Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Take a Break: Halloween Food and last minute ideas

Happy Halloween!

 If you need some last minute projects and ideas check out the items below

• Need a dish for a pot luck tonight? Make devil egged spiders-make deviled eggs as usual. Cut black olives in half. One half becomes the body, when you sit it on top of the deviled egg, and slice up other olives so that you have legs on either side of the body. A pinch of paprika is perfect to turn it into a Black Widow. For other ideas in the food department, check out Our Best Bites.  I particularly love their candy corn cookies. 

• Bat Mobile from Martha Stewart: Good bat template 

• Watch a Halloween Movie: TCM  has a full day of horror films. Starting at 8 pm, they are showing the 1931 film “Frankenstein,” followed by “Son of Frankenstein”, then Wolf Man, The Mummy at so forth. Think there’s a bowl of popcorn with my name on it.

• Make some slime: What you do with it is up to you. 

• Check out previous Halloween Posts
Dias de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Tricks and Treats 

Halloween Lanterns/Stephen King’s Band 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One Size Does Not Fit All When it Comes to Health Care.

Two hundred and fifty years, if you happened to live in the “colonies,” now the United States, you had a life expectancy of around 43 years.. Interestingly though, if you managed to make it through childhood, childbirth and avoid infectious diseases and accidents, your life expectancy could be considerable. The life style of the day (whole foods, strong community, and built in daily activity) is one that promotes longevity. Health care was provided by the midwife, local herbalist, mothers and wives, as there were few doctors (probably a good thing given that blood letting was the norm) and almost no hospitals. Paying for health care was nominal in most families and often times, bartering was the norm. This was very much a patient/family driven approach, where health practices were quite diverse depending on who was delivering the care.

 The 19th century laid the foundation for the incredible strides made in life expectancy in the 20th century. Organized medicine starts to take center stage, with the establishment of medical schools, and hospitals. It’s the dawn of the scientific age, and public health becomes more established. However, average life expectancy is only increased by about four years.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of people are continuing to die from acute illnesses, and so medicine is practiced with the idea of the patient getting better or dying. However, by the end of this century, it has significantly changed.  There has been no century like this as life expectancy jumps 62%, from 47.3 years of age in 1900 to 76.8  in 2000. MMWR 5/20/11 

These gains came about largely through the following:
• Public health (immunizations, motor vehicle and work place safety, control of infectious diseases, tobacco control etc/)
• Social programs, such as Social Security helped to meet basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter
• Government sponsored health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid
• A more scientific approach to health care resulting in better treatments for conditions that were once untreatable.

In addition to advanced life expectancy, the 20th century achievements came with a very high price tag. In addition, the old acute “medical care model” no longer works as the majority of people will die with a chronic condition-therefore requiring care for many years.. Lots of things are being tried to reduce costs and extend life expectancy.

In September, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies issued a report “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America.” This report starts off by saying America's health care system has become far too complex and costly to continue business as usual. Pervasive inefficiencies, an inability to manage a rapidly deepening clinical knowledge base, and a reward system poorly focused on key patient needs, all hinder improvements in the safety and quality of care and threaten the nation's economic stability and global competitiveness. Achieving higher quality care at lower cost will require fundamental commitments to the incentives, culture, and leadership that foster continuous "learning”, as the lessons from research and each care experience are systematically captured, assessed, and translated into reliable care. 

Among the “sacred cows” of 21st century medicine are yearly physicals and preventive testing, such as PSAs for prostate cancer and mammograms for breast cancer. “Well child” visits have been very important in reducing childhood death and disease, as they involve immunizations schedules, testing for things like lead poisoning and TB, normal growth patterns etc. Prenatal care has significantly improved outcomes for pregnant women, resulting in healthier babies, so it would seem logical that yearly physicals for adults would yield similar results.

Earlier this month, the Cochrane Library published a new study “General Health Checks in Adults for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality for Adults.”  Sixteen randomized studies from primary care or community settings were reviewed in the aggregate and the bottom line was that having a yearly exam did not reduce the risk of dying from serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease, and in fact caused unnecessary harm. One of the  studies reviewed found a 20% increase in diagnoses among those being regularly screened but it ultimately did not translate into better health outcomes. Long story short, there is no convincing evidence that general health checks are beneficial. How long do you think it’s going to take for that message to filter down?

