Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween, All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day

Happy Halloween! 
Halloween kicks off my favorite time of year!  I love fall and I love holidays in general.  If you haven't by now I highly recommend visiting a pumpkin or apple farm.  This is a great opportunity to teach children where some of our food comes from and just have a great family experience.  Kids love sensory experiences.  Take that pumpkin home and allow them to dig in it before you carve, especially since it will probably be you who is carving. Decorate your home to reflect the season.  We put gourds, hay, pumpkins and mums on our porch.  
Our front porch ready for trick or treaters!
We have several fun decorations in our home as well and I even have a Day of the Dead little guy.  I am not an expert on the holiday nor are we Hispanic.  To learn more check out this site Day of the Dead.

I don't want to get into the whole debate on whether or not Catholics should celebrate Halloween etc.  I find it fun!  I enjoy it.   I say the St. Micheal's Prayer and then feel safe and protected from anything evil so I don't worry.   Halloween is originally a Christian holiday starting with Day of the Dead and ending on All Soul's Day.  I have heard many stories about how jack-o-lanterns and costumes were originally used to ward off bad spirits.  If that is true then they are fine with me!  We keep Halloween light and fun in our home.  This year we are being characters from one of our favorite shows (Game of Thrones) and plan on passing out candy and other treats.  I say other treats because as someone who is gluten free I have discovered just how serious allergies can be.  So this year I am participating in the teal pumpkin project. We painted a pumpkin teal and this means families know we are an allergy friendly house.  We have some small toys I bought in the dollar section of Target to give out to kids.  Then we plan on having dinner and going to a local "water hole" for a costume contest and date night.

What's on the Halloween menu? Last night I made some gluten free pumpkin muffins.  We ate them for breakfast this morning.  They were amazing.  I also made some mini loafs with the batter and plan on taking one to our neighbor.  On my way to work this morning I picked up a Frankin Frap at Starbucks!  So yummy!
 If Starbucks is not your thing or you are to cold for a Frappuccino there is always apple or pumpkin tea.  I personally am not a fan of the pumpkin spice latte.  (please don't hate!)  Tonight I making a pumpkin risotto and grilling some salmon.  And of course for dessert lots of candy!  In my preschool lab the high school student teachers and I made Mummy dogs and Frankenstein pudding cups.  This year being that Halloween is on a Friday you could also do pumpkin shaped pizzas.  Now that dinner is prepped time to trick or treat!  Make sure you are safe!  Check out the Center for Disease Control's safety suggestions.

What about if you cannot wear a costume to work?  There are Halloween shirts all over the place.  My favorite place to shop for them is Target.  Khol's had some really cute jewelry too.  I also made this cute ruffle scarf  (and you can see my Day of the Dead guy! Isn't he cute?)

All Saint's Day 

All Saint's Day is on November 1.  Normally it is a holy day of obligation, however in the U.S. at least because it lands on the weekend it is not.  That does not mean it shouldn't be not be celebrated!  I never could be this creative on my own so I am going to refer you to one of my favorite sites Catholic Icing.  I fully intend on living on this site once I have children of my own!  As for now we actually have a party to go to on Saturday night.  However if you want to celebrate in your own home consider praying to each family member's patron saint and having a feast like dinner. Prepare a special dinner and dessert.  Watch a movie about a favorite saint or learn more about your patron saints.  If you have not already dedicate your family or home to a particular saint for the year and learn about that saint.  God will guide you to the saint your family needs.  

All Soul's Day

November 2 is the day we remember the dead and in particular pray for those that may still be in purgatory.  Traditional foods would be soul foods.  Pea soup would be a great fall recipe to have on this day. Check out this recipe to include the tastes of fall: Pumpkin Pea Soup.  This is not a holy day of obligation however if you have family that has gone to the Lord in the last year most likely the church where the funeral mass was at will have a special mass.  Also take the children to the cemetery. Teach children that this is a holy place and not a place to be afraid of.  Take out old family albums and share stories with your children or spouse about your relatives who have passed on.  Keep your family stories alive.  Pray to and for the dead.  They need our prayers too.   
My beautiful mother on her wedding day.  She died from breast cancer when I was 10.  

Last picture with my dad before he passed away.  Taken at our engagement party.

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