, the Highland Games and Singing on the Mountain were very important to our publicity efforts.
"The day before the meeting, I had done a woolly worm publication that I worked for. I'd done the forecast using the very first worm that I found that year because we were getting close to deadline. When I finally found a woolly worm, it was completely brown from end to end."
   Fate then took a role as Morton was reminded of the worm. "I come home from this meeting, and right there on my porch was another woolly worm with a lot of black on it, and only a minimal amount of brown." Morton then realized that when you forecast with woolly worms, you don't know which worm to trust.

"I was immediately struck by the need to have a process for selecting which woolly worm to believe. We also needed an annual event for Banner Elk. The two problems solved each other."
   Morton says that a Woolly Worm Festival Association was formed, since there was no chamber of commerce. Contributing merchants chipped in money to have posters printed, and the Festival Association sponsored it for the first six years.
   The first festival was held at the traditional location of Banner Elk Elementary. "The first year was cold and windy, but sunny. We discovered then that woolly worms don't go very fast on a cold day. We only had eight heats that day, with 63 worms."
   There were only three to four vendors, a far cry from the current 140. "It was a small event, but everybody seemed to have a really good time," says Morton. The first event also spawned a tradition of the festival being featured somewhere in the national media. WCYB TV sent a camera crew to cover the event, and the footage was picked up and run on NBC News nationwide.
   That publicity jump-started the event, and 300 to 400 people turned out the next year, even though it was raining. C.J. Underwood from Channel 3 in Charlotte came up to serve as Master of Ceremonies. Though the event kept growing, it didn't turn a profit until the Avery/Banner Elk Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club took over operation in the seventh year
   Morton also conceived of the method of racing the worms, because when he was trying to collect a worm, he was "scared to pick it up" because he thought it might sting him. So he plucked a blade of grass and set it in front of the worm and the worm proceeded to climb the blade of grass. He then discovered that the worms would climb a string if they were in the moving mood. They didn't seem particularly motivated to race across a flat surface.

  The woolly worm race is three feet of nylon from mark to mark. There's as many theories about what makes a good-running worm as there are worm trainers who enter the race. Morton says that larger worms don't necessarily fare better, and that the true winning talent is this: "It does help to check that your woolly worm has an instinct for climbing string," he says, with all the wisdom of a man who has seen more than ten thousand worms work their way to the top or fail. "They are moody," he adds.
   Morton says that the festival has grown beyond anyone's dreams who were at the original meeting more than twenty years ago. "The only thing that's the same is that we still race worms up a string," he says. "Everything else seems quite different. There's lots of vendors, traffic, people, and it takes an army of volunteers to coordinate it all."
There's still one thing that would make the event better, in Morton's opinion. He'd like to see the winning woolly worm achieve the same weather-predicting stature of the official groundhog, Paxtahawney Phil, who in February determines whether there will be six more weeks of winter. "We want to become even more recognized as the official source of woolly worm predictions," Morton says.

About Woolly Worms
   The woolly worm (also spelled “wooly worm”) is actually a caterpillar or the larvae of the Isabella tiger moth. The tiger moth belongs to the arctiidae family, which has 11,000 species of moths around the world. The tiger moth is a beautiful creature with bright colors such as scarlet, yellow, orange, and white and rich hues ranging from black to beige. Equally as bright and beautiful, the woolly worm may have a burnt orange color in the middle and it may be black on both ends. Some woolly worms, however, are completely black or completely brown.
   In some parts of the world, it is believed that the severity of the winter can be predicted by the intensity of the black on the Isabella tiger moth’s larvae (caterpillar). In the American Northeast, it is believed that if the woolly worm has more brown on its body than black, it will be a fair winter. If the woolly worm has more black than brown, the winter will be harsh.
   The furry woolly worm can be spotted during the fall months in great numbers inching along the ground. While you will notice them in great numbers during the fall months, the woolly worm actually has two life cycles, so they can also be found inching around in June and July.

