Archive for the ‘Halloween’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Happy Halloween with the Great Pumpkin!

Lunchbox Love

I had found a coupon for 15% off Lunchbox Love Notes on the affiliates page at Biting The Hand That Feeds You, another blog about bento boxes for kids with food allergies. I picked up the new Strength and Hope set as well as the Holiday set. I have some friends going through some difficult times, and it’ll be nice to have the Strength and Hope cards to stick into the allergy-friendly meals and treats. Plus, the Holiday cards are fun for the girls! Another blogger posted a link to these plastic sleeves – by sticking the LBL notes into the sleeves, it’s an inexpensive way to make surethey won’t get icky in lunches and can be used again. I love that – I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of spending that much money on cards that will be thrown out.

In actual food news, we either got cross-contaminated at our (otherwise awesome) church Halloween party, or all 4 of us got the same 24 hour stomach bug at the same time. It sucked. But, on the plus side, the house was very, very quiet all day. I don’t remember the last time the house was this quiet, other than when the girls are with their dad.

As a result of them staying home, the girls’ Great Pumpkin lunches from yesterday are actually going to be eaten today. So no new bentos. But, when everyone started feeling better enough for some dinner, I spent 5-10 extra minutes decorating the leftovers to make them themed with watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The girls loved it! And it really only took a few extra minutes.

Haunted House PizzaFirst I used a leftover lunchbox gf pizza crust and added some leftover marinara. I added some shredded mozzarella and some cooked bacon, and popped it in the toaster for 5 minutes. I spent a few minutes following the instructions from iPackLunch for a haunted house pizza topping. I popped my topping (hand carved yellow cheddar with a pepperoni ghost cut out with a Halloween cookie cutter on top of a slice of mozzarella from Trader Joe’s) on the pizza and stuck it in the toaster for a couple minutes. Sadly, it melted a bit too much, but it was fun to do, and G3 liked it. I wouldn’t bother to put it in the oven next time.

Scrambled Egg PumpkinG1 just wanted scrambled eggs with cheese, plus some tomato soup (something that will surprise absolutely no one who has read this blog before). Her mouth is still hurting from the orthodontist visit Tuesday, so she wanted something soft to eat. I popped the scraps from cutting out decorations into the scrambled eggs, which worked great. Then I topped it with a little cheddar cheese pumpkin cut from a Halloween cookie cutter.

Pumpkin Patch chiliG2 wanted some of the vegetarian & gluten-free chili leftover from Tuesday night’s chili cook off, so I put that in a nice bowl and then created a little pumpkin patch with ghosts out of cheddar and provolone cheese cut using Halloween cookie cutters. So easy, and it’s great to get a huge smile in exchange for the minute or two it took to cut out the cheese.

It’s wonderful to remember that spending that extra moment can turn leftovers and simple foods into something the kids were excited to eat, and got them really in the mood to watch The Great Pumpkin!



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PostHeaderIcon Waiting for the Great Pumpkin

Cauldron CakeThere’s only one more night before Halloween! You can definitely tell based on the traffic and mass of people in Salem, but all around our area homes are decked out and people are in costume. It’s wonderful! Last night our church had its Halloween party, which included a zip line, Trunk or Treat, a chili cookoff, and a scary cake contest. G2 and G3 and I worked hard on our cauldron cake, but, sadly, it didn’t win. We were up against a professional graphic designer, though, so… We’re happy with it, but we’ll see what we can do next year! Quick how-to: Bottom is a 9″ layer covered in red “flame” frosting, with molded chocolates stuck in it. Top layer is an ice cream cake bowl form, designed so you have a “pocket” to stuff with ice cream before putting it on top of the 9″ layer, but we kept it in the bowl shape. We brushed the inside and outside of the bowl with melted chocolate, and let that harden. We whipped green whipped cream, put in a ladle, and topped with chocolate skulls, spiders, ears, eyes, fingers, bats, and fangs.

Because tonight is the night Linus waits for The Great Pumpkin, today’s lunches are all based on that. I didn’t have anything with Linus on it, sadly, but Snoopy and Woodstock can still hang out waiting for The Great Pumpkin!

