My family helped host two weddings — one in October 2007 and the other in October 2008 — for my brother and me respectively. As a result, we have not had a Halloween party for my little cousins since 2006. I must admit that, although the weddings were fun, I missed the Halloween party. And after five months in Italy, all I could think about was celebrating Halloween with everyone. On Friday night, we indulged in our usual hero sandwich and pizza buffet and followed it up with a murdery mystery game that had me dressed up as a pirate and the kids trying to figure out who kidnapped Ogre Francesca and murdered her friend Woody from Toy Story. Our favorite games — turning the adults into mummies and handing out bags with odds and ends from the dollar store (such as wings, wands, and mop tops for wigs) for a make-your-own-costume contest — were of course apart of the fest. The kids arrived all dressed up — and were thrilled join in the games. (For photos, visit “Halloween Party 2009” photo album.) It was like the Halloweens of yesteryear. In fact, the only flub was my attempt at making caramel apples. They turned out beautifully but they stuck to the wax paper and the trays. Next time, I will definitely use a candy thermometer and sprinkles or nuts to give them traction. Well, you live and learn. Happy Halloween to all!