Not-So-Scary Halloween Giveaway

Is everyone busy getting ready for Halloween? You Can Make This has a ton of projects and ideas for Halloween and all occasions!

And this week I’m happy to announce that you can win a $50 bundle of Halloween downloads from You Can Make This! This is the perfect prize for all you crafty ladies out there, and if you’re a little crafty-challenged, then you could pass it on to the crafter in your life!

Your $50 Bundle of Halloween downloads will include the following books:

Fancy Filled Tutu with Bonus 40 Tutu “Recipes”

Pumpkin Polly Patterns

Paper Piecing Project: Pumpkin Patch Pillow

Frayed Applique: Too Cute to Spook!

Little Miss Spider Applique Patterns

How to Applique the Easy Way

Hocus Pocus Patterns

Just a Little Something for a Happy Halloween Table Runner

One Simply Sweet Home reader will win this $50 bundle of “No So Scary” Halloween ebooks from You Can Make This. To win visit You Can Make This and leave a comment on this post, telling us an idea or project that you would like to try.

Giveaway Closed. Thanks for entering!


My Fall Decorations & Happy Halloween

We got the house all decorated for Halloween/Thanksgiving. I was very happy with the way everything looked. I used the 2 scarecrows/leaves/pumpkins I bought last year. (see last years post on fall decor tips here.) I also added 3 more scarecrows, a couple more pumpkins, a wreath, and some potted chrysanthemums. And I have an electric jack-o-lantern to put out on Halloween night.

Oddly enough, it was my husband that actually suggested that we get more scarecrows so we’d have one for each post. I had no idea how festive he could be. But when we got the scarecrows home, we realized that we actually needed one more, but we may just wait till next year for that.

I also have to brag on my husband again, not only for helping put up all the decorations but for coming up with the idea of how we were going to stand the scarecrows up against the porch posts without them falling down. (Bungee cords/tie downs. They work brilliantly, and the colors of them blend in well. From a distance you can’t even see them. And up close, it just looks like the scarecrows have a belt on.)

And finally, I have to ask that you please excuse the look of the actual porch. The previous owners painted the concrete a few times, and we still fix it, and we also have to install some new rails and paint the shutters. I told my husband laughingly, “The porch rails are missing, and the concrete looks terrible, but we have scare crows!” lol. Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Immediate right of walkway/step. Behind this scarecrow, you can see the new wreath we got, a small scarecrow and string of leaves on the window.

Immediately to the left of the walkway/step.

Front of the house. I wanted to get the whole house in the picture, but then you can’t see the scarecrows as good.

This green one is my favorite for some reason.

Happy Halloween!

Tea Cakes for Halloween

A while back I purchased a huge set of cookie cutters, but with all the chaos of moving and everything else, I had not yet gotten the chance to use them. With Halloween upon us, I felt it was the perfect time to try them out.

When I was a kid it was always a big treat whenever we got to make tea cakes. At my house we only made them occasionally, so I probably would have forgotten about them entirely, except that my grandma used to make them too, and I also remember going over to my aunt’s house and “helping” her make them.

The only problem is that I didn’t have “the” recipe for them, and so I found myself perusing cookbooks and trying to decide which one of the half dozen recipes I wanted to try. The recipe I tried turned out pretty well. The taste and the texture are slightly different from what I remember, but all-in-all, it’s a pretty good cookie. (However, if I try another recipe in the future and it turns out better, I’ll be posting it too!)

To give them a bit of festive, Halloween styling, I cut them out in the shapes of pumpking, ghosts, and cats. And for fun, I decorated some of them using chocolate chips. It was tempted to go all out and put a bunch of sprinkles or icing on them too, but I think these taste better without all that extra stuff.

Tea Cake Recipe:

3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup water or milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla


Cream sugar, margarine, shortening, water or milk. Add beaten eggs and vanilla. Add flour a little a time until completely mixed in. Roll onto floured pastry sheet. Cut with cookie cutter and bake on greased cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 8 to minutes. (similar recipes also say 350 for 10-15 minutes) Note: This recipe makes around 2 dozen cookies, give or take a few, depending upon what size cutters you use.

Halloween Treats That Will Leave Them Screaming for More

Here’s another links & pics post. This week I’ve looked up some “witchy” desserts to post for Halloween. If you’re looking for a Halloween party dessert or just something fun to fix for your family, you’re sure to find something here. I think I’ve pretty much covered all the bases so that there’s something for everybody, from the simple to the more complex recipes, from a little bit of sweetness to the decidantly rich. And if you don’t like these, there are a lot more choices on the sites where I found these.

Don’t you all just love looking at all the fun ideas out there? My hat goes off to all the people that actually come up with these projects. I just wish I had the time (& money for all the ingredients) to try them all. But I’m sure in the future, after we have our kids, I’ll get the chance to try just a few at least.

Jack-o-Lantern Cake – This is one of my favorites out of all the desserts I looked at. It’s just lovely and very professional looking!

Ghost Cupcakes – I just had to post these up because I honestly wouldn’t have known they were cupcakes if they had not been labeled as such.

