I love the holidays, especially Christmas. Part of what makes this time of year so special to me stems back to childhood, where my family had dozens of traditions to turn each holiday into a month of celebrating. Halloween used to mean trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, eating candy corn, making caramel apples, and designing costumes. But in this particular stage of life — out of my family home but not yet in a new home of my own — holidays fall by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, I want to celebrate, but since college, Halloween has meant a night out on the town and a last minute, ditch effort costume and that’s about it.

This year, I’m determined to bring back at least a few traditions and keep the holiday spirit going even longer. This past weekend, I ticked off quite a few:

Pumpkin carving!

Drinking pumpkin brews! For the record, neither really tasted like pumpkin, but the KBC that I got from Trader Joe’s was better.

Making caramel apples, snacking on candy corn, and roasting pumpkin seeds!

Eating pizza…okay pizza doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with Halloween. But it’s much needed after so much candy! The boy went to Tra De Noi and picked up a pie per person — I got my favorite, the burrata.

I’m so glad I have friends in LA who are happy to spend a day just like this one! Well, days like this one AND days like Friday, when Julia met me on my lunch break for a quick visit to the pumpkin patch…then went home to test bake some pumpkin cookies for everyone to share. They were so darn good — thanks Jules!

Now I pull up to my house every night to see two glowing pumpkins, and I’m put in the holiday spirit all over again. The little things really do make all the difference!