“All three of us have a sense of the absurd, and we can let that fly on Halloween. I’m 46, and I still love to dress up and decorate the house to the max. I think I have more Halloween decorations than Christmas decorations if you don’t count individual tree ornaments,” said DeLuca-Elder, an attorney with a federal agency. She is married to Scott. They have one daughter, Didi.
Halloween is DeLuca-Elder’s favorite holiday. Perhaps it’s because she is a New England native or because she loves the ridiculous.
“The idea of being able to get candy and dressing up for no good reason really appeals to me,” she said.
“My house gets decked out even more than Christmas. Christmas is a wonderful family holiday, but Halloween is about celebrating the absurd. My house gets tricked out,” she said.
“(Halloween) is always a lot of fun. We all get dressed up and we go out even though (Didi) is 14. She even has her own recipes that she does,” DeLuca-Elder said.
“We buy several pumpkins to decorate them but we keep a couple extras to make our own pumpkin puree that we use in different recipes,” she said.
“Halloween is a fun holiday. What’s not to love. We just have a good time,” Nadine said.
DIDI’S VERY BEST PUMPKIN TART
Crust: (for 9 inch pie or tart pan)
1 ½ cup crushed chocolate wafers (about 30)
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbs. sugar
8 Tbs. butter, melted
2 cups pumpkin puree (we make our own but if using store bought use a 15 oz. can)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tsp. vanilla extract
1. Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ Tsp. ground nutmeg
½ Tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of Salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In food processor, pulse wafers, cocoa powder, and sugar until finely ground. Add butter and pulse until crust just clumps together. (should not make a big ball) Pour into pie or tart pan and press evenly on bottom and up the sides to form crust. Place on baking sheet and bake until just firm – about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven; reduce temperature to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients for filling in bowl and hand whisk until blended (don’t use an electric mixer - it will over mix). Ladle filling into crust. Bake for about 45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool slightly and then chill in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
We make these the day after we carve our jack-o-lantern.
1 ½ cup pumpkin seeds – after carving your jack-o-lantern, remove all pulp/strings from seeds, wash seeds in a colander, and let air dry on paper towels overnight. If you are in a rush and want to make them immediately, you can dry them in the oven at 175 degrees until they are no longer wet.
Mix seeds and 2 teaspoons olive oil (or enough to coat seeds) in bowl. Mix in 1-½ teaspoons each of any or all of the following optional (but yummy) seasonings:
any flavored salt
BBQ dry rub
Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet lined with tin foil.
Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
12 Tsp. mayonnaise
1 Tsp. prepared mustard
24 black olives
Boil eggs until cooked (hard-boiled). Place eggs in cold bath and then peel. Slice eggs in half and remove yolk into mixing bowl. Set boiled whites aside. With an electric hand mixer, combine yolks, mayonnaise, and mustard. Spoon mixture into gallon food storage bag. Snip one corner of the bag. Pipe mixture into egg whites. Top each egg with an olive. To make these very creepy, you can draw red lines across the egg white with a toothpick dipped in red food coloring.
SPIDER HOT DOGS
1 package of hot dogs
Starting at 1 inch from the top of the hot dog, slice in half (there will be two halves joined at the top, which will be the head). Slice each half in half again (this makes the legs). Repeat until you have Eight legs coming from the head. Cooking:
Boiling is the best way because they tend to break on the grill. Boil water in a very large pot. Carefully drop the hot dog spiders into the water. Cook thoroughly – about 2-3 minutes. Draw a spider web on a plate with ketchup or mustard (or any other condiment of your choice). Stand spiders hotdogs upright on plate. Dab mustard on head for eyes. If you are very creative and have a steady hand, you can also draw a snarly or happy mouth as well. Serve with dabs of mustard and ketchup around the plate. No buns necessary.
1 large package Chow Mein noodles
12 oz. chocolate chips (dark, milk, or mint flavored work great).
Your favorite round hard candy (for eyes) (Red hots work really well)
Pour noodles into a large mixing bowl. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler or in microwave. Pour melted chocolate over noodles and stir gently to coat. Drop a tablespoon of chocolate noodles onto wax paper – you may need to gently form them into a mound. Dot with 2 candies for eyes.
Cool completely before serving.