Teal Pumpkin Project: Decorations, Treats & Tips

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If you know a child with food allergies, the Teal Pumpkin Project may already be familiar to you. If not, let me give you the run-down.  It is quickly growing as a way for children who have food allergies to easily identify a house that offers allergy safe treats on Halloween night.  As the mother of a child with food allergies (and years of exclusion under my belt), I can tell you that it’s a wonderful way to help include these children who often feel excluded from ‘regular’ activities.

Sound good?  And what do you have to do?  It’s so easy. You’ll need a teal pumpkin to light the way!  I found these lovely Blue LED Pumpkins (above) at Pier 1 that are just perfect. They’re beautiful and made of glass, so you can use them year after year.



Another idea I like well is to use Blue Battery Powered Tealights inside Lanterns, regular or white pumpkins or ceramic pumpkin tealight holders. You’ll need a teal pumpkin of some sort, but they can be hard to see when it’s dark. Using blue illumination in a regular pumpkin is a great way for kids to see that your house has something just for them.


Wondering what color paint works on an actual pumpkin that you can use for this project?  I love Krylon’s Chalky Finish in Tidal Blue.  Michael’s has it for $10.99 and they also currently have a coupon to save 50% on a regular priced item.  That makes it $5.49 a can and the best price around.  Use the code TRICKORTREAT if you’re shopping online.

Tip:  Make it extra special with a sparkly finish coat of Krylon Glitter Spray in Shimmering Silver.  So pretty.

You can also use craft pumpkins, too.  Oriental Trading has ceramic pumpkins you can paint. <— Too late to ship now. If you live in a weather stable area (I don’t!), pick up some styrofoam pumpkins at Michael’s or Dollar Tree and spray paint them.  They’re very inexpensive.

I love this particular paint anyway because teal is one of the most popular colors around right now.  So is Annie Sloan chalk paint.  Krylon married the two and simplified the process in an easy-to-use spray can.  I’m all about making things easier because I’m ridiculously craft challenged.  You can’t screw up Krylon and it’s super quick.  Trust me.  So, in addition to making teal pumpkins, you can use this to make all sorts of nifty accent pieces around your house.

For inspiration:  Use the remaining paint on lamp bases, wicker chairs, mason jars, dining chairs or accent tables.

Because teal pumpkins can be hard to see, print and hang a free Teal Pumpkin Project sign from F.A.R.E. indicating that you have non-food treats available at your house. There are also signs on Etsy along with tees, bracelets, and other items dedicated to the project.



Now for the goodies!  Things like small toys and games you can purchase in multi-packs at Dollar Tree or Oriental Trading are perfect. It’s best to stick with non-food items as one child may have a milk allergy while another may be allergic to peanuts. It’s too difficult to find a treat that’s safe for everyone.  How cute are these Candy Corn Bubbles?  Oh, get out.  There are more themed bubbles, too, like Halloween character bottles (witch, ghost, etc.) and some Witch’s Potion.   They even have teal.  Glow sticks, stickers, pencils, erasers, and spider rings are some other ideas.


And if you’re planning to pass out candy in addition to non-food treats, keep your eye out for the Teal Pumpkin Mike and Ike Halloween Variety Pack at Target that includes candy AND pencils and erasers.  These aren’t safe for everyone, but they will be for many.  Personally, I love the effort being made by a corporation to reach out to allergic kids.

Now, a very serious message from someone who understands this very well:  Me.

I’d also like to ask that if you’ll be handing out other candy items, please fill a bowl with the non-food items separately.  (If you use Mike & Ike, you may as well dump the included non-candy items into your candy bowl.  They’re contaminated, from my perspective.)  Do not mix food and non-food treats in one bowl.  You’ll cross-contaminate the non-food treats.  Also, if you’re handing out candy, do not hand the non-food treats to the allergic children.  Allow them to reach into the bowl to pick up their treat.  If you do it, you likely have residue on your hand from the candy that will transfer to the non-food item and cross-contaminate it.  Only touch the bowl exterior and do not touch the contents at all once you start handing out candy unless you wash your hands thoroughly immediately prior to touching the non-food candy.   Go an extra step and don’t even set them on a table next to each other or near other food items.