   Woolly worms may look small, but these dazzling creatures have 13 segments and three sets of legs. They have tiny eyes, but they make their way around mostly by feeling around and touching.
  Once the woolly worm has found its home for the winter, it will create a natural organic antifreeze that protects the interior of its cells. Everything else will freeze, but the woolly worm will still survive. The antifreeze protects the creature in freezing temperatures that can dip as low as –90 degrees Fahrenheit. The wooly worm is also protected by shelter. It chooses its places to hide wisely. It crawls under logs, boulders, boards, rocks, and other dark places. The woolly worm will remain in its “frozen” state until May, when it will emerge as a brilliantly colored moth.
   Prior to settling in for the winter, the woolly worm will survive by eating a variety of plants such as cabbage, spinach, grass, and clover. And to protect itself from predators, the woolly worm will curl up into a ball, exposing only its bristles, which can be quite irritating to the skin.
   Also called the “woolly bear,” mostly in New England and the Midwestern United States, the woolly worm has a pretty good weather prediction rate. Scientists would prefer not to acknowledge it, but the woolly worm has a 80-85% accuracy rate for predicting the weather. The worm has held its record for accuracy for more than 20 years.
   If you want to see the woolly worm in action, don’t seek them out at night. Remember, worms are nocturnal for the most part, not caterpillars. The woolly worm is very active during the day. It is not uncommon to spot them in groups of hundreds, all of them with one common goal – to find a place to hide.

   According to Greg Stack, University of Illinois Extension Educator in Horticulture, “Woolly bear caterpillars overwinter as larva. In the late summer and fall they tend to prefer to feed on either violets or the weed called lambs quarter so what you can do is provide it with those things to feed on. They then start to look for a place to spend the winter. The other requirement in order for this caterpillar to turn into a moth is cold. The cage that you have would be best if it were covered with some type of metal screen instead of fabric netting. The reason for this is that the cage with the caterpillar inside will need to be buried in the ground next to the foundation of the house and then covered with leaf litter. It needs to be left there over the winter and if in a fabric covered cage rodents might get inside and eat the caterpillar. You can think about burying the cage when the weather starts to get cold. Leave the cage in the ground until about late April or Mid May. Dig it up and there should be a pupa inside which will transform into a 1-2 inch white colored moth.”
Always The Third Weekend in October
   For 34 year the town of Banner Elk has welcomed both old and new friends to the annual Woolly Worm Festival. This family event co-hosted by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Organization of Banner Elk welcomes more than 23,000 people to the community to make family
memories and also to win the prestigious title of predicting the High Country weather and the chance to win the $1000 bounty! Come early because the fun begins at 9:00 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with entertainment all day. Bring your dance shows because you never know when a line dance will begin. Great music by local groups and check out the wace stage for impromptu guests.
The added time at the festival gave festival goers more time to take in the over 140 food and craft vendors with their handcrafted items, plus rides, musicians and dance teams.
   The added time at the festival gave festival goers more time to take in the over 140 food and craft vendors with their handcrafted items, plus rides, musicians and dance teams.
   We will have many returning vendors who make worm houses and pins, face painting and also include artists who do photography, pottery, stained glass and much more. “It’s a great festival, as it has something for everyone,” says Roy Krege, also known as Mr. Woolly Worm, one of the many volunteers helping to organize the event and add to its success.

   Participants wishing to race their worm may register at 9:00 a.m., and shortly after that races begin. 25 worms are in each heat, “but please come early as race entries fill up early and we want,” says Director of the Chamber, Susan Freeman. Saturday’s winning Woolly Worm holds the esteemed honor of predicting the winter weather season and the Woolly Worm wins prize monies of $1000, which we hope the winning worm shares with its owner. Sunday’s winning Woolly Worm $500.

