If you have been following our blog for awhile, you must know that I have a favorite week in every month.  It's called "bulk trash pick-up week".  Oh the treasures..... Every single month I pick up something fabulous.  And this month was no exception.  Maybe this only looks fabulous to me?

One of our neighbors had dismantled a crusty and decrepit playhouse/swing set unit.  Under the rubble, I spied the bones of a peaked structure and raced home to grab my work gloves and my husband.  I love how he almost trusts me these days to be finding buried treasures, and willingly goes along with my ideas.  At the very bottom of the pile was the most perfect haunted house facade, and not one, but two of them! One for me, and one for my girl, Mia.

I perched it atop one of my other {trashy finds} and set up a spooky Halloween display right outside our back door.  I used some of my felt bats from last year's {front door display}, dollar store crows, half dead plants, a vintage silver candelabra, and some black and white pumpkins that used to be orange until I got a hold of them. 

I also used some dollar store spider webs and a hand-painted sign I made years ago.

Here is our front entry from last year.

So cute, but to be honest, I couldn't get those bats to stick no matter what I did!  I finally used duct tape, but when I pulled them off the door, all the paint came with them.  I was violent when I had to repaint, and I couldn't face it again this year.  If anyone has a brilliant solution on how to execute this look with no damage, for the love, please let me know!  

Our Halloween tradition includes going over to my brother Ryan's house and spending the evening with his family.  He and his wife and four girls live in a beautiful community about 10 minutes away from us. We sit in lawn chairs and pass candy out for hours, enjoying mild temperatures and delightful conversation while the kids gather a pound of candy for each year of their life.

I always take a big pot of homemade clam chowder.  The recipe comes from one of my dearest friends, Elizabeth Banks, who has two of her own cookbooks.  Next to my own mother, Elizabeth has been one of my biggest mentors, both in the kitchen and in life.  She always gives me amazing tips and advice, and is willing to help me with anything at a moment's notice.  I adore everything about her!  This recipe is a favorite in her family and in mine.  Maybe you can make it a favorite in yours now too!

Bratton Clam Chowder

2 cans minced clams
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped potatoes
3/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 qt. half and half

Place vegetables in a 2 1/2 quart pot.  Pour clam juice over vegetables; save clams.  Add water to cover and simmer 20 minutes.  Mix other ingredients and cook until smooth and thick.  Add vegetables, including the water, and the clams.  Season with salt and pepper.
(I usually use 2 cups milk and 2 cups half and half)

Whatever your Halloween plans are, I hope you enjoy your day.  I can't wait for the costume parade at the boy's school, where Jake is dressing like Link from Zelda, and Carter is a very blonde Harry Potter.  We will end our evening by braving the wildly anticipated haunted house that Mia's family constructs every year.  It's not to be missed. This is the first year we will be taking the boys.  I hope they can handle it!


  1. Felt is a beast to try and stick anything to... I wonder if you have tried that poster putty found in the stationery aisle? I love using it when I want a wayward picture to stay straight or when I am testing out a small picture on my wall... it sticks but is easily removed.
    Your clam chowder sounds amazing... I have tried for five years to update and make our annual spooky dinner more sophisticated, but the children grow violent at the suggestion, so we are having mummy dogs, cat guts, monkey brains and bat poop cookies this year. Again. If I told you that the monkey brains were spaghetti-o's, would you feel my pain? Or tear up my friend card for ever serving that can of questionable meat product to my family?
    Have a Happy Halloween! You're one of my very favorite GHOULS! xoxo

  2. hiya....stumbled across your blog and i have a solution for your batty issue...you need to use command strips to stick those suckers on! i am an art teacher and use command to stick up all kinds of unusual things to the school walls/windows...they come right off, hold things that are super heavy, and never come down till you want them to! they're a little pricey, but i love them!

  3. I used double sided tape and my felt bats (that I believe I stole your idea from last year) stayed stuck to my house and door. Although, my friends did not....I must be one lucky girl.~Rosanne

  4. Enjoy reading your blog and loved your pictures! And I have to say, anything Elizabeth cooks is really good!! I am not too far from her and I should get her cookbook. Thanks, Andie

  5. I too stole your felt bats idea and got tons of compliments last night!! I used only double sided tape. They've been on my siding almost a month and even survived Sandy.

  6. Just had to say that you're not the only one who would be excited to see that pile of wood there for the taking...and then to find the peaked thing in the midst of it would be like finding gold! :)

  7. Made your Clam Chowder tonight for dinner and everyone LOVED it!! Thanks!

  8. I love your haunted house - that is fabulous!!!


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Mia & Jilly

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