CHICAGO — I’ll be honest, I used to hate when people would post their end of the year recaps all over social media. It would always make me feel some type of way because I never felt like I had anything interesting or good enough to share with the world. But something about 2022 was different.
At the beginning of the year, I told all of you that I planned to have the best spooky season ever — and I truly intended to do that. I packed