It seems almost weekly there is new information about how things thought to be bad for us (like chocolate) actually have value-I have one friend that keeps saying, “come on red meat”-and things we believed to be important- like routine yearly mammograms and yearly physicals- may not be as helpful as originally believed.

Screening for disease to prevent it makes sense, but the latest evidence, from government health groups such as the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), shows that the data don't always support the idea that screening leads to better health.

As my good friend and mentor Dr. Seymour Leven always says, “We are each unique so therefore medicine must be tailored to the individual.” So here in lines the important points of this post:

• The 20th century was able to eliminate many of the diseases that shortened the lives of people 250 years ago. However, the lifestyles of the early settlers were probably a lot healthier than today. The best example of how lifestyle promotes longevity can be found in the Blue zones project.  The “Power 9” to increase longevity include: Natural movement; sense of purpose; stress reduction; plant based diet and not eating until full; wine (not to excess); social belonging; and faith of some sort. 

• A large percentage of the life expectancy that came about in the 20th century occurred because of public health and social programs. The 21st century needs to build on what we’ve learned, continuing to apply good public health and social programs, but recognize the needs to develop new strategies to deal with chronic conditions and the need for medicine that makes sense for the individual.   "...When contemplating screening, practitioners should focus on tests that are targeted to the patient's age, sex, and specific risk factors, and that are supported by high-quality evidence. All screening tests (general health checks or focused screenings based on age, sex, or specific risk factors) have potential for benefits and harms, so consideration of patient preferences is critical, especially for those tests where such preferences vary between individuals or where the overall benefit:harm ratio is less favorable."
• To obtain the individual care that you need, establish a good working relationship with your primary care provider and the person you see for your chronic condition, if different than your primary care provider. Discuss with them what really makes sense for you to be tested and treated for and how often you need to be seen. Be clear about what you realistically can afford to do and are willing to do. 

Be an e-patient,  so you can learn from others with similar health issues and share your data with them.  This is the new wave of health care.

  For more tips read Healing the Whole Person: Ways to Increase Well-Being 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24: Take a Break Halloween Lanterns/Stephen King’s Band

Halloween lanterns can be as simple or as complex as you want them. If you have a pool, pond or some other water feature, blow up a balloon, insert a glow stick, tie off and set it floating. Orange glowing balls floating could give more than one person a scare/stare.

Some other ideas for Halloween lanterns:

• Whether it’s a baby food jar or mason jar, use a little mode podge and glue orange or other color tissue paper, cut into smaller pieces, and paste all over the jar. Let dry and use markers to create ghosts, carved pumpkins or whatever strikes your fancy. Place a tea light candle or even glow lights. Pick up some cheap glow sticks, cut off the ends and dump the contents in, screw on the lid and shake the jar until the sides are coated. Add a little water to it so it will last longer. 

• Paper Halloween Lantern: These are made using black construction paper and colored tissue paper-a lot cheaper than Vellum.

Stephen King is a brilliant writer, but he  scares the hell out of me, so I tend to read his novellas, which I love. Like the genius Edgar Alan Poe, King is a multi dimensional person who has talents in many other areas. So enjoy King as a musician. Check out his band (Rock Bottom Remainders) videos. The band also features Amy Tan (definitely can tell a terrific ghost story), Matt Groening (Tree House of Horrors) and many more.

• The Original Rock Bottom Remainders 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Powering Posing: Could it Help You Heal?

Have you been to an appointment with your medical provider and ended up feeling very unsatisfied with the visit? Could it be because you were afraid to ask questions? Were you trying hard to please the provider by telling them what you thought they wanted to hear versus what was actually happening? Have you found yourself being intimidated by talking to the insurance company,? The appointment secretary,? Your boss? Or, the person who you are the caregiver for?

 If you answer yes to any of these questions, learning how to power pose, and doing so for two minutes prior to your appointment or encounter, might be helpful.

If you are humming to yourself Madonna’s famous lines from Vogue of “Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it,” you aren’t alone. While writing this post, the tune kept on going through my head so I had to go watch the video. Definitely lots of power posing going on there.

New research shows that it's possible to summon an extra surge of power and sense of well-being when it's needed by assuming power poses (think Wonder Woman and Superman stance or Madonna striding on to stage with her hands in the air). "Our research has broad implications for people who suffer from feelings of powerlessness and low self-esteem due to their hierarchical rank or lack of resources," says Harvard Business School assistant professor Amy J.C. Cuddy, one of the researchers on this new study.

