November 4, 2014

Aftermath— Another All-Hallows is History

Halloween Party Invitation

October got away from me...

Yeah— it is true that I am always complaining about Time, and about the fact that it leaves me standing dazed in its wake. Of late, I have considered the possibility that it just might have glitched in the opposite direction, that time may have slowed down a mite. Whether that's so or not, October was just so busy, so filled with activity, that slower or not, the time has passed me by. Yes, I had planned at least one more post, and hopefully two, before the advent of Dia de los Muertos, and our All-Hallows Barn Party, but that just did not happen. 

I need to be doing about twenty other things today, but I also need to learn to pace myself, to quit running on overload and live a more mindful, present life. I take on too much. Nobody does it to me. I have no one to blame but myself. I bite off a bit more than I can chew, to use an old southern euphemism. I know this about myself, and for a long time I have been utterly unable to do anything about it. I guess I want it all, but I have neither the energy, time or the drive, and perhaps not the right, to have it.

Making Sandwiches for party
Food Prep-- I found out last year that simple equals good party fare.
 I worked very hard on this party, and I think that there is no real reason to feel anything but good about it. I will, if Spirit or God is willing, do it again next year. However, the advent of a major cold front on the morning of my party; a chill, gusty wind and temperatures twenty five or more degrees cooler than the day before, dampened my spirits considerably.  I know that compared to the harsh weather suffered by those further north, our plummet into the forties would seem mild, but this is Florida—the weather has been warm and lovely for most of the last two weeks—and today will be much the same. Seemingly, two days of cold, unseasonable weather just dropped in to make a drafty barn seem downright uncomfortable.

Setting Up for Barn Party
Setting up the Barn for the Party!
 Still, on the whole it was a blast. Our Princess theme made for an interesting night. Dazzling dresses and shining tiaras were everywhere, though, as the night wore on, more often than not sensible jackets and sweaters somewhat altered the look of the ensembles. Some wore long underwear beneath shimmering satin. Several of us had on leggings or tights, and at least one wore sweatpants beneath her formal attire. My two youngest granddaughters and I were most suited, perhaps, to both the theme and the weather. Like many other little girls, they were dressed as the Princesses Elsa and Anna from Frozen. I am more of a book person, so my character turned out to be Mab, faerie queen of winter from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Yes, it is true that I am a Fangirl, though at my age using the word girl is completely facetious.

Princesses Etc.
Princesses, Etcetera
Aside from a great number of princesses, we had Kristoff (also from Frozen, and dad to one of the little princesses), a witch, a motorcycle outlaw, a Duck Dynasty patriarch, Captain America and a Gladiator (Only a Real Man could pull off wearing a skirt on a night that cold.) and his Lady. It was lovely and fun, and the Costume Contest, even broken down into several categories, was hotly divided.

Small Fry
A scavenger hunt led the kids on a wild cavort around the well-lit yard. The cold did little to slow them down. Since I lacked the time to come up with anything myself, I used a hunt I found on the internet (http://www.scavenger-hunt-fun.com/halloween-clue-hunt.html). While I thought it was great, at least one of the kids thought it was too easy. Hmmm we'll get him next year. We got much use out of the picture wall that Gaia and I concocted out of a sheet, cardboard and cardstock, a lot of glitter, and an old chair I spray painted gold on a whim. Last year, my daughter designated the back wall of the barn the picture wall,  posing all of the costumed guests in front of it for photographs.  Inspired by a recent post on Free People Blog  we decided to create our own backdrop. It is certainly an idea we will use again next year.

Midway through the evening, the wind, after having gusted strongly from the north all day, finally died down enough that we could use the fire-pit. I had already abandoned my plans of roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, but it was a lovely fire and attracted a group of hardier party attendees. The crock-pot of chili I made for the party was a great success. My crock pot is a six or seven quart one, and there was less than a bowlful left at the end of the evening. There was also a great deal of other food, including much spooky fare especially for Halloween.
All-Hallows 2014 Collage
All-Hallows 2014 Collage
I made the Sugar Skull cake and the ghost cookies (using an upside down tulip cookie cutter) and my daughter Gaia, who is much better at such things, decorated them. Our family includes quite a number of pinners, so it is not surprising that other fare at the party included such things as hot dogs wrapped as mummys, alcohol soaked gummy bears, jello worms and radish eyeballs, a huge jug of fruity sangria, and (drum-roll please) what was undoubtedly the most popular halloween edible this year
Halloween Spooky Spider Deviled Egg  |  Delicious as it Looks
http://www.deliciousasitlooks.com/2013/10/halloween-spooky-spider-deviled-eggs.html
We had no less than four plates of these little beauties! It was quite amazing, and a testament to the power of these images we find on Pinterest.  Anyone who saw the post I did last year on our All-Hallows Barn Party will know that I relied heavily on Pinterest for food inspiration. From mummy rice krispy treats to witches fingers cookies, I used several ideas. While I still used ideas I found on Pinterest and other sites this year, I learned from last year's party that I needed to simplify food preparation. Since I knew that everyone would contribute, that we would have ever so much more than could be consumed, I devoted more of my energy to other areas of preparation. I learn something new with each occasion I host, and hopefully incorporate what I have discerned. I have also had to come to terms with the fact that I can not control the weather or many other factors, and I really need to learn to roll with it.  

Icicle Tiara
Several of us made our own crowns and tiaras to go with our party costumes. They were all beautiful and inventive. I wish that I had a photograph that would do justice to my oldest granddaughter's flower festooned antlers (she was our only Deer Princess ;). Mine, in tribute to my wintry theme was an icicle crown. I was delighted with how it came out and had planned on doing a tutorial style post on its construction. Since time got away from me, I will try to get that delayed post done soon, so that it is available for anyone who wants to undertake this project in the future. It was fun and comparatively easy, and the results were quite gratifying. Look for this project soon.


Jack-o-Lantern



In closing this post today, I want to wish everyone a belated Happy All-Hallows. We have closed the door on one seasonal rite of passage, and now will undoubtedly rush our way through the blur of Holidays that mark the closing months of another year. 

I would like to thank everyone who attended my second annual barn party, and everyone who brought goodies and contributed to the fun. And, in spite of my misgivings over the weather, it was a great deal of fun. 

Until next time...

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