Black Cat Cookies

Editor’s note: This column originally ran in the Oct. 26, 2012 issue of the Banner. 

I’ve never been a fan of Halloween, but having my little man Jack makes the holiday a lot more fun. Last year was the first year that Jack understood the concept. He was excited about the pumpkins and other decorations, brought home loads of Halloween crafts from day care and practiced his trick-or-treating for weeks (or maybe just conned me into giving him candy).

Unfortunately, Halloween itself was a letdown. While trick-or-treating at the businesses downtown, an older child in a mask jumped out and frightened 2-year-old Jack. Stubborn boy that he is, Jack decided that Halloween was dead to him. He wouldn’t look at his costume, let alone dress up and go trick-or-treating. He refused to watch Halloween specials on TV and wanted nothing to do with the treats his grandma brought over. And he pointedly ignored the trick-or-treaters at our door, haughtily walking past clusters of princesses and superheroes as if it were an everyday occurrence to find Optimus Prime gracing our entryway.

The trauma of last year’s spooktacular holiday forgotten, Jack is excited to give Halloween another chance. He put out the Halloween decorations this year, so every room is bedecked in black, orange and purple. (The lower four feet of each room, anyway.) He lined the front steps with pumpkins and gourds. And he loves helping me make special scary treats to share with his friends at day care.

This recipe is one of our new favorites. Jack sorts and counts the candies while I mix up the dough, and when we shape the cookies, he’s the official dough-squisher and whisker-maker. We work together to assemble the faces on the hot cookies, carefully avoiding the hot pan. And then Jack assumes the role of official taste-tester. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.