Yes, this is very, very serious.  My motto has always been:  Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  Invisible residue is the most insidious and dangerous part of having a child with food allergies.  It is THE source of the greatest amount of anxiety for these families.  Fear of the unknown had previously been thought of a a somewhat abstract origin of anxiety.  Food allergies have legitimized it.  And it’s paralyzing.  Halloween can be terrifying.  And even the best intentions can present a risk.  Please provide safe treats for these children and do it in the safest way possible.  Last year, an ambulance came down the street while we were out with our kids.  I stood in horror as I watched it creep down the road because there were kids lining the street.  Meanwhile, precious minutes ticked by.  I have no idea what happened, of course, but my first thought was, “Someone has had a reaction to candy.”  Let’s do our best, together, to help prevent as many of these incidents as possible.  Paint a teal pumpkin.  Print a sign. Buy non-food treats.  Keep them separate from e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, including you, if you’re passing out candy.  All you have to do now is prepare to be a part of making great memories for ALL kids!

Did I miss something?  Have something to add?  Let me know!  I love hearing from you!  dontmakemenuts@gmail.com

ABC Family: 13 Days of Halloween TV Schedule!

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Who doesn’t love a good scary movie?   If you ask me, that’s the best part of Halloween!  For the whole month of October, there is always something scary to watch, whether you’re sitting on the couch or, like me, hiding behind it.

ABC Family has a bunch of family friendly Halloween movies for their 13 Nights of Halloween celebration, so bookmark this  list and plan on spending the next two-ish weeks gearing up for the scariest night of the year!  Muahahaha!

A big thanks to A Mom’s Paradise for bringing us this fabulous list!


