Halloween

Halloween Tip: Cheap, Effective Vampire Teeth

So, in true Aaron fashion he decides to leave his costume for the Halloween party we are going to until the day before. He decided he wanted to go as a gentleman vampire and had us spend hours walking through town to find the parts he needed. The one thing that took up a lot of time was deciding what kind of vampire teeth he was going to have, we looked at the cheap Poundshop ones and scrolled through Amazon looking for Prime delivered teeth but they were all too expensive or looked like they wouldn’t last – that’s when we decided to make our own.

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Top 5 Halloween Family Films

Halloween Family Films

 

Halloween if my all time favourite holiday of the year, I often wish that I lived in America just because of how seriously they take it over there. Here I have to settle to taking my son around to a few houses trick or treating and curling up on the sofa with a few films – I did get married on Halloween so sometimes that is replaced by a nice meal out but only if the child has gone to his grandparents. With this in mind I took to The Money Shed Forum to ask it’s members what their all time favourite Halloween family films were – if you pop over to the thread you will also see that a few members have a strange definition of a “family film”.

5 – Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

The first of two musical delights in this top 5 Halloween family films line up (that might give you a clue to the number 1 spot). This isn’t your typical horror film but it got a few votes from the guys over on the forum (aka The Shedders).

If you have a thing for giant singing Venus fly traps with a taste for human blood then you will love this film which will see you singing “Feed Me” until Christmas. Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) is a nerdy, hopeless romantic with a HUGE crush on his fellow worker, Audrey. When he finds an unidentified plant, which he calls Audrey II, in his florist all of this changes. It turns out that Audrey II can only survive if he is fed blood which presents a problem for Seymour – how can he satisfy this plants needs?

 

 

4 – The Witches (1990)

This was a surprising entry when it popped up as a suggestion, I’d never really thought of the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” as a Halloween film but thinking back to my childhood is was a freaking scary film. Also, being called “The Witches” would make you assume it was a perfect Halloween flick.

Could you imagine a world without children? The noise, mess and smells would disappear which is perfect for the Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston) and her fellow witches who decide it is about time that children just disappeared. Unluckily for her she didn’t count on a young boy named Luke (Jasen Fisher) and his grandmother (Mai Zetterling) being there to stop her wicked plans. Don’t let her turn you into a mouse.

 

 

3 – Ghostbusters/Ghostbusters 2 (1984/1989)

Who you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS! What better film to stick on during the Halloween festivities than one about ghosts and the only guys capable of stopping them. I couldn’t really list one without the other (and The Shedders didn’t specify which) so here they are – both of them.

Three paranormal professors (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis) lose their funding at the university the work at so decide to set up their own ghost removal service. After buying an abandoned fire station, hiring a receptionist (Annie Potts) and recruiting their fourth Ghostbuster (Ernie Hudson) they take to the streets of New York trying to save the day. Their choice in career soon goes from chasing ghostly librarians and gluttonous ghouls to battling ancient beings who want to take over and destroy the world!

 

 

2 – Hocus Pocus (1993)

I put a spell on you, well I’ll leave that to the Sanderson sisters as that is what they are good at. Personally, it is hard to for me to decide which is the better film out of Hocus Pocus and what was chosen as the number 1 film. This will always have a place in my heart as it brings back found family memories – I was always Mary (brown hair and over weight haha)

17th Century witches, the Sanderson sisters Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary (Kathy Najimy) are sucking the life from children in order to stay young and beautiful forever, well until they are discovered and hung for their crimes. Luckily for them they cast a curse to be brought back to life; which they are 300 years later in modern day Salem. Teenagers Max and Alison along with Max’s little sister Dani and an immortal cat set on the mission to ensure these witches don’t see it past the next sunrise. 

 

 

1 – The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

There is often confusion as to whether The Nightmare before Christmas is a Halloween or a Christmas film but recently it’s director Henry Selick has confirmed that the film, written by Tim Burton is in fact a Halloween film; this doesn’t mean we can’t watch it for both holidays though 😉

This animated and musical wonder has the typical Tim Burton style that we have all come to love since Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice hit the big screens. It also features the amazing music by the legend that is Danny Elfman. The story is basically about the king of Halloween, Jack Skellington (acting voiced by Chris Sarandon and singing voice by Danny Elfman), who is bored of doing the same thing each year; he wants more. These leads him to go exploring and finds a door to each holidayland – he steps through the Christmasland door and becomes obsessed with the holiday to the point of kidnapping and trying to replace Santa Claus.

