Living Arts Weekly: Treating

October 28, 2018

There is magic in the night when pumpkins glow with candlelight

Happy Halloween weekend! Facebook and Instagram are full of great photos of smiling kids with heaping full bags of candy.  Early on in my parenting journey, I spent weeks sewing adorable costumes for my children. The sweet little pumpkin costume for the punkin, the beautiful storybook character complete with smocking and embroidery for the preschooler — let me tell you, these costumes were works of art. Once the children were old enough to have ideas of their own, I incorporated their whims and fantasies into the home-spun costumes (after all, this wasn’t about me, was it?) It was lovely, until one year I embarked on my annual sewing frenzy only to have the children change their minds about their costumes in the final hours! I resisted this new change in a BIG way, insisting that they could experiment with their new costume ideas at home, but by golly they were wearing the “official costumes” (aka, whatever I toiled over) to school or the party or trick-or-treating. The new rule: Once Mom had invested fabric and time into a costume, there was no going back! Needless to say, there were tears more than once.  Eventually, I learned to just let go of my expectations for perfect, adorable Halloween costumes, and began waiting until Halloween to help them cobble together a quick ensemble out of whatever playthings we had laying around and our assortment of costumes from Halloweens gone by. Some favorites emerged from this last minute creative scramble, such as my daughter’s “belly dancing pirate” costume — can’t seem to find a photo of it, but the memory lives on. The photo above (circa 2002) celebrates the spirit of these “Well, let’s see what we have in the costume bag!” years.

I wish you all the best of tricks and treats this Halloween!

Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly editor

Creative Exploration

A sweet poem story from Suzanne Down’s Autumn Tales for you to enjoy! Check out Suzanne’s amazing website, Juniper Tree Puppets, for more stories and puppetry resources.

In my garden grows a pumpkin
turning orangey gold.
Along came a little mouse,
so the story’s told.
Nibble nibble went the mouse
Till the pumpkin was a house,
With two big windows and a door,
And the softest feathers on the floor.
There the mouse lived well I know,
Even when it began to snow.

Spider trudged through the snow and ice,
Time to find a home that’s nice.
Across the way he saw a glow,
‘Twas mousie’s house, Hello! Hello!
Just then the North Wind blew, and blew,
Oh please, may I move in with you?
Spider and Mouse lived all winter long
Cozy and warm, singing this song:
In our little house so full of light
We are safe and snug every night.
Thank you dear pumpkin that grew on the vine,
For our sweet home that is oh so fine!

Practical Activity

Pumpkin-Coconut Pie from Pamela Perkins

Don’t let dairy allergies get you down! Enjoy this new twist on a familiar favorite.

(Recipe makes two single crust pies)


2 cups fresh mashed or 1 can organic pumpkin ( Any local variety will do)

¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ + tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

1-2 tsp. juice of freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

½ tsp. sea salt

½ – ¾ cup maple syrup ( adjust sweetness to taste before adding eggs)

1 can organic whole coconut milk (not low fat)

3 large fresh eggs, beaten (4 if small)

2 – 9” pie shells, homemade or purchased


Bowls, whisk, pie plates, measuring utensils, can opener, fine grater for ginger and nutmeg. You may want to use a large cookie sheet under the pies, to ease transfer to and from the oven.


Prepare pie crusts and then preheat oven to 425 degrees.

If using fresh pumpkin, mash thoroughly until smooth. Blend in spices and salt. Add maple syrup plus the coconut milk. Blend thoroughly. Taste. Adjust sweetness as desired, then add beaten eggs and blend again. 

Pour into the two prepared pie shells, transfer to preheated oven; bake for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 for an additional 35-40 minutes. Pie is ready when a toothpick or sharp knife tip comes out of the center clean.

Remove pies to wire rack and thoroughly cool them before serving.

Note from Pamela:  Warning! You will be glad the recipe makes two pies: with just two granddaughters, ages 4 and 6, and myself, one pie served with a side bowl of plain, whole milk yogurt, vanishes in a single setting…granted, we love this recipe!  Because I use maple syrup and go on the light side of sweet, the above combination makes a nutritious hearty snack.

This is especially fun with a pumpkin harvested from the back yard and a crust made together.

Nurturing Care

Sarah Baldwin, of Bella Luna Toys, has a great video series called “Sundays with Sarah.”  In this episode, Sarah talks about how to enjoy Halloween without all the candy.

Social Awareness

Dia de los muertos, or “The Day of the Dead”, is celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Wonder how to celebrate Dia de los muertos with your little ones? Here is a wonderful article written by Jaimmie Stugard, Director of LifeWays Early Childhood Center in Milwaukee, WI, in which she describes how Dia de los muertos is celebrated in her program.

Last days to register for our new online course, “Learning to Observe Children“! A new, two-week course to inspire your child observations. Join our LifeWays online learning community for this wonderful course and earn a certificate for 10 hours of continuing education! Click here for more information.