Open thread: All things Halloween!

31st October 2008

Open thread: All things Halloween!

Halloween pumpkin cat

Happy Halloween!

Wondering about the origins of Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, vampires and other spooky superstitions? answers all with its special series on Halloween.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess has a list of fun and healthier candy alternatives to pass out to trick-or-treaters while Planet Green offers some environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Food allergies in children have risen some 18 percent in the past decade. Do you or your little beggar have one? If so, be sure to consult this checklist offered by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology before digging into that Halloween goodie bag.

Halloween is about much more than just candy. offers some fun and tasty Halloween recipes or check out Wanda’s Halloween Cookbook.

Halloween can be an especially scary time for people with binging types of eating disorders. offers some helpful suggestions on how to avoid and manage Halloween triggers.

Planning a horror fest weekend movie marathon? Check out’s list of the top 50 scary movies of all time. Is your favorite flick listed?

Older readers might recall the days of the cheapie plastic Halloween masks with the rubber band that would inevitably break and snap right in your face. Ahh, the good old days. Relive those memories at RetroCrush’s photo galleries of horrible costumes and world’s greatest costumes.

I’ve cheated the past couple years and bought those pumpkin-carving templates that make me appear a pumpkin-carving extraordinaire, but I’ve got nothing on these extreme pumpkin-carving wizards.

Create your own monster with’s online Monster Maker! You can print out your creations, but you can’t save and send, unfortunately (tip: save a screenshot instead).

And last fun link of the day, check out these handbags of horror from last year. Ugliest overpriced purse ever? Gotta’ be the Creature from the Black Lagoon inspired handbag.

And one from the archives. This is me at age 2 in my Strawberry Shortcake get-up. A few minutes later, I started bawling because I apparently hated the hat.

Do you get into Halloween? What was your favorite costume of all time? Do you have any special traditions or parties planned? How do you manage Halloween-inspired eating disorder triggers? Have any Halloween recipes or fun activities to share? Discuss all things Halloween in the comments below.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 31st, 2008 at 10:34 am and is filed under Eating Disorders, Health, Nutrition & Fitness, Pop Culture, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 19 responses to “Open thread: All things Halloween!”

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  1. 1 On October 31st, 2008, devil said:

    Oh my, I LOVE that picture of you, Rachel. The look on your face says “This is it. I’m going to kill you.” Very, very cute.

    Back when we used to get trick-or-treaters, I handed out full-sized candy bars. They were a hit. There’s no way I’m going to try to give kids “healthy” snacks on Halloween. It’s only once a year – more and bigger is better.

    We don’t have children, so no big Halloween plans here except to stay in and avoid the craziness.

  2. 2 On October 31st, 2008, Rachel said:

    I give out chocolate chip granola bars and HCFS-free fruit snacks on Halloween and they’re always a big hit. They’re big and they’re unique. It’s a win-win situation: They’re healthier and kids still love ‘em.

  3. 3 On October 31st, 2008, Lisa said:

    I’m having a rough time with all the candy lying around. Being around large quantities of food tends to freak me out – what if I lose control and start to actually eat some of it? I’m kind of avoiding it by staying out of the kitchen, but I don’t know if that’s the healthiest mechanism.

  4. 4 On October 31st, 2008, attrice said:

    Wow, that picture is all kinds of cute. The folks in charge of my little city decided, for some reason, that Halloween was yesterday. Yesterday from 6:00-7:30 to be precise. So stupid.

    But still, I handed out candy and saw some cute costumes – although I did get one kid in a John McCain mask who, when I opened the door, said “I’m gonna win!.” I told him to dream on, but let him pick out a bunch of candy.

    Usually, I would be doing something Pagany today, but I’m far away from any of my pagan friends so I’m just being mellow and baking some pumpkin bread. Mmmm pumpkin bread.

  5. 5 On October 31st, 2008, Rachel said:

    Attrice — Some local towns bordering ours have set Halloween trick-or-treat hours for Sunday afternoon. Weird. I guess it’s great for kids, though. Trick-or-treat in my town tonight and the neighboring town on Sunday — double candy!

  6. 6 On October 31st, 2008, Bree said:

    Rachel, you are too cute in that picture.

    I don’t get a whole lot of trick-or-treaters anymore, because there are four big housing developments up the road from me, and we get carloads of families from town who go there. My neighborhood is made up of mostly older couples who either don’t give out candy or make plans to be somewhere else. Tonight, I decided to skip the festivities and go out to dinner. We will be handing out candy to our kids at work, and we do the usual chocolate and fruit candies. I’m also giving kids bubbles too. The kids have no school today, so it will be Party Central tonight!

    Since I’m not a huge candy eater, Halloween really doesn’t affect me. As a kid, I woud give away a lot of it to my family, and we would always throw out those godawful peanut chews that came in the brown and black wrappers. I remember one year a couple wasn’t home, but left a tableful of McDonald’s treat bags for the kids. That was during the days where trick-or-treat was safer, and the media didn’t constantly hammer home the point about tainted candy (in all reality, there was no serial poisoning, just a very sick man who decided to poison his own children’s candy for what I believe was a scheme to get money).

