Sure, the big bags of Halloween candy are already calling to you as you wheel through the store (what’s a few more extra corona-pounds, right?). Still, if you’re like other parents in metro Detroit and elsewhere, you are either all in on celebrating Halloween or hesitant to risk attending events and trick-or-treating until docs on the front lines give us the all-clear.
“I think I would be OK trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, but not attending one of the numerous community Halloween events,” says Angie Wierzbiki, mom to 5- and 6-year-old girls.
But Rachael Hutchinson plans to let her kids trick or treat. “Since they’ll be wearing masks like everyone is supposed to, I don’t see the issue!”
Mom Megan Wildgoose is throwing up her hands, tired of waffling. “I just don’t see how anything is going to be the same this year, so instead of staying home and being disappointed, we booked a little getaway for the weekend.”
Before you throw up your hands, too, and give up completely on fall, try these little activities to keep the fun front and center at your house.
Maybe throw in a super-sized bag of Snickers when you are at the store – just in case …
TikTok DIY: The Dollar Store Trend
Lisa Sutton, a photographer and makeup artist in White Lake, uses her brush skills to create a gorgeous craft to fall-ify her home. “My favorite fall craft is not only quick, easy, and perfect for kids — it’s also inexpensive, stylish and versatile.”
“You can grab these (not so) pretty foam pumpkins at the Dollar Store or almost any store’s seasonal department and convert them into custom, chic fall décor for your home.”
Hunt down chalk paint (she used white, tan and a greenish color), a crème wax (she used a dark brown), paint brushes and twine or ribbon.
First, send the kids on a stick hunt in the yard – some thick, some thin – while you set up all the other supplies. Next, remove the stems and paint the pumpkins with two coats of paint and let dry. (Good news: Chalk paint dries quickly).
The next part is for grown-ups or a crafty teen. “I like to dip the corner of a paper towel into the brown crème wax and run a thin strip of wax into each groove of the pumpkins. Before the wax dries, take a clean paper towel and smudge the wax until you achieve the desired antiqued look, and then let dry.”
Note: You can always give it a quick coat of chalk paint if you need to start over.
“Break your sticks into different lengths to resemble pumpkin stems, and then insert a stick into the top of each pumpkin. You can add a finishing touch of twine or ribbon wrapped in a knot or bow around a few of the stems,” she says.
These pumpkins look great stacked on top of each other (remove the stem on bottom pumpkins), in groups with some tipped on their side, or casually mixed in with your other fall décor.
Warning: You might find yourself picking up foam pumpkins from the dollar store year after year because it’s just so much fun to make these. You may even find yourself with an entire bin full of them over time.
“This year, my 5-year-old carried some around for days and days because he was so proud of his work, so it’s a problem worth having,” Sutton says.
Veggies + Cheese Soup Recipe
Cat Shapiro of Thyme & Honey in St. Clair Shores is an absolute dynamo when it comes to bringing out the natural beauty of food. From her charcuterie/nosh boards (they qualify as works of art) to her catering and meal prep services, she has a special skill of combining seasonal flavors and stunning visual presentation.
“Cauliflower is currently in season in Michigan so I wanted to highlight a local Michigan produce that wasn’t necessarily pumpkin or apple or squash but still giving you all the fall warm and cozy vibes! Plus, who doesn’t love cheese curds and in a soup, YUM!”
If you have issues getting kids to eat veggies, this recipe will secretly deliver five different vegetables in one knockout dish – onions, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and kale.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, small dice
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups of cauliflower florets, chopped (one cup reserved)
- 4 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 2 cups of broccoli florets, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 1 cup of whole milk
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded crispy kale chips and cheese curds for topping
- Heat medium sized heavy-bottom pan over medium high heat, add olive oil and chopped onions and sautéed until translucent. Season with salt and pepper and add garlic. Sautée for an additional minute, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add 2 cups chopped cauliflower and stir.
- Allow to cook for 5 minutes or so, then deglaze pot with 4 cups chicken stock and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low simmer for 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Turn off heat and carefully use a stick blender or Vitamix to puree all ingredients.
- Turn heat back on and add chopped broccoli, remaining cauliflower, shredded carrots, nutmeg, cayenne and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until additional vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in shredded cheddar and season with more salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve immediately and top with crispy kale chips and cheddar cheese curds alongside your favorite grilled cheese sandwich.
- Prep | 20 minutes
- Cook | 40 minutes
- Ready | 60 minutes
- Lasts five days
Although many fall decorating color schemes are full of reds, oranges and yellows, there is something about black and white that is anything but basic. Amy Duncan has seen every type of front porch decor in her role as a real estate agent in the Birmingham area, but the ones that still manage to wow with a subtle color scheme are her favorites.
This fall, she is leaning towards an arrangement of creamy white mums, Ghost Pumpkins, silver lanterns and black and white stripe accents.
“The easiest way to add depth to your front door mat is layer it with a patterned rug underneath. I chose a black and white stripe to complement the coir mat that I used for summer.”
Amy also has a brilliant hack for mums in plastic pots. “Wrap the base of the pot in a weather-friendly fabric and hot glue the seam in the back. I used black and white striped wide mesh ribbon and trimmed it to fit – I love how it ties in the front door mat. You can even use burlap garland or wrap the pot in rope.”
Ghost Pumpkins, also known as Snowball or Casper Pumpkins, have taken over the fall squash scene. These are especially useful if you want to paint your pumpkin to add a splash of color to your porch project. The white base allows you to easily spray paint the surface after taping off the stem.
Add a little nighttime glow with leftover summer lanterns by using battery-operated pillar candles with a timer. “Carving pumpkins is always fun, but they don’t last the whole season. Lanterns can be repurposed for indoor and outdoor decor throughout the year.”