A Simplified Halloween

In Tuesday’s post, I talked about lowering the bar and not stressing out so much over perfection. For me, this is never more important than during the holiday season.

Halloween is the kickoff to the holiday season and while that always feels magical and exciting, it can also feel a little overwhelming. It’s easy to look around (in real life and on social media) and feel like you aren’t doing enough and are falling short in trying to do all the things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with homemade costumes, elaborate decorations, holiday-themed treats, etc. If that’s your thing, go for it! That is awesome and I’m cheering you on. For me, Halloween is one area of the holiday season where I lower the bar and just enjoy the time with family. Today I’m giving a quick little recap of our low-key Halloween festivities this year.

My little hometown had trick-or-treating on Tuesday this year, so we drove out (it’s around an hour away) after Justin got off work to surprise my grandparents and pass out candy with them. LJ wore a sweet little jack-o-lantern onesie before putting on his costume and it was so adorable!

j-o-l

I absolutely love dressing up and doing themed costumes, whether couple or group costumes; however, since LJ wasn’t going to actually go around to houses this year, we kept things fairly simple. I got a little Pooh costume and some animal ear headbands and a tiger tail and boom – Tigger, Rabbit, and Winnie.

Family costume

LJ was such a trooper in his Pooh costume. He did not like the process of putting it on but once it was on, he didn’t seem to be bothered by it. I think it helped that he loved looking at all the kids in costume and sat in fascination the whole time. My grandparents have a really popular neighborhood for trick-or-treating and they had 278 kids come by in 2 hours! We had so much fun that I forgot to take pictures. Oops!

Real life Halloween
Just a friendly reminder that for every perfect picture taken with an 11-month-old, there are likely outtakes like this 😉

Wednesday was our neighborhood’s trick-or-treat which felt like a little bit of a let down after my grandparents (we maybe had 60 kids total) but my mom came by and LJ loved extra snuggles with her.

Trick or Treat

He also loved the crinkly sound of the candy wrappers and commandeered two Twizzlers to “eat” and play with.

LJ twizzlers

We hung out outside and passed out candy until we got too cold and then we headed to our neighbor’s house for some soup and trick-or-treat re-cap. It was a perfectly fun and laid-back Halloween!

J and Pooh

Now the real question is, how many of you are already decorating for Christmas? 😉

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Halloween Party Time!

I have always loved Halloween, and this year was no different!

Justin and I hosted a Halloween party Thursday night and it was so much fun!

I had high hopes of creating some type of “family” costume theme for us, but when we saw a cute bumblebee costume for dogs at a thrift store ($2!!), we just had to get it. So Macie was a bee, I was Little Bo Peep, and Justin was my “lost” sheep. I have to give Justin credit; while I was working on the food preparation, he was slaving away gluing all those cotton balls on his t-shirt. That’s commitment to a costume!

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For the party decorations, I wanted to keep it fun and festive without causing too much work. I tend to like more classic, simple decorations and don’t often go for the loud, somewhat cheesy decor.  I made a few simple pennant banners to hang around the house.

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I just cut out black and orange triangles and created patterns on each orange pennant with an orange marker. I then taped them to a black ribbon and hung them around the house. I also had some scrapbook supplies so I used perforated letters to add a festive “boo” to this banner. The banners were f-r-e-e- since I already had all the supplies.

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I also made a “photo booth” using a black tablecloth and a super-stretchy spider web. I already had the tablecloth and the spider web cost $1.97 at Wal-Mart.  Simple, easy, and budget-friendly! And it was a huge hit for photos!

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How cool are my friends who dressed up as people from Edward Scissorhands!? Their costumes were so awesome!

For the table, I bought a cheap plastic tablecloth ($.97 at Wal-Mart). The “table runner” is actually four black placemats found at the dollar store for $1 each. The paper lanterns and skeleton were also $1 each. The black paper plates were $.97 at Wal-Mart and orange-and-black polka-dot napkins were $.97 a pack. I got two packs of each. Total spent on four placemats, decorations, plates, and napkins = $13. Not bad!

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Food was SUPER simple.  I made mummy and ghost cookies the night before, and my friend Lindsay brought adorable mummy dogs.

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I found an EASY recipe for a “pumpkin” cheeseball here. It was delicious and everyone commented on how cute it looked! It was covered in Doritos and I loved the extra crunch!