How to Race a Worm
 Closer Look at the Woolly Worm

   What is small, furry looking and found crossing roads this time of year?
The answer, of course, is the woolly worm. This perennial little critter is a familiar site in the fall, and it is not uncommon to see dozens if not hundreds in one day.
   The woolly worm, in fact, is so common that it is easy to forget how complex and amazing the wee beasties truly are.
   First off, the woolly worm is not a worm at all - they are caterpillars, the larva of the Isabella tigermoth. The name "worm" has stuck, at least in the South. People in New England and the Midwest call them "woolly bears."

Here are some interesting facts about the woolly ones:
   When disturbed, the worms curl into a tight ball, with their "fur" (more about that later) bristling.
   The worm has 13 segments to its body, which traditional forecasters say correspond to the 13 weeks of winter.

   Woolly worms have three sets of legs, one each on its first three segments. There are some "false legs" behind those (non-working ones), and a leg for propping in the back.
   Scientists don't believe the worms have weather forecasting powers. They argue the varying colors are caused by temperature levels and, possibly, moisture, during the early days of their life. Of course, over the last 20 years the worms have an 85 percent record for accuracy. Maybe the scientists are jealous.
   Woolly worms eat plants such as grass, clover, dandelion, spinach and cabbage.
   There are two generations of worms each year. The first appear in June and July, the second in September. It is the second generation that are the "weather prophets."
   Where are the woolly worms racing when they cross a road? They are looking for places to hide. As cold weather arrives, they curl up under boards, logs, boulders and other safe places.
   Here is something truly remarkable. Once settled in, the worms hibernate, creating a natural organic antifreeze. They freeze bit by bit, until everything but the interior of their cells are frozen. They can - and do - survive to temperatures as low as -90F.
   This ability to adapt to cold shows up particularly in the Arctic, where the woolly worms live in a strange state of slow motion. Most caterpillars live for two to four weeks before becoming moths. The Arctic woolly worms, however, spend at least 14 years in the process!
  The woolly worm we see now will winter over and emerge as moths in May. They will then lay eggs - the summer, or first, generation - and die.
Woolly worms have very tiny eyes, and limited range of sight. That is why sometimes you will see them rearing up, possibly mid-race, to feel around and seek out, by touch, the next place to go.
-by Jim Thompson

Regarding The Races...


   First, no person is more likely to have a winning worm than any other person. There is no home-field advantage, no preferred age for the person who sets the worm on the string; although worms raced by children do seem to win a bit more frequently.
   Second, selecting names for the Woolly Worms is a delightful way to learn how amazingly creative your friends and family members can be. Consider these clever monikers: "Merryweather", "Patsy Climb" and "Dale Wormhardt".
Finally, there is no other experience in life that can produce the absurd euphoria that comes from cheering for a caterpillar to climb a string. It is so indisputably ridiculous that it is completely liberating!
   And the $1,000 first prize that accompanies the prestige of having your worm used to pronounce the official winter forecast doesn't hurt either.
   The Woolly Worm races begin around 10 a.m. Each heat consists of 20 worms and races continue all day until the grand final around 4 p.m. The winning worm on Saturday is declared the official winter forecasting agent.    The Sunday worm races are for prestige, fun and small prizes.
   In addition to the Woolly Worm Races, the festival features crafts, food vendors, live entertainment and much more. Last year's festival attracted an estimated 20,000 fans, 140 vendors and around 1,000 race entrants.



 Trick-or-treating is a customary practice for children on Halloween seen in many countries. Children in costumes, either in large groups or accompanied by an adult, travel from house to house in order to ask for treats such as candy (or, in some cultures, money) with the question "Trick or treat?". The "trick" is a (usually idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.
   In North America, trick-or-treating has been a customary Halloween tradition since at least the late 1950s. Homeowners wishing to participate in it usually decorate their private entrance with plastic spiderwebs, paper skeletons and jack-o-lanterns. Some rather reluctant homeowners would simply leave the candy in pots on the porch, others might be more participative and would even ask an effort from the children in order to provide them with candy. In the more recent years, however, the practice has spread to almost any house within a neighborhood being visited by children, including senior residences and condominiums.
   The tradition of going from door to door receiving food already existed in Great Britain and Ireland in the form of souling, where children and poor people would sing and say prayers for the dead in return for cakes.  Guising — children disguised in costumes going from door to door for food and coins — also predates trick or treat, and is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit

and money.   While going from door to door in disguise has remained popular among Scots and Irish, the North American custom of saying "trick or treat" has recently become common. The activity is prevalent in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Puerto Rico, and northwestern and central Mexico. In the latter, this practice is called calaverita (Spanish for "little skull"), and instead of "trick or treat", the children ask ¿me da mi calaverita? ("can you give me my little skull?"); where a calaverita is a small skull made of sugar or chocolate.


   The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays dates back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain,  although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.   Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of "puling [whimpering or whining] like a beggar at Hallowmas."The custom of wearing costumes and masks at Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.

   Guising at Halloween in Scotland is recorded in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.  The practise of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood.
   American historian and author Ruth Edna Kelley of Massachusetts wrote the first book length history of the holiday in the US; The Book of Hallowe'en (1919), and references souling in the chapter "Hallowe'en in America";
The taste in Hallowe'en festivities now is to study old traditions, and hold a Scotch party, using Burn's poem Hallowe'en as a guide; or to go a-souling as the English used. In short, no custom that was once honored at Hallowe'en is out of fashion now.
Kelley lived in Lynn, Massachusetts, a town with 4,500 Irish immigrants, 1,900 English immigrants, and 700 Scottish immigrants in 1920.  In her book, Kelley touches on customs that arrived from across the Atlantic; "Americans have fostered them, and are making this an occasion something like what it must have been in its best days overseas. All Hallowe'en customs in the United States are borrowed directly or adapted from those of other countries".

While the first reference to "guising" in North America occurs in 1911, another reference to ritual begging on Halloween appears, place unknown, in 1915, with a third reference in Chicago in 1920.
The earliest known use in print of the term "trick or treat" appears in 1927, from Blackie, Alberta:
Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.
   The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s commonly show children but do not depict trick-or-treating.  The editor of a collection of over 3,000 vintage Halloween postcards writes, "There are cards which mention the custom [of trick-or-treating] or show children in costumes at the doors, but as far as we can tell they were printed later than the 1920s and more than likely even the 1930s. Tricksters of various sorts are shown on the early postcards, but not the means of appeasing them".   Trick-or-treating does not seem to have become a widespread practice until the 1930s, with the first U.S. appearances of the term in 1934, and the first use in a national publication occurring in 1939.

Increased Popularity

   Almost all pre-1940 uses of the term "trick-or-treat" are from the western United States and Canada.   Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.
   Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children's magazines Jack and Jill and Children's Activities,  and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948.  Trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip in 1951.   The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, and Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show.   In 1953 UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.

   Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to rechannel Halloween activities away from vandalism, there is very little records supporting it. Des Moines, Iowa is the only area known to have record of trick-or-treating being used to deter crime.  Elsewhere, adults, as reported in newspapers from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, typically saw it as a form of extortion, with reactions ranging from bemused indulgence to anger.   Likewise, as portrayed on radio shows, children would have to explain what trick-or-treating was to puzzled adults, and not the other way around. Sometimes even the children protested: for Halloween 1948, members of the Madison Square Boys Club in New York City carried a parade banner that read "American Boys Don't Beg." The National Confectioners Association reported in 2005 that 80 percent of adults in the United States planned to give out confectionery to trick-or-treaters,  and that 93 percent of children, teenagers, and young adults planned to go trick-or-treating or participating in other Halloween activities.   In 2008,

Halloween candy, costumes and other related products accounted for $5.77 billion in revenue.

