Tag Archives: candy

Don’t let Halloween be a scary time for pets!

Salty Gnome
Chef Joey sent us this cute pic of his friend’s dog modeling her Halloween costume!

Halloween is a fun and festive night for families, but it can be downright dangerous for pets.

During the week of Halloween, the Pet Poison Helpline reports a 12 percent increase in calls, making it the call center’s  busiest time of year.

In addition, Halloween is the second most common holiday for dogs to go missing, just behind Fourth of July.

Prevention is the best way to avoid an emergency. By using caution, you can ensure a safe and happy Halloween for pets.

Use these tips to keep them safe this Halloween:

Don’t share your treats with your dog or cat! You probably know that chocolate and raisins are toxic to pets, but so is xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many sugar-free candies and gum.

Be sure to properly dispose of candy wrappers. If ingested, these can cause life-threatening obstructions to the intestinal tract, which may require surgery.

Keep a close eye on pets for vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy – all signs they have eaten something dangerous.

Consider keeping dogs or cats confined in a quiet room on Halloween night. This will shield them from the noise and the frenzy of trick-or-treaters and prevent them from bolting out the door.

Make sure all pets have proper identification, including an up-to-date ID tag and microchip, which will help your chances of reuniting should they go missing.

If you decide to dress up your pet for Halloween, choose a costume that is loose-fitting, comfortable and doesn’t cover the eyes, ears or nose, which could cause anxiety.

Keep pets away from glow sticks. Cats especially have an affinity for chewing and puncturing these products. While not life-threatening, the liquid in glow sticks can cause pain, irritation and excessive salivation.

DIY Mother’s Day boxed chocolates!

From PETA.ORG! (yes, they’re vegan chocolate candies! and, YES, they’re yummy chocolate candies!)    – R.T.

DIY Mother’s Day Chocolate Box in 8 Steps

Written by Brittany Hultstrom


A homemade gift is a fun way to show your mom how much you care while adding your own creative flare.

Mother’s Day Chocolate Box

1 1/2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips
Candy mold (try Wilton’s silicone mold)
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch cinnamon
6 almonds
3 slices dried mandarin oranges or other dried fruit
Orange zest, for garnish (optional)
Finishing salt, for garnish (optional) (tryDas Foods’ Hawaiian Alaea Salt)
Peanuts, for garnish (optional)
Mini cupcake liners
1 tsp. cocoa powder
Candy box (you can find one at your local craft store)
Stickers, ribbons, or other decorative items (optional)

  1. Prepare each chocolate filling in a separate bowl and set aside (see below for the recipes). You can make all four types of chocolates from our box or simply pick your mother’s favorite. You can choose from orange creams, almond creams, peanut butter cups, and Mexican-flavored chocolates. Keep in mind that each filling recipe below makes enough for 2 to 3 chocolates. Double or triple the recipes depending on how many chocolates you want for your Mother’s Day box. Also note that the Mexican chocolates do not have a filling and should be made last with any remaining chocolate.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. If you don’t use a double boiler, use a pot and be sure to stir the chocolate constantly on a low heat.
  3. To make the chocolates that will have a filling, cover the bottom and sides of 6 squares on the candy mold with approximately 1 tablespoonful each of the melted chocolate. Check to make sure that there are no holes where the filling can come out. You may want to use more or less chocolate depending on the size of the mold that you are using.
  4. Place 1/2 teaspoonful of the orange filling and a small piece of dried mandarin orange into 2 of the chocolate-covered candy mold squares. Place 1/2 teaspoonful of the almond filling into 2 of the other chocolate-covered squares, and 1 teaspoonful of the peanut butter filling into the remaining 2 chocolate-covered squares.

Filling the candy mold with chocolate

  1. Cover the tops of each filled mold with melted chocolate. Be careful not to overfill the mold.
  2. Stir the cayenne pepper and cinnamon into the leftover melted chocolate, then spoon the mixture into the remaining empty candy molds.
  3. Top the orange creams with dried mandarin orange or orange zest and the almond creams with almonds. Garnish the peanut butter cups with finishing salt or peanuts.
  4. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once hardened, remove from the mold and place in mini cupcake liners. Dust the Mexican chocolates with cocoa powder, then place all the chocolates in a candy box. Decorate the box with stickers, ribbons, and any other items, and you will have your cruelty-free, handmade Mother’s Day chocolate box!

Makes approximately 8 to 10 chocolates

Orange Cream Filling

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. water
1/2 tsp. orange oil

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Almond Cream Filling

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. water
2–3 drops almond extract

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add a few more drops of water, if needed, to achieve the desired consistency.

Peanut Butter Cup Filling

1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup

  • Combine the peanut butter and agave nectar in a bowl.

Mother's Day Chocolate Box


My inner-city neighbors are the best!!

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Sure the Canal District and surrounding area seems to have become a dumping ground for garbage galore and shooting gallery/stabbing/gun hot-spot! I am  on the horn almost every day with city officials and state reps asking for the garbage to be removed, the extra Worcester Police Department foot patrols to be deployed  …

But then there’s this HEAVEN-SENT stuff happening …

… A wonderful garden in my back yard (right where I found the used junky syringe!). Here’s Jett getting nosy with a lovely squash!! We’ve got tomatoes, too! And (had) sunflowers!


