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Sophie White: Halloween, competitive parenting, and cookie monster treats

The scariest thing about Halloween is the competitive Pinterest Parenting, says Sophie White so this year she is opting out in favour of spooky snacks


Ice cream cookie monster

Ice cream cookie monster

Ice cream cookie monster

If you are a vaguely crap parent, there is nothing that exposes this more than a holiday that demands baking, crafting and decorating.

I often think  that these Pinterest Parents (usually Mormon home-makers on Instagram, whose bios proudly proclaim their love of family time, pumkpin spice lattes and baby Jesus) walk the Earth primarily to expose our own failings in the field of spawn-raising.

It's just very hard to keep up these days - we're supposed to have it all and make it all from bloody scratch. We millennial parents have it much tougher than our boomer counterparts.

They only had a vague unfocused anxiety about how much they were f*cking-up their kids. We, on the other hand, have an endless scrolling performance of parenthood perfection available to peruse online, and it makes me want to punch my phone.

Parent Instagram can be draining on just your average weekend, when your feed is bursting with people feeling #Blessed, going on #FamilyWalks to get #IceCream and enjoying #FamilyCuddles - where's the #FamilyDoorSlamming and #FamilyScreaming, I often wonder? Lash a seasonal holiday like Halloween into the mix, and the Parent Instagram ramps up into all-out mania.

It doesn't help that Halloween, in recent years, has gone pure bananas. It crept in slowly with more and more elaborate costumes, but soon the decorating and Halloweening began to escalate. Now Halloween is nearly as big as Christmas. There are myriad Halloween 'experiences' to feel under pressure to bring your kids to.

There are haunted houses and pumpkin patches to visit, pumpkin-carving competitions to take far too seriously - basically, Halloween has gone from being a one-night hooley requiring mild parental effort (cover child with bin liner, make holes for the eyes - carefully!) to a week-long extravaganza of magical, spooky memory-making for our kids.

Of course, memory-making for ungrateful children is always fraught, as they persist in making the whole process as difficult and unpleasant as they possibly can. I practically had to bully my older one into his ghost costume (cover child with pillowcase, make holes for the eyes - carefully!). Then, to my horror, I realised that the effort was dire, compared with the high production values of the costumes of the other kids in his school.

This year, I've decided to retire from the Halloween over-parenting. Pumpkin-picking? It'd make a cute pic for Instagram, but driving my kids anywhere feels like being trapped in a confined space with rabid hyenas.

I'll do a little light crafting, and I'll make these spooky ice-cream treats instead.

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Ice Cream Cookie Monster

Makes 8 sandwiches

You will need:

100g brown sugar

100g caster sugar

115g butter

1 egg

165g flour

1 tablespoon cornflour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

95g chocolate chips

50g mini marshmallows

Chocolate ice cream

Edible ink pen


1 Preheat the oven to 160°C, 325°F, Gas 3. In a bowl, cream the brown sugar, the caster sugar and the butter until pale and smooth, then beat in the egg. Add the flour, the cornflour, the baking powder and the salt and combine well. Stir in the chocolate chips and 25g of the mini marshmallows. Scoop out dollops of the mixture onto to three parchment-lined trays, leaving about 2 inches of space around each cookie — this recipe yields about 16 cookies. Chill the cookies for 30 minutes, then bake them in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until they are golden around the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the trays.

2 Once the cookies are cool, make cookie sandwiches with scoops of the chocolate ice cream. Stick the remaining 25g of mini marshmallows around the sides of the ice-cream sandwiches. Use the edible pen to dot each marshmallow, so that the sandwiches look like many-eyed monsters.

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