halloween traditions + SWEET AND SPICY PUMPKIN SEEDS

I am a sucker for traditions, so naturally all holidays are a big deal in my house.We always visit a u-pick pumpkin patch and let each family member choose whichever pumpkin their little heart desires. While I leave the pumpkin carving to Dad and the kids, my favorite part is roasting and eating the seeds.

On a sunny fall day a few weeks before Halloween, we choose which farm to visit and set out for the pumpkin hunt.

A few days before Halloween, I cover the family table with newspaper and the carving begins. I put out a big bowl for the pumpkin 'guts' and a colander for everyone to put their seeds in. My family all loves my sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds and they know that the more effort they put in, the faster the seeds will be done.

I also love putting together Halloween costumes. A month or so before Halloween the kids all get to pick out what their costume will be. When I only had one child we would do family costumes, but as my family grew it became more important for each child to get a chance to be exactly who they want to be instead of having a family that matched.

I love looking back at the costumes that really illustrate each child's personality and unique interests at that point in their lives.
Chayce dressed as Daphne for three years straight because she was obsessed with all things Scooby Doo. Fletcher loved dirt biking, Octonauts, Mickey Mouse and Lego Ninjago - both his halloween costumes and birthday parties showed that. Nash really loved the Jungle Book last year, and this year it's all about dinosaurs.

We always get the kids dressed, have a little snack and take off through the neighborhood (grown up beverage in hand for mom and dad). I love the idea of staying home and handing out candy, but for this point in my life I'm going to be content with the madness that is door to door trick or treating.

What are your family Halloween traditions? What new traditions are you thinking about incorporating?

 I've been making these same baked pumpkin seeds for more than 10 years, everyone loves them so why change a good thing?

They're not difficult to make but (full disclosure) the steps take a bit of time and effort - mainly because it's super icky to remove pumpkin guts....  I can get past that sliminess when the end result is so delicious and healthy, though. After pulling the gunk out of your pumpkins, separate the seeds and rinse under hot water to take off the remaining pumpkin guts. Place in a single layer on a pumpkin sheet and either bake in 200 degree oven until dry or leave on the counter overnight. Which method I choose depends on how late it is and how much motivation I still have after all the carving activities. Once dry, coat in all the sweet and spicy goodness and pop back in the oven for a quick bake.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

recipe by Tristin Rieken of ONEarmedMAMA.com

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried either overnight or in a 200 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 drops hot pepper sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  • Stir together the pumpkin seeds and butter in a bowl. Add the salt, worc. Sauce, brown sugar, garlic and hot pepper sauce; stir.
  • Spread the seeds on a single layer on the baking pan. Bake stirring often, after about 30 minutes, add more salt and sugar as desired and bake additional 10 to 15 minutes until crispy.

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