Halloween Pumpkin Bars – I’m not a fan of pumpkin myself, but I thought these were cute, not to mention very simple. And I suppose, if you’re like me and aren’t exactly a pumpkin fan either, you could use this same concept with brownies or some other kind of cake/bar.

Scarecrow Cake – Similar to the Jack-o-lantern cake, the decorations on this scarecrow cake are waffle cones and fruit roll ups. Very cute! And this one will be a great Thanksgiving cake as well. Or if you know any Wizard of Oz Fans (my nephew loves the scarecrow!) this would be a cute birthday cake too!

Scarecrow & Spider Cupcakes – I thought these cupcakes were very funny looking & they’re pretty easy to decorate too.

Mini Pumpkin Spice Cakes – I’d say these are a little more “adult” but it’s very pretty and festive looking! Could be great to serve at a party or family gathering or to take to work.

Chocolate Chip Werewolf Cookies – I think it’s safe to say that all the kids will love these. These very elaborately decorated werewolf cookies are actually very easy to make and decorate with assorted candies.

Related Posts: Great Snacks for Halloween, Sweet Treats for Day of the Dead, Simply Sweet Recipe – Spider Cupcakes, Candy Apples: Photos & Links

Recipe of the Week: Sweet Jack-o’-laterns

I got this really cute treat in my email last week, and I thought it would be a great recipe to feature as the recipe of the week. The idea comes from Taste of home and they call them Sweet Jack-o’-lanterns. These would be such a great treat to take to a school Halloween party or serve at home.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I love sweet treats, especially if they are easy to make and decorate (since I’m not much of an artist), and this definitely fits that mold. It’s something you can make even if you’re short on time, and it’s easy enough that you could even get the kids in on the action. And you can make something that’s very fun and professional looking without spending a lot of money and without having to be a culinary artist. Excellent!

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix or cake mix of your choice
3-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 to 3/4 cup milk
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons orange paste food coloring
12 gumdrops
12 black jujubes
Directions: Prepare and bake cake according to package directions for cupcakes. Fill 24 greased muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350┬░ for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. For frosting, in a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, butter and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Stir in food coloring. Cut a thin slice off the top of each cupcake. Spread frosting on 12 cupcakes. Invert remaining cupcakes and place on top; frost top and sides. For stems, place one gumdrop on each pumpkin. Cut jujubes into thin slices; use a bottom slice for each mouth. From remaining slices, cut one large triangle and two smaller ones. Position two small triangles and a large triangle on each cupcake for eyes and nose. Yield: 1 dozen.

Easy & Inexpensive Halloween Costume Ideas

When I first started the blog last year, I began writing down a ton of post ideas, and of course once you start writing them all down, you never can get to them all. Anyway, I came across a list of “easy” Halloween costumes last year, and it prompted me to make my own list.

Most of these ideas, you can actually buy a costume for at Wal-mart or a costume store, but they can also be made using items you have around the house, or at least partially in addition to buying one or two accent pieces or props. Either way, these costumes are easy and inexpensive, and a few of the them would be quite interesting to see!

Witch/Wizard – wear all black, plus at a hat & broom.
Angel – wear all white, plus wings and a halo, which can be purchased at a costume store, or make your using wire (such as from a coat hanger) and cover it with material (for the wings) and glitter (for the halo.
Doctor wear a labcoat and carry a toy/home stethoscope
Jailbird – wear black/white stripes
Cat – wear all black, and purchase ears/tail from costume shop, or make your own
Leopard/Tiger – same as cat, except wear the color of print for the animal you desire
Devil – dress in red, wear a cape/horns/tail. and carry a pitchfork
Cow – a friend of mine had a very cute homemade cow costumes. the pants were made from cowprint fabric, and then she wore a white sweatshirt and hotglued black spots made from felt onto it. (this could be done to make the pants if you can’ts sew)
Vampire – dress in black, and wear a cape & vampire teeth
Ghost – wear a white sheet. And for fun, if you have an old sheet that you never use anymore, you can cut a bunch of holes in it, and be Charlie Brown dressed as a ghost.
Cop – black pants & button up shirt, plus carry a badge & gun
Mail carrier – Wear Navy shorts & blue shirt (or wear brown and go as a UPS man)
Farmer – wear overalls or jeans with a plaid shirt, and perhaps a hat
Baby/kid – wear pajamas and put your hair in pigtails, carry a stuffed animal
Caesar -use a sheet or white material to make a toga, and wear a wreath on your head and sandals on your feet.
Athlete or Fan – wear a jersey of your favorite time. To dress as a fan, paint your face and carry a sign.
French Maid – Black dress/apron
Waitress – same as french maid, only with different colors
Tv Character – maybe someone from the Brady Bunch or Saved by the Bell, or perhaps The Fonz – just wear clothes from that time period