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I put the left-over Doritos from the cheeseball coating in a tiered serving bowl with orange-and-black drizzled yogurt-covered pretzels and candy corn.

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Since many of our guests were in med school, I figured I should also have a healthy snack so I threw together a quick and easy veggie jack-o-lantern. I wish the picture turned out a little better but several people told me how cute it was and it was super easy so I count it as a win.

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Overall, the party cost me around $50 and was SO much fun!! My biggest tips on throwing a successful Halloween party would be:

1-Use white plates/serveware to display food. It makes the presentation so much nicer and matching is SO easy so it all looks put together.

2-Keep decorations simple. A nicely presented table and a few key decorated locations are all you really need to make the atmosphere fun and festive!

3-Try to do as much ahead of time as possible so you can be in a calm, relaxed mood for the actual party! I loved that once people showed up, I could just enjoy hanging out and not rush around trying to finish things.

4- When it comes to food, find easy, budget-friendly recipes. Don’t feel like you need to have super extravagant dishes or decorate like a Cake Boss.

5-HAVE FUN! That’s what the Holidays are all about!!

***

Friday was a Jeans day at school and I was pretty tired from the Halloween party so I kept it casual and easy!

11-01 Ourfit

Sweater: Takeout

Cami: Maurices

Jeans: American Eagle

Flats: Fergalicious by Fergie

Necklace: Lia Sophia

Halloween Procrastination

I am way late on yesterday’s blog post! After school, I hit the ground running with preparations for the Halloween party Justin and I are throwing tonight. After several trips to the dollar store (and, I confess, I even caved and went to Wal-Mart), I had plenty of decorations and ingredients for everything I needed!

Two things I love are the holidays and hosting people at my house. Put them together and I am one happy girl; however, the night before the hosted holiday party, I’m typically one stressed-out girl. This is mostly because I tend to procrastinate. One way I tried to cut out the most stress this time was with food preparation. Our party is after dinner so I knew I just wanted finger food and treats. My requirements for the food were: quick (due to procrastination), easy, budget-friendly, and able to be made ahead of time! I’m a bit of a procrastinator, so waiting until the day before limited my options, but I’m happy with the results!

Final Treat Collage

Let’s be honest. As much as I love things to look cute and festive, I also know my limits as far as time and skill. Decorated cupcakes and cookies look so great (and relatively simple) in pictures, but I know I just do not have six hours to figure how how to decorate them and then actually do the decorating. As as for the intricate decorations, my skill level would fall embarrassingly short. The simple process with making these treats was much more my speed.

Final Oreo Collage

I started with Oreo “mummies.” If you are an Oreo freak like me, these are going to be right up your alley.

Step 1: I purchased a package of Oreos (double-stuf of course!) and vanilla candy coating.

Step 2: Follow the directions on the package to melt the candy coating. For me, this meant heating for one minute, stirring, and heating for 15 more seconds. Then I dropped an Oreo in the goo and used a spoon to cover it with the coating.

Step 3: I lifted the Oreos out with a toothpick (to let the extra coating drip off) and placed them on parchment paper to cool and harden.

Step 4: I used white cookie icing and drew it back and forth to make the “mummy” wrap. I then put mini chocolate chips on each cookie for the eyes.

Step 5: Let the mummies completely cool and harden before storing.

See? Quick and easy!

I also employed a similar tactic to make super simple “ghost” cookies.

Final Ghost Collage

This time I did the same thing, but with Nutter Butter cookies. I added the mini chocolate chips to make eyes and a mouth. I think this could also be easily adjusted to make snowmen cookies at Christmastime!

From start to finish, this whole project took about an hour to make tons of cookies. The candy coating cools quickly and once they were cooled, I just put them all in an airtight container so they’re ready to go for tonight! I’m so excited! And the whole thing cost under $15. Yes!

Have a happy Halloween!

***

Yesterday was so chaotic I had to just snap a quick photo at school.  It was an Express kind of day 🙂

10-30 Outfit

Sweater: Express

Ruffle Tank: Express

Cream Pencil Skirt: Express

Peep-toe Pumps: Lulu Townsend

Necklace: New York & Co.

I may as well post today’s outfit too since tonight will be party time! Since it’s Halloween, we were allowed to dress up. Comfy scrubs all day? Yes please!

Doctor

Label-less scrubs: From my husband’s closet 🙂