Great Pumpkin 2G2’s lunch came out the best, I think. In the large container in her Laptop Lunchbox there’s a provolone sandwich with Snoopy and Woodstock drawn on using Snoopy & Woodstock stencils and food-safe markers. I made an orange bell pepper pumpkin and a ghost using Halloween cookie cutters to set the scene. In the top left container is The Great Pumpkin (in a clementine disguise) complete with a crown food pick, with a Woodstock candy ring from Walgreens. At the top right is a Thestral Poop meringue and a skull bracelet picked up locally. 


Great Pumpkin 1G1 had her braces adjusted yesterday, and her mouth hurts a lot. I tried to pack soft food, or food she could have melt in her mouth. So, she has tomato soup in her Thermos, again. For protein and fun, her Totoro Bento Box has a fairly good tofu Snoopy and Woodstock made using rice molds as cutters, and food-safe markers to add detail. Lettuce and ghosts & a pumpkin made using Halloween cookie cutters help complete the pumpkin patch scene. On the left, in the leakproof portion of her bento, is some canned pineapple, with a witch flying overhead, and a graveyard food pick as accents. In two silicone muffin cups are a chocolate skull and bat molded from cookie cutters. I also threw in a Lucy ring pop and a skull bracelet for fun.

Great Pumpkin 3G3 has homemade gluten-free chicken noodle soup in her Thermos. She has asked for a “snack box”, which I’m packing in a container from Laptop Lunch’s Bento Buddies. Her snack box has some MnMs from last night’s Trunk or Treat, plus a couple Halloween food picks. G3’s Easy Lunchbox includes a tofu Snoopy who looks a little evil, which is unfortunate. I need a smaller stencil to go with the Snoopy & Woodstock rice molds – I’m not great at freehand drawing on tofu. She also has a Snoopy candy ring, a skull bracelet, and some Sour Patch Kids from ToT.

Halloween stickers jokesAll three lunches included a set of Snoopy stickers and a couple Halloween jokes. I’m looking forward to getting Lunch Box Love notes, but until then and in addition to them, the various printables are lovely.

This post is linked to I Heart Lunch and Fun Food Friday.


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PostHeaderIcon There’s only 2 more sleeps ’til Halloween

Skulls and spidersI’m humming along with the “There’s only one more sleep ’til Christmas” tune from the Muppets Christmas Carol, but substituting two more sleeps ’til Halloween. You’re quite welcome for that earworm.

Tonight we have our church‘s Scary Cake Contest along with Trunk or Treat and some games put on by the Young Women. G2 and I have been plotting what to make, and after searching Pinterest for Halloween ideas, we found a way to make spiders using melted chocolate. We had cookie cutter and molds from Target for skulls, bats, etc., so it was just the bugs that I needed to make freehand. I think we succeeded with cute & creepy spiders, but the fingers were just plain creepy and the skulls were OK. For next Halloween I need some bug molds.

As a small piece of reference, Thestrals are the horse-like winged creatures in Harry Potter which you can only see if you’ve seen death. Our usual meringues are called Unicorn Poop, so Halloweeny ones are, of course, Thestral Poop. And now for the lunches… somehow I managed to pack 3 lunches into 3 different lunchboxes. Yay.

G2 Mummy lunch

G2 started off the mummy lunch trend today with her provolone sammich mummy in her Laptop Lunchbox. I used one slice of gluten-free bread and put it on a cookie sheet, then cut strips of provolone cheese. I layered the cheese on the bread like a mummy, then put it in the oven (which was already at 350F to bake a cake) for 3 minutes. Once the cheese became a little melty, I stuck the eyeballs into the cheese. Below the mummy is a chocolate spider and a chocolate finger, along with a ghoul. To the left of the chocolate is a clementine jack-o-lantern, made this time using cut-outs from the rind, “glued” to the clementine with a teeny bit of honey, topped with a wizard hat. G2 also has a couple Thestral Poop meringues, a bat food pick, some Peanuts stickers, and a Halloween lunch joke. It looks like a good lunch!