Cuddy knows something about chronic conditions. A ballet dancer at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a car accident completely changed her career direction, as she sustained severe head trauma when the driver of the car she was in fell asleep.

“It’s hard to predict the outcome after that type of injury, and there’s not much they can do for you.” Cuddy had to take years off from school and “relearn how to learn,” she explains. “I knew I was gifted—I knew my IQ, and didn’t think it could change. But it went down by two standard deviations after the injury. I worked hard to recover those abilities and studied circles around everyone. I listened to Mozart—I was willing to try anything!” Two years later her IQ was back. And she could dance again. She returned to college as a 22-year-old junior whose experience with brain trauma had galvanized an interest in psychology. A job in a neuropsychology lab proved dull, but she found her passion in social psychology. Harvard Magazine 

As she described in her TED talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, Cuddy felt like she didn’t belong after her brain injury. It was through her own struggles that she learned that “faking it till you make it” does work. More on this shortly.

In "Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance", Cuddy shows that simply holding one's body in expansive, "high-power" poses for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone (the hormone linked to power and dominance in the animal and human worlds) and lower levels of cortisol (the "stress" hormone that can, over time, cause impaired immune functioning, hypertension, and memory loss). The result? In addition to causing the desired hormonal shift, the power poses led to increased feelings of power and a greater tolerance for risk. Working Knowledge: The Thinking That Leads 

People are more likely to be influenced by how they feel about you rather than by what you are saying. Consequently, this research has significant implications for people who feel powerlessness, have low self esteem or lack resources-all common in those affected by chronic conditions. 

While you can read more about the research at the links at the end of this article, below are some ideas on how to bring this into those situations, which you find stressful or where you feel vulnerable or weak. While Cuddy mentions in one of her presentations, how a person used these techniques as part of her preparation for her appointments with her doctor, with great results, I’d love to hear from those of you who try this.

• Just prior to you appointment, phone call, date or whatever else it may be, don’t haunch over your chair checking text messages, reviewing your notes, crossing your legs and crunching yourself into a little ball and appearing as small as possible. Instead, try one of the following:
-       Walk around with your arms up.
-       Stand like Wonder Woman or Superman-tall, feet apart and hands on hips
-       Sit with your feet up and relaxing (hands behind your head if possible)
-       Stand on your tiptoes with your hands in the air

If you haven’t watched the Madonna video of “Vogue,” check it out as the arms in the air says it all. Of course the lyrics have their own empowerment message:
All you need is your own imagination
So use it that’s what it’s for (that’s what it’s for)
Go insider, for your finest inspiration
Your dreams will open the door (open up the door)

If makes no difference if you’re black or white
If you’re a boy or a girl
If the music’s pumping it will give you new life
You’re a superstar, yes, that’s what you are, you know it.

Do this for two minutes just prior to the encounter as the initial effects seem to last 15 or 30 minutes.

• When you are sitting in your appointment, sit tall, don’t cross your legs or wrap your arms around your body. Instead, rest your arms on the chair.

One of the points that Cuddy makes is you can “fake it until you make.”  Basically, if you assume positions and behaviors that change how encounters go, do it long enough and you ultimately will change your brain and outlook. She provides some excellent examples of this from her own life and that of her students. It’s worth it to check out her presentations bellows:

Leadership Advice: Strike a Pose 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Take a Break: Make a Halloween Wreath/Music

It’s that time of year where very odd humans appear on the lawns of many homes in Vermont. You have to do something with all those fallen leaves, so they become the stuffing for various clothing items, resulting in odd looking characters on lawns, roof tops, sitting in chairs or guarding the mail box. Since many places don’t have the volume of leaves Vermont offers, make a Halloween wreath for the door.

Start with a wreath form that you can pick up at the Dollar Store or repurpose one you have on hand. The Dollar Store is the perfect place for inexpensive skulls, feathers-particularly black, orange and purple, ribbons and anything else that may give you that spooky edge. Wrap the wreath form in ribbon (strips of yellow, black and purple give you that witches’ sock feel), duct tape or feathers. Start adding various Halloween items and enjoy.

