It has become a tradition in our family to have a Pumpkin Carving Party each fall a few weeks before Halloween. I LOVE this holiday, so hosting this is one of the highlights of fall for me. I always make my delicious chili recipe (which my husband keeps under lock and key...well, almost) and we have lots of fun fall treats to go along with it. Everyone brings their own pumpkin and we spend the afternoon carving, then enjoy dinner together. (This year was even capped off watching the Kansas City Royals yet another playoff game - EEK! It has been nearly 30 years since this last occurred, so the buzz created by this is really a big deal!)
I love decorating the house for our annual party. I made the tassel garland you see in the picture above from tissue paper and the burlap wreath below. I recently painted the mirror frame white and I love it now!
The circle garland above was from Michael's. I tried making my own by punching circles out of scrapbook paper and sewing them together, but I haven't truly figure out my sewing machine and I was not thrilled with my first attempt at this. I will definitely be trying again so that I have a festive garland for other holidays too!
We set up a chili bar in the kitchen and got the chili started in the slow cookers at 9:00 am so that it could cook for most of the day. We also grilled up hot dogs and served some veggies and other accouterments to go along with it. I initially covered the countertop and stove with brown Kraft paper in order to disguise our
ugly vintage laminate counters. However, it definitely made for easy cleanup after the day was through!
One of the absolute BEST parts of the party was that everything was dairy-free. No milk products in sight eased my anxiety about Mason's severe allergy so much. It is unusual for everything to be safe for him at any get-together (except for the ones that involve my nieces and nephew with food allergies too). I am constantly watching out for people touching food that isn't safe and then not watching their hands or touching something that Mason may touch.
Many people don't understand the severity of life-threatening allergies and that the proteins from food they eat remains on their hands when they don't wash. Then they touch something else and transfer the allergen, unknowingly spreading the potential for a severe reaction. Contact with one tiny protein could have a detrimental affect. As an allergy parent, this is on my mind ALL of the time. I know other people don't consider this fact, but when you know the possibilities, it is very difficult to let go of the anxiety. Thankfully, this day was one that was absolutely safe and I had NO worries about a reaction.
Adult beverages included some festive beer and, my favorite, Angry Orchard hard cider. I also made a big batch of my Apple Cider Punch for the kids - they loved it!
A HUGE thanks to my friends at So Delicious Dairy Free for the opportunity to serve some of their brand new products as well! I made candy corn fruit cups for the kids (pineapple and mandarin oranges, topped with CocoWhip Coconut Whipped Topping - YUM!). After dinner, some of us also enjoyed these amazing new festive frozen desserts. Both the Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn flavors are AMAZING! (There are also some Christmas ones coming out soon...we can't wait to try those too!)
My Scarecrow Crunch Trail Mix made a perfect snack item loved by kids and adults alike.
We even made up cute little gift bags for the kids to take home. Thanks to Target's Dollar Spot for the brown paper bags. I had Halloween stamps, ink, and ribbon to fancy them up a bit. We are planning to hand out non-food items to Trick-or-Treaters this year as a way to include kids with food allergies in the festivities safely. I used a few of the pencils, stickers, glow stick bracelets, and Halloween finger puppets I had on hand to fill the bags. I'm sure the little kids loved them. Next time I will plan ahead and pick up something more fun for the older ones too.
Carving pumpkins is fun, but painting them is too. I have a huge variety of craft paints and the kids had a fantastic time painting together!
How awesome is this Superman pumpkin?! My niece did an amazing job on her pumpkin!
I love seeing the unique ideas these kids always come up with. They are so creative.
Hard at work on my pumpkin. It was messy and too awhile, but I love the finished product! Mason jars and fireflies are some of my favorite things. How cute it this?!
Quote of the day from Mason: "This is the best day of my LIFE!" Oh, how I love this boy. :)
I received product from So Delicious Dairy Free for review. All text and opinions are mine alone.