If you thought celebrities had it easy when it comes to playing dress up for Halloween, think again. It takes some cerebral homework to pick costumes that don’t just showcase great bodies! Our pick of the fun-est celebrity costumes ever!
There’s no better dessert to celebrate the flavors and colors of fall, than Pumpkin pie. Sweet and spicy or spicy and savory, light or rich, whichever way you like your dessert, chances are you’ll find a pumpkin pie recipe to your exact liking.
I’m linking here to my favorite recipe for pumpkin pie. It’s easy, rich and guarantees clean-licked plates! The wonderful addition of the cream cheese really enhances the flavor of the pumpkin. Plus it makes the most wonderful pie crust ever!
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
1 piece pre-made pie dough
Whipped cream, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.
Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.
Now if, like me, you’d like to make the most of the season’s fresh produce and skip the canned pumpkin, for the easiest and most amazingly aromatic method of making your own pumpkin puree, go here. Simply use this in place of the canned puree and proceed according to recipe.
Remember to adjust spices according to your preferences. And if you’d like to take a shot at making your own spice mix, hooray to that. Here’s a quick and easy pumpkin spice mix recipe.
Do let us know how your pumpkin pie adventures turned out! Wishing you all lots of warm and happy family meals this autumn.
Gather your supplies
Choose your pumpkin or pumpkins with care. Remember to avoid stemless, dented or bruised pumpkins because this means they’ll go downhill pretty quickly. Shape is up to your own taste, but test to see if your pumpkin has a good, balanced base to sit on, so it doesn’t roll over when you try to display it. There are a variety of pumpkin carving tools available at stores today, especially if you’re looking to create some great pumpkin art. However, if you’re looking at basic carving all you need is a good kitchen knife, a big spoon, a few thumb-tacs, a marker and a candle/electric lights.
Hollowing out your pumpkin
If you’re going to be using a candle, you need to cut off the top of the pumpkin. If you’re going to be using electric lights, slice off the bottom so you can hide the cord. If you’re slicing at the top, remember to keep the knife at a slant so that the ‘lid’ won’t fall in when you place it on top. Now scrape off the insides with the spoon. You can also scrape off more flesh to make the walls thinner if your pumpkin is particularly dense.
Go free hand with your shapes and sketch on the pumpkin with the marker. There are also lots of online templates available for some interesting carving ideas. Print a design you like, affix it to the pumpkin and then trace out the shape by poking holes, using thumbtacks or t-pins. Once you’ve marked out the design, connect the dots with the marker. Another cool trick is to spread baking powder over the holes so you can see the design clearly. When you begin to carve, go slow. Most experts recommend tacking the smallest or inner most details of the design first.
If you’re using a candle inside the pumpkin we recommend you place the candle in a glass or a votive holder. You may have to leave the lid open. Also never leave a candle-lit pumpkin on a wooden porch/stand. Place a dish below it to prevent any hazards. String lights are also a popular option.
Tips to keeping your jack-o’-lantern fresh
If you’re planning to carve your pumpkin a few days before you’ll be displaying it, keep it in a cool spot, out of direct sunlight. If the pumpkin begins to wilt, try covering it with a damp cloth or dip it for a few minutes in water. Don’t leave it outside – animals might think you’re treating them! Also, avoid putting the pumpkin outside if there’s going to be frost.
It’s now officially okay to begin hunting for your Halloween costume – although if you’ve begun sooner, we understand, we won’t tell anyone!
Here’s our list of the 5 most popular costumes this year – the most anticipated and searched costumes that you can pick if you want to be ‘with it,’ or avoid if you don’t want to run into multiple clones.
1. Miley Cyrus’s Twerking Costume
Infamous and imprinted in public memory – this one is an easy winner for the number one spot. Several online sites are selling the young singer’s ‘twerking teddy’ costume, complete with foam finger that made national news after her MTV Video Music Awards performance. To complete the look, simply part your hair in the middle, roll up two top knots, paint your lips a bright red and remember to keep sticking your tongue out every 10 seconds! If you’re dressing as a couple, your partner can dress as Robin Thicke and wear a black and white striped suit, sunglasses and a really lecherous grin!
2. Breaking Bad
The Emmy-winning drug and crime show has gripped television audiences across the US. The ‘Breaking Bad’ finale raked in 10.3 million viewers on September 29, making it one of the most watched drama cable finales of all time. Make the most of the popular show’s anti-hero (Walter White) and his meth-cooking sidekick (Jesse Pinkmans) this Halloween. There are several varieties of White/Heisenberg costumes available online, although the yellow hazmat suit is the most popular.
3. The Royal Baby
Never before has the birth of a baby captured such global attention, and the adulation surrounding Kat –Will –and their offspring refuses to end. One of the easiest costumes to put together, try your hand at enacting The Royal Baby by wearing a white onesie (adult ones are also available online). Prop a crown and paint the Union Jack in the front. Your props? A velvet cushion and a silver spoon place in your mouth! This is also a great costume idea for babies.
4. The Walking Dead
Zombies and Halloween seem synonymous, although the zombie trend has received a whole new pint of blood in the arm thanks to the popular television series, ‘The Walking Dead.’ Online stores offer a plethora of props including rubber bloody split jaws, wigs, zombie kits, and Rick Grimes’ sheriff costumes
5. The Hunger Games
Set for release on November 14, it is expected that the much awaited second installment, Catching Fire, of the book series will see a glut of Katniss Everdeen costumes. The guys can choose between Peeta Mellark although we personally prefer the more colorful Caesar Flickerman with his bright blue suit and hair!
Other Honorable Mentions
Nicki Minaj: The in-your-face singer’s fashion sense has been among the most searched costumes over the last couple of years. Wear huge false eyelashes, hair piled really high and stick your posterior out!
Lone Ranger and Tonto: Disney’s ‘Lone Ranger’ movie may have bombed at the summer box office, but the eponymous characters and his sidekick Tonto, are a popular costume choice this year. Although we’re betting on more Tonto appearances – Johnny Depp characters have always been a Halloween crowdpleaser.
Duck Dynasty: The nation’s most popular non-fiction television show offers simple and easy to put together costume options. Costume ideas include checkered shirt, camouflage vest, an American flag bandanna and detachable long beards. Remember to carry your duck whistle!