It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
For me it all begins with pumpkin carving.  
Why do I love this tradition so darn much?  

Maybe it’s just the creative juices that come out.  Maybe it’s the family-togetherness.  Maybe it’s the nostalgia of doing it with my own family, I don’t know, but I love it.
Claire did a crazy face that she proclaimed was her:

Elle is super into the thumbs-up thing right now as kind of a joke with her friends.

Grace decided to do her name in Chinese which is actually pretty detailed and tough.

Go Grace!

And Lucy gave me very strict instructions as to exactly how she wanted hers carved and I helped her out.

I love the upper right corner of this pic:

…love that tongue!

At some point the girls decided they better carve some apples too…
And somehow the caramel apple dealio has eased it’s way in to be part of this tradition.

We always love having Josh with us and were especially excited that we caught Max who joined us via Facetime.

Lucy had a great little chat with him while wheeling around on this little thing Dave got in China.  She cracks me up and it pretty good at that balance which makes us happy.

Max tweeted this picture later which I thought was cute:

Love that cute little face talking to her brother.

Max was the pumpkin judge and proclaimed Lucy’s the winner which she was pleased as punch about.

Check out that Chinese:

Love it.

We set up the time lapse camera phone to catch some of the action this year.

And here’s the footage:

And then we were off to Halloween parties and prep.  Part of me is so excited to only have two to figure out outfits with this year, and another part of me wants to bawl about that fact just a little bit.

On to the Halloween weekend!

Lucy has proclaimed Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week to be the very best days of the year so far.  I’m off to help her celebrate with her class at school.

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  1. I kn ow this isnt the point of this post, but I. Love. Those. Chairs. ๐Ÿ™‚ and I have been searching for that style all over. What are they called/ where did you find them??

    And I cant believe it's Halloween tomorrow, and mt own family has yet to carve pumpkins. Yikes. Days with children fly by way too fast!

    Chaun from

  2. Ok Shawni……my 13 year old daughter wants only one thing for Christmas. That's the scooter Lucy is riding! Haha. I have found them on Amazon but they don't have great reviews. I'm nervous to spend that and it not work very well. Do you have any suggestions? Any tips for getting one from a reputable source? Any help would be super appreciated. My email is Thanks so much!! Love the pumpkins.

    1. Hi, I too, was writing to ask about the segway. My son is turning 9 at the end of the year and I'm investigating and was writing to ask about the size of that one? Here in Australia, I'm able to get a child size ie. 4.5inch as opposed to adult…6 inch up to 10 inch. If you could please advise the size of the scooter Lucy is riding that would be super appreciated. Thanks

  3. Your pumpkin carving FHE looks awesome, but I am dismayed to see an "Indian" costume. Indians are real people living today, not fantasies, fairy tales, or historical characters. In some Native clothing, the beadwork has spiritual meaning and is a prayerful act. Anyway, thank you for sharing your Halloween traditions. The Chinese symbol on the pumpkin is impressive!

    1. Kids dress as all kinds of people living today. Occupations, cultures, religious figures, politicians, etc. Why so protective of that single culture? It's not to put it down. There is an entire Broadway play making Fun of Mormon people, beliefs, and culture. The church isn't so worried about that. Indian dress is beautiful. No one is making it seem inferior.

    2. Just because you have Native American blood in your family, does not mean you represent or speak for the entire group. Especially for the millions who were murdered during the American Indian Genocide.
      Key part of the article:
      "the Halloween costumes modeled after traditional Native American attire "reminds us of what weโ€™ve lost. Even historically-accurate 'costumes' trivialize the Native American genocide, and perpetuate the harmful stereotypes that fueled it." "

      Considering a culture's traditional dress a costume is offensive and it is innocent mishaps like Claire's costume that lead to more serious issues like black face and (as mentioned before) the book of Mormon play. No culture should be subject to defamation or mockery.

      I get that her costume is portraying a historical figure, but if you look at the real story of Pocahontas it isn't a disney fairy tale or even a story a young girl should aspire to be part of. Pocahontas was 10 years old when she caught the eye of the much older Smith. She was later imprisoned by the white settlers and only freed if she agreed to marry John Rolfe. After her marriage, she was stripped of her cultural identity and named Rebecca. For heck's sake, they called her a civilized โ€˜savageโ€™! She ultimately died around 20 from smallpox or a similar virus that the English exposed the natives to. Geez!