This weekend I went looking for interesting items and found that Wilton makes pieces of skeleton candy mold. Since they were 50% off, for a dollar I now have a way to make lots of bones for my own wreath. At the moment, it’s covered in duct tape, with a group of black flowers, also made from duct tape. Think a few white bones, made from air dried clay, will be the perfect addition.

If the wreath is going to hang in a sunny spot during the day, be sure to add some day glow paint so it glows eerily after dark. Of course, you can always pick up glow sticks and insert them in the wreath after dark. Look around and you can probably find very inexpensive eyeballs and skeleton parts that are designed to be “glow in the dark.”

Nothing sets the scene like music. The stores are loaded with all sorts of Halloween music on CD’s and of course you can download from iTunes. However,  Spooky Soundtrack offers sound effects, music and even scary stories for free. Pandora  offers four stations including Halloween Party, Family Halloween, Spooky Symphonies, and Ghostly Groves. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Halloween Gifts for Hospitalized patients

The most popular post on the Healing Whole blog is Unique Gifts for Hospital Patients.  With Halloween in just a few weeks, I thought it might be fun and helpful to provide some Halloween gift ideas for those who are in the hospital, under going chemotherapy or other treatment or home bound.

 Keep in mind the following:
• People who are alone a great deal of the day, enjoy the visit as much as anything. Bringing something that you can do together is an extra bonus, which you can both enjoy. 
• Laughter is the best medicine, so under do the scary and create fun “tricks and treats” that bring a smile.
• In selecting items, and lots of ideas are listed below, consider the age of the person, special needs such as dietary restrictions, allergies etc. If you have a question about hospital rules (some units don’t allow flowers) or allergies, ask in advance.
• We do best when we help others, so providing items that can be enjoyed by roommates,  hospital personal and other visitors gives an added boost.

Costumes aren’t just for the staff: Hospital staff will often wear something to brighten the mood on Halloween. It could be a special Halloween themed scrub, tie or a full blown costume. Here are some gift ideas to let the person in the bed enjoy in the fun:
• Plastic spiders, bugs or vampire teeth. Make sure they are well cleaned. Shortly before the doctor or nurse is coming to exam them, slip the spider on the tongue or put the teeth in the mouth. Imagine the surprise when the doctor instructs the patient to say “ahhh.”

• Costume make-up is in ample supply at this time of year at just about every store in town. Pick some up and have fun creating fake scars or whatever else strikes the person’s fancy. Be sure check to see if the person has allergies before applying. Also check for ease of removal, as the hospital’s linen service isn’t going to appreciate black marks that wont come out.

• Masks: There are plenty of fun masks to purchase that are easy to wear and will draw a great response from those that see it.. If the person is crafty and bored, bring them a variety of items so they can make a mask for themselves and others in the hospital. Check out your local Dollar Store for packets of cheap half masks. Pick up a variety of items that they can glue onto the mask, such as leaves, feathers, beads, fake jewels, plastic spiders (look in the kid section) etc. Be sure to include glue, scissors, markers, and a variety of interesting paper.

• Red nose, funny glasses, fake mustaches, arm tattoo sleeves or other items that can slipped on and off with ease.

• Temporary tattoos can be easily applied and come off with soap and water.

Funkin Carving: Just because they are in the hospital doesn’t mean they need to miss out on the pumpkin carving fun. Artificial carvable pumpkins are available at many stores including places like Jo-Ann Fabrics, A. C. Moore and Michaels. Some of the Dollar Stores offer small foam pumpkins that you can carve. You can also order them on-line. Be sure to include pumpkin carving tools and patterns as part of this gift along with a battery powered candle for the completed project.

Craft Kits: For the person that likes to work with beads, a bunch of purple, black, yellow, red and orange beads, along with memory wire or pin backs, can keep them amused for hours. Plus they have nice gifts for visitors and hospital staff.

