This and That…

Happy Halloween from Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Happy Halloween! I can’t believe it’s already October 31st.

Dressing up together for the first time ever, my monkeys’ costumes were inspired by the graphic novel Wonderland by Tommy Kovac. Sweet Pea is the sweetest Alice — especially with a curtsey. It’s not surprising that the Queen of Hearts costume makes Bean even sassier! We have a few friends joining the cast of characters from Alice in Wonderland tonight for trick-or-treat. 

How great is it that Halloween falls on a Saturday this year? Having the day off to enjoy the holiday is so delicious. We’ve been cooking, lounging, and reading all day. I just finished Me Before You. I’ve read 3 of Jojo Moyes books this month, and I don’t think I’ll be able to stop until I read them all. That good! I absolutely loved The Ship of Brides and One Plus One

Some really important information for tonight: Halloween Candy Wine Pairings. If you’re going to eat it, might as well pair it perfectly. Also critical: What Your Favorite Halloween Candy Says About You. When I used to eat Halloween candy, I was an M&M girl. Now my favorite indulgence is this organic chocolate bar. Seriously divine.

There are really sweet sales online this weekend. Have you heard of Pipsticks? This Mom-owned business sends super cute stickers monthly as a subscription. Think gifts for birthdays or scrapbookers. Use the code HALLOWEEKEND20 for 20% off. Tea Collection is offering 25% off everything — including Patagonia. 6 free cards at with code CARDSTRIAL. 20% off at thredUP with code FALL20. Bean just got an order yesterday with dresses from Pink Chicken, Truly Me, Zara, and Mini Boden — all new with tags! Back to school shopping seems to stretch out a bit at our house 🙂

Stay safe tonight, and have a great weekend!

Halloween Traditions

Halloween Traditions - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Our city of Newburyport is magical in October. The air is chilly and crisp. Leaves crunch against the brick sidewalks as you walk through the city streets. Crowds of people with hot beverages in hand pop into shops and restaurants.

Halloween is our favorite family holiday, mostly because of where we live. We trick-or-treated in Newburyport’s South End long before we lived here — even at the very house we live in now. With houses so close together, this city is the perfect place to trick-or-teat for kids of all ages. Little ones don’t have to walk far to fill up a bag of treats, not to mention it’s safe and beautiful.

My monkeys have learned over the years which houses are too scary and which houses give out extra special things. For example on Federal Street, there’s a woman who gives out balloons on Halloween night. As far as the monkeys are concerned, the house with the “Balloon Lady” is a permanent stop on their Halloween route.

What makes that balloon even more special is that you can’t eat it. My monkeys, like many others, have food allergies. They cannot touch, let alone eat, 99% of the candy they collect on Halloween because it could make them very sick or cause anaphylaxis. Bean has Celiac disease and a dairy sensitivity and Sweet Pea has a severe peanut allergy and a gluten intolerance. Between their different food allergies, we’ve never been able to let them eat candy from their Halloween treat bag.

You would think Halloween wouldn’t be much fun for a family with food allergies. I’m not going to sugar coat it; things were tough the first few years. But we’ve created our own Halloween traditions to make it safe and extra special for our little monkeys. I decorate the house almost as much as I do for Christmas. Our family takes a trip up to the White Mountains for some leaf peeping. We carve pumpkins, then bake pumpkin seeds and make muffins. On Halloween night, friends and neighbors come over to share a big pot of chili while the kids trick-or-treat and play in the yard together. It’s a simple celebration that makes these monkeys feel comfortable on a holiday that could be quite scary for them.

I’ve heard that people use the “Switch Witch” to trade Halloween candy for something else. Witches have always been a little too scary for my monkeys. Instead, I just trade them a party bag for their Halloween candy. This year, I’m filling the bag with natural allergy friendly candy, Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, and some of the non-food items we give out.

Kids collect SO much candy on Halloween. Have you ever thought about giving out something different? We participate in the Teal Pumpkin project, which raises awareness for food allergies by encouraging people to give out non-food treats so that trick-or-treaters with food allergies can fully participate. There are tons of fun alternatives to candy like glow sticks, coins (mostly pennies), small water bottles, witch fingers, pencils, and erasers. Join me in providing a safer, happier Halloween for allergy kids by placing a teal pumpkin in front of your home and giving out non-food treats. There will be plenty of candy handed out on Halloween even if some of us decide to give out something different.  

Get out there and enjoy the magical month of October! What are some of your family traditions this month?