Wishing you a spooky Halloween...


jack-o-lantern window garland

I love Halloween decorations -- my favorite ones are the sweet, wonky paper cut-outs of jack-o-lanterns, bats, spiders, owls, witches & cats made by children.  When I see homemade decorations taped up in windows, I know families with young children must live in those houses.

We usually have bats in our windows, but this year I thought it would be fun to make some jack-o-lantern faces.  Originally, I'd planned to just collage some faces onto orange paper circles, but when I started thinking about the fact that these were going in the windows, I couldn't resist bringing out our stack of translucent window-star waxed paper (available for purchase here and here).  Note: if you don't have window-star paper and you're not interested in purchasing new supplies for this project, just use plain orange craft paper, and your jack-o-lantern faces will look just as sweet.

-- Orange paper
-- Black paper
-- [OPTIONAL] Orange window-star paper (you can buy it here or here)
-- Scissors, glue stick, a hole punch, string and sticky-tape

STEP 1 :: If you are using window-star paper, cut it into ovals approx. 16 cm wide by 15 cm high.

STEP 2 :: Draw and cut out craft-paper pumpkins approx. 18 cm wide, and then cut ovals in the centers of the pumpkins approx. 15 cm wide by 14 cm high. (note: if you are not using the window-star paper, don't worry about cutting out ovals in the centers of your pumpkins.)

STEP 3 :: Apply glue stick around the edges of the ovals in the pumpkin centers and secure the window-star paper in place.

STEP 4 :: Cut out small triangles, rectangles, circles and mouth shapes to suit your fancy.

STEP 5 :: Step away and cook supper while your 6 year old (or any other age child) amuses himself making jack-o-lantern faces.

STEP 7 :: Admire your child's attention to detail, especially in the application of expressive eyebrows.

STEP 8 :: If you plan to use string to hang your jack-o-lanterns, punch 2 holes at the top of each (otherwise you can just tape them up on the window).

STEP 9 :: Stand back to admire the silly faces, knowing that everyone who passes by your house will smile when they see your decorations.

P.S.  If you're a new-ish visitor to my blog and you haven't yet seen my Halloween tutorial for peg doll bats, you can click HERE.



One night, while at university, I neatly won a game of Scrabble against my housemates by landing the word 'quince' on a triple-word-score.  When I lay the word on the board they smirked, insisting that 'quince' was not a word.  I informed them that I had not only cooked but consumed a quince earlier that day while they sat around the kitchen table eating tortilla chips; in response, they shook their fists in fury and swore eternal vengeance.

So this past Sunday, when I spotted a pile of quince at my local farmer's market, I skipped over with glee, not only due to my fond memory of the aforementioned Scrabble game, but because quince are rare, their season short, and I've been saving up recipes all year (plus I'm intrigued by ancient texts which indicate that Eve's forbidden fruit may perhaps have been quince).  Why did I only buy three?  My bags were already overloaded with kale, Brussels sprouts & jars of honey, but I'm planning to buy more quince next Sunday (reassuring myself that quince season runs through October & November, so they should hopefully continue to appear at the market for the next two months).

I'm not sure which recipe to try first: this one at Orangette, this one over at Food 52, this recipe at Chowhound, this recipe at kitchn, this one at Bon Apetit or this other one at Bon Apetit (I'm thinking maybe the Chowhound one with honey and cognac... or the one at Bon Apetit for fig & quince preserves... oh,my).

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”