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In Season October 2012

Warm and creative ways to celebrate the month's holidays.

Tasheena Carpenter

Creepy Illusion

Spook guests and trick-or-treaters by hanging creepy crawlers on doors and windows. A terrific option is the Safari Ltd. series of Hidden Kingdom Insects that are sculpted to look extremely lifelike. Find insects such as black widow spiders at www.safariltd.com.

High Regard

On October 16, show your boss you appreciate him or her for National Boss Day. Write a thank-you note, bake treats or send a gift basket to offer thanks. Visit www.gifts.com to personalize silver star paperweights, plaques, calendars and other presents.

Sweet Gesture

Bake a chocolate confection for the one you love on Sweetest Day, October 20. Check out Hershey’s Perfect Chocolate Cake, courtesy of www.hersheys.com.

Cake Ingredients: •1¾ c. all purpose flour •¾ c. Hershey’s cocoa •1½ tsp. baking powder •2 c. sugar •1 tsp. salt •1 c. milk •2 tsp. vanilla extract •1½ tsps. baking soda •2 eggs •½ c. vegetable oil •1 c. boiling water Frosting: •½ c. butter or margarine •⅔ c. Hershey’s cocoa •⅓ c. milk •3 c. powdered sugar •1 tsp. vanilla extract Cake

Directions: Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch baking pans. Stir together sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water, then pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, removing cakes from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Cover with frosting. Frosting: Melt butter and stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla.

Pink Perfection

Join the Pink Ribbon Challenge in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an event held every October. Log onto www.thebreastcancersite.com to donate funds, which provide free mammograms for underserved women and benefit hospitals, clinics and mobile mammography units.

On Display

Add humor to your personal pumpkin patch by carving silly faces. Free downloadable stencils for jack-o’-lanterns and other fun craft ideas await at www.bhg.com.

Icky Worms

Make treats that taste great to get kids shrieking with excitement. Thanks to this recipe from www.enchantedlearning.com, an edible cup of worms awaits.

Ingredients: •Chocolate pudding •Gummy worms •Cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix •Chocolate sprinkles (optional) •Clear plastic cups

Directions: Put chocolate pudding in clear plastic cups, letting the top of pudding remain rough looking. Sprinkle cocoa powder on top of each cup and add chocolate sprinkles. Place a few gummy worms in each cup and refrigerate until dessert time.

Spooky Baked Goods

Inspired by insects, zombies and vampires, A Zombie Ate My Cupcake: 25 Deliciously Weird Cupcake Recipes (Cima Books) helps readers transform cupcakes from ordinary sweets to ghoulish delights. Recipes include Black Cherry Blood and Guts Red Velvet Cupcake, Heavenly Fallen Angel Cakes and more. The tome also offers tips on how to make edible goods using gum paste, sprays, paints, glazes and other ingredients.

Family Affair

Come up with a costume theme that includes the entire family. Head to www.halloweenexpress.com for ideas and suggestions, such as characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Teletubbies, as well as Crayola.

This column appeared in the October 2012 issue.