Mummy lunch for G3

G3 wanted some of the homemade potato leek soup we had last night for dinner in her Thermos. In her Easy Lunchbox she has, at far left, half of a roll made from a bit of leftover gluten-free bread dough, which I then wrapped in slices of mozzarella and then treated to the same treatment as the provolone mummy (Trader Joe’s has great sliced mozzarella for kids who think provolone has too strong a flavor). In the same section she also has a spider silicone cup filled with a spider and a finger, a Halloween lunch joke, and some Mickey Halloween stickers. At the right she has canned pineapple with a bat food pick, and two Thestral Poop meringues.

Mummy lunch for G1

G1 had, surprise surprise, a Thermos of tomato soup. In her Totoro Bento Box‘s bottom section she has a Halloween lunch joke and three silicone spider cups I found at AC Moore. Two are filled with canned pineapple, plus a bat food pick. The third has her chocolate spider and finger. In the top section she has a bat ring (one of her friends was all excited about the one she had yesterday, so she wanted to offer him the other one we had), a couple Thestral Poop meringues, a mummy cheese roll, and some Halloween stickers.

This post is linked to Bento for Kidlet’s Meatless Monday, Halloween Bentos on Bento Blog Network, What’s For Lunch Wednesday, and Fun Food Friday. G3’s leftover soup (invisible in the picture) and leftover roll turned into a mummy are linked on Leftovers on Friday.


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PostHeaderIcon Only 3 more days until Halloween!

Our Halloween countdown continues. We didn’t eat any Halloween-themed meals over the weekend, but tomorrow night is our church’s “Trunk or Treat” and scary cake contest, so we did some prep over the weekend making bats, bugs, and body parts. G2 has come up with a brilliant plan for the scary cake. Here’s hoping the real cake looks even half as good as the plan!

And now for the Bentos…  We made Unicorn Poop cookies over the weekend (also known as rainbow meringues), but because I used Halloween colors, the girls decided they were too dark to be Unicorn Poop, so they must be Thestral Poop. I got a CuteZCute Animal Palz Press on Saturday, so you’ll see that show up in 2/3 of the lunches. The description on Amazon specifically says that it’s not ideal for gluten-free bread, but I figured they might not have used good GF bread. Yeah, it wasn’t ideal. But maybe that’s because my current favorite gf bread recipe includes chia seeds? Perhaps if I was using a white bread it would work better? Things to look into.

Batty tofu lunchG1 has tomato soup in her Thermos (again). Her Easy Lunchbox has tofu bats thanks to the new CuteZCute, a black food-safe marker for accents, and a bat food pick. She also has a spider silicone cup filled with homemade gf goldfish and a spider ring in the large section of the container. The top small section has a jack-o-lantern clementine, also detailed with a food-safe marker, complete with a cute witch’s hat. The lower section has 2 Thestral Poop cookies and a silicone muffin cup with a chocolate bat, made using melted chocolate and a bat cookie cutter, and a little yellow bat ring.

Bat sandwichesG2’s lunch is focused on two batty provolone sandwiches made using my new CuteZCute, a black food-safe marker to outline details, and a bat food pick as an accent. The rest of her lunch is the same as her older sister’s: chocolate bat, Thestral Poop cookies, jack-o-lantern clementine, and homemade gf goldfish in a spider-shaped silicone container, with a spider ring inside. I only wish I was there to see her open it. She’s a smidge arachnophobic. She also has a Halloween lunch joke tucked into her lunch box.

G3Breadstick and treats‘s lunch includes homemade chicken noodle soup in her Thermos. Her Easy Lunchbox includes a Chebe breadstick leftover from last night’s dinner, the spider silicone cup I found at AC Moore filled with homemade gf goldfish and a little spider ring. She also has the same bat chocolate, jack-o-lantern clementine, and Thestral Poop cookies found in her sisters’ lunches, plus a Halloween lunch joke.

All in all, a good day for lunches, just a few days before Halloween! It’s becoming more and more fun every day to walk around downtown Salem! Of course, the traffic is horrible, but everything has a cost.