  7. 7 On October 31st, 2008, Jae said:

    Happy Halloween!

    I love Halloween, but in the past I kind of always thought I was too fat to celebrate (seriously, what was going on in my head?). This year I’m having a party with some friends. In fact, I should be decorating right now!

    I don’t think Halloween was ever much more triggering than any other holiday for me, except for the fact that it was more I-can’t-wear-cute-costumes stress. This year, I didn’t even bother to buy a costume, but improvised a devil out of a red dress I had, and you know what, I’m gonna look damn good.

    Hope everyone else has a great one!

  8. 8 On October 31st, 2008, Tori said:

    Yay! These links ROCK!!! Thanks for posting them :-)

    And the picture of you as a wee-one is too cute… My mom has a picture of me when I was about 4 as a witch, and I’m just BEAMING from ear to ear, and then my dad carved a pumpkin into a sad face, and we’re just standing right next to each other… seems like Halloween is the best time to get cute kid pictures… :-)

  9. 9 On October 31st, 2008, Erika said:

    I don’t really celebrate Halloween. Having candy in the house is no good for me. So, I tend to rent a movie, sit back and enjoy the evening, and pretend no one is home. Thankfully, no one ever stops by our house anyway, so it works out.

  10. 10 On October 31st, 2008, Bean said:

    We are apparently about the same age – as I also wore that costume as a child. Go Strawberry Shortcake!!!

  11. 11 On October 31st, 2008, Rachel said:

    Haha, Bean. That picture was from 1981. I Photoshopped out the sepia tone in it. That’s actually one of the few store bought costumes I ever wore. Most of the time, we went to Goodwill and made our own costumes. It was much more fun that way.

  12. 12 On October 31st, 2008, Melissa said:

    That’s a cool picture of you at 2.
    Strawberry Shortcake must have been the big thing back then because I remember around 4 dressing up as her.
    Happy Halloween!

  13. 13 On October 31st, 2008, devil said:

    “I give out chocolate chip granola bars and HCFS-free fruit snacks on Halloween and they’re always a big hit….”

    Oh, yeah, I’d like those too. I meant I wouldn’t hand out “healthy” raw fruit like apples instead of sweets. Waaaaay back in the 1970′s, people actually did that. My friends and I hated getting apples in our Halloween bags. They’re too heavy to carry around and it’s not fun to get an everyday lunch box item as a treat.

    I’m old enough to remember those old stories about people who handed out apples with needles or razor blades stuck in them. Every year at school, we kids were warned to have our parents cut up the apples first to check for foreign objects. Ah, great times.

  14. 14 On October 31st, 2008, JeanC said:

    We never have trick-or-treaters where we live, so I don’t really do much around the house. I do dress up for work tho. I’m a bit understated today, just a cute pair of salmon and purple horns. I need to get a good pic of them on my head.

    What I look forward to nowadays is Samhain celebrations, we’re doing it tomorrow night.

  15. 15 On October 31st, 2008, Chrissy said:

    If your an Obama fan, this will give you hope for the election!

    Happy Halloween!

  16. 16 On November 1st, 2008, Shelly said:

    I have spent the past two Halloweens in NYC and I can’t quite figure out the trick-or-treating here. It seems like kids trick-or-treat the businesses? So confused. Then again, the last of my years in Texas, most people trick-or-treated at the malls and stuff at “guaranteed safe” city-held or mall-held activities. The last time my parents and I handed out candy we only had 10 or so kids drop by all night.

    Regarding Strawberry Shortcake, I passed a woman about my age, maybe a little younger, in a subway station last night dressed up as Strawberry Shortcake. She had an AWESOME costume.

  17. 17 On November 1st, 2008, Pet~ said:

    Friends came over, and we trick-or-treated the neighborhood. Our “demon horde” included (from youngest to oldest) a pirate, a devil, a genie, a ragamuffin, a vampire, a zombie, and a “goth cowgirl.” The adult escorts were a pirate and a gypsy fortune-teller (complete with crystal ball in hand). A little over half the houses in the neighborhood were NOT giving out treats, but the kids still got a pretty decent haul. =c)

    Then we came home and had “The Great Candy Swap” in my living room. The kids dump their candy in the floor, and start trading with each other. The stuff that nobody wants gets unceremoniously dumped in the trash (this year it was all of three items ROFL), and everything else gets swapped until all the kids are satisfied that they have nothing left but stuff they like. Of course, there are a few “offerings” made to the “dragons” (the adult chaperones who TOOK them trick-or-treating). LOL

  18. 18 On November 1st, 2008, Rachel said:

    We took advantage of Halloween to catch a film at a new popular movie theater. We were one of three couples in the theater for “W” and it was so nice to be able to enjoy a film without the crowds, the popcorn-crunching, and kids talking on their cell phones that we usually encounter on weekend nights. Thanks Halloween (and the horrible Saw V movie out).

  19. 19 On November 3rd, 2008, Zen said:

    Holy crap!

    What a coincidence!

    I was Strawberry Shortcake for Halloween when I was two also. :)

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