Night One – Sunday, October 19th
Casper (7:00 – 9:00 AM ET/PT
The Addams Family (9:00 – 11:00 AM ET/PT)
Addams Family Values (11:00 AM – 1:00 PM ET/PT)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (1:00 – 4:30 PM ET/PT)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (4:30 – 7:30 PM ET/PT)
Toy Story of Terror (7:30 – 8:00 PM ET/PT)
Monsters Inc (8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (10:30 PM – 12:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Two – Monday, October 20th
The Nightmare Before Christmas (6:30 – 8:00 PM ET/PT)
The Hunger Games (8:00 – 11:00 PM ET/P)
The Haunted Mansion (12:00 – 2:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Three – Tuesday, October 21st
Pretty Little Liars Halloween Special We Love You to Death (8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT
Freak Out (9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT), the hilariously scary new hidden-camera prank special
Night Four – Wednesday, October 22nd
(6:00 – 8:00 PM ET/PT)
Melissa & Joey Halloween Special (8:00 – 8:30 PM ET/PT)
Baby Daddy Halloween Special (8:30 – 9:00 PM ET/PT)
Night Five – Thursday, October 23rd
Freak Out (5:30 – 6:30 PM ET/PT)
Melissa & Joey (6:30 – 7:00 PM ET/PT)
Baby Daddy (7:00 – 7:30 PM ET/PT)
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (7:30 – 9:30 PM ET/PT)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (9:30 – 11:00 PM ET/PT)
Teen Wolf (12:00 – 2:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Six – Friday, October 24th
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (5:00 – 7:00 PM ET/PT
The Nightmare Before Christmas (7:00 – 8:30 PM ET/PT)
Dark Shadows (8:30 – 11:00 PM ET/PT)
Beetlejuice (12:00 – 2:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Seven – Saturday, October 25th
Melissa & Joey (7:00 – 7:30 AM ET/PT
(7:30 – 10:30 AM ET/PT)
Batman Returns (10:30 AM – 1:30 PM ET/PT)
(1:30 – 3:30 PM ET/PT)
Dark Shadows (3:30 – 6:00 PM ET/PT)
The Addams Family (6:00 – 8:00 PM ET/PT)
Addams Family Values (8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT)
Hocus Pocus (10:00 PM – 12:00 AM ET/PT)
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (12:00 – 2:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Eight – Sunday, October 26th
Freak Out (7:00 – 8:00 AM ET/PT
Coraline (8:00 – 10:00 AM ET/PT
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET/PT
The Haunted Mansion (12:00 – 2:00 PM ET/PT)
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2:00 – 4:00 PM ET/PT
The Addams Family (4:00 – 6:00 PM ET/PT)
Addams Family Values (6:00 – 8:00 PM ET/PT
Hocus Pocus (8:00 PM – 10:00 PM ET/PT
ParaNorman(10:00 PM – 12:00 AM ET/PT
Night Nine – Monday, October 27th
Freak Out (5:00 – 7:00 PM ET/PT)
ParaNorman (7:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT)
Casper (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT)
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (12:00 – 2:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Ten – Tuesday, October 28th
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (5:00 – 7:00 PM ET/PT)
Casper (7:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT)
Freak Out (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT)
The Haunted Mansion (12:00 – 2:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Eleven – Wednesday, October 29th
The Haunted Mansion (5:00 – 7:00 PM ET/PT)
The Addams Family (7:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT)
Addams Family Values (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT)
(12:00 – 2:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Twelve – Thursday, October 30th
The Addams Family (4:30 – 6:30 PM ET/PT)
Addams Family Values (6:30 – 8:30 PM ET/PT
Dark Shadows (8:30 – 11:00 PM ET/PT)
Beetlejuice (12:00 – 2:00 AM ET/PT)
Night Thirteen – Friday, October 31st
Melissa & Joey (11:00 – 11:30 AM ET/PT)
Baby Daddy (11:30 AM – 12:00 PM ET/PT)
Freak Out (12:00 – 2:00 PM ET/PT)
(2:00 – 4:30 PM ET/PT)
Dark Shadows (4:30 – 7:00 PM ET/PT)
(7:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT)
Casper (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT)

25 Homemade Halloween Costumes

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25 Homemade Halloween Costumes


Some of the best memories I have are of my mother making my Halloween costumes.  One year, I was a tiger.  I was a clown the year after that.  Ahem, this was back before clowns were as horrifically scary as they are now.  Or maybe it’s just me.  Pffft….I am DEATHLY afraid of clowns.  So are my kids!  And I didn’t do that to them either!  They were just born that way.  Hah!  Thank goodness costumes have come a long way since then, and so has our ingenuity in creating them.

If you’ve been thinking about DIYing a Halloween costume or two, you’ve got to take a look at this list of 25 Homemade Halloween Costumes.    One note:  Notice that there are no clown costumes here.  Yeah, that’s not a coincidence.  And if you show up on my doorstep dressed as a clown, I’ll Charlie Brown you.  You’ll get a rock in your bag.  Happy Halloween!


Halloween Costumes

1. No-Sew Elsa Costume
2. Queen of Hearts
3. Skunk
4. Riddler
5. The Incredibles
6. Shower Pouf
7. Tank Girl and Captain Hammer
8. Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head
9. Wonder Woman
10. Dread Pirate Roberts
11. Adorable Cheetahs
12. Captain America
13. Black Cat
14. Last Minute Spider Costume
15. Beautiful Mermaid
16. Minnie Mouse
17. Minecraft Creeper
18. Toy Story Costumes on a Budget
19. Peter Pan Family Costumes
20. Princess Buttercup
21. Thing 1 & Thing 2
22. Princess with Tutu
23. Chocolate Chip Cookie
24. Power Rangers
25. Poison Ivy

Walmart: Halloween Inflatable Yard Decoration Bundle 2/$26!