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PostHeaderIcon Only 6 More Days Until Halloween

Totoro and a ThermosThursday night G1 and I went out with a friend to shop for the fabric and notions needed for her Halloween costume. We are incredibly blessed to have a friend who loves sewing and also loves my daughters. After having a horrible time trying to find an adult sized Alice in Wonderland costume that was not $90, not “sexy Alice”, and not going to fall apart if you sneeze at it, we gave up and accepted our friend’s offer to make the costume.

All of the above is to say that last night was the second night in a row of not getting home until 10pm. So today’s lunch was super quick. G1 continued to want tomato soup in her Thermos, a small container of salad dressing, a salad,  & a cookie in her Totoro Bento Box. I think making cute bento boxes is my way of rebelling against her always wanting the same lunch day after day after day. Thankfully, she likes the cuteness and looks forward to it.

Halloween saladThe top (far right) portion of her Totoro Bento Box  has a jack-o-lantern clementine inside a spider silicone baking cup I found at AC Moore. Her gluten-free chocolate chip cookies complete with skull and bone sprinkles have two skeleton accents also picked up at a brick & mortar store. The bottom (left) portion has a salad. I used regular salad ingredients, then cut ghosts and a moon from tofu using my set of mini Halloween cookie cutters. The witch is cut using an old cookie cutter I had laying around, with minimal coloring done with food-safe markers. I also used the food-safe markers to make jack-o-lantern faces on the yellow tomatoes, and used the cookie cutters to cut pumpkins from an orange bell pepper.

To make the tofu decorations in G1’s lunches I take a large block of extra-firm tofu and slice it into four slices horizontally. This gives me the largest canvas possible to draw or use cookie cutters. I try to blot the tofu dry a bit with a paper towel, but it’s always pretty damp, so it’s hard to do more than minimal decorating.

Over all, this is a quick and fun lunch. Only a few more school lunches left before Halloween!

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PostHeaderIcon Halloween Countdown – 7 days left!

G1 7H 1As I’ve mentioned before, G2 and G3 are with their father on Wednesday and Thursday nights, so I only pack lunches for G1 on those days. We went shopping for our final Halloween items Wednesday night, so Thursday’s lunch needed to be quick. As an aside, wanting to collect things for bentos is dangerous. I had a very hard time saying no to things!



G1 7H topIn her Totoro Bento Box  we have, in the top section that has vents, a creepy jack-o-lantern clementine in a spider silicone baking cup I found on sale at AC Moore. She also has two a gluten-free chocolate chip cookies complete with skull and bone sprinkles and a couple plastic bones and a squishy eyeball from Party City.

In her Thermos she has more tomato soup. I’ve given up trying to make homemade for the moment, after throwing out two batches that she and G2 hated. They love Pacific’s Creamy Tomato Soup with a couple shakes of basil on top, so we’ll be sticking with that (and it’s available through subscribe & save!).



G1 7H bottomIn the bottom section in her lunch box is a Halloween Lunch Joke, two graveyard food picks, and a salad. On top of the salad are two pieces of orange bell pepper cut using a pumpkin cookie cutter to give a Great Pumpkin feel. I also took my food markers and drew Snoopy and Woodstock on a slice of tofu. To prep the tofu I tried to press some of the moisture out of it, but it’s not the most perfect material for drawing. I used these Snoopy & Woodstock stencils to draw the characters. I also used a scrapbooking punch from JoAnn’s Fabrics to make some little bats out of nori for the background. I’m going to have to look closer at the scrapbooking punches next time!

This post is linked on Bento Blog Network – Halloween Bentos.

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PostHeaderIcon Halloween Countdown – 8 More Days!

Only 8 more days until Halloween!

G3 8h

Today’s two Halloween lunches belong to G1 and G3. I aimed for something on the easy side, as G2 and I had an open house to look at high schools in the area. I used some new decorative cutters to help carve the jack-o-lantern and ghosts, and wow! it makes it so much easier to make detailed cuts than a paring knife! I’m now sporting a band-aid thanks to misjudging sharpness of new tools.

