Usually, as y’all know I’m a giant jabber-jaw. This time though I’ll let the photos tell the story of our Halloween fun in the sun. To be honest I’m so sore from being bent over double most of the day laughing, that trying to form a coherent thought is entirely out of the question. I have 2000 plus photos and a bit of color from running around capturing everyone’s shenanigans. At least my costume’s set for tomorrow. Do you think it’s too soon for Rudolph to make an appearance?

May your Halloween adventures bring you stitches in your side, wheezing lungs and deep laugh lines.


Love you guys,

Tickled Red


Shenanigans below but wait for it…wait for it.

Almost every Halloween I carve the pumpkin. It’s not because my darlin’ can’t wield a knife or has a phobia of squash or anything. It just happens to fall into what he calls the “Artsy” category. The way he thinks is Red + art(crafts)2 x cooking= Artsy Category. I’m cool with that, I have control issues so it works out well. Not to mention I have a tendency to go over the top. I adore the painted and carved lantern pumpkins that I found on Country Living’s website. I had planned on making a couple of those this year but I love the pumpkins that my guys carved even better. Also the memory of an afternoon full of laughter is one that I will carry with me always.

This year my surfer took over and since he can’t draw he put the boys to work stretching their creative wings. I’m digging the sudo Elvis sideways growl and the mustache above the nose.

Where I would have been flinging pumpkin from the cabinets to the top of the ceiling carving a pumpkin in the kitchen he, being the manly construction worker/coach that he is, set up a completely organized work station outside. Okay, but you’re missing all the fun of stepping in pulp darlin’.

Isn’t it simply amazing when you take a gander at the insides of a pumpkin? I have always marveled at how it must grow in order to get all of those strings of pulp.

My little man loves pumpkins the most. He names them, he pats them on the ummm… head? And he loves to feel the different textures.

Then in the blink of an eye he turns all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on me. Arrgh…I’ve got his brain pan Bwhahahaha!”

Look at my baby up to his elbows digging around in the mushy entrails of a pumpkin. In his own mush filled paradise. Of course his macabre enthusiasm sucked in his big brother who enjoys a good lobotomy as much as the next guy but won’t get as down and dirty as his little brother.

“Whatcha got there M2?”

“Look I’ve nabbed his liver!!”

“Let me see that! Wait, if I go in from the front I can pull out his nasal cavity. No more sinus problems for this guy.”

“Aww man…I wanted to do that. Oh cool intestines!! I’m going for the kidneys next, move over.”

Uh oh! I know that look Mr. blue eyes. You’re not fooling anyone here so what are you scheming bub? Watch out M2 he’s up to no good.

SPLAT! Yep knew it. It only takes once to get things going with my guys. First it’s a big ole’ glob of pulp flung on an arm.

Then it’s a shoulder all smeared and splattered.

Next some little toes take a hit and try to curl back in on themselves…ew, ew, ew!

Then…it’s war.

Bwhahahaha…Oh yeah! That’s gotta feel slimy sliding down your neck little man {shiver…yuck!}.

Hey M2 your hair’s looking good today. It’s all silky and shiny, what are you using Aussie products or something new?

Oh my word! Go ahead and laugh it up fuzzball because you’re doing the laundry tonight M1. Remember those pumpkin seeds I needed for Pam’s delicious salad? Now you all know what happened to them.

You know what y’all, I’ll take my guys homemade shenanigans filled afternoon of carving pumpkins over my perfectly carved coiffed jack-o-laterns any ole’ day of the week. I do believe that we now have a new family tradition. I’m trying to decide if we should call it the Pulp Bowl or Gut’s & Gorey. I’m already scheming up ideas of how I am going to nail DS and the monkeys. There might be a pulp & seed launcher in the works…sssshhh, don’t say anything.

Just curious, what is your families jack-o-lantern tradition? Who does the pumpkin carving in your house and is it safe around them when they do?

Love ya,

Tickled Red

Guess what is just around the corner?!? Are the boxes a big enough hint? To say that I love Halloween would be an understatement. It could be my superstitious Irish side or all the years engrossed in theater, who knows. Halloween for me is the kick off into the fall holiday season. The beginning of a three-part series saving the best for last. With Halloween though you get to throw caution to the wind and walk on the macabre side for a bit. Eat your heart out Poe.

To start Halloween off this month  I had the pleasure of being invited by Kitchen Play to participate in their SideCar Event. Kitchen Play teamed me up with….drum roll please… Wilton Industries Inc. Can you see my happy dance? I’ll give you a visual, think Sandra Bullock in “All About Steve”. Kitchen Play couldn’t have picked a better theme for me or teamed me up with a better company. I have always loved using Wilton products even before this invitation. This opportunity allowed me to play with some of their products and techniques that I have never tried before.

When I first found out that Wilton would be generously providing all of these fun Halloween goodies for me to play with I wanted to go crazy huge and over the top. Y’all know me, but instead I decided to ease you guys into some of their products. I ‘m also wise enough to know that 9 times out of 10 life has a habit of getting in the way of our grandiose ideas and expectations. Such as work, school and our kid’s tremendous extracurricular activities. Oh, let’s not forget unexpected accidents and such. Sorry I had to throw that one out there and y’all know why.

Here is what I played with in the kitchen this past weekend. Each of these recipes, tips or ideas is simple, quick and are a blast when the monkeys help out.

Halloween  Fun  Menu

Skeletons Arise: Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes & Coconut Cupcakes (strawberry filling)

Oozie Eyeballs: Mini Spice Cupcakes with Honey Spread Topping

Pick Your Poison: Spiced Apple & Butternut Squash Bites with Vanilla-Caramel Yogurt Dip

Brain Strain: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Snot Shooters


Skeletons Arise & Oozie Eyeballs

Candy Molds, can y’all believe that I have never ever played with candy molds? Me either, go figure! The little skeletons and eyeballs that Wilton provided were just to darn cute so we began with those first.

For the adorable little skeletons you will need the mold, your choice color of  Candy Melts, candy flavoring oil and a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler you can do what I do. I use a glass bowl over the top of a small sauce pan. First you heat up the double boiler and then remove it from the heat. Add a handful of candy melts and stir until nearly smooth. Add just a drop or two of the oil into the candy melts, continue stirring. Don’t add to much oil, trust me a little bit goes a long way.

Take a spoon and fill each space with the melted candy. Lastly set the mold in the refrigerator to cool and harden. Once they have cooled twist gently and pop the cuties loose. Look at that! Easy Peasy, adorable and yummy. I’m so addicted to candy molds now. The monkeys were thrilled and can’t wait to make more fun candy shapes with me during the holidays.

We made a few batches of chocolate and coconut cupcakes with some strawberry jam in the center for that ghoulish ooze of blood. Nutella and crushed Teddy Graham’s made the perfect topping of dirt for my skeletons rising from their dank confining graves. I also find black and white decorating themes during Halloween classic and gorgeous.

Oozie Eyeballs

Now with any of Wilton’s candy molds that have 3 dimensional possibilities you will need to apply one color at a time with a paint brush. With the eyeballs you want to paint the veins, pupils & iris before you add the white. If you heat each of your different color candy melts at the same time they will harden before you’re finished. Take your time and have fun. The end result is so worth it.

See, Oozie Psychotic Eyeballs. The monkeys thought that these guys were entirely too cool. The little knuckleheads kept trying to eat the eyeballs before I had them on the cupcakes. We made spiced cupcakes and used Honey Spread for an easy topping that really made the eyeballs look like they were oozing gross, squishy fluids.

Pick Your Poison

The next idea I actually came up with when I saw Wilton’s  little cupcake toothpicks that say “Pick Your Poison”. The first thing that came to my mind was Snow White biting into the poison apple brought to her by the witch. So I made Spiced Apple & Butternut Squash Bites. Wicked and healthy.

Preheat the oven to 400 . Butter a cookie sheet, cut up an apple and a half of a butternut squash into approx. 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes on the buttered pan and then sprinkle them with The Spice House’s-Chicago Spiced Sugar. Cover them with foil and bake for approx. 20 min. Make sure to turn them every 5 min. in order to caramelize each side. Take the other half of the butternut squash,  remove any pulp and seeds from the cavity section with a spoon. Slice a section of the skin down the middle on the backside of the squash. This will keep it stable and from rocking on a plate. Fill the cavity/bowl with vanilla yogurt, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Like Snow White,everyone who comes to your next Halloween party will succumb to your tempting Poison Bites, baked in decadent spices of yore along side a bubbling cauldron of sweet nectar.

Brian Strain

Okay I’ll come right out and admit it, I am not anywhere near the stratosphere of Martha Stewart but I have always wanted to make her Brain Cupcakes for Halloween and this post gave me the perfect opportunity.

Red velvet cupcakes stuffed with gray cream cheese frosting, one ten inch Wilton pastry bag, a size 7 Wilton tip and a steady hand are all that you will need. Simply fit the pastry bag with the tip and fill it with cream cheese frosting tinted gray. Put a dollop of cream cheese on the cupcake (a little height helps). Then make a squiggle line on either side and two lines down the middle. The more you make the better they look. Dad and mom always did say practice makes perfect.

Remember all of the gray brain matter the monkeys have lost playing video games? I finally found it. Want some?

Snot Shooters

Did y’all think that you were going to get away without something over the top? Now you all know better than that. If there wasn’t something silly going on around here I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. The Shot Glass Ice Mold from Wilton by far TICKLED me. I couldn’t help but think of Snot Shooters. Which of course makes everyone cringe when I say the name. Does it make you cringe?

You will need one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch and green food coloring. Combine the milk and cornstarch in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the mixture thickens. Do not stop stirring, I mean it. Otherwise the bottom will scorch. Don’t ask me how I know because I will plead the 5th. Then pour the snot into your frozen shot glasses and serve. Serve quickly because this is ice y’all, they won’t last long. Then again how long does it take to toss a shot back? It’s been 13 years since I’ve had one, so I couldn’t tell you.

I Double Dog Dare you to take a Snot Shot 🙂

I have to say thank you very much to Kitchen Play and Wilton Industries Inc. for this wonderful opportunity to discover some extremely fun new products and share the experience not only with my boys, but everyone else as well. I can’t tell you how much fun we had doing this post. We spent three days tearing up the kitchen and being silly. I won’t tell you all gross snot stories I promise.

We only hope that y’all have a blast this Halloween playing in the kitchen. You can find everything that you need to make some easy, creative treats at They have a plethora of fun products to choose from such as baking tools, a variety of icing and fondant, cute gift boxes  and even rotating cake stands. You can also find some helpful tutorials on-line.

My next adventure during the holidays will be playing with fondant. I’m so excited. Keep me posted as to what y’all decide to play with, I can’t wait to hear all about it.


Tickled Red