 Introduction to the UK and Ireland

   Before the 1980s, the North American phrase "trick-or-treat" was little known in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland and when introduced was often regarded as an unusual and even unwelcome import. Guising is devoid of any jocular threat.   Since the 80s usage of the phrase has become more widespread, but is still often viewed as an exotic and unwelcome commercialised import, with the BBC referring to it as "the Japanese knotweed of festivals" and "Making demands with menaces".   Very often, the phrase "trick - or - treat" is simply said and the revellers are given sweets, with the choice of a trick or a treat having been largely discarded.

Local variants


   In Scotland and Ireland, "guising" — children going from house to house in disguise — is traditional, and a gift in the form of food, coins or "apples or nuts for the Halloween party" (in more recent times chocolate) is given out to the children dressed up in various costumes.   The tradition is called "guising" because of the disguises or costumes worn by the children.   Among the earliest record of Guising at Halloween in Scotland is in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.   Guising also involved going to wealthy homes, and in the 1920s, boys went guising at

Halloween up to the affluent Thorntonhall, South Lanarkshire.   An account of guising in the 1950s in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, records a child receiving 12 shillings and sixpence having knocked on doors throughout the neighborhood and performed.   There is a significant difference from the way the practice has developed in North America with the jocular threat. In Scotland and Ireland, the children are only supposed to receive treats if they perform for the households they go to. This normally takes the form of singing a song or reciting a joke or a funny poem which the child has memorized before setting out.   Occasionally a more talented child may do card tricks, play the mouth organ, or something even more impressive, but most children will earn plenty of treats even with something very simple. Often they won't even need to perform.   While going from door to door in disguise has remained popular among Scots and Irish at Halloween, saying "trick-or-treat" has become common.


    Some organizations around the US sponsor a "Trunk-or-Treat" on Halloween night (or on occasion, a day immediately preceding Halloween), where trick-or-treating is done from parked car to parked car in a local parking lot, often at a church house. The trunk of one's car is opened, displaying candy and often decorations. Concerned parents see it as safer for their children, while other parents see it as a way out of having to walk the neighborhood with their kids. Opponents frown upon the Trunk-or-Treat as taking away from the tradition of walking door-to-door on Halloween, and also excluding children that do not belong to these church groups and thus are not informed about them. Some have called for more city- or community group-sponsored Trunk-or-Treats, so they can be more inclusive.   Many neighborhoods see a large reduction in

door-to-door trick-or-treating because of a competing Trunk-or-Treat. These have become increasingly popular over the years especially in conservative states like Utah, and are catching on around Midwest and Southern states. This practice is not a panacea for all perceived problems, however. In 2005 a child in Lehi, Utah was given a vial of cocaine at a Trunk-or-Treat.

 Other Trick or Treat Traditions

   In some parts of Canada, children sometimes say "Halloween apples" instead of "trick or treat." This probably originated when the toffee apple was a popular type of candy. Apple-giving in much of Canada, however, has been taboo since the 1960s when stories (almost certainly apocryphal) appeared of razors hidden inside Halloween apples; parents began to check over their children's "loot" for safety before allowing them to eat it. In Quebec, children also go door to door on Halloween. However, in French speaking neighbourhoods, instead of "Trick or treat?", they will simply say "Halloween", though in tradition it used to be La charité s'il-vous-plaît ("Charity, please").
   In some parts of Ohio, Iowa, Massachusetts and other states, the night designated for trick-or-treating is referred to as Beggars Night, and in some communities it is held on a night prior to Halloween itself.

   In Sweden children dress up as witches and go trick-or-treating on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) while Danish children dress up in various attires and go trick-or-treating on Fastelavn (or the next day, Shrove Monday). In Norway, children go trick-or-treating between Christmas and New Year's Eve. The Easter witch tradition is done on Palm Sunday in Finland. In parts of Flanders and some parts of the Netherlands and most areas of Germany and Austria, children go to houses with home made beet lanterns or with paper lanterns (which can hold a candle or electronic light), singing songs about St. Martin on St. Martin's Day (the 11th of November), in return for treats.   In Northern Germany and Southern Denmark children dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating on New Year's Eve in a tradition called "Rummelpott".
   Children of the St. Louis, Missouri area are expected to perform a joke, usually a simple Halloween-themed pun or riddle, before receiving any candy; this "trick" earns the "treat".  Children in Des Moines, Iowa also tell jokes or otherwise perform before receiving their treat. This originated as well-organized campaign to reduce Halloween mischief-making. Des Moines trick-or-treating is also unusual in that it is actually done the night before Halloween, known locally as "Beggars' Night".