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Walmart has just added a new bundle of Halloween Inflatable Decorations!  You can choose any two from those shown above for $26 ~ $13 each!   They ship free with orders over $50 or you can pick them up in your local Walmart or FedEx Office for free.

Sizes vary, but to give you an idea – the spider is 48″L x 22″W x 30″H.

These tend to sell out very quickly each year.

DIY: 750+ Pumpkin Carving Ideas!

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750+ FREE Pumpkin Carving Ideas



Every year we do the dance….the dance to find the most perfect pumpkin carving ideas.   Let’s face it, pumpkin carving has become an art form all its own, and we like to win the neighborhood contest….that exists only in our own minds!

So with that, take a look at this list of sites that will net you more than 750 pumpkin carving ideas!    Then, scurry off to carve your heart out.   Just not literally.  Muahahaha!  😉


Pop Culture Pumpkin Stencils – Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, Kate Middleton, Robert Pattinson, and more.

27 Cute Pumpkin Stencils – Easy for kids.

20 Nick Jr. Pumpkin Stencils

21 Disney Pumpkin Stencils

30 Pumpkin Stencils from Hershey’s – Organized by difficulty.

46 Intricate Pumpkin Stencils – These are for the more advanced carver.

19 Traditional Stencils

30 Geeky Pumpkin Stencils – Star Wars, Dr. Who, Star Trek, Angry Birds, Pokemon, Hello Kitty, Mario, Gangnam Style, and more!

47 More Geek-Inspired Stencils – Marvel Comics, Dr. Who, Ghostbusters, Walking Dead, Hunger Games, True Blood, Harry Potter, Twilight, and more!

20 Random Stencils – From Tinkerbell, to Colonel Sanders, to Gary Coleman.

10 Halloween Stencils

13 Face Stencils – AFrom clowns to traditional Jack’O’Lanterns.

100 Pop Culture Stencils – Ranging from Bettie Page, to the Beatles, and from the Mona Lisa to Rocket from Little Einsteins.

59 Pumpkin Stencils – They range from traditional Halloween designs, to Mario, Thomas the Train, and Smurfs.

8 Simple Stencils – Probably be more appealing to beginning carvers or small children.

6 Random Stencils – They have tons of stencils to purchase, but they always have a random selection of free ones as well.

56 Extremely Detailed Stencils – They range from Angry Birds, to fantasy creatures like dragons and unicorns.

25 Stencils – They range from pretty and frilly to spooky and scary.

16 Halloween-Themed Stencils – There are some for every skill level here.

12 Themed Stencils – Patriotic, awareness ribbons, and some traditional halloween themes.

11 Star Wars Stencils

100 ‘Un-Halloween’ Pumpkin Stencils – Animals, celebrities, fantasy, patriotic, Christian, and more.

8 Halloween Stencils – From faces, to whole-pumpkin decorations.

28 Cat Stencils

8 Military Themed Stencils

14 Pop Culture Stencils – Assassin’s Creed, Facebook, Glee, Winnie the Pooh, and more.

12 Midwestern Themed Stencils – Corn, barns, wheat, etc.

Halloween Candy Buyback Program!

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I don’t have any cavities.  My son doesn’t have any cavities.  My daughter has two cavities where two teeth butt together.  Ugh.  We just had them filled a few weeks ago with white filling and she says they’re bothering her.  The dentist says that the white fillings are sometimes more sensitive than the metal fillings.  Ugh again.  All I can say is that I’m glad these are her baby teeth.

Needless to say, I’m not really looking forward to Halloween and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

If you’d like to put a positive spin on Halloween and rid yourself of candy mountains (like me), you might want to take advantage of the Halloween Candy Buyback program!

Enter your zip code to find a participating dentist in your area who will ‘buy back’ your Halloween candy and send it to the troops overseas via Operation Gratitude or another military support program.

They also ask that for every pound of candy you send, please send a toothbrush.  This is not required, but they’d like to reach the goal of 100,000 toothbrushes.   And for heaven’s sake, if there’s one thing we know how to do,  it’s score free toothbrushes!

