Friday, May 30, 2008

Festive Pumpkin Dip

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup chopped dried beef
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 round loaf (1 pound) Italian or pumpernickel bread
Fresh vegetables, crackers, or corn chips

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, pumpkin, taco seasoning, and garlic powder until smooth. Stir in beef, peppers and olives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Just before serving, cut top off bread; scoop out bread from inside, leaving a 1/2 inch shell. Fill shell with cream cheese mixture. Serve with vegetables, crackers, or corn chips.

Makes 3 cups.

*Taste of Home

Pumpkin Cookie Dip

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 jars (7 ounces each) marshmallow creme
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
Gingersnaps or vanilla wafers

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and marshmallow creme until smooth. Stir in pumpkin, cinnamon, and orange peel. Serve as a dip with cookies. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 4 cups.

*Taste of Home

Tips for Perfect Jack-o'-Lanterns

This was taken from a Taste of Home magazine I had from last year or the year before.

1. Never carry a pumpkin by the stem. If it snaps it can accelerate the pumpkin's rotting.

2. Store pumpkins in a cool, dry place until ready to cut and display.

3. Wash the pumpkin before carving. Use 1 gallon of water and 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach. This will help prevent mold.

4. Draw the pattern you wish to use on paper or use a template.

5. To transfer a template, enlarge it, cut it out, and tape to the pumpkin. Use a craft or utility knife or pin pricks to score the surface of the pumpkin.

6. You can use all sorts of designs, not just faces.

7. Think about buying a pumpkin carving kit. They are relatively inexpensive and come with useful tools to make your pumpkin detailed.

8. Always use a sawing motion when carving your pumpkin.

9. The more pumpkins the better. Several small pumpkins have more of a visual impact than one large one.

10. You can always buy a hollow acrylic pumpkin or craft pumpkin. They can be carved and they last forever.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lollipop Ghosts

Lollipop ghosts are a very easy, kid-friendly craft and great for those school parties. Pick up a bag of tootsie pops, a box of facial tissue (or you could use tissue paper), and some Halloween ribbon. Make sure to have a black marker handy. Put one tissue over the top of the tootsie pop and tie at the bottom with the ribbon. Use the marker to dot on some eyes. Simple, yet fun!

You could also adapt this idea to hang outside in a tree or from your roof. Use crumpled newspaper and white trash bags with ribbon to make a floating ghost. Secure with fishing line so it appears that they are floating.

More Decorating Ideas

I know it's not GPD yet (I do the last day of the month), but I wanted to go ahead and share some more decorating ideas that we have used in the past.

Last year we made our own tombstones. Just like anything, it was a learning process. My wonderful husband made some tombstones out of plywood. We spray painted them gray and then I used black paint to write epitaphs on them with a paint brush. I highly recommend researching some funny and witty epitaphs and sketch out your writing before putting the paint on the tombstone. I’m sad to say, mine looked awful. I will probably paint over them this year and redo the epitaphs to make them more eye-catching. Maybe add in some dripping red paint to look like blood.

You could also use heavy cardboard to make your tombstones and just paint them gray or black. You could stick some fake limbs in the ground in front of them to make it look like the skeleton is trying to come up or wasn't buried all the way. You could also put spiderweb in between the tombstones to make it look really old.