 

 

There are so many other great Halloween family films that didn’t make it into the top 5 such as Corpse Bride, The Haunted Mansion, Casper, Frankenweenie and Scooby Doo 2 – Monsters Unleashed; all of them can be found on Amazon Prime (30 day FREE trial). Do you have a favourite that isn’t listed here? Let me know in the comments.

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Pumpkins – What to do with them

October, I love everything about it – the colours, the weather, the fact it is Halloween (and my wedding anniversary) and the food! I bought my first Halloween pumpkin last weekend, it was a BEAST for £3 from Sainsbury’s and it was worth every penny. The poor Halloween pumpkin is often wasted once it hits the shops with most people only using it to carve and leave out on the 31st. There are so many wonderful things you can do with this bright orange beauty!

 

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Roast pumpkin seeds

This is the only reason my husband buys pumpkins, he loves nothing more than snacking on the super tasty and extremely healthy seeds inside. They are super easy to do too.

Removed seeds from the pumpkin, discarding all the goopy insides.

Rinse them under warm water to make sure all the gunk is off them.

Put them in a pan of very salty water – most recipes say 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to every cup of seeds.

Boil them for 10 minutes.

Drain and dry them on kitchen roll.

Prepare a baking tray with baking parchment and about a tablespoon of olive oil (spread across the tray).

Add seeds to tray and rub in the oil, bake for 5-15 minutes in a medium hot oven (I do 200oC Fan) or until the seeds have browned.

Allow to cool and enjoy.

You can use them to top salads, in smoothies or simply as a tasty snack.

 

Pumpkin, Apple and Ginger Soup

pumpkin, apple and ginger soup

This extremely tasty and warming soup is perfect for those colder nights. The best part about this quick and easy recipe is that it has a 0 (ZERO) Weight Watchers pro points value per serving and my son loved it.

Ingredients for 4 servings.

10 sprays of calorie controlled cooking spray

1 medium onion – chopped

1 medium apple (any kind) – chopped

1 small carrot – chopped

2 teaspoons of fresh ginger root

450g pumpkin – deseeded, peeled and chopped

2 Gluten-free vegetable stock cubes – prepared with 850mls of hot water (if not it won’t be 0pp)

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt and black pepper

Instructions

Heat the cooking spray in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, apple and carrot for 3 – 4 minutes, until softened.

Add the ginger and stir well.

Add the pumpkin and stock to the saucepan.

Bring to the boil, then simmer gently without a lid for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.*

Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and blend for 15 seconds, or until smooth.

Return to the saucepan, reheat and season to taste with allspice or nutmeg, salt and pepper.

*I precooked all of my pumpkin as I used it for a few dishes so instead of adding it to the other vegetables and boiling for 20 mins, I added it for the last 5 minutes to warm it through.

 

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Until this week I had never tried pumpkin pie, I had always wanted to but never got round to it. It is delicious and if you like egg custard then you will love it too.

Ingredients (8 servings, 8 pro points per serving)

750g pumpkin or butternut squash – peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks

350g sweet shortcrust pastry (I used Sainsburys’ ready-rolled pastry)

Plain flour, for dusting

140g caster sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg – grated

1 teaspoon cinnamon

eggs – beaten

25g butter – melted

175ml milk

1 tablespoon icing sugar

Instructions

Place the pumpkin in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins or until tender. Drain pumpkin; let cool.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 15 mins. Line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is pale golden and biscuity. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. Mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine. Pour into the tart shell and cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Continue to bake for 35-40 mins until the filling has just set.

Leave to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled.

I found that I had so much pumpkin left over from this beauty that I also added it to a chicken stew one night, attempted (and failed) at a batch of pumpkin muffins and was able to freeze enough for more meals in the future after I puréed it. A Halloween pumpkin really isn’t just for one day, enjoy them while they are here and don’t forget that there are many types of pumpkin and squash that have their own unique flavours and quirks – it is an amazing vegetable!