G3 requested pizza again, so in her Easy Lunchbox we have a lunchbox-sized gluten-free pizza that fits perfectly in an ELB. Pepperoni bats fly over the cheese and bacon, with a witch and a bat food pick. In a silicone cup I cut up a mozzarella stick to make ghosts, and made eyes and a mouth with a black food marker. On the left she has another a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie complete with skull and bone sprinkles and a graveyard food pick. Below the cookie is another jack-o-lantern clementine with a scary face drawn on with black food marker and a leaf food pick on top.

G1 8h

G1 wanted a salad to go with her Thermos of tomato soup. Packed in her Studio Ghibli Totoro Bento Box on the left we have a cookie and my first attempt at a carved jack-o-lantern clementine, plus a cute little a hat on top. On the right we have ghosts in the pumpkin patch as a salad. I used these Halloween cookie cutters to cut a moon and ghosts out of tofu, then pumpkins out of an orange pepper purchased this past weekend specifically to cut up for use as pumpkins in a salad. I added a couple of graveyard food picks to the salad to make it a little spookier.

Both girls have Halloween Lunch Jokes, but sadly I can’t remember which ones. or witch ones.

This post is linked on What’s for Lunch Wednesday at as well as at I heart lunch at Following in My Shoes. This post is also linked on Bento Blog Network – Halloween Bentos and at Fun Food Friday at Eats Amazing.

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PostHeaderIcon 9 Days until Halloween!

Halloween9 jokesLast night we had homemade pizza. It actually started by me making lunchbox-sized pizza crusts, inspired by various bento blog posts I had read that included pizzas in lunches. I had other dinner plans, but when the girls saw I had made crusts, they (oddly enough) wanted pizza for dinner. So, lunches today were leftover pizza. G3 is the only one who ate her entire pizza – she is either having a growth spurt or has a hollow leg – so she has a lunchbox pizza. It was nice to have everyone have the same lunch! That never seems to happen. I also remembered the Halloween Lunch Jokes for G3 (top) and G2 (bottom). G3 has flute today, so she got the instrument joke.

R Lunch H9G1 didn’t need a lunch today, so I’m including a picture of my lunch. I don’t usually bother to make mine fun, but since I didn’t need to make a lunch for G1, and everyone had pretty much the same lunch, it was worth the few extra moments to make it look cute. It definitely made it more fun to open today!

In an Easy Lunchbox I have: a slice of white pizza with a small provolone ghost decorated quickly with a black food marker. Next to the pizza is a little dipper filled with hummus and a black olive spider. I’ve also got a homemade cherry fruit roll-up in a silicone cup with a graveyard food pick. In the top, smaller section I have a clementine with a jack-o-lantern face drawn on and a hat. In the larger container I have a bunch of carrots and celery (to dip in the hummus), and a bat food pick.

 G2’s Easy Lunchbox has: G2 9H2 slices of pizza, decorated with provolone cheese ghost. In the same compartment she has a homemade fruit roll-up in a silicone cup with a bat food pick. In the smaller, top section she has a clementine jack-o-lantern, complete with a leaf food pick. In the bottom section is a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe complete with skull and bone sprinkles and a graveyard food pick.

G3 9HG3’s Easy Lunchbox has: a bacon-topped lunchbox-sized pizza. I decorated it with a little black olive spider and two provolone ghosts and a a graveyard food pick. She has a homemade fruit roll-up in a silicone cup with a cat food pick in the same container. At the top right she, also, has a clementine jack-o-lantern decorated using a black food marker, with a bow on top. In the larger section she has a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe complete with skull and bone sprinkles and a witch food pick.

This post is linked on Bento Blog Network – Halloween Bentos and at Becoming a Bentoholic – Leftovers on Fridays.

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PostHeaderIcon 10 Days Before Halloween

We live near Salem, Massachusetts, so the lead-up to Halloween is pretty intense. We start decorating the weekend before October 1, and start working on costumes before that. Halloween is a pretty big deal around here. (Pro tip – if you want to visit Salem in October, take the train from Boston. Try to avoid driving and parking if at all possible.)