   This is another excellent idea from www.craftysisters-nc.blogspot.com .  Enjoy making a few of these and use them as gift for friends and family.

Trick....or Treat Topiaries

Here's the project that Nicole received many hot glue burns from. We had so much fun last spring making the Jellybean topiaries and thought it would be fun to make some more for Halloween.

We gathered candy corn, gum drops, and jelly beans, and gummy worms for these spooky topiaries. The bulk food section in the grocery store is a great place to find supplies. Candy corn is great too, because who really likes the taste of candy corn? After I eat a few, I tend to get a sick-overly sweet feeling.

I just love the spikes the candy corn produce when you glue them to a ball. The unfortunate thing is -when you open the bag at least half of the tips are missing.
So, the candy corn ball is fragile. :(
Ours have held up if you are careful, and after a while they get stale.

We put the topiaries into canning jars, old glass jars and metal cans. The clear jars work perfectly to show off all the scary stuffing.

We made up some labels on the computer, backed them with scrapbook paper and attached them to the jars. Nicole went to work decorating the topiaries with ribbons and spiders.

Here's Nicole gluing away with the candy corn. We used 3 inch foam balls, first painting them yellow. It goes pretty fast once you get the hang of it. Nicole started by putting big globs of glue on and then quickly sticking on the candy.

Nicole painted some dowels orange and white. I think it adds a bit of whimsy to the topiaries.

I drilled holes in the metal lids and thought about how I really should be learning how to can food with my mom's canning jars instead of crafting with them... :) One day, Mom...one day.

We hot glued a chunk of floral foam at the bottom of the glue so the dowel would be anchored. Make sure to leave enough room to stuff the jar. You could also weight the jars with glass pebbles or whatever you prefer, if you are worried about it tipping.

And, there you go...our "Trick....or Treat Topiaries."

There are so many possibilities of what you could fill the jars with to make them a little more fun or spooky.


   These come form www.cakejournal.com .  Make a couple batches, they won't last very long around and spook or ghoul!!

Jack Skellington brownie bites

Halloween treats

I am thinking out possible treats for our haunted Halloween party. Maybe will these brownie bites be on the menu?
Jack Skellington the pumpkin king, is so easy to make. Just cut out a white fondant disc and some black fondant for his eyes and nose and a black gourmet writer (Americolor) for the mouth.

Halloween treats

I have used a little dab of buttercream to keep the Jack’s in place on top of the brownie bites. I always use this recipe for the brownies. If you use milk chocolate the taste is more mild if your kids don’t like a strong chocolate taste.
Happy Caking!

Here are the Halloween cookies that we will be enjoying today. “Dead” fingers, green witches finger and then the Halloween cookies decorated with royal icing. I got inspired by the recipe from Martha Stewart for the “dead” and witches fingers. I gave both a light dusting with some cocoa powder. I think that I like the white ones the best.


The History of Loi Krathong Festival

   Loi Krathong festival is a Thai tradition which has been conducted for a long time ago. Loi Krathong has been held since the middle of the eleventh to the middle of the twelfth lunar month, which is a great flood season- especially on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month. When the moon shines at night, it makes rivers clear. It is very beautiful scenery which is suitable for floating krathong.
   In the past, we called Loi Krathong as Chong Pa Rieng- floating lantern of royal ceremony. It is a Brahman festival to worship Gods- Siva, Vishnu, and Brahma. When Thai people adopted Buddhism, they adapted this ceremony to honor the Buddhas cremated bone- the original Buddha at the second heaven ruler. They floated lantern to worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River beach in India.
   Floating krathong along the river was created by Nang Noppamas; the most favorite concubines Sukhothai king. She made krathong as lotus-shaped. The king of Sukhothai floated it along the river. According to Sri Chula Lucks treatise, Phra Ruang (Sukhothai king) said From now on, on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, kings of Siam have to make floating lantern- like lotus-shaped- to worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River for ever after.