While a trip to your local Dollar or craft store will offer a variety of craft kits, check out some of the following sites for ideas that you can make yourself or order:

Books: Having someone read aloud to me when I’ve been sick, even as an adult, is wonderful. One Halloween, when I was violently ill while pregnant with my oldest son, my husband read me short stories of Edgar Alan Poe. It certainly kept my mind off of how sick I felt. Many of the books listed below have a film versions, so it could be fun to read the book and then another day watch the film version.
• Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The October Country or The Homecoming
• Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
• Anything by Edgar Alan Poe
• Robert Louis Stevenson “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”
• Roald Dahl “The Witches”
• Anne Rice “Interview with a Vampire
• Most of Stephen King (Love his writing, but he scares me no end)
• Agatha Christie “Halloween Party”

Movies: If they have a lap top with them, or have access to a DVD player, either rent, Netflick or purchase Halloween themed movies. Bring the popcorn, some boxed movie candy (if they can have it) and spend a few hours sharing some Halloween fun. While there are lots and lots of scary movies, some more appropriate for viewing in a hospital (roommates might not appreciates being scared) than others, below are some suggestions that you might not immediately think of:
• Arsenic and Old Lace
• Harry Potter series (many contain Halloween scenes at Hogwarts)
• The original horror films of “Frankenstein,” “Dracula,” “The Mummy,” “Wolf Man,”
• The series of  Abbott and Costello “Meets” films: Frankenstein,; the Killer, Boris Karloff; the Invisible Man; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; The Mummy;
• It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
• Mel Brook’s “Young Frankenstein”
• “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Little Shop of Horrors” combine music and comedy.
• Gremlins
• Beetlejuice
• Ghostbusters 1 and 2
• Clue
• The Simpson’s Tree House of Horrors series

Music: Nothing sets the scene like music. The stores are loaded with all sorts of Halloween music on CD’s and of course you can download from iTunes. However,  Spooky Soundtrack offers sound effects, music and even scary stories for free. Pandora has four stations including Halloween Party, Family Halloween, Spooky Symphonies, and Ghostly Groves. So use your smart phone or lap top to set the mood.

Trick of Treat: Even though they may be in the hospital, you can set up a trick or treat bowl or box so that visitors and staff alike can collect a treat when they stop by.  Since there is a lot of candy around, consider Halloween items, which people can wear. Such items include:
• plastic spider, skull or pumpkin rings, necklaces,  or pendants,
• temporary tattoos,
• shoelaces
• glow necklaces and bracelets
• whistles
• plastic straws
• vampire teeth

The Dollar Store is a great place to pick up a package that includes a number of items that come in multiples. If you have the time, individually wrapping them, will add another level of fun and enjoyment.

Decorations: Again the Dollar Store is a great place to purchase inexpensive items to brighten someone’s room. Keep in mind that at no time should a decorative item block access to the patient. Over head items that dangle over the patient aren’t going to be appreciated by a staff member, if a spider is tickling their neck while trying to take a blood pressure Be sure to place items where the patient looks a lot of the time. A fun wreath on the door sends a note to staff and visitors alike that this is a patient who has a sense of fun. Even though the individual might not be feeling that way all the time, it’s a good conversation starter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Take a Break: Learn about the Hungry Ghost Festival/Learnist

According to traditional Chinese belief, the seventh month in the lunar calendar is when restless spirits roam the earth. Many Chinese people make efforts to appease these transient ghosts, while ‘feeding’ their own ancestors – particularly on the 15th day, which is the Yu Lan or Hungry Ghost Festival. While the festival’s origins are not unlike those of Halloween in Europe, it is also intrinsically linked to the Chinese practice of ancestor worship.
 This festival takes place in August, but as one person noted, it’s Halloween on steroids.

Lean how other parts of the world celebrate Halloween using Learnist. Not familiar with Learnist? This is a new social media site that is like Pinterest but the goal is for those with an area of expertise to share it with others. People post blogs, videos and much more. While Pinterest has lots of pictures of what people would like to do, have or make, Learnist tells you what you want to know. This is still a fairly new site, and they’ve recently released an app version, so check in frequently to find things you might not see on your first visit.

Be sure to check this coming Saturday’s post, as it’s a follow up to the most read one on this the blog Unique Gifts for Hospital Patients.  It will provide a lot of suggestions and ideas for Unique Halloween Gifts for Hospital Patients. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Are Your Green Cleaning Products Making You Sicker? What about your skin lotions?

I’ve been in a lot of homes where people are dealing with chronic conditions. Some appear to be so clean you could eat off the floor, while others, well “not so much.” It  goes without saying that eliminating clutter can be healing, and definitely something to be encouraged. However, it’s the cleaning products that some people obsessively use that’s the purpose of today’s post.

