Halloween on YouTube

It's a dreary, rainy day here in Doo-Dah.  A perfect day to bake some pumpkin muffins and watch creepy things on the telly or computer. May I suggest this recipe from Cookie & Kate?  I only had a quarter cup of maple syrup and NO honey, so I used a quarter cup of molasses.  Oh, and I added chocolate chips, because pumpkin and chocolate taste heavenly together.  And if you overbake your muffins, like I did, it doesn't matter - they are still the moistest, most delicious pumpkin muffins I ever made.  Seriously.  So, bake yourself some muffins and watch some fun stuff!  I'll get you started:

How about some old Muppet Show episodes...

Some old Disney cartoons...

Some Mighty Mouse, followed by a little Casper the Friendly Ghost...

  • For a few music-related videos, click here.
  • For some more cartoons, music, and silent films, click here.
  • For some '90s Nickelodeon nostalgia, click here.
  • In the mood for the kitschiest Halloween special the '70s ever produced?  Click here.
  • If your Halloween experience must include some Tim Curry, click here.
  • More Disney?  Click here.
  • Disney made-for-TV fun?  Click here.
  • I'm working on a new Pediophobia post. For last year's post, and some cool videos, click here.

We haven't watched a lot of new stuff this year.  I did get a VHS copy of Hocus Pocus for the girls from the library.  I was in high school when the movie came out, and honestly, it just didn't appeal to me then.  It still isn't a favorite, but both daughters liked it, especially Big Sis.

I'll have my usual Friday book round-up tomorrow!  Stay tuned!

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Proud Pumpkin

Proud Pumpkin by Nora S. Unwin. E.P. Dutton & Co, 1953.
(See eBay for listings of the book with its jacket.)

Here is a delightful, old-fashioned treat.  They don't make 'em like this anymore.  From the basement storage area from our city's main public library, I present Proud Pumpkin, written and illustrated by Nora S. Unwin.

This is the story of a big, beautiful pumpkin.  He is quite proud of his appearance, telling all the brother pumpkins he will never, ever be eaten.  He swells with pride, growing plumper and tougher each day.  Then one day, the farmer cuts him off the vine and takes him to the vegetable cellar.

"Not to be eaten!" he shouts to the other pumpkins, as they watch him go. He watches as other pumpkins disappear upstairs to the kitchen.

Then one day, a boy named Billy knocks on the farmer's door.  Billy is looking for a nice big pumpkin.  He is hosting a Halloween party the following night.

The other pumpkins snicker as they watch Proud Pumpkin leave.  "But not to eaten, not to be eaten," he calls out behind him.

It feels weird to have his insides scooped out, and strange having his flesh cut.  But Billy declares him a handsome fellow, the best jack o'lantern he ever made.  The pumpkin's pride returns.  The next evening, he is quite the star of the party.

Then the party ends.  Billy blows out the candle and leaves the pumpkin outside, alone in the dark.

And there the pumpkin remains.

His pride sags with his rotting face.  Mice scurry about, making a meal of what's left inside.  One day, his lid collapses.  "This so frightened the mice nibbling inside, that they thought the end of the world had come."

The mice only leave when the cat chases them away.

Finally, one cold, cold day, a little chipmunk approaches the once-proud pumpkin.  The chipmunk is looking for a home for the winter.  He asks the pumpkin if he might move in.

"Residence!" grunted Proud Pumpkin. "I've never been called that before."
"I'll promise not to eat you," urged the chipmunk, "if you'll only let me come inside and make a nest."

The chipmunk builds his nest, then collects acorns "for his spring breakfast."  Once he's ready, he crawls inside the pumpkin, curls into a ball, and goes to sleep.

His warm little presence began to send a small glow of pleasure all through the old pumpkin.  But it wasn't the glow of pride this time.
"It's nice to be useful after all," the pumpkin sighed to himself. "It makes you feel good."

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At The Old Haunted House

At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Nate Wragg.
Two Lions, 2014.

Another Halloween book for you today!  Our library added some very fine treats this year, and we've enjoyed getting to know these new books.  This one is particularly great for younger kids.  It's cute and silly, rather than scary, and it's a counting book!  It's a take-off of that old standard "Over in the Meadow."

"At the old haunted house / in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch / and her wee witchy one. 'Spell!' cried the witch. 'Poof!' cried the one. / And they practiced spells / in the room with no sun."

And so on and so on...

The illustrations are pretty awesome, right?  Nate Wragg has worked for Pixar, and you know how great those movies look.  This would make a worthy addition to a Halloween book collection.  There's a marvelous activity kit on the book's Amazon page - Two Lions is an imprint of Amazon Publishing - complete with craft ideas and printable game and coloring pages.  I especially like the rhyming activity (see page 3).

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Walters Pumpkin Patch

Last week, I turned it the money and permission slip for Little Sis's pumpkin patch field trip.  The next day, I received a check and a letter, explaining the trip was cancelled due to "lack of interest." Only a few of us had bothered to return the slips and money. Little Sis was very disappointed. I think they are done with Halloween at school: no "fall parties," no costume parade. Too many parental complaints, too many kids and parents ignoring the "no scary costumes" rule. It's disappointing. I tend to be very PC myself, but I have fond memories of Halloween at school, and I always loved the costume parade at the girls' school.

So I decided we could fit in a pumpkin patch trip of our own this weekend. Big Sis had dance class Saturday morning, and I dragged her along to a friend's book signing after that. We ran home to eat and pick up Little Sis.  Then guess what?  Little Sis no longer wanted to go.  After all that, she just wanted to stay home with Daddy. This made Big Sis sad. So we decided, what the hey? We'd make it a Mom and Big Sis afternoon at the pumpkin patch.

And what a pumpkin patch!

There are several pumpkin patches in our area. Our city is surrounded by Kansas farmland. The pumpkin patch where this year's field trip was to take place was one I'd never been to.  When that trip fell through, I knew we had to check out Walters Pumpkin Patch in Burns, KS, just outside El Dorado. I had never been to Walters, but it has an almost mythic place among fall-loving folk in south-central Kansas. Everyone always told me it was the best. Little Sis went there on her kindergarten field trip - the one I missed, due to my own stupid mix-up - and even though it was cold and drizzly, she said it was pretty awesome. Now Big Sis and I got to see it for ourselves!

The decor is beautiful. There's a big playground, mud pie station, tricycles, a barrel train, jumping pillows, "punkin chunkin, a cannon, a zipline, a corn maze, mining, duck races, whew...  I didn't even name it all.

Without Little Sis or another kid, Big Sis was less apt to try things. The jumping pillow looked like fun, for example, but not without a buddy.  She did try her hand at punkin chunkin: for a dollar, she got three mini pumpkins to sling at a target. The first two landed in the water, but her third sailed between the metal pumpkin and the bar!

We took a tractor-pulled wagon out to the main pumpkin patch. The weather was gorgeous this weekend. We bought three large pumpkins from the field.

There are two gift shops at Walters. One is full of baked goods and other food items. They were rather low on pumpkin stuff during our visit, unfortunately. The other gift shop is full of adorable decor. If money were no object, I would have bought so much stuff! Unfortunately, our budget is tight, so we only bought some candy corn and a nice little pie pumpkin for baking.

So I'm already planning next year's trip. We will find a time when my sister, brother-in-law and nieces are free to join me, the girls, and Mr. B at Walter's Pumpkin Patch. We could definitely spend the whole day there. It's a pretty magical place. At least now, I can say I've actually been there!

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