Is there a soul on this earth that doesn’t love Fall?! The possibility is one my brain can’t quite wrap around as the whole season is pretty much one overwhelmingly successful advertisement for sensory bliss. Though my moving to Texas has taken the chill out of my autumn air, I am undeterred in the pursuit of all things spiced and cozy. Pumpkin patches and baking in 90 degree weather? You betcha! My house is the one pumping out a steady scent of cinnamon candle and air conditioning brisk enough to justify sporting a sweater and boots.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Fortunately, the lone star state hasn’t postponed Halloween, absolutely my favorite holiday, and I can’t stop adding to my living room decor. For a person with a paralytic fear of spiders, I’m slightly unsettled to discover I have a slight cobweb addiction, but I suppose it could count as a sort of therapy, right? Along with the candles, hanging witch's brooms on the coat rack, and breaking out the spices and molasses in a major way, I love the excuse to read aloud some of my favorite festive children’s books.
My witch cackle is really finding a new level of excellence.
Over the years we’ve amassed a collection of favorite children’s books to set the mood through October. One story, The Ugly Pumpkin, was one of those we picked up at the library almost accidentally but ended up completely loving. Super cute, and each year when Fall rolls around and I begin carting winter squash home by the armfuls, Badge inevitably calls out, “Oh my GOSH! I’m a SQUASH!” Which is somehow more endearing with repetition and gets me laughing every time. Isn’t it wonderful to be married to someone who’s cheesy jokes are your own and who gets what makes your dorky little heart happy?
So without further ado, I give you a handful of our ever-growing list of favorite haunted tales and something sinful (see what I did there?) to do with your own Ugly Pumpkin.
I’ve raved before over my love of roasting, but seriously. The things that an oven can do, in this case, to a homely squash, is well, magic. You can’t go wrong if you keep a few solid, home run ingredients close at hand for roasting. An aged balsamic vinegar, crushed fresh garlic, some salty Parmesan (buy the wedge and grate your own for better flavor, more shred for your buck, and a rind you can toss like a boss into this braise), and bit of cracked black pepper & coarse sea salt.
Check out this post for my favorite quick and easy roasting method.