 If you have a diseases like asthma or COPD air fresheners and cleaning products with scents can cause your condition to flare. In fact, about half of the products tested recently by the Environmental Working Group (EWG)  proved to harmful to human lungs. Learn more about cleaning supplies and your health, including topics such as asthma, cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, allergies and irritation and burns and poisonings. 

Recently the EWG released their 2012 Guide to Healthy Cleaning. They studied over 2,000 products and the results weren’t anything to make you smile at the fresh scent in your home.

EWG judges their products on the following criteria:
• Hazardous ingredients that pose threats to human health
• Little or no specific ingredient information on the label
• Contains ingredients restricted in some states and the European Union
• Products that release volatile chemicals.

Sadly, a number of those advertised “green” products did not stack up so well. So start by checking how your cleaning products are rated on the EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

Not surprising, the cheapest and highest rated general cleaner was white vinegar. I gave up using “green cleaners” years ago as I found white vinegar, baking soda and liquid soap, along with good cleaning clothes, not only did a great job, but saved money in the process and didn’t contribute to indoor air pollution. 

For non toxic home cleaning ideas, check out Eartheasy: Solutions for Sustainable Living.

So now that you have your household cleaning under control, have you thought about what you are putting on your skin? EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database includes more than 75,000 products.  Body lotion, as well as make-up can impact your health. A woman I worked with was using a moisturizer that included vitamin A. Her liver enzyme test (ALT) was coming back with elevated levels. A particular concern for those with hepatitis C (HCV), she discontinued the product and her ALTs returned to normal. Her liver specialist made sure he knew the name of the lotion to put on the list of products people with HCV should avoid. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Take a Break: Make Skeletons/Costumes/Jiggly Worms

 It’s once again time to think about Halloween, so, as in years past (see below for links to previous years), the October posts will be dealing with Halloween.

 What’s Halloween without a skeleton? Here is a new approach to making one is out of Q Tips. 

There are several weeks before a costume party or trick or treating. So why worry about it now? No need to as below are a variety of last minute costumes that let you dress pretty close to your normal style, or at least comfortable, but with a twist..

• Nudist on Strike: Wear your regular clothes with a sign that says, “Nudist on Strike.”

 The Second wife/The Other Woman: A blond wig and some flashy bling, along with a name badge that says, “Hello, I’m the 2nd wife,” or “I’m the “other” woman.”

• Tourist: A big hat, Bermuda shorts, flowered shirt, camera and a map. It does require you to look lost most of the night.

Community Chest/State Seal: Make a copy of your state’s seal and pin to your chest. Take your pick, when asked what you are supposed to be-bark like a seal and say , “I’m the state seal” or if you have no seal barking skills,  “the state’s community chest.”

Matchstick: Wear all white with a red stocking cap.

 Miss Matched: Wear a variety of clothes and accessories where nothing matches. Make a sash out of wide ribbon, something like what Miss America wears,  and write “Miss Matched” on it.

Don’t Drink and Dress: Wear similar miss matched attire as noted for Miss Matched-such as different type of plaids which clash terribly (preferably made out of polyester), with a note pinned on your chest or back that says something along the lines of “Warning, drinking and dressing can be dangerous,” or “Don’t Drink and Dress.”

Vampire: Since vampires like to blend in, just slip a pair of vampire teeth in your mouth and when someone talks to you, just smile. Midway through the party, add a few drops of red near your mouth so it looks as if you’ve had a sip or two in the previous hour.

• Vampire Victim: Perfect partner for the vampire. All it requires is a lot of very white makeup so you look quite pale, with two tiny fang marks on your neck. Apply with black eyebrow pencil, or magic marker in a pinch. Make sure they are on the juggler vein.

• Swiss Army Knife. Wear all red and draw the logo and pin it to your chest. Make it believable by having scissors, knife and other items at the ready.

 Party Pooper: Dress as usual with a “Hello I’m the Party Pooper” label for your chest.

• White Lies." Wear all white. Take a packet of post-its and write little white lies- "no, that dress looks good on you!" and "that's okay, I didn't need to sit down!" “I understand.” Stick them all over yourself. As the night wears on, you can let people take their favorite white lie home.

Finally, there are Jiggly worms or Halloween Worms. There are lots of recipes on line for these, but the one that sounds like it will work is from as they let the jello set up a bit before they pour into the straws. Be sure to read the review section (46 and four stars) as they include some very helpful tips.

Previous Halloween Posts\
Dias de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Tricks and Treats