      I didn't intend on this comment being this long or commenting in this exact spot, but I became so frustrated that so many people think it's ok to appropriate a culture that our ancestors striped of land, transition and identity. Wow, I've rambled…. I (finally) digress.

  4. I don't understand it. I have seen many costumes as a German boy/girl and the kids have been wearing Lederhosen or a Dirndl. Contrary to the impression of the MFME post, this is not what we wear (at all or just very seldom, really depends on where you from). I am not offended by that, though.
    And just a thought: Isn't it rascist to say that all white people shouldn't dress up as Indians because they wiped them almost completely out? I don't want to diminish the deaths in any way, but what has Claire to do with it?

  5. This post makes me want to start my own pumpkin carving FHE tradition! I've always been scared of the mess, but thats part of the fun! Your family is beautiful!

  6. Kms, I'm sorry to see you have deleted your commment. I thought the discussion quite interesting. But maybe Shawni is glad we don't highjack her blog any longer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Btw, I'm sorry I used the term Indians, if that's not respectful. And I realise I form my opinion from my perspective. Of course others who are more concerned might feel differently.

  7. Just to clarify for all, Claire chose to be Pocahontas this year for Halloween. As far as I am concerned, Halloween is a fun (albeit a little bit peculiar) holiday that we have fun with as we dress up as someone different from us…an animal, a historical figure, something funny, etc. Elle was an Indian from India one year not because she was making fun of the Indian culture. Quite the contrary, my parents had brought back some beautiful clothes from there to celebrate that culture they had fallen in love with. Claire fell in love with this outfit a friend had worn before and asked to borrow it this year. She fell in love with it because it is a beautiful representation of a culture as well as a historical figure she has seen in a Disney movie (also celebrating that culture).

    1. I'm going to play devils advocate, because I'm a historian and having done quite a bit of research on Native Americans and appropriation, etc, I find this conversation fascinating. Would you be equally ok if a non- Mormon person went as a "dumbed down" version (I use that term because of lack of other options, but it's not like Claire is REALLY dressed like Pocahantas would have) of Joseph Smith, as he is also a historical figure? Or, seeing as how many Natives take issue with their sacred clothing being used as Halloween costumes, would you be ok if someone dressed in temple clothing? I'm genuinely curious.

    2. In other words, does the fact that I've also written and researched about the Latter Day Saints history, and have a strong respect for your religion and culture, give me a pass to dress in garments for a holiday?

    3. I see your point. I probably wouldn't be super comfortable about it, but I would also try to see where you were coming from. If you were dressing up as Joseph Smith because you thought he was a cool guy from history, it wouldn't really bother me, but if you were doing so to be disrespectful or mocking, then it would. Definitely puts things in perspective though to use an historical figure from my own heritage. Thanks for making me think about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    4. I've seen people go as Joseph Smith, and ya it can be taken as not offensive or offensive. But I think garment wearing is crossing the line. no one should wear items that are not within their right to wear. Idk if that makes sense or not

  8. I think people want to pick fights over anything these days.. I'm British and often see prince Charles or the queen masks it's not degrading to our amazing monarch.. it's a fun little holiday and quite the opposite of Been racial or been demeaning on my opinion.
    I loved the girls outfit and grace looks more and more like you daily !!!
    we still need a house tour ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. America is a different place. She was dressed as a specific person so the concerns someone posted about in the comments are not an issue. It's fine to dress as president Obama or president Reagan even if you are not their gender or race. It's specifically dressing as a person from a different race as yourself and saying you are that race is a problem. Columbus declared the people of the Caribbean to be Indians cause he thought he hit India. That name isn't used anymore. It belittled an entire hemisphere of people not needing discovery and people belonging to different nations. It's like calling all Eurasians Nigerans if an Aztec landed in France and thought he hit Nigeria. And then repeat for hundreds of years.

      I do like the duke and duchess. Fairly down to earth and impressed with both Prince William and Prince Harry's service to military. They definitely want to earn their place and not be treated special. But honestly England is full of empiralistic warts and race issues too. I'd be in Ireland right now if not for those warts, my ancestors hadn't emigrated from the 1850's to 1920's. They wanted to eat and remain Catholic and remain Irish and no longer be occupied. Couldn't quite get everything on the list. I'm not thrilled about Guy Fawkes, I'm glad tons of people didn't perish with his plan, but you sure have a peculiar way of having fun not everyone is going to be excited about. I'm sure you think it's good fun but not everyone feels that way. I'm sure some Catholics in England are "fine" about it but what choice to they have if they are there? It's all about perspective, who gets to decide if it's offensive, the victor? Is the victor the potentially offended party?