And now for a few unique concepts:
Store Shelf – save food boxes or other items and attach them to a piece of poster board, and attach the poster board to yourself (use pins or tie around you with string)
Bouquet of Flowers – buy several bunches of fake flowers & attach them to an old sweatshirt
Stop sign – make a big stop sign out of red poster board and attach it to your clothes
Playing Card -same concept as stop sign, only make a playing card design
Leftover – wrap yourself in tin foil
Block of Cream Cheese – wrap a box in tin foil, then cut holes in the box for your head/arms.
Mr. Clean – Jeans, white t-shirt, earring, and perhaps carry a mop or shirt. (I always joke with my dad, who’s hairless, that he should dress as Mr. Clean) I also think it would be cute to make a costume for other advertising icons like Mrs. Butterworth, the Pillsbury Doughboy, or perhaps a character from some Cereal commercial.
Blogger – This one would be funny & cute, if you have the stuff to do it with. Either use a kid’s toy laptop, or make something that looks like a laptop (maybe get a pizza box or cereal box and paint it). And then just find a way to attach it to your hip!

Candy Apples: Photos & Links

Fall is the time for Halloween and the country fair, and no county fair or Halloween party is complete without candy apples. I looked around the internet and found several sites that might be of interest to you. They include instructions/recipes to make candy apples, and they feature a variety of different kinds that you can make. (funny, growing up I’d only ever heard of 3 kinds: the caramel ones, the red ones, and the ones with nuts.)

Each link is described below, and as a bonus I posted a few delicous looking photos for you viewing pleasure.

Ehow – For directions on how to make candy apples – another site that offers instructions on making candy apples (again) – facts & lots of links about candy apples
Cooking Light – learn how to make cinnamon candied apples – Video shows you how to make caramel apples
Wikipedia – the history of candy apples (for nerds like me)
Family Fun shows how to make mini candie apples (pictured below). Very cute!

myrecipes – This site has a gallery of 14 different kinds of candy apples. Below I’ve posted some a few of their photos. Visit their site to learn more about the photos and find out all the different kinds of candy apples you can make.

Personally I like the Granny Smith Apples with caramel, but that’s just me. Though I wouldn’t mind a taste of the chocolate or chocolate-peanut butter, and maybe the toffee flavored!

Cute Invitations for Halloween

I’m finally starting to get my house in order….sort of. And I’m going to try and get back to my postings…though they may be a little disjointed for a while. For something quick and easy I was looking on BHG and found these really cute Halloween party invitations. Handmade invitations are so cute, and the scrapbooking industry has made it so easy to make unique, professional looking invitations.

Lovely Leaves – I love the embelishments on the outside of this invite. This would be a good project not just for Halloween but for any Fall or Thanksgiving activity. I think it would also make a lovely pattern for a fall wedding or shower invitation.

Come Hang Out With Us – I like this invitation because it’s a very simple pattern, but it’s still cute and fun. This one’s my favorite overall.

Shabby Spider Web – I think the shabby/tattered look goes great with the spider webs. It makes me think of a haunted house.

Dancing Skeleton – I really like the embellishments on this invite. It’s very bright, colorful, and professional looking, yet it can be made with just a few simple pieces of scrapbook materials.

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

  1. Stay in well lit areas.
  2. Only trick or treat in neighborhoods you are familiar with.
  3. If you live in an area where you don’t have a lot of neighbors, take your kids to a safe neighborhood where a friend or family member lives, or go to a safe neighborhood near a school or church.
  4. If you have older kids who are going out without a chaperone, have them to go in groups, and remind them to stay together.
  5. Set a curfew time for kids who are going out without a parent.
  6. Have the kids wear comfortable walking shoes.
  7. Make sure their costumes are not dragging on the ground.
  8. Remind the kids to stay out of the road and to watch for cars.
  9. Make sure your child’s costume doesn’t cover their eyes or blur their vision.
  10. If your kid is carrying a sword, wand, pitchfork, or some other prop, make sure that the object is not sharp enough for him/her to injure himself/herself or others.
  11. Remind kids to walk and not run in order to avoid falling in the dark.
  12. Make sure your kids know not to eat any candy until you have inspected and okayed it.
  13. Don’t let your kids go out after dark unless they are chaperoned or in a group.
  14. Have your kids carry a flashlight or glow stick so that they can see where they are going and avoid tripping/falling and so that they can be seen by cars.
  15. Don’t allow small children to have hard candy or suckers.

Sweet Treats for Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” is a tradition in hispanic cultures dating back some 2500-3000 years. It is a celebration in remembrance of the dead. November first is known as All Saints Day, and it honors children who have died, while November second, All Souls Day, is celebrated in honor of deceased adults. It is believed that the spirits of the dead will visit their relatives on Dia de los Muertos, and in honor of the dead, the families prepare an alter and leave offerings.

Though it is a Mexican holiday, it has spread and is now celebrated in areas all over the world. In fact, several Mexican communities in the United States now hold Day of the Dead celebrations. Some of these celebrations are said be very traditional, while others are a blend of Mexican and American culture.

Today chocolate skulls and coffins and other Halloween treats compete with the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead cuisine, but the traditional sweets of Dia de los Muertos are still known to be very delicious. In celebration of this holiday or as a special Halloween treat try making your own sugar skulls or Mexican sweet bread, called pan de muertos.