This time of year is what memories are made of. The annual "Bates Nut Farm" family trip is scheduled for a mere 6 days before Halloween. I can't wait! The number of attendees to Bates is a close second to the that of a place such as Disneyland. Or atleast it feels like it. The one thing that gets me at just about every place except Disneyland is the parking. It is a free for all. After working at Disneyland for a couple of years I was efficient in many things and probably slightly brainwashed. But honestly.. Disneyland can park 60 cars a minute. You can't beat that people! I am contantly reminded of this efficiency when I am sitting in a line of cars waiting for a parking space at the beloved Pumpkin Patch. But then it happens... You step out of your car, breathe in the..uh..fresh.. Valley Center air, get a wiff of hay and farm animals and all the frustration from the parking nightmare has started to melt away(or it could be the 90 degree heat that's making you melt but thats besides the point). Then you see them... Like an orange beacon on a hill with angels singing in the background...The pumpkins.
The quest for the best pumpkin has started. I always try to stay involved and watch the kids search for their most favorite pumpkin but my own excitement is a constant distraction. The search can be tough. Too big, too small, doesnt have a good side for carving, eww that one has a hole and is rotting, stem is too short, stem breaks in your hand.. The supply of pumpkins at Bates seems endless so you are bound to find your perfect pumpkin. Then you get to hack into the thing and scoop out the gooey insides. I love that part! It is fun to see what the kids carve into the pumkpin. Sprinkle a little cinnamon or nutmeg in the bottom of the pumpkin (makes it smell like pumpkin pie), stick a tealight in it and you are ready!
Besides all the pumpkin fun, there's the baking. Each year the King ladies and some friends get together for Christmas Cookie/Candy baking. We talked last year about incorprating cookie making into all large holiday events. For halloween I decided to make homemade Caramel Corn. I did a trial run last night and all I can say is " YUMMY!!". And it is super easy to make! I purchased a lot of milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter chips the other day. They were on sale for $1 at albertsons. I haven't decided if I am going to make simple chocolate chip cookies or a special new recipe for my special on sale chocolate chips. I feel as though something special needs to be done with them because the sale was so amazing. Its not like I couldnt do both.. I definitely have enough to go around!
To tie everything together and making the day absolutely perfect, you must have The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Garfield's Halloween Adventure playing in the background. I love Linus' annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch at Halloween to wait for the Great Pumpkin. “...Tonight the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch. He flies through the air and brings toys to all the children of the world.”
Although his friends think he is crazy.. they still tag along and wait. One by one they leave except for faithful little Sally. Until she realized she was sitting in a pumpkin patch with a "blockhead" and missed out on all the trick-or-treat'ing. Her rampage makes me giggle everytime.
And who doesn't love the lazy lasagna eating cat that likes to torment his owner, John, and BFF Odie? The infamous " candy candy candy candy" line constantly comes to my mind as I walk in the grocery store and see boxes upon boxes of halloween candy. I've seen the movie a hundred times but my nerves are still on edge when they start to encounter "real" ghosts and goblins. In the end Odie saves the day and all is happy. You just can't beat this kind of entertainment!
Between now and the day we go to the pumpkin patch there is a lot going on. Burn Institute volunteer work @ the Open house at Ramona Station 80 (Oct 18th), The Breast Cancer walk (Im up to $520 in donations.. woohoo!), friends coming into town at various times throughout the month, birthday parties and of course work. The month is jam-packed but I wouldnt have it any other way. I love this time of year!!!!