Monthly Haiku Corner-May 2021

Our theme this month is Halfway to Halloween

pumpkin sauce
halfway to Halloween
my seasonal dreams

Join us on social media this May. The Halloween memories will be flowing all month, in honor of the halfway point to our favorite holiday.

Happy October 2020

Back in Celtic times, it was believed that evil spirits take advantage of the thinning veil between our two worlds to pass through and terrorize humans, thus began the practice of holding huge bonfires, where the light warded off evil spirits. The Celts also started the tradition of wearing scary masks and costumes, done to trick evil spirits into thinking they were fellow demons, which brings us to Halloween 2020. The way this year is going, I suspect there’ll be whole lotta spirits crossing over to make mischief on Halloween night!

This is why it’s more important than ever to uphold our Halloween traditions by decorating our homes, wearing costumes, and carving pumpkins. Silly superstition, you say? Do you really want to take that chance? We can’t even keep toilet paper stocked and you think we can fight the living dead?! Trust me, if everyone does those three things, we will stave off the zombie apocalypse for another year.

If you’re looking for Covid-safe, fun activities for Halloween season, check out my post Halloween at Home: Fun Alternatives to Going Out and be sure to come back here every day this October for spooky fun and a chance to win some cool prizes.

This Halloween season, remember to reach out to loved ones and friends to wish them a Happy Halloween and be safe. If you do go out to haunts, parties, or trick-or-treating, please, please be safe, wear your masks, and practice good social distancing. 

Halloween Kristy

Halloween at Home: Fun Alternatives to Going Out

The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly challenged Halloween 2020. In many parts of the USA, events have been canceled or scaled back, which means, no trick-or-treating, no public haunts or mazes, no festivals or parades, and no big parties.

Now, I’m not telling anyone how to spend their time nor how to celebrate the holiday. I’m simply saying that Halloween at Home can be a fun and safe alternative to going out during the Covid-19 epidemic. So, if you’re looking for ideas to make your Halloween night in more fun, please keep reading.

Halloween Camp-Out (Family)

This Halloween night, we’ll be able to bask under the blue moon like werewolves do! Now, whether you go camping in the woods or camp out in your own backyard is up to you. Just be sure to watch out for the creepy critters, flying witches, vampire bats, and Sasquatch.

  • Build a ghost fort outside (tent, tarp, cardboard, ghost clothing, you decide)
  • Play card games
  • Make shadows puppets
  • Toast marshmallows
  • Read/Tell spooky ghost stories
  • Don’t forget to look up and howl at the full moon

Smores by JackieCheuvront
Smores from Ghost Collection at Eclipseafterglowstudios.com

 

Halloween Pinata (Family)

If your little ones are disappointed there’ll be no trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, try getting them a Halloween themed pinata. They can beat the pulp outta it and get their frustrations out. Kidding! Big kids should get their own pinata. No, kids love collecting and finding candy! It’s just as simple as that. Once that pinata bursts, they’ll be so happy to fill their bags with the sweet stuff, they’ll forget all about trick-or-treating.

What you’ll need:

  1. Halloween Pinata
  2. Halloween candy, trinkets, and toys to fill the pinata (Try spider rings as a trick)
  3. A baseball bat or something to hit the pinata

Halloween Jigsaw Puzzle Party (Family)

Jigsaw puzzles are the perfect indoor/rainy day activity. They’re super fun, and a great way to destress. In fact, puzzles help us cope with anxiety, depression, and stimulate cognitive activity. So, if you didn’t jump on the bandwagon when the lockdowns started happening back in March, now is your chance.

Any puzzle will do, but since it’s Halloween, why not get a Halloween themed puzzle? Check the links below for suggested retailers.

What you’ll need:

  1. Halloween puzzle
  2. Halloween Snacks/Drinks

Serious Puzzles:
https://www.seriouspuzzles.com/search-results/?q=halloween

Puzzle Meet:
https://www.puzzlemeet.com/products/the-pirates-ship-happiness-puzzle-1000-piece

Bits and Pieces: 
https://www.bitsandpieces.com/search?keyword=Halloween

 

Halloween Game Night – Board Games (Family)

Another fun perfect way to spend the evening with family. Again, any board games will do, but Halloween/monster-themed games are best. You could also try spooky versions of old favorites.

What you’ll need:

  1. (Halloween) Board Games
  2. Halloween Snacks/Drinks

Suggestions:
Clue: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, It, Scooby-Doo, Supernatural, etc.
Monopoly: It, Nightmare Before Christmas, Scooby-Doo, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, etc. 
Scooby-Doo: Betrayal at Mystery Mansion
Trivial Pursuit Horror Edition (for Adults)
Villainous (Disney)
The Walking Dead Board Game

Halloween Relay Games (Family)

The internet is filled with ideas for indoor/outdoor relay games and races. Below are some of my favorites. Don’t forget the Halloween prizes or ribbons for winners and participants.

Mini Pumpkin Races

Not all mini pumpkins are cut from the same gourd. Some are much faster than others. Use masking tape to make a relay track with start and finish line. From the start line, roll your pumpkin. The first pumpkin to reach the finish line, wins!

What you’ll need:

  1. Mini pumpkins
  2. Masking tape
  3. Halloween décor/flags

Eyeball Spoon Race

Just like a traditional egg and spoon race, kids balance the eyeball on the spoon and try to get to the finish line first. Use music as a greenlight/redlight for more ghoulish fun.

What you’ll need:

  1. Plastic/Rubber Eyeball
  2. Spoon
  3. Music (optional)

Bobbing for Donuts

Now, this one can get messy, so make sure you lay down some covering or have your broom or vacuum handy. Hang donuts from a string/twine. Try different heights for added fun. The first to finish eating their donut wins! Works best with cold or firm donuts.

What you’ll need:

  1. Donuts
  2. String/Twine
  3. Tape if don’t have a way to tie the string

Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Why should the Easter Bunny get all the fun? Hide mini-pumpkins or various objects around the home or yard, then sit back, and sip Halloween margaritas, while the kids hunt for their candy. Easy peasy.

What you’ll need:

  1. List of items for each player to find (optional)
  2. Halloween candy, mini-pumpkins, trinkets, and toys to hide
  3. Good hiding places

Host a Themed Movie Marathon in the Dark (Teen/Adult/Family)

Choose a theme you want to explore (Halloween family, paranormal, zombies, Universal monsters, etc.) and pick out 4-6 of your favorites or never seen before movies to watch alone or with friends for a watch party. Check out my picks for scariest movies to watch on Halloween night

Also, try binge-watching something seriously spooky, such as The Haunting of Hill House or Kingdom on Netflix, America Horror Story on Amazon Prime, or Channel Zero or Creepshow anthologies on Shudder.

 

Halloween Night’s Scream (Teen/Adult)

There is nothing scarier than reading a scary book on Halloween night, in a dimly lit room, with atmospheric music in the background. Don’t believe me? Try one of the best horror books on Refinery 29’s spooky reading list and tell me how it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Dress-up/Dance Party (Teen/Adult)

All dressed up and nowhere to go? Well, that’s why the world wide web was invented! Seeing as most people will be stuck at home this year, I suspect there will be no shortage of online costume contests, virtual dance parties, and ‘show us your costume’ requests on social media. Beware of pervs and internet demons.

 

 

 

Between wishing complete strangers a Happy Halloween, changing costumes, showing off your smart phone’s Halloween filters, and blasting your Halloween playlist loud enough to wake the dead, that should pretty much take up the whole night.

 

 

 

Lights-out Dinner Party* (Adult/Family)

Ever seen those Dining in the Dark events that are supposed to introduce you to the dark, sensory experience? Well, this is basically a mini home version of that. Same experience, without the hefty bill. For home servers, I think the trick is to set the food on the table so you know where everything is before sitting down eat, but there are several methods. Go check out Delishably’s great article with suggestions on how to enhance your dark dining experience.

What you’ll need:

  1. Halloween themed Food/Drinks
  2. Plate covers or tin foil to cover plates of food
  3. Blindfolds/Sleep Masks
  4. Disposable/Plastic dinnerware (Let’s be honest, things could get messy.)
  5. Patience and a sense of humor 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallo-wine Party* (Adult)

The boo’s are the best part of Halloween! Oh, were you thinking ghosts, cuz I was talking ’bout the vino!

Set up wine stations in different areas of the room/home and rotate periodically, ensuring each person has a chance to taste wines. Try to pick new wines or wines you haven’t drunk before. Then, dim the lights, put on a spooky playlist, and have fun!

Remember to wear a mask when not eating/drinking, and social distance as much as possible.

What you’ll need:

  1. Wine – If everyone brings a bottle, that’s at least six different wines to taste.
  2. Cheese, crackers, fruit, bite-size desserts, other Halloween snacks
  3. Mini pencils/slips of paper (tasting slips) for people to rate wines
  4. Halloween jar or bowl for the tasting slips
  5. Halloween cups/plates/napkins/flatware
  6. Halloween décor & lights
  7. Halloween Playlist or Halloween background videos, movies, 3D Effects, etc.

 

 

Halloween Drive-up Experiences (Adult/Family)

Covid-19 isn’t scaring some folks. There are a number of Haunters across the USA that plan to host a drive-up experience throughout the month of October. Below are some links to events in SoCal. Check your local listings for such events in your area.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride Drive-up Experience https://losangeleshauntedhayride.com/

Haunt ‘O Ween in Woodland Hills https://www.hauntoweenla.com/

The Haunted Barnyard in Santa Clarita https://www.gentlebarn.org/gdrive/gdrive-california-haunted-barnyard/

Urban Legends Haunt in Orange County https://urbanlegendshaunt.com/

The Scream Zone in San Diego https://thescreamzone.com/

 

*All suggested parties are for household members or six people or less. Remember to drink responsibly, wear a mask (when necessary), and stay at least 6 feet apart to practice good social distancing.

 

 

 

Happy September!

I think we can all agree that Covid-19 pandemic has really upended our lives and changed how we socially interact with one another. I think that’s what makes the BER months so special is that it gives people the opportunity to celebrate the meaningful things in life. September has always been about the return to traditions and renewed hope in putting aside differences, coming together, and celebrating the community.

That feeling of camaraderie and goodwill only increases as the BER months continue. So, while it may be easy to get lost in despair over the current state of affairs of the nation, the easiest way to make the world a better place is to concentrate on bringing peace and love into our own lives and neighborhoods.

The Halloween 2020 season was always meant to be an auspicious event. Coronavirus threatens our community, dampens our spirits, and aims to spoil our fun, so it’s more important than ever to honor our dead and celebrate our holiday traditions. While it’s true that there will be scaled back public activities, Halloween is still very much on! That’s why this year, Halloween Haiku will be promoting Halloween at Home, a spooky night of fun and revelry from your very own couch.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, I encourage everyone to wear masks while out in public and practice a safe and social-distanced Halloween. All throughout the month of September, I’ll be sharing tips and suggestions on how to have a fun and safe Halloween, in lieu of trick-or-treating and big parties.

Later this month, I’m going to reveal details on the 2nd Annual Halloween Haiku Challenge, and the schedule for 31 Days of Halloween, the yearly celebration of the haunting season, which happens every October.

Have a safe and happy Halloween season!

Recipe of the Month – November: Cranberry Crisp

Since November’s Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving, I’m breaking my own rule and posting a recipe this week.

Let’s be honest, next to green bean casserole, cranberry sauce is the least desirable dish on the holiday table. I suspect that’s because it’s so plain. Well, I found a recipe that might spruce up the trimmings, thanks to the good people over at Gimme Some Oven and their recipe for Cranberry Crisp.

CranberryCrisp3 GimmeSomeOven
Photo ©GimmeSomeOven

INGREDIENTS

CRANBERRY FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 ounces (about 6 cups) fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of one orange

CRISPY OATMEAL TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios…you pick!)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup flour (or almond meal)
  • pinch of salt and ground cinnamon

For the full recipe and baking instructions, please go here: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cranberry-crisp/

CranberryCrisp GimmeSomeOven
Photo ©GimmeSomeOven

Now, instead of a boring side dish, you can serve a sweet and healthy dessert. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to really make it pop!

 

Sinister Saturdays – Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

Happy National Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkins are the most important element of the Halloween season. It is the symbol of Halloween itself. Pumpkin desserts have been getting a bad rap lately because of pricey, syrupy pumpkin spice drinks served at the coffee place that shall not be named, but pumpkins themselves are quite healthy, being high in potassium, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. So, remember to look up some creative ways to use leftover parts of your carved pumpkin this weekend.

Cooking Classy knows the perfect way to end the Halloween season with this fangtastic recipe for Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars.

pumpkin_pie_crumb_bars13.

Ingredients (12 servings)

  • 1 1/4 cups (176g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (116g) quick oats (old fashioned works too)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (105g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (55g) packed-light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (296g) canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) evaporated milk or half and half
  • Sweetened whipped cream and cinnamon , for serving (optional)

For the full recipe and baking instructions, please go here: https://www.cookingclassy.com/pumpkin-pie-crumb-bars/

 

Spice up your Thanksgiving by serving these crumb bars instead of boring ole pumpkin pie. Your family will thank you.

Friday Fright Nightcaps – Frankenstein Cocktail

Today is the last Friday in October, which means it’s National Frankenstein Friday! Weary from the work week? Well, give your system a jolt with a spookalicious drink to kick off the last big weekend of the Halloween season.  Miss Information teaches us that science can be fun with this freaky good Frankenstein Cocktail.

halloween-frankenstein-cocktail-gummy-eyeballs

Ingredient List
  • gummy eyeballs
  • ice
  • black sanding sugar
  • 2 Shots Vodka
  • 1 Shot Triple Sec
  • 1 Shot Rose’s Lime Juice

For full mixing instructions, please go here:  https://www.missinformationblog.com/halloween-cocktails/

Hey all you scientists, if you prefer your monsters to be a little more green (or blue or purple or whatever), a dab of food coloring should help.