What you’ll receive for you candy varies by dentist, but may include cash, coupons, toothbrushes, hygiene kids, free meals and more.

Easy Halloween Cupcakes! Spider Web Cupcakes! Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes! (Nut-Free)

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easy halloween cupcakes

We had our Halloween party last night, and  I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way it turned out.  I was most concerned with the cupcakes because I wanted to create something “Wowish” without looking like a zombie by the time I finished.    Actually, the cupcakes took longer to bake than to decorate.    That’s exactly the way it should be, right?

[Read more…]

Seasonal Spotlight: Jack O Lantern Marshmallow Pops!

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 jack o lantern marshmallow pops


If you’re looking for a fun and tasty fall craft, this is it!  These Jack O Lantern Marshmallow Pops are so ridiculously easy to make and everybody loves them!


Jack O Lantern Marshmallow Pops


  • 6 Regular Marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup Orange Candy Melting Chips
  • Green Tic Tacs
  • Black Gel Icing
  • 6 Sticks


  1. Heat Candy Chips by microwaving in 30 seconds intervals, stirring, and repeating as necessary until melted. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Insert stick in each marshmallow.
  3. Dip marshmallow in melted candy and roll to coat completely.
  4. Lay pop on wax paper.
  5. Immediately place in refrigerator for 10 minutes to set candy mix.
  6. Using black icing, make triangles for eyes and nose and draw in mouth.


Note: We  use Wilton Candy Melts now that my son has finished OIT, but they’re cross contaminated.  You can do one of two things:

1.) Buy candy coating and tint it using Wilton Candy Colors or Chefmaster Candy Colors (orange) .  You have to use Candy Colors or another oil based food coloring to tint these melts.  If you use food coloring or gel coloring, the chocolate will seize and clump up, ruining your batch.

2.) If you can’t find safe candy coating, you can buy white chocolate chips, melt them, and tint them using Candy Coloring.  I’m always hesitant to recommend any particular candy coating or chocolate chip brand because manufacturing practices change often and what isn’t cross contaminated today may be a year from now when someone stumbles across this post.  Always read labels.  When in doubt, contact the manufacturer.

 jack o lantern marshmallow pops 1

The Popcorn Factory: 15% Off Halloween Treats!

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The Popcorn Factory has a new coupon good for 15% savings on their Halloween Treat Collection.  Enter the code SCARY15 at checkout.

If you’re going to be purchasing $50ish, you’ll want to use the code LS10 to save $10 off a $50 purchase.  That savings is a hair better than 15% at $50 ($7.50 vs. $10)

The 5 Tier Gimme Candy Tower has Monster Mash Jelly Belly Beans, Sour Gummi Pumpkins, Pixies and Honey Roasted Peanuts along with 3 flavors of gourmet popcorn – Cheese, White Cheddar and S’Mores!  It’s  $29.74 after the 15% savings.


Some less expensive items to pair with the Gimme Candy Tower are the Zombie Corn and Fun Pails that put you just over the $50 mark to use the $10/$50 code.   For the tower and pail, the final cost is $44.98 + shipping.

Shipping starts at $6.99.

Cheryl’s: Halloween Cookie Sampler $9.99 Shipped!

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Cheryl's Halloween Cookie Sampler


If you’d like to send a special gift to someone for Halloween, take a look at the Halloween special offered by Cheryl’s.

They’ve got a new Halloween Cookie Flavor Sampler for just $9.99 delivered to the destination of your choice.   It includes their new Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie, Buttercream Frosted Pumpkin, Bat and Moon cut-out Cookies, as well as a Buttercream Frosted Cinnamon Cookie and Buttercream Frosted Peanut Butter Candy Cookie.


You may also want to take a look at Cheryl’s Happy Halloween Cookie Card. It’s just $5 delivered and contains a $5 Gift Card that can be used toward a future purchase!  I’ve given many of these and they’re always well received.