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With only one child at home — and him a teenager — Halloween crept up on me unawares this year. Over the weekend, Mark was away visiting our daughter over the weekend for Parents’ Weekend, and I was home with Nick waiting out his bronchitis and the rain — so we didn’t buy any candy, didn’t carve a pumpkin, didn’t decorate the house. Nick is too old (his decision) for a costume, so the whole thing almost passed us by.

I can’t say I mind. Halloween’s never been one of my favorite holidays—at least not since the days when I could dress up with my mother’s scarves and makeup and go trick-or-treating myself.  And in our neighborhood, there are a few too many uncostumed teenagers (even though my son won’t join them) roving around with backpacks demanding candy in amongst the cuter little ones in fairy wings and witch hats. I see fewer homemade costumes every year, too, and I regret that. My own kids had one famous store-bought costume, a bear suit, that was perfect for little ones and totally adorable, but most of their costumes were home-made: the ninja, the “headless wonder”  (cut hole in box, put box on shoulders, put adult jacket over box, stick head through hole/jacket and “hold” the head with your hands—“bloody” red scarf up at neck of jacket optional), the“princess-fairy-angel-bride.” That last was my daughter, age three—the more glitter, pink, and sparkles, the better. And, of course, the wings. (Never mind that I was just about to take on a position as Women’s Studies Coordinator. I was grateful when the kids decided that Halloween costumes had to be scary.)

Still, the homemade costumes took time, and—despite the baking and the knitting—I’m really not the crafty type. So, I’ll admit, we had a few store-bought masks and capes over the years, and they were fine. And I did always like carving the pumpkins.

This year we didn’t even buy a pumpkin, but I cooked up some squash a few days ago. So, in lieu of other Halloween treats: a pumpkin muffin recipe.

Low Sugar Pumpkin Muffins


Wet Ingredients:

2 eggs

½ cup canola oil

¼ cup maple syrup or honey

¼ cup molasses

½ cup applesauce

1 cup pumpkin puree (either bake a pumpkin and scoop it out, or use canned)


Dry Ingredients:


2 cups mixed whole-grain flour (I used ½ cup rye flour and 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour)

3 tbl flax meal (optional)

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger

¼ tsp cloves


½ cup walnuts—can also use raisins or craisins here


Whisk together wet ingredients, breaking up any lumps in the pumpkin if necessary. Fold in dry ingredients, then fold in walnuts/raisins/craisins. Do not overmix.


Spray muffin tin with baking spray, then smooth the batter into it. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick or skewer; if it comes out clean, the muffins are done. Cool in pan for five minutes, then turn out on rack to cool completely.



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