      The US is a racially tense country. If you look at the history you will see why.

      Totally with you on wanting to see the updates on their new house.

  9. It's fine for her to dress as a specific Native American if you are not. That is what she did. The commenters said generic Indian.

    I am white. I adopted a child from abroad. He is a person of color. I too didn't get it either until my world opened up. It's not okay to dress up "generically" and call yourself a different race. The fact you don't think it's demeaning doesn't mean the people of that race don't think that way. It's not just "Indian" costume. It's black face too. The list goes on. Every single person isn't going to be upset about it. But as a whole it's been pretty clear that nonwhite American's feel this way. Particularly leaders and registered members of nations. I realized mom didn't label the costume as Indian. (So I deleted my comments as it was in the follow up comments that assumed the label.) In fact she was dressed as a specific person as seen in the post below. A specific person is fine. Her other older daughter was likely not walking around saying she was a person from India unless maybe someone insisted she label herself. She was just in fancy clothes for the night. Some trick or treat with a rainbow wig or tutu with no real label attached.

    But I'm honestly sick of all the flack this poor mom constantly gets over shoulders and hem lines. I'm sick of all the dress code issues against girls in general. I am parenting a boy and I have never read the school rules for dress requirements. And we have never been in violation. He is still in elementary but we hear even five year olds are in violation over a sundress that didn't have a full inch strap. It's ridiculous and one sided. Measuring straps and hems and making sure hair is a proper color and other nonsense for school or an event at the school. Heck one situation publicized had them micromanaging the shoes and not just no open toe. Couldn't be too casual or too dressy. Most the time the girls called out were within the policy when you look at the Utah prom scandals, The person at one entrance was working off a different set of standards than the school board set for the event. I don't know the parents of girls put up with it. Especially when school athletic uniforms show more skin for both guys and girls. Especially when some of the girls are already 18 by senior year. Some are working part time pay check jobs and paying taxes themselves. If they can figure out trig and calculus and earn a scholarship and hold down a part time job and drive a car you would think they could dress themselves by 17. Why they give the school the ticket money for the dance when they could instead just let the kids have a night out for less money and put an end to the body shaming, I really wonder?

  10. AMAZING! Congrats you guys! SO creative! Wish we would have had that fast motion….in real time when our kids were little! Gets things done so fast!

  11. It never feels good to be shamed on the internet, and if I knew how to communicate privately with you I would do so. I do hope you will reconsider Native American costumes going forward. I know where you're coming from — last year my daughter (about the same age as Claire) found a vintage homemade Native American costume in a thrift store and really wanted to wear it. I consulted with a good friend of mine who is from the Chickasaw nation, and she kindly told me that it really does feel demeaning and hurtful to see kids wearing cheap, religiously inaccurate tokens of her sacred culture on an occasion like Halloween meant for pranks and laughs. Of course that wasn't how we had seen it at first, but she helped me to see it from her perspective, and together we decided that we wouldn't use the costume. I hope that her/my experience might help you to understand where the concern is coming from and choose different costumes in the future.

  12. Oh my goodness people need to calm down. The excess of political correctness makes it impossible to do anything without offending someone. Wearing garments is like wearing underwear around, not the same at all. We wear them under our clothes. I've seen people dressed as polygamists, missionaries, Mormons, prophets. It's all good. It's a holiday. These are innocent kids. She looked so cute! You have an adorable family and all seem so kind and sweet. Bless you for being such a great mama and for sharing your life with us even if it means having aspects of it picked apart. I couldn't do it. I would get so irritated with the judgmental people that put the most ridiculous things on here.

    1. What I meant when I said temple garments, was sacred temple clothing. Something that I know is deeply personal to members of the LDS church and hold Holy and sacred meanings when you are entering covenants in the temple. That is similar to many of the "Indian" costumes that you see people wearing at Halloween. Many of those costumes hold real, true, sacred meanings to indigenous people. It was nothing to do with "political correctness", it has to do with the fact that wearing another cultures sacred clothing is appropriation. There are literally HUNDREDS of sources from real life Native Americans saying its belittling. Just because you don't think it is, doesn't make it right.

