The Season Begins

Halloween TreeFirst, a drumroll…..

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Now, back to regularly scheduled programming…

Holidays wouldn’t be holidays without the food that goes along with them, and at our house, Halloween isn’t left out.

When I was a kid, my mom always made the first pot of chili on Halloween to warm our tummies before heading out trick or treating.

My nephews would come over, we all would have a bowl of chili (although I’m sure we were more excited about the trick or treating than the chili) and my dad would take us all on the obligatory march of begging candy from our neighbors. We only went to the houses where we knew the people, which was most all of them in a 4 block radius, and come home with more candy than one kid should have in a full year.

When we bought our house in the city, I continued the first pot of chili tradition. My mother and mother-in-law would come over and help hand out candy.

Most of the time the weather dictated the chili, sometimes not, I remember one warm Halloween my mom and I sat on the porch in lawn chairs handing out candy.

Most years, my husband is begging for chili long before Halloween, but I always hold out.

It’s tradition, after all, and the first pot of chili not only marks Halloween, but the beginning of the whole “hot pot” season where I fix soups, stews, and chicken and dumplings. The season usually ends somewhere around Easter.

We don’t have trick or treaters at The Little House – it would be a pretty scary thing if we did – but I still make the traditional first pot of chili on Halloween. Afterward, we will pop in the Halloween horror movies we’ve made a part of the tradition to make up for the lack of little goblins yelling “trick or treat” and have a ghoulish good time.

Do you have a special tradition for Halloween that’s been carried through your childhood or that’s new?

Also, please let me know what you think of the new look on Living Large in Our Little House!

My Mom’s Chili (an easy, but good recipe)

3 cans of pre-mixed chili beans, hot or mild whatever your taste

1 lb. ground round

1 onion

1 large can of tomato juice

Chili powder

Red pepper

1 sm. can chopped hot green chilies (optional)

Chop your onion and add it to the ground round while browning. Put the browned meat and onion into a cooking pot and add the beans. Pour in the tomato juice to match your taste for thickness (I use about ¾ can). Add about 2 tbs. chili powder, a few dashes of red pepper and the can of crushed green chilies. Bring to a boil, reduced to a slow simmer and cook for approximately 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste throughout and add more spice if desired. We serve with sweet corn bread.

Happy Halloween!

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12 Responses

  1. Karen Bannan says:

    I’m going to try the recipe with ground chicken…

    We didn’t really have any traditions that I can remember aside from making sure we hit two special houses. One was three doors down. The man there worked for Carnation. He gave out hot cocoa packets. The other house was a few blocks away. That homeowner worked for a toy manufacturer. He gave away real toys — the kind that cost more than a dollar. We loved getting our toys and heading home to drink our cocoa. And eat candy, of course.

    • Kerri says:

      Wow, Karen, what a great neighborhood to live in! Most everyone in our neighborhood worked for the railroads, so I can’t imagine anyone wanting what our dads would bring home. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and let me know how that chili works with ground chicken.

  2. Kathy Winn says:

    Thank you so much for the subscription! Have not been on my computer all day, so just now getting the good news! I love your blogs, so just getting to read them three times a week is enough of a prize, but very grateful for the magazine- one of my very favorites!

  3. Kim says:

    Thanks so much, Kerri! What a fun way to finish off the week! I emailed you with my address info.

  4. Our family never had a Halloween tradition. My own personal one is buying candy, then before trick or treaters arrived, I pulled the curtains, turned off the lights, then I eat all the candy by myself. I am a meanie, right?

    I loved your first cozy blog. I am part blind and I could read it.

    • Kerri says:

      Somehow I can’t picture you doing that, Mary! 🙂 Thanks for the comment on the blog. I want people to feel as if they’re coming to my house when reading.

  5. I love the chili tradition. What a good idea! I always add green pepper into my chili for a little added flavor. About Halloween…when my kids were at home, they always went out trick-or-treating. I’d help them make their own costumes; they liked that better than buying them–especially my son. The rest of us stayed at home and played cards while waiting for the knocks on the door. We generally ordered a pizza. That was always fun. In my neighborhood now, children don’t do trick-or-treating. They go to the malls, or private parties. So I never get those knocks on the door, anymore.

    But when I was a kid, it was a big show. The neighbors’ all decorated. They played spooky music and some created haunted house tours. We didn’t have the little bags or pumpkin baskets to take with us. We all took our own pillow cases out and got them filled with candy, apples, pennies, popcorn balls. We’d start at 5 or 6 at night and stay out till 10 or 11. It was so much fun to count the stash when you got home. We’d stay up till midnight just doing that. Who got the most? That was the big question. And then: Where am I going to hide my bag?!

    • Kerri says:

      I have similar memories of Halloween as you Jackie. I had forgotten about coming home and separating all the candy…good, bad, trade-worthy! 🙂 Thanks for sparking more great memories tucked away in the back of my mind. 🙂

  6. Kerri says:

    Grabbing whatever is a fun thing too! We did this last night, I just took a bunch of frozen “finger foods” out and warmed them up. Sometimes simple is really good.

  7. MarthaandMe says:

    That’s such a nice tradition. I don’t have a Halloween meal tradition – mostly because we’re just not home for dinner that night. Trick or treating starts at 5 here and we’re usually not home until 8 or 9. Halloween ends up being one of those grab a piece of fruit and have a bowl of cereal before bed nights for us. Which can be fun too.