In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a top-notch sucker for nostalgia. It’s lays on my skin and soaks into my clothing almost like that cloud that followed Pig Pen around on the Peanuts Halloween Special.
The month of October just happens to offer up one of my favorite holidays of the year.
Most everyone reading this probably shares a few of the same Halloween traditions as the neighbor next to you, but it’s those little nuances that really make it something special.
When I asked my wife what her favorite memories of the holiday were, she replied with ‘sitting on the front porch in her Jem costume handing out hot cider and chili to the neighbors, walking through the cemetery as middle school boys jumped out from behind headstones to scare her and her friends and playing some game called Assassination with her theater group’.
Ummm…what in the hell was she talking about?
I seem to recall things differently. I remember having a total freak-out the day before Halloween. I remember hauling ass to the house after getting off the school bus, so my brothers and I could raid my mom’s linen closet before she got home from work.
We would grab a couple of white flat sheets to throw over our bodies, and help each other trace eyeholes and cut them out with her special ‘gift-wrapping’ scissors. (After a few years, the Egyptian thread count supply diminished and we eventually began going as flannel lumberjack or 70’s floral ghosts.) This tradition went on for a few years, but we eventually broke our streak when I decided to go as a rapper and my brother Eric decided to fix ham lunchmeat to his face with masking tape one year, in an effort to mimic his favorite Halloween player, Freddy Krueger.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I’M ACTIVELY SEARCHING FOR THIS PICTURE… STAY TUNED.
We weren’t necessarily picky about our candy containment methods either – any old pillowcase would do, even the one with the rogue nosebleed stain.
For the first few years of adolescence, October 31st was about hitting the most houses, collecting the most candy, and if we were lucky, our group of rag-tag vagabond trick-or-treaters would conveniently bump into the group of girls from our class that were strolling the streets together.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m positive that my wife and I share a few of the same fond memories of All Hallows Eve – whether it be the smell of a smoke machine, the taste of candy corn or the excitement of walking into a haunted house.
Everyone celebrates a little differently.
By the time I hit my teenage years, the boys were ‘too cool’ to dress up in costumes and the holiday took on a new identity: MISCHIEF NIGHT.
We would put on an Academy-Award winning dramatic acting display for our parents, convince them that we would NEVER soil the family name by getting into trouble… and then leave the house in a decoy outfit and grab that backpack we had stashed in the front bush.
Its contents included a black sweatshirt with matching sweatpants, a bag of M80’s (sorry if we got your mailbox), a dozen eggs and a few rolls of Scott single-ply toilet paper.
We skirted the tree-lines and danced between azalea bushes in coordinated attacks on the massive Oak tree in your front yard and bay window of your living room.
Riding the school bus the next morning was like taking a guided tour of the havoc we wreaked under the moonlight of the night before.
But after awhile that got old. It only took a combination of maturity guilt and several instances of being chased through the woods by the Saucon Valley Police Department, crawling through wet mud and leaves on our faces for us to hang up our misdemeanor sweat suits.
Twenty-five years later, I find myself on the flipside of the coin. Now I’m the nervous homeowner, peeking out the windows, on ‘watch’ to protect the precious cornhusk clusters I have tied to the columns on my front porch. I can’t allow anyone within striking distance of my Star Wars fantasy pumpkin carvings on the porch or inflatable pumpkin in the front flowerbed.
We started working on our ‘family outfits’ last month (we’re going as a Lego family – IS EVERYTHING AWESOME?) and we’re putting together trays of homemade treats from Pinterest (not really, but it sounds like I’m on the ball).
With all of this going on, who has any time to put some sustenance in their bodies aside from mainlining pixie sticks?
This is where I step in.
As my wife frantically flies around the house looking for her fake eyelashes and wig (I hope we get a few uses out of that… wink wink) and the kids bounce off of one another wearing their cardboard Legos – I step up with some creative Ristorante pizza pies from the freezer.
I made a few of my faves and used our Halloween cookie cutters for style points.
The Spookachi, Fangtastic Fungus (not pictured because I ate it before I remembered to take pictures), Quattro Freakmaggi, Possessed Pepperoni Pesto the Vicious Vegetale.
Maybe it’s not my wife’s favorite family chili recipe from the 1980’s, but these bite-sized treats are a darn good replacement.
It’s pretty cool to see this holiday come full circle for me and there’s nothing like creating memories that we’ll share for years.
To learn more, about Dr. Oetker (including how it’s a 4th-generation family-owned company) check out Ristorante on Facebook or on their website, and if you want to bring some of these incredible pies home to surprise your spouse, use the store locator. ALSO, don’t miss out on entering their Perfect Night In ‘Tasty Triumphs’ contest which gives you a chance to win one of their 5 incredible prize packages with a total value of $1,500 OR 1 of 100 instant prizes!