… My downstairs neighbor is the sweetest! She gives me her cool clothes and pocketbooks! She’s quite the fashion plate and gets bored with her stuff real quick! So … Here I am several days ago, heading out the door to run InCity Times, wearing one of her pretty blouses!  Now mine! Thanks, in-city gal pal!

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My other downstairs neighbor came upstairs and gave me some Halloween cupcakes and cookies, along with this BEAUTIFUL card! I love the message PEACE FOREVER EVERYWHERE… This was after I went down to her place and gave her and her roommate a thank-you gift for a gift they had given me! How awesome are these people? Right in the middle of all the shootings and stabbings … all this love!


And today I am making a Halloween fun gift for the kids across the street because they helped my roundup a homeless street kitten that needed a good home! These boys were the best! Here is Jett back at my shack being nosy (again) with their pumpkin I am about to fill with candy!



The time to make up your mind about the hood is – NEVER!! 

Happy Halloween!

By Sue Moynagh

Halloween! My favorite holiday in my favorite month! I just love seeing the decorations- carved jack- o’- lanterns, the orange and black crepe and lights festooning porches and bushes, fake spiders in their webs, the little plastic ghosts swinging from low tree branches- all the great, imaginative, creepy- crawly decorations in windows and front yards. This day, or should I say this season, brings back so many fun memories. October meant planning of costumes, anticipating trick or treat, and of course, watching horror movies. It was a great way to bid farewell to fall and welcome in the winter season.

You knew Halloween was coming soon by checking out the store windows and displays. By end of September, bags of candy had little haunted house, ghost and skeleton pictures, and store displays advised you to stock up early. God forbid if you ran out of candy on the big day. Then the costumes went up for sale, along with decorations for home and parties. The shelves were full of plastic jack-o’-lanterns, bats, black cats and witches on broomsticks.

My cousins and I focused on the costumes. Costume selection was very important. If you were a girl, you could be an ugly old witch, a cute animal, Cinderella, fairy princess, or ghost. Boys were cowboys, monsters and superheroes. If you were very imaginative, you came up with something on your own. One year, my grandmother made a Little Red Riding Hood costume for me. I rouged up my cheeks and bought a mask that covered my eyes only. Remember those masks? They were scratchy, one size fits all contraptions that were held on by elastics that pinched the skin and pulled the hair. Those of us with glasses had more problems. The masks would not go comfortably over the glasses, but Frankenstein’s monster or Cinderella with glasses? No way! You either ruined the look of the costume or stumbled along blindly in the dark.

As Halloween drew near, TV stations ran the old horror movie classics with Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, werewolf and other ghoulish characters. Most of these films were black and white and starred Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price and Lon Chaney, Jr. These films had crude special effects, but they also had some underlying message that was lost on us kids. We were scared, but enjoyed every minute of it. I don’t care for modern horror pics. Too much blood and gore and no plot.

I did not attend any Halloween parties except for the small ones given at school by the Mothers’ Guild. The younger kids wore costumes and paraded through the upper grade classrooms. Then of course, we got pastry, soft drinks and candy. There was a contest for best costume, but usually most of us bought our costumes at the same downtown department stores. The wealthier kids stood out with their expensive, more imaginative outfits and always won the prizes. But it was great fun anyways.

Trick or Treat was the highlight, of course. My cousins and I usually went together, and started immediately after supper. A big problem arose every year. Some Catholic Churches had October devotions in the evenings on weekdays and afternoons on weekends. If Halloween fell on a weekday you had to go home, clean up, and sit in church for the service while anxiety levels rose. Would there be any candy left for us? After service, we raced home, donned our costumes and resumed our candy quest.

When we were very young, our mothers accompanied us from house to house. Everyone knew everyone else back then, so we trudged along, block after block while our mothers selected which apartments we could visit and which to avoid. It was great walking through the crisp, colorful leaves that covered walkways. The smell of burning leaves scented the air and on occasion, a full moon lighted our way. We joined a veritable army of kids and parents making the rounds.

My cousins and I were never allowed to do tricks, but some kids soaped windows and threw eggs at houses. We carried huge brown bags for candy collection, and we grinned in anticipation as the bags became heavier. Another big problem presented itself. October weather is usually very chilly and that meant coats or jackets. No one would see our costumes! Our poor parents had to hold the coats while we went into the houses, teeth chattering in the cold autumn night. When we were too old for costumes, we took our younger siblings and cousins out in place of our parents. I made out pretty good, though. I found that if I stood at the bottom of the stairs looking pathetic, the lady of the house would make sure to slip me some candy for my efforts. I did as well as the little ones.
It’s a shame things had to change. We never have kids anymore so I don’t even bother buying candy. The neighborhood is not too safe so parents take their kids to better areas or even into the towns, that is, if they even bother with the holiday at all. I still watch the old horror classics or read a good Stephen King novel, and I love to see the houses that are still decorated for Halloween. Too bad, they don’t know what a great time they are missing.

Happy Halloween!