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The Case of the Awesome Autumn

Posted by Chief D.E. on

I spend a significant amount of time worrying that my children won't have a magical childhood. I know it's one of those ridiculous-anxiety-complete-waste-of-time things, but it's there, and I can't help it! When seasons and holidays are approaching I do what I can to make it special for them. I know that magical childhood feeling is a finite resource and I want to capitalize on it as much as possible before it's over. I mean, that's the whole reason I created Tiny Mysteries in the first place. So, the case was cut and dry. What could I do to create an awesome autumn for my kids? Read below to see how this one was solved... 

When my sister and I were kids, classic films were a huge part of our lives. We weren’t allowed to watch scary horror films, even though I did sneak a peek at Children of the Corn a few times at Blockbuster. (Anyone else remember the thrill of walking into your local Blockbuster? All those POSSIBILITIES?!?) For us, Halloween meant going to Blockbuster Video or the local mom and pop video rental place and getting an old, spooky black and white movie. I’m talking Alfred Hitchcock, the original Frankenstein, the original Hunchback of Notre Dame, Arsenic and Old Lace. Boris Karloff was terrifying, which of course was a complete blast for my sister and I.   


I remember one Halloween night, my mom gave my sister permission to have a friend spend the night AND she said we could even sleep in the living room on a pallet. For us, this was like winning the lottery. Spooky movies? A sleepover? A heavenly princess-and-the-pea-worthy stack of blankets? Yes! 

We all decided to rent Hunchback of Notre Dame, went home, and snuggled up in our blankets on the floor of our farmhouse to watch the movie. Halfway through the film, we were thoroughly freaked out but decided to go outside for some reason. Four acres of pitch black darkness surrounded us. We screeched and went to run inside but had locked ourselves out of the house.  

There we were, stuck outside. In my mind, Maureen O’Hara was nowhere to be found, just the hunchback, lurking in the shadows. I somehow found the courage to break in through my bedroom window, climb up, walk (more like run as fast as my legs could carry me) through the dark house by myself and unlock the door for everybody. 

I will never forget that feeling - walking through the darkness, thinking the hunchback was going to pop out at any minute. I still like the drama of a dark, spooky Halloween night. And while I’m probably not going to be screening Hunchback of Notre Dame at my house any time soon, I did want the kids to have a special Halloween-themed Tiny Mystery. 

In The Case of the Trick-Or-Treat Trespasser, Mrs. Moji’s beloved cats, Louie and Pheebs, have suddenly gone missing while at the same time there are some very peculiar happenings around Pickledilly Town! Detectives must discover what has happened to Louie and Pheebs and who is pilfering things all over town on Halloween night. It’s just the right amount of mischief for my young detectives.

To maximize the autumn vibes around here, I’ve made Against All Grain’s incredible Pumpkin Donut Recipe. It does not disappoint! It's gluten, dairy, and grain free and a smash hit with the whole family. 

Against All Grain’s baked pumpkin spice doughnut recipe doesn’t disappoint!

Find Against All Grains Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnut recipe here. 

Don’t have a doughnut pan? Spoon the batter into a muffin pan instead and bake for 20 minutes. Delicious pumpkin smells wafting through the house...check!

I purchased the Wilton's Silicone Donut Pans and they worked perfectly. 

They were so easy to pop out!

I altered the recipe a bit to exclude coconut flour as I don't really like the taste after it's baked. I added 1/4 cup tiger nut Flour with 1/4 cup cassava INSTEAD of 1/2 cup coconut flour. Additionally, I used almond milk instead of coconut milk and only 1/4 cup maple syrup instead of 1/2c. We use the least amount of sugar possible.

The kids LOVED these donuts! They were a huge hit!

Tip: For a healthy probiotic glaze for the donuts try mixing:

1/2 cup yogurt (we used dairy-free)

1tbsp maple syrup

1TBSP peanut butter(or whatever seed/nut butter you prefer)

Whip together with beaters and dip your donuts. We tried bee pollen, chocolate chips, and dye-free sprinkles as toppings. The kids loved them all.


For more simple, easy ways to enjoy fall playtime with your family, I really love this Pumpkin Washing Montessori activity from Natural Beach Living - It’s especially good for the younger kids but I’ve noticed the big kids can’t help but get excited about it too.

Click here for: The Best Montessori Pumpkin Washing Station by Natural Beach Living. So fun and a blast for younger and older kids!


The Case of the Awesome Autumn is SOLVED.