Coping with a stressful trick or treat
Pressure. Pressure. Pressure.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who absolutely hates feeling stressed.
Of course, if it's over something important like the car's MOT or exam results, I don't mind so much but I don't think Halloween counts.
With just a week to go until October 31 arrives, I am finding myself up to high doh and I know it's silly.
As you are all aware, practically every shop we have ventured into this past month has had devilish decorations on display and terrifying treats on sale for the forthcoming event.
But, as it is Abbie's first Halloween, I have worked myself into a tizzy.
I remember when I was younger, my parents would have had our house decorated from a few weeks before Halloween and there was such excitement in the build-up.
Once costumes were organised, my mum would spend her time in the kitchen putting together a wonderful collection of freakish food, including the traditional apple tart.
On the actual night, we would play dunking for apples before going outside into the garden to light some sparklers.
Then it was time for the annual trick-or-treating and for some years we would all head to Casement Park for a brilliant fireworks display.
I have wonderful memories of Halloween and now, as a new parent, I am feeling the pressure to try and produce the same for little Abbie.
Ok, yes, I am aware that she is 10 months and yes, she will probably fall asleep and not remember very much of it all but still I feel I should make an effort for her.
But where to begin?
Last week, I decided to take charge and off we all went in search of a Halloween costume for my little ray of sunshine.
Mistakenly, I had thought it would be quite difficult to find a costume for a baby but nope, turns out, they are everywhere.
Of course, to any normal person, this may seem great but for someone feeling stressed and anxious, being faced with a choice was not the best outcome.
So, after trying this and that and ruling out everything remotely scary, I was left with a few options.
I then persistently annoyed the poor, calm, contented child by trying numerous head-dresses and hairbands on her head (this did not go down well) and eventually we made a decision.
After that, it was time to look at decorations but with Abbie being very young, I didn't want anything too scary.
So, I carefully chose a few decorations, a light-up pumpkin, lights for the window, a not-so-scary ghost and a sign for the garden, but I don't think it will be enough.
Darren keeps telling me not to put too much up because it will scare the little lady but I feel I should be making a big effort as it is her first Halloween.
So, is less more or should I be popping back to the shops for a few more skeletons, Draculas and zombies?
I suppose a few more decorations won't hurt - I want to create the right atmosphere after all.
With her too little to dunk for apples, I think I'll also invest in some sparklers that her daddy can hold and she can watch.
She already has her treat-or-trick bag, with some candy thanks to grandad, and she'll be out around the doors for her first experience of Halloween.
But still, I remain terrified that I will let her down.
I suppose I'll just have to hope our little Pumpkin Witch will be impressed with what we have planned and I'll have to ensure we have enough chocolate buttons in her haul to keep her happy.
After all, it's only one day and then it won't be long until Christmas - oh dear goodness, I suddenly feel very nauseous.
The spookiest night of the year is almost upon us, so how do you feel about celebrating Halloween with a pumpkin-load of goodies?
If you're not yet sorted for October 31, fear not, as Lidl has everything you need to ensure your Halloween goes with a trick and a treat.
From creepy kids' costumes to frightfully nice sweet treats, Lidl is bursting with an array of all things spooktacular - and all at amazingly low prices.
And, if you're planning on hosting a party for friends and family, Lidl has a wide range of terrifying decorations available, including spooky skeletons and haunted doorbells, so you can create the perfect haunting atmosphere in your home.
Also, why not visit the Lidl Pumpkin Patch at Victoria Square, running from Monday, October 26 until Saturday, October 31, to pick up and decorate your pumpkins, making spooky lanterns.
All proceeds from the sale of pumpkins will be donated to CLIC Sargent and Mary Peters Trust.
To celebrate this Halloween, Lidl NI has teamed up with the Irish News to offer three lucky readers the chance to each get their hands a £50 voucher to be spent at any of its 38 stores across Northern Ireland.
If you fancy winning a £50 voucher for Lidl, simply email your name, address and telephone number - along with the answer to the question below - to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for entries is Tuesday, October 27 at 12 Noon.
(Q) What date is Halloween?
Normal Irish News Rules Apply
007 – Daniel Craig fans have been counting down the days and now it's here. The new Bond movie, Spectre opens in cinemas today so shake those martinis and settle in for a thrilling ride.
Pumpkin Fun – Why not venture to Castle Ward this weekend for Pumpkinfest. The National Trust event, taking place Saturday and Sunday, includes pumpkin carving, an autumn trail, horse and carriage rides and a scarecrow pageant.
Joining forces - Rumour has it Westlife and Boyzone may be teaming up to former a super manband to go on tour. I would love this and would definitely be in line for a ticket. Bring it on.
Robbed - Does anyone else think Irish singer, Daniel O'Donnell was robbed on Strictly Come Dancing? Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher should have left the show last week and graceful Daniel should still be in it to win. I was gutted for him.
No Show - Irish music mogul, Louis Walsh has revealed he will not be taking part in this year's I'm A Celebrity, despite dropping hints to the contrary. That's a pity, he would have been a good contestant.
Criticism - Reality talent show, The X-Factor has come under fire for its "ghastly" and "cruel" six chair challenge - and rightly so, it's been awful.
The winners of the Translink competition are Kieran Gregory, from Dunmurry and Mary McDonagh, from Belfast
Easy Peasy Recipe
This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is Raspberry Bakewell Cake
You will need:
140g ground almonds
140g softened butter
140g golder caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp flaked almonds
icing sugar (to serve)
Pre-heat overn to 180c/Gas Mark 4
Grease a springform cake tin.
In a food processor, mix the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract.
Pour half the mixture into the cake tin and smooth over.
Scatter raspberries over the top and then add remaining cake mixture.
Scatter flaked almonds over top and bake for 50 minutes until golden.
Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?
You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:
Easy Peasy Recipes,
Marie Louise McConville,
113-117 Donegall Street,