      Also, I adore Shawni. That's why I continue to read her blog. I find her fun, a wonderful mother and a kind example. Just because I don't agree with something she writes, doesn't mean I'm judging her. When you write a public blog you open your life and choices up for discussion. If she doesn't want people pointing out that "Indian" costumes are hurtful to others, she can easily make her blog private.

      I urge people who feel like this argument is nit-picky to read some of the following sources:

      And these are just a few a found with a google search.

    2. Political correctness? White privilege. Please google it.

      Next time LDS see two grown men kissing in front of temple square wearing elder missionary badges and clothed in external garments on Halloween tell me they have no right to suggest they rethink their actions next year and that NO one was offended. Or even that the outfi put together made sense. You have said people can dress as LDS and use your symbols however they wish. That is your right as LDS. The question of the appropriateness of indigenous dress falls of the indigenous whose registered members and leaders have asked the public to do it differently.

      The indigenous peoples of North America had no say in their labels "Indian" or how people chose to portray them. It's political correctness is instructing the public with their voice how they want to be known. Please tell me we all get that blackface is completely unacceptable. We had white people badly made up to be Chinese lead characters in movies instead of hiring an actual Chinese actor to play the part of a Chinese person. It's just not right.

      Is it politically correctness to call LDS LDS instead of pl*g*? Or is it simply correcting those from outside the LDS branch that the practice stopped existing long ago and allowing LDS to say what they want to be called? Can I go ahead and do so if I can find a person baptized LDS that doesn't mind the bad and wrong term?

      It's meant to be kind to mention it so there is no future offense done unknowingly. She puts a great deal of effort in being kind.

  13. Those pumpkins are awesome!! I love how each one is unique. Our family pumpkin carving party included a bunch of drama and tears – haha! But seeing the end product and looking back it's mostly a good memory. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the girls costumes and especially the picture of Lucy with her witch hat covering all but her cute mouth.
    p.s. I would also love to see more house pictures.

  14. RHrad – I have written these same words SO many times:

    "Just because I don't agree with something she writes, doesn't mean I'm judging her. When you write a public blog you open your life and choices up for discussion."

    On this blog, yes it does. If you don't agree, and have the audacity to say so, then you're judging her. Doesn't matter if you say it in a nice, respectful manner, or if you are mean and sarcastic.

    Anything other than "Oh, Shawni, I love you and your family, you are my role model, everything you do is so great, how dare anyone say anything otherwise…???" is considered heresy. The fan girl groupies come out in droves.

    1. Should people get offended that you call them fan girls? The point is people get offended over everything these days, if you are a public person you can't do or say anything without someone nit picking or getting offended. People would be much happier if they just chill out a little.

  15. kms,
    I don't really understand your comments about England.

    Thank you for what you said about William & Harry tho, they are both very popular here, just like their lovely Mum was.

    Regarding Guy Fawkes night, most people these days just think of it as a night of fun, such as brilliant fireworks, (even tho I don't go to any firework displays I still buy myself a pack of sparklers & light them on the fifth of November) Jacket potatoes, sausages & lovely toffee apples & candy floss.:)

    I'm sure Charity & Ian will be enjoying firework/bonfire night during their time in London & will love it.

    I think Claire's costume was lovely by the way.

  16. Kms that's the best mic drop ever. I too am really saddened that so many people make a point to get on a beautiful blog and rip it to shreds. Shame on them. It's their life, they can do what THEY want to. Whereas with anyone that reads this blog, it's THEIR life and THEIR choices. Let's just help be kind and loving because people go through things we don't understand

  17. Attend a Pow Wow some time. Great atmosphere and food. It can be an enriching and enjoyable experience. At every one that I have attended there have been Native vendors selling buckskin clothing and beaded accessories and jewelry. Truly beautiful goods. It's quite alright to wear it.
    All the comparisons of wearing Mormon temple garb or underwear TOTing is completely different to what this family did. One is mocking, the other isn't. It's amazing that folks are struggling to see the difference – and, for some, to identify which would be in poor taste

    1. You assume it's mocking if someone wears temple items outside the temple for Halloween. But the point is clear. The LDS community makes the call. Not the person on Halloween wearing the temple items outside the temple who isn't LDS. The person selling the items at a 'pow wow' would be careful not to have those items cross into religious symbols. The person who designed the costume for most movies and the costume store didn't. Assuming the 'Pow Wow' was held by an actual legitimate nation and not at knoxberry farm. Clearly sounded like a tourist thing. Food and sales? It was a give the people what they will pay for event. Several people have said its a problem. The leadership of those groups have as well. Why don't you believe it is? I bet I could find a baptized Mormon who could care less if an adult decided to wear Mormon temple garments after seeing the play and talking to nice missionaries on the street for 15 minutes 10 years ago for a Halloween party. That doesn't mean people won't point out the issue in kindness that it's offensive.