    In Rattanakosin period, people often made big and beautiful krathong. According to Chao Phraya Dhipharachawongs historical annals said:-
   In the twelfth lunar month on 14 and 15 waxing moon, I ask for members of the royal family and civil servants making big-sized krathongs- look like banana trunk rafts, they size 8-9 sauk width (an ancient Thai measure of length) and 10-11 sauk tall. They make for contesting each other. For example, some imitate krathong as Mount Meru - shaped and others make krathong as basket decorated with flowers. There are a lot of people to do these so they use a lot of money- about 20 chung (an ancient measure of weight).
   Nowadays, Loi Krathong festival is held in mostly Thai provinces. Particularly in Chiangmai, it has krathong parade, contestation of making krathongs, and Noppamas beauty pageants contest.

   The villagers in northern and north-eastern parts of Thailand often float lanterns. They are made of color paper. If they float in the afternoon, they will use smoke for floating lanterns while they use torch to set smoke in lanterns to float them in wind chill at night. We can see the light from lantern in the sky with moonshine and stars glitter at night, which is very beautiful.

Interesting Stories About Loi Krathong
There are many legends of Loi Krathong:

 1. Loi Krathong is to ask for forgiveness Pra Mae Khongkha.

 2. According to Brahma belief, Loi Krathong is to worship God.

 3. Loi Krathong is to welcome Buddha when he came back to the world- he had stayed in the Buddhist temple during the rainy season at the second heaven ruler to teach his mother.

4. Loi Krathong is to worship foot-print of Buddha on the Nammathanati River beach.

5. Loi Krathong is to worship Chulamanee in the heaven where the Buddhas hair is buried.

6. Loi Krathong is to worship Bhakabhrama in heaven.

7. Loi Krathong is to worship Uppakutta-dhera who observed religious precept at the middle portion of the sea.

Loi Krathongs History in Thailand     Loi Krathong in Thailand originated in Sukhothai period as Loy Phra Pra Teip or Loy Khom (floating lantern). It is a festival of Thai people. After that, Noppamas- the most favorite concubines Sukhothai king - created krathong, like lotus-shaped, for floating in the river. Instead of floating lantern, it used for worshipping the foot-print of Buddha at Nammathanati River beach in Thakkhinabodh district, India. As we called Nehrabhuddha river.

Loi Krathong At The Present

    Nowadays, Thai people still keep form suitably; on the full moon of the twelfth, people usually prepare natural materials to make krathong. For example, they use banana trunk and lotus to make beautiful krathong then stick candle, incense stick, and flowers in krathong. They always ask for good luck in the future and forgiveness Pra Mae Khongkha.
   At the temples and tourist places, they held contestation of making krathong and Noppamas beauty pageants contest. There are many entertainment shows at night. Moreover, they set cautiously fireworks. The materials, used for making krathong, could be easily decomposed.

Reasons for Loi Krathong
We can conclude the reasons for Loi Krathong in Thailand that:

1. To ask for forgiveness Pra Mae Khongkha because we use and drink water.
Moreover, we often throw rubbishes and excrete wasted things in the water.

2. To worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River beach in India.

3. To fly away misfortune and bad things like floating sin- Bhrama ceremony.

 4. To pay respect to Uppakhud whom mostly northern villagers show their gratitude for. According to legend, he was a monk who had supernatural to kill Mara.
Krathong could be made from anything else such as banana leaves, banana trunks, coconut barks, paper, and etc. Stuck with incense stick and candle to make a wish and float it in the river.