Today’s lunches have a few common themes, but the girls wanted very different lunches today. That’s always fun. Thankfully, they’ve agreed to me packing their lunches the day before (other than the hot things), which really helps me in the morning. I’m so not a morning person, and having extra work in the morning wasn’t going to happen.

G1’s lunchG1 10 b4 Halloween is tomato soup in a Thermos, with more packed in her Studio Ghibli Totoro Bento Box. On the left is a cookie made from our favorite gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe (with skull and bone sprinkles) and a clementine that was made to look like a jack-o-lantern with a black food marker and a leaf food pick. On the right is tofu cut into the shape of a pumpkin thanks to a jack-o-lantern cookie cutter. I used a scissors to cut the nose and mouth out of nori, but cheated with the eyes and used the Monsters Inc. Gummy Eyeballs. Overall it’s a pretty fun-looking lunch. Maybe I can go a little creepier for tomorrow…

G3 10 b4 halloween

G3 also wanted soup, but in her Thermos you’ll find homemade chicken soup. The rest of her lunch is packed in an Easy Lunchbox. She also has a jack-o-lantern clementine and a skull & bones chocolate chip cookie.When she saw her sisters’ lunches she wanted eyes, too, so she has a gummy eyeball and 2 “people parts” made from chocolate and silicone molds from Target’s 1-stop. She also has a skull bracelet I found at a local Walgreens, and homemade fruit roll-ups impaled on graveyard food picks.

G2 10 b4 HalloweenG2 hasn’t wanted soup like her sisters, but keeps wanting sandwiches. It’s always great when 3 kids want 3 different lunches! Anyhow, in G2’s Laptop Lunchbox she has a skull & bones chocolate chip cookie, homemade fruit roll-ups impaled on graveyard food picks, and a clementine jack-o-lantern. G2 also has a provolone cheese sandwich which has been cut in the shape of a pumpkin and decorated with a thin slice of cheddar cheese, 2 Monsters Inc. Gummy Eyeballs, and nori cut in the shape of a nose and mouth.

The girls all have some chips and water along with these lunches. I can’t believe I forgot to put in the Halloween lunch box jokes I had printed on card stock and cut out. Ugh! Tomorrow.

Happy 10 days before Halloween!

This post is linked on Meatless Mondays on Bentos for Kidlet.


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PostHeaderIcon A Quick Lunch in a Totoro box

Totoro quick lunch 2On Thursday and Friday mornings, G2 and G3 are with their father, so he packs their lunch. Sometimes I get requests to pack them before they go to his house Wednesday night, but in general I only have to pack G1’s lunch.

This week G1 was really focused on the awesomeness of her Totoro bento box. She doesn’t care as much about what’s inside. That gave me a bit of a break to pack a nice and quick lunch! She also has a Thermos packed with leftover lasagna, a cool Knork fork, and a Halloween napkin that uses a spider ring as a napkin ring.

Totoro lunch 1Inside Totoro on the left we see some fresh blackberries and some canned pineapple. I’ve tried to make it a little Halloween-y with food picks made from stickers, a couple pirate sword picks, and gf sugar cookies made with Halloween cookie cutters in the shape of a toombstone, black cat, bat, and two leaves (I added cocoa to half the recipe to make chocolate sugar cookies). On the right is another Minion cupcake and two people parts made with silicone molds from Target’s 1 stop and chocolate, white chocolate, food coloring, and an almond slice for a fingernail. I wouldn’t usually put a Halloween Lunch Jokes in G1’s lunch, but this one was perfect! G1 and G2 both spent a month this summer performing Shakespeare, so when I saw a joke that asked “What’s a monster’s favorite play?” with the answer of “Romeo and Ghouliet”, I had to include it!

I got a report back from G1 about the lunch, beyond the fact that it came home empty. She and her friends laughed at the lunch joke, and her friends think I’m weird “but in a good way”. They also had a little sword fight using the pirate sword picks, so that was also a hit. The sword fight anecdote makes me a bit grateful I don’t have very young children, as I’d worry about them poking eyes out with the swords, but I think my kids are old enough to know better. I hope.

This post is linked to Fifteen Minute Friday at Bentos on the Bayou.

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