For The Holiday-Hungry, It’s Never Too Early

And no, you’re not the only one on Halloween and Christmas TikTok.

We’re reaching the end of summer. Fall is on its way. You’re starting to see a couple of boxes full of Halloween candies down the seasonal aisle of the grocery store. Everything pumpkin spice is back. Your craft store is stocking up on ornaments, wreaths and tinsel. And nope, we don’t think it’s too early. We’ve been waiting for it. In fact, other people have also been craving the taste of the holidays throughout their summer, too. Luckily, we’ve got everyone covered with the ultimate guide for Halloween and Christmas nights at home before the holiday season takes off.

Get cozy for your Halloween night because you’re indulging in our pumpkin pie, trying some of the craziest pumpkin spice items and watching a spooky movie. You can definitely spend this perfect, fun-filled night at home with your family and friends.

Pumpkin Pie by Emma Cain

Ingredients

¼ c unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, divided

¼ c unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, divided

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup ice water

1 – 15 oz pumpkin puree

¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp. ground allspice

½ tsp. sea salt

¾ c sugar

1 – 12 oz can of evaporated milk

2 eggs, beaten

Directions

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a mixer. Add refrigerated butter, and pulse to combine. Add frozen butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some blueberry-size clumps.

Add ice water, and immediately pulse until water is just incorporated. Squeeze a small amount of dough to make sure it holds together. Pulse a few more times if needed.

Wrap press into disks, and freeze.

Dough can be frozen up to 1 month.

Preheat oven to 400˙F.

Let dough thaw until it is just malleable. Roll dough out on floured surface to a ¼ inch thick or thinner depending on preference. Place mini tart pans over the dough and cut two inches around the pan. Repeat for each tart pan. Mold pieces of dough into each pan, making sure to press the dough into the bottom corners of the pan. Trim excess dough off around the edges using a sharp knife. Use your fingers to fix any imperfections, while still remembering to keep all dough not being used in the freezer to not let the dough get too warm.

Poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Wrap pie weights or dry beans in parchment or cheese cloth and place in each tart pan to prevent dough from bubbling and shrinking.

Par-bake the tart shells in a 400˚F oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the crust just starts to brown. Let cool.

Note: Some large clumps (about the size of small blueberries) should remain after pulsing the butter with the dry ingredients. The finished dough should be mottled with large pieces of butter. The best way to transfer the rolled-out dough to a pie plate is by rolling it over the pin and unfurling it onto the plate.

Preheat oven to 400˙F.

Combine pumpkin puree, spices, and evaporated milk. Beat eggs and mix to combine. Make sure you mix the filling enough so that egg is full incorporated. Place tart shells on a baking sheet. Pour into par-baked mini tart shells.

Note: To prevent spillage, fill the tarts halfway. Place the tarts in the oven and finish filling them in the oven so prevent spilling the filling over the edges of the tart crust.

Bake at 400˙F for 10 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 300 ˙F and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Tarts should be set around the edges with a slight jiggle in the center. Let cool completely.

Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Now, we know pumpkin is the ultimate fall flavor, so even after you’ve enjoyed your slice of pie, we recommend trying out some of the craziest pumpkin spice items (by Marcy Lara Estrada). Our favorites? Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk, Pumpkin Pie Gelato and… Pumpkin Spice Mac & Cheese. Yup. You can honestly have a taste of pumpkin in every meal if you’d like.

Lastly, no Halloween is complete without some spooky movie classics. Whether you’re watching with your family, friends or yourself, we’ve got a recommendation for all. Bring out the popcorn (and pumpkin pie gelato)!

Family Friendly

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Casper (1995)

Halloweentown (1998)

Coraline (2009)

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

The Addams Family (2019)

For mature viewers (including Rated R movies)

The Exorcist (1973)

Halloween (1978)

Child’s Play (1988)

Children of the Corn (1984)

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Onto your next night. It’s a holly jolly one, for sure. Deck the halls and bring out your Christmas lights. Throw on your favorite pajamas and fuzzy socks, because it’s going to get festive. Hot cocoa bombs, movies and a little shopping makes the essential Christmas celebration.

Hot Cocoa Bombs by Alyssa Santos

Step 1: Grab your comfiest Christmas pj pants and begin to play your Christmas playlist

Step 2: Gather your ingredients; For this recipe you will need, marshmallows, hot chocolate mix, chocolate wafers or any form of melting chocolate, and any shape of silicon molding for me, I used these round molds that I found at my local crafts store.

Step 3: In a pot begin to boil water and place an oven safe bowl on top of the boiling water

Step 4: Begin to put the chocolate wafers in the bowl and constantly mix the wafers so that the chocolate does not burn, nor does it stick to the bowl

Step 5: With a spoon begin to put the melted chocolate into the moldings making sure to coat the entire mold but enough to leave a hollow opening to place the hot cocoa mix later

Step 6: Once complete, place the mold into the freezer. With my experience the chocolate froze very quickly

Step 7: Once the molds are ready begin to take them out of the molds and onto a plate. Be careful not to break the mold when taking them out, so be gentle with them

Step 8: Once all the molds are out on a stove top, or a hot plate, grab a pair of the chocolate molds and melt the ends in order to “glue” them together once you fill them with the hot cocoa mix and marshmallows.

Step 9: Once they are sealed, I decided to make sure they are sealed completely by putting them back into the freezer for a few minutes

Step 10: Once the seals are complete you can either be creative and decorate the top of the bombs or dunk them into the hot milk and top with your choice of toppings. For me I decided to have fun by adding whip cream and a dash of cinnamon with a candy cane straw to get into the Christmas spirit.

You’ve got to have your hot cocoa bombs while watching a movie. These Christmas classics are sure to bring the spirit into any room in any season.

Christmas Movies

Frosty the Snowman (1969)

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)

Home Alone (1990)

The Santa Clause (1994)

The Polar Express (2009)

And now that you’re officially in the Christmas spirit, it’s time to start thinking about the shopping. It’s never too early to start buying gifts. Plus, you’ll save time for more celebrating later! Here are some of our favorite gifts for Christmas giving (by Natalie Briceno)

Echo Dot 4th Gen – $34.99

Portable Record Player – $51.22

Lamp with Wireless Charging – $35.90

Utensils Set – $19.99

Eva Rogers

A Texan through and through, her passion for the Lone Star State is evident in every word she writes.Hailing from the vast plains of West Texas, Eva has a deep appreciation for the unique blend of tradition and innovation that defines the Texan spirit. Eva crafts articles that celebrate the diverse tapestry of Texas, from its bustling urban centers to its serene rural landscapes.