With (Canadian) Thanksgiving now behind us, it’s time to look forward to the spookiest time of the year. Kicking off this week’s collection of blog posts, Kristyl Clark has organized a great list of Halloween events in the Fraser Valley. If you’re in search of a good scare on the other side of the Fraser River, there’s no shortage of haunted houses to enjoy. There’s even a “scream train” in the forest of Bear Creek Park, populated by the walking dead “who roam the platform.”

It’s truly amazing when and where inspiration might strike you. Cathy Browne didn’t know what she wanted to blog about until she spotted a big, blue Smurf in a store window one day. This was a time last year when she wanted to write one blog post every day for a month. I’ve tried to maintain that kind of consistency here for years, but I’ve had to rework the content schedule to better accommodate other priorities, Smurf inspirations notwithstanding.

Getting back into the Halloween spirit (see what I did there?), Jamie Dunlop Khau shares her family’s experience with the Stanley Park Ghost Train. Themed after the Day of the Dead this year, the Ghost Train runs October 31. Along with the train itself, the whole area has been decked out in a ghostly spirit, including a spooky barn, a face painting station, and a mini pumpkin patch. Jamie’s got some instructions for a fun DIY craft project to celebrate Dia de los Muertos too.

If there’s one thing that seems to get everyone excited around this time of year, it’s pumpkin spice. If you’re looking for options beyond lattes, Natalie Browne has a great recipe for how you can bake your own pumpkin spice muffins with maple buttercream. They might look like cupcakes, thanks to that delicious frosting, but let’s just call them muffins so they sound a bit healthier.

Last but not least, Melody McKinnon explains whether or not pumpkin is safe for your animal companions too. It really depends on your furry (or feathered) friend. Your golden retriever will likely have a much easier time digesting pumpkin that your orange tabby, even though most cats do seem to enjoy the taste of everyone’s favorite orange gourd. You’ll also want to keep pumpkin down to small, treat-size quantities for your rabbits.