Halloween is the epic holiday in the United States – the opportunity for people to dress up, go crazy, and not worry about it the day after (minus the hangover, of course). In college, we like to call it “Halloweekend,” although the holiday fell on Friday this year, which puts a bit of a damper in the plans of those who want to use Halloween as an excuse to party for three straight days. Fortunately, that isn’t my reason for celebrating Halloween. I like carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds, using the holiday and dressing up as an excuse to make myself a costume, hang out with friends, and generally have a good time.
Tufts has an amazing tradition, in which the Great Pumpkin Master places pumpkins all over campus. This year, he/she/they did some good work and got pumpkins all over – including the top of Carmichael Hall and the tusks of the elephant on Dowling per usual.
We carved some pumpkins, courtesy of Tufts’ Rez Life and their “alternate halloween celebrations.” What, pray tell, is “alternate” about carving pumpkins? Aren’t Jack-o-lanterns kinda the point of this orange holiday?
I swear, Claire is normal. I swear!!
After we carved the pumpkins, we brought home a lot of people’s pumpkin seeds, and then I roasted them! We have a lot of pumpkin seeds… combine them with the jelly beans still left over from the Harry Potter party and the Halloween candy we bought on a post-Halloween sale, and you’ve got a lot of less-than-healthy snacking going on in our house.
In terms of costumes, I went as Rainbowfish, complete with the colored scales all over my dress and aluminum ones to share with all my friends, as well as beautiful makeup courtesy of Amelia!
And then, of course, there’s the absolute beauty of autumn that Halloween encompasses:
Peak Weekend! It’s a thing! Technically, it’s a thing where TMC gets members to the top of all 48 4000+ peaks in New Hampshire in one weekend. I participated freshman year (Moosilauke) and went again just a week ago for take #2. It’s been over two years since I last went to the Loj, but this weekend’s trip was absolutely worth the wait. The Loj, for anyone who hasn’t been there, or who hasn’t heard of it, is the Tufts Mountain Club’s home away from home. It’s the embodiment of every stereotype regarding mountain lodges. It’s wooden and homey and has a wood burning stove and is filled with comfy couches and lots of people reading books.
Peak Weekend is particularly fabulous because it happens at that perfect time between green leaves and red leaves, between leaves on trees and leaves on the ground. When literally every way you turn, you see these colors:
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to peak both Lincoln and Lafayette, which are 5089′ and 5260′ respectively. Unluckily, both peaks were literally in the clouds, with the temperature hitting a grand old 24°, with 15-30 mph winds creating a wind chill of 15°. Needless to say, the hike was long (8.8 miles and almost 4000′ of elevation gain), and cold.
But every so often, the clouds separated a bit, the sun peeked out, and it was so beautiful that everything was absolutely worth it.
My mom was kind enough to remind me that I promised a post about apples, then followed that promise with a post … well … not about apples. So here you go, Mom. Apples, as promised.
Fall in New England means apples. And crisp morning air. And reds and oranges and yellows in the trees. And scarves and sweaters and sometimes boots. I’m a fan of New England autumn for a lot of reasons, but mostly for the apples.
A couple weekends ago, friends and I hopped in the car, drove a mere 35 minutes to the edges of suburbia, where the farmlands back up against backyards, and meandered our way through rows and rows of apple trees. I picked $20 worth of apples, and I’m just about finished with them. I had one tonight on my way to class, and even two weeks after being picked, it was way better than any apple you could get in the grocery store.
Apple picking itself is lots of fun, minus the stomach-ache you inevitably end up with as a result of eating too many apples over the course of just a few hours. But when they look this good, when they’re that crunchy, and their flesh is so perfectly white, it gets really hard to resist.
But the best part about picking apples is what you get to make with them. The day after I brought my apple haul home, I made home-made applesauce for us all. Paired with a bit of Claire’s vanilla ice cream, it made a perfect mid-afternoon snack on a beautiful fall day. Technically, though, I don’t think it was quite fall yet… Needless to say, the applesauce got eaten before photos were taken. My apologies. I’m really bad at taking photos of food that I make. But I promise it was amazing!
And then, the next day, we made pie. Which also got eaten before photographed, but it is fortunately very difficult to eat an entire pie before you remember to take at least one photo. And yes, I did buy a pie plate for this very purpose. There are plans in the works for a honey apple cake, as described on Smitten Kitchen, for which a spring-form pan was also purchased.