      Again the child was a specific person. She wasn't going as a different ethnicity.

      Please look up white privilege.

    2. I'm quite shocked at this. Do some people really dress in LDS temple garments at Halloween?

      If so, what is the point of it?

      It's so unfair for *people to make fun of something that as members we hold sacred.

      (* I don't mean you personally kms, just in general)

    3. Not that I have seen. Native clothing and accessories often carry sacred significance a non indigenous would not realize. A person may like and admire the LDS culture of service of service and large families and decide to dress like them for Halloween. They Google and come up with the garments and copy. A person can offend without meaning to. The point is to dress wearing sacred clothing even if the person means no harm they don't get to decide whether it's harmful. It's the people they are dressing like that get to decide if it's crossing the line or appropriate. Full fledge members of a nation and the leadership of nations have asked the world to stop with the mascots and the costumes. They were made with the same ignorance as a person thinking temple garments worn of Halloween would be a show of admiration for the culture. Lots of the mascots are just a mix match. Overlapping of different peoples. Including sacred items that would not be worn like that.

    4. Julie. Exactly. But how is this different that dressing up in Native American garments – making fun of something that they "as members hold sacred". Do any of you people get that? How do you not see that this is the same thing???!!

  18. I am grateful for the discussion here. I think the people who disagreed were respectful and enlightening. Thanks for offering your different opinion because it opened my eyes to some things I was ignorant of.

  19. The plagues terrorizing the modern Native American culture are suicide, alcoholism, illiteracy, prostitution, fatherless homes, drug addictions, child sex trafficking, and the toxic list goes on and on. All are substantially worse in the Native community than for virtually any other demographic.

    Research Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Whiteclay, NE. Reflect how a town of fewer than 15 residents has 4 of the highest grossing liquor stores in the nation.

    Education, thrift, and mothers and fathers committed to each other and their children are the answer. There are folks inside and outside the Native American communities who are setting a great example and are tutoring, mentoring, serving, loving, and friendshipping those suffering from the above mentioned ailments. There are also folks inside and out who are caught up arguing semantic rules for speech terms and what are/aren't acceptable portrayals of traditional Indian dress. For the most part, these 2 groups are mutually exclusive.

    I invite you to attend a Pow Wow. And to be clear, a REAL Pow Wow. Part of the experience may be that you are inspired to invest some of your charitable efforts to make a difference by serving in the Native community. I promise it would be very rewarding.

    1. I think the outside world has done quite enough.

      Honestly are you saying African Americans can't be upset about black face since they have a higher percentage of people in prison and under the poverty line?

      Can't we treat people respectfully and fairly? Can we help without hurting. They are not objects and purpose for us to do a service to on our own terms so we can feel good about ourselves. After intentional extermination, forced relocation, disease wiping out a number of people intentionally spread and the removal of indigenous children into white homes to become members of white churches and marry white leading to many people only able to be 1/8 indigenous you really think their problems can be identified by white america and solved by white america? They were high in number and safe and happy hundreds of years ago.

      Are you honestly saying people on a "reservation" are poor because they are not thrifty? That they are making poor choices according to the judeo Christian moral code? It's like Islam saying Christian america are the great Satan for their women not dressing head to ankle and lack or sharia leading to lawlessness like drugs and mass shootings. What if they came and decided to judge our faults on their model and force their solutions upon us. Evens we agree we are hurting because of drugs and weapons and immorality. Shall they be charitable and help us? They have a population boom in the current coutnries they reside, they could use the space just like 18th and 19th century Europe.

      Claire dressed as a specific indigenous person. That is fine. It's the commenters remarks that I am speaking to.

  20. As usual K, you speak out of both sides of your mouth – you seem to be disagreeing with the same comments/commenters you defended a few posts up.

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