Halloween is here! My son has been looking forward to today all year. He first asked if we could to trick-or-treating again after dinner on Nov. 1 of last year. Right now, he is over the moon, in full Super Mario garb having a party with his pre-school buddies. Last year made a big impression on our little man. He was three, nearly four, and it was his second time out as a trick-or-treater but the first time he was fully aware of what was happening. Dressed in a homemade bat costume, he practically vibrated with excitement.
Weeks before Halloween, the bat theme was chosen by one of the boys (Father or son, I can’t remember.) This time last year, I was completely occupied with learning how to juggle life with baby number two, a simple costume was music to my ears. I was all set to dress our guy head-to-toe in a black sweat suit then attach wings and possibly ears. However, my husband had other plans. He wanted to light up the bat wings! That sounded good to me, illuminated bat wings would be way cooler than covering the sweatsuit in reflector tape for safety. He ordered some electroluminescent (EL) wires and other electrical bits and pieces. It took several weeks of designing, proof of concept testing, and finally tedious material manipulation during which he hunched over the kitchen table with a magnifying glass and a tiny soldering wand.
When all was said and done, the little bat wore fleece wings complete with illuminated blue veins that could be turned on/off or blink at two different speeds — all powered by a battery pack that the bat himself was allowed to control. Both boys couldn’t have been more excited. On the afternoon of Halloween I realized there was no mask or ears. I quickly cut out a Zorro style band to tie around his head, but when it came time to go trick-or-treating he was so focused on the wings that the mask was forgotten on the banister.
We started with the next door neighbor, who I’m sorry to say we don’t know very well. My husband and I stood down on the sidewalk and watched him trot, bold as brass, right up to the door and knock intently. I wish I had recorded his melodious, “trick-or-treat!,” charming, “thank-you-very-much!” and the top-of-the-world grin he was wearing when he bounded back down the steps.
From start to finish trick-or-treating was a magical 20 minutes. To all of our delight, the wings elicited ooo’s and ahh’s up and down the street. Our little bat’s revelry was only shaken once when the college students on the corner presented him with a giant bucket of penny candy and insisted he take as much as he wanted. We had indoctrinated our guy with the one-piece-per-person rule so well, his poor little brain couldn’t figure out how to react to their generosity. In the end, I helped him pick a few extra pieces and he chirped his gratitude in the form of a very enthusiastic, “happy Halloween.” We let him gobble up more than a few pieces of candy from his prized haul before stashing the rest on a high shelf.
The next morning our pumpkins had been stolen from the porch (not the first time) and the bat wings were turned into wall art for his bedroom. Halloween was over but not forgotten.
This Halloween I wish you a day of fun and silly surprises. Have some candy, but don’t forget to take time to marvel at the wonder of dreams coming to life. We don’t have very many days to be playful and childlike or share the contents of our imagination with one another — enjoy this gift.
Tomorrow morning, while you are recounting tales of the best costumes of the year, bake up a batch of these cheery little muffins. They are just the thing to keep the spirit of the season alive for a tiny bit longer.
Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins
These fluffy bites of autumn goodness were inspired by pictures of baked pumpkin doughnuts. You’ll probably want to make a double batch. Yield: 24 mini muffins
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg, ground ginger, all spice
- 1/3 cup raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup low fat milk
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated
- 2 egg whites, whisked until frothy
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Use a paper towel to wipe non-stick spray or a tiny bit of vegetable oil into each cup of a mini muffin tin. If using paper liners, place directly into pan with no oil.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together or whisk the dry ingredients. In a second mixing bowl combine the oil, vanilla, milk, pumpkin, and orange zest. Add the dry ingredients to the wet 1/3 at a time. Mix until batter is a uniform color and texture.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites until very frothy. Fold egg whites into batter, gently stirring until completely incorporated.
Spoon just under a tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup, filling each a hair under 3/4 full.
Bake muffins in preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Finished muffins will be springy to the touch.
Approximate nutrition per muffin: 44 calories, 1.3 g. fat, 7 g. carbs, .4 g. fiber, 1.2 g. protein, PP = 1