Chirped by Tina
‘Tis the season for pumpkins, scarecrows, and hot cider! I miss having my boys around to carve jack-o’-lanterns (and rake leaves!) with me. To share a bit of the spirit with them, I put together some Halloween care packages. My cookie-decorating may not be ready for prime-time, but I’ve never heard anyone actually complain about lopsided grins on frosted treats from home? Cass was busy helping her eldest move into a new apartment, so I decided to make some for her kids as well. If you hurry, you could still send a little autumn love to your own favorite far away goblins!
Ok, I meant to post this on Friday, but was too busy getting ready to entertain guests (with crafty projects!) all weekend… At this point you’re a little short on time to make homemade cookies for this care package, but it’s not entirely too late! Might just depend on how far away your chicks currently roost… I’ll try to post a link to this again next year, a week or two out from Halloween… c(-;
Super cute and easy, just pick up some mini pumpkins at your local farm stand (often 3 for $2) or the grocery store ($1 each at Giant) and draw on some faces with a big black Sharpie! If your fledglings are into more advanced decorating (mine aren’t), you could throw in some extra gourds for a little fall display.
Or store-bought, depending on time constraints, baking skills and preference! I was going to have an extended section here on my recipe and techniques for frosting and decorating sugar cookies, but since time’s flying by like a witch on a broomstick, I’ll save that for another chirp. I will say, you don’t need fancy cookie cutters to make fun Halloween cookies – though they don’t hurt! These were all cut using only an upside down water glass, an eye for the negative space left behind by previous cutouts, and a pointed steak knife…
Candy, Candy, Candy…
My kids still love free candy, even it they are a bit old for trick-or-treating. I picked up “reasonably-sized” portions of some of their favorites in the bulk candy section at the grocery store. I don’t want them to completely succumb to sugar-induced mania when they’re supposed to be studying! (After all, the frosted cookies are sugary enough – but hey, Halloween, right?) Some of the selections pictured lend themselves nicely to the little note I put into Cass’s kids’ packages… I just can’t resist a dumb pun or two… or five…
Little Orange Monsters
For a healthy alternative snack, I grabbed some leftover monster eyes and mouths from the Easter egg decorating stash and applied them to some Halo oranges. Since I was worried the stickers would fall off in transit, I wrapped each mini monster in tissue paper and cinched it with some green Christmas curling ribbon. (See how all the holidays can band together in a pinch? Lol.) I wasn’t sure whether the Sharpie marker I used on the pumpkins would taint the taste and edibleness of the oranges. If you don’t have stickers lying around, you could try attaching some googly eyes or felt/paper cutouts with a glue gun, too. Other fruits could be substituted if your target audience doesn’t like oranges! (But mandarins, clementines and tangerines are so nice and easy to peel…)
Packaging the Cookies
I picked up a dozen wicker “plates” at the pay-by-the-pound thrift store for $.66! Sturdy paper plates, maybe in an autumn theme, would work just as well. On top of each plate I laid a rectangle of green or orange tissue paper, followed by a piece of wax paper and a layer of cookies. It’s up to you how many layers of cookies to include. Separate them with wax paper and add an extra layer of crumpled wax paper on top before carefully wrapping the whole thing in saran wrap. That will help protect the decorations and cushion the cookies against breakage. Since I was also sending candy, I didn’t go too crazy on the cookies, but that meant I’d baked way too many. Luckily I have neighbors with kids, so I spread the love around a bit, topping each plate with a green Christmas bow and hand-delivering after dinner!
Putting it All Together…
A quick trip to the UPS store was in order for suitable boxes. For a few bucks each, I picked up four boxes that could fit the plates and pumpkins, but were still a couple of inches deeper than I needed. Have you ever seen the cool scoring tool they have for cutting down boxes?? The right tool for the job makes all the difference! (And saves money on shipping!) A helpful employee cut all my boxes down for me on the spot and I went back home to fill them up. In went the cookie plate, pumpkin, orange monster, candy, and my “punny” little note. A layer of bubble wrap (because I like to pop it, so it’s almost a gift all by itself!) and crumpled newspapers around the corners and on top of the goodies rounded out the package. Before I taped everything up, I shook the boxes to make sure they sounded secure. It remains to be seen how well the cookies fared, but I’m cautiously optimistic? My own kids won’t be too polite to be honest if they all arrived in unrecognizable pieces!
Hope this inspires you to put together a little surprise for your own far flung fledglings. Mailed by UPS ground on Friday, my final package won’t arrive until Halloween itself, but that’s clear across the country. And if your grownup gremlins don’t have the sweet tooth mine have, maybe a little pumpkin bread from a local farm stand, some Halloween or general fall decorations, or a cozy scarf would be just the thing?
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