Tasty Tuesday–The Nightmare Before Christmas Cookbook

For the month of October, Ladybug and I decided to make recipes from The Nightmare Before Christmas cookbook. Our goal was to make one dinner a week (three total recipes each, from either drinks, side dishes, main courses, or desserts), plus a special Halloween meal. We met our goal, and made a few bonus recipes, too! Not only did we make something from each section of the cookbook, we made all of the drink recipes! Every single thing we tried was excellent, and we have some new family favorites that we’re looking forward to making again!

  • Vampire Brothers Bloody Party Punch
  • Snake and Spider Stew
  • Oogie Boogie Meringues
  • Frog’s Breath Floats
  • Cucumber and Mint Limeade Love Potion
  • Jack Skellington Shepherd’s Pie
  • The Mayor Two-Faced black and white cookies
  • Jack Skellington Black Bean Dip
  • Full Moon Queso Dip
  • Igor Cheesy Breadstick Bones
  • Worm’s Wort and Frog’s Breath Soup
  • Lock, Shock, and Barrel Spiral Peppermint Cookie Pops
  • Mummy Boy Dogs
  • Oogie Boogie Bag of Bugs
  • Christmas Town Gingerbread Snowflakes with Spiders
  • Homemade Christmas Eggnog
  • The Mayor Chocolate Pretzel Spiderwebs 
  • Halloween Town Band Zombie Mocktail
  • Oogie Boogie Pasta Worms
  • Oogie Boogie Double Chocolate Dirt Cake
  • Witches Cauldron Brew
  • Christmas Tree Empanadas
  • Sally Patchwork Layer Cake

This has been a really fun cookbook to work our way through, and I’m looking forward to trying even more of the recipes in the future! Eventually, I hope we’ll get around to some of the craft projects in the book, too!

Return of the Boo Bucket

I’m pretty sure that every child of the 80s remembers the McDonald’s “Boo Bucket.” You know, the Halloween pails that came with the Happy Meal around Halloween? I know they’ve been rereleased through the years, but there was something about this year’s offer that really spoke to me…maybe it’s simply because it’s been a pretty long time since they were last available. Whatever the reason, I was tickled when Ryan came home with the ghost, and he even filled it with candy!

A Spirited Journey Through Halloween History

Yesterday we went back to Legends and Lanterns in St. Charles, MO, for the first time since 2019!

It is always a good day when we visit St. Charles, and yesterday the weather was especially perfect! Some things were different from our last visit (we really kind of missed collecting a sticker or stamp of some sort from the characters to prove we had seen them), but most things were the same.

We were there just in time to see the Angry Villagers take to the streets to warn the gathering crowd of the monsters lurking on Main:

The cast of characters was excellent. We didn’t see them all (we never do), but we visited with most of our old favorites:

We don’t tend to take as many pictures with the characters at Legends and Lanterns as we do at Christmas Traditions, but we did get a few:

There were some very clever entries at Scarecrow Glen:

The storefront signs in St. Charles never disappoint:

I will never pass up an opportunity to take a picture of the Fab Five!

We missed out on Legends and Lanterns in 2020 because of the pandemic…last year, we simply couldn’t find time. I’m really glad we made time to visit this year, because it’s so much fun!

Reformation Day/Halloween 2021

Today was the rare occasion where Reformation Day/Halloween actually falls on a Sunday. We started the day at church, where we enjoyed some especially amazing music featuring hymns written by Martin Luther:

We went for a short walk in Forest Park after the service, where we enjoyed the beautiful fall colors (in spite of the wind):

I was so excited to pick up a box of Monster Mash cereal for the Fab Five for breakfast!

This afternoon, we watched The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time, as well as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. For dinner, I made potato-parsnip soup, cheese and jam turnovers, and butterbeer…it was the perfect meal for today!

Dessert was the Jell-O Halloween Special, as advertised by Harlow Wilcox in the 1940s…”Looks like a dish of sunshine all dressed up, doesn’t it?”

I chose my costume in Animal Crossing: New Horizons with great care…I’m a hot dog!

I tracked down the Czar of Halloween right away.

I think my neighbors enjoyed the festivities, too!

This was a busier Halloween than most for us, and it was a very fun day!

Costumes, Animal Crossing Style

Jack, the Czar of Halloween, will be visiting in just a week…here’s a look at some costume ideas I came up with that seem equal to the event. (My personal favorite for this year is the hot dog suit.)

And just for fun, a Roald cosplay I put together. The beak isn’t quite right, but I think it’s a pretty good approximation, don’t you?

What costume are you planning on wearing this year?

Halloween in the Time of COVID-19

Halloween is the one holiday this year that looks pretty much the same to us, since our celebrations are always minimal at best. But I still wanted to make the day special, so I went to some extra effort with our meals.

We started the day with pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls. Yes, they were from a can, but they were still a treat!

I chose all of the elements of our dinner from our Harry Potter cookbook. We had braised lamb, Brussels sprouts, boiled potatoes, mashed parsnips, and butterbeer.

Dessert also came from the Harry Potter cookbook…a chocolate gateau.

We spent the day watching movies (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, because it’s about candy, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, plus we listened to my favorite Halloween episode of The Baby Snooks Show. And of course, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was played!

Another holiday in the time of COVID-19 has come and gone, but the big ones are still on the horizon!

A Markel Family…Halloween?

As a family, we’ve never been into Halloween. Not once have the children dressed up and gone trick-or-treating, nor have they gone to any Halloween parties. Sure, we visit the pumpkin patch every year, and we listen to the Baby Snooks 1946 Halloween special and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown multiple times every October. But come October 31st each year, we celebrate Reformation Day instead of Halloween.

Kind of. As the years have gone by, we’ve edged a little closer to a traditional Halloween celebration. I think it all started with Legends and Lanterns, which we’ve visited faithfully every year since its inception. While we still don’t go trick-or-treating (and honestly, we only have one, maybe two children who are still of the age for doing so, anyway!), we have carved a pumpkin (an activity that the children thought was fun to try once, but have no desire to do again!). We’ve also started having a special dinner featuring recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. So I thought this year, I’d take a look at how we’ve come to celebrate Halloween.

Halloween breakfast has always featured either Cap’n Crunch’s Halloween Crunch or one of the General Mills Monster Cereals. This year, it was Franken Berry (while we listened to Baby Snooks):

I also found a special treat to go with lunch…pumpkin pie Rice Krispies Treats:

Of course I had the perfect outfit for the occasion:

And a “Little Luther” thrown in, because it is still Reformation Day, after all!

On to our feast for the day. I made one favorite recipe from the cookbook (pumpkin fizz), and tried three new options…”ghoul”-ash (I came up with that version of the name, and I’m rather proud of it!), and glazed carrots for dinner, and chocolate eclairs for dessert. They were all delicious!

We spent the day watching our favorite movies and TV shows that fit the theme…Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Bewitched, The Simpsons, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch (we watched Meet Me in St. Louis recently, which is a family favorite, and has a great Halloween scene, so we didn’t watch it again today, although we often do on Halloween).

So that’s our not-really-Halloween, Halloween celebration. It’s still not my favorite holiday, but I really do love the fun ways we’ve found to put our own spin on it, and it’s definitely something I’ve come to look forward to each October!