Making My Peace with Halloween

Thomas was a Minecraft Herobrine.  Jack was a pirate.

Thomas was a Minecraft Herobrine.  Jack was a pirate.

Aargh!  For many years, this was my official stance on Halloween.  If I were still an elementary school teacher, I would probably still feel this way.  Fortunately, that is not the case, and ten years of motherhood have softened me somewhat.  “There is a time for everything.”  These are words of wisdom found in the book of Ecclesiastes.  This quirky little holiday at the end of October can be a time of irritation, but I have decided it is also a good time for family fun and friendship.  We had another family over to eat soup and cookies, to go trick-or-treating, and to enjoy the evening.  That is how we spent our time on Halloween.

Captain Jack works on his sword.

Captain Jack works on his sword.

Not only did fun abound on this Eve of November, but also creativity, both mine and the boys’.  We designed costumes, we frosted cookies, we carved pumpkins, and we played with corn starch papier mache.  It was a busy week!  Our papier mache project turned into three pumpkins.  The boys kept theirs as decorations, and mine became a piñata.  Between Thomas’ braces and Jack’s allergies, the list of candy the boys can actually eat is rather short, so I filled the piñata with their favorite allowable treats.  (I also put in some light-up bounce balls which added to the excitement.)

We made three pumpkins, but only mine became a piñata.  The boys' creations remained safely intact.

Thomas works on transforming his balloon into a pumpkin.

My finished piñata, ready for the party.

My finished piñata, ready for the party.

David used a wood clamp to hang the piñata.

David used a wood clamp to hang the piñata.

The piñata, I think, was the highlight of the evening.  It didn’t even matter that it was raining outside.


Oh yes, we’re a rowdy bunch.

Just in case you’d like have your own allergen-free piñata fun, here are the directions for corn starch papier mache paste.  It’s basically like making a big batch of very thick gravy.

Corn Starch Papier Mache Paste

  • Combine  1 cup of corn starch with two cups of cold water in a quart-size jar.  Shake well until the corn starch dissolves.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
  • Add your cornstarch and water mixture to the boiling water.  Stir constantly as you bring the mixture back to boiling and then stir for about 1 minute more.
  • Remove from heat and let the paste cool to the touch before using.

This made more than enough paste for our entire project with three balloon-sized pumpkins.  If you are doing more than one layer over a few days, keep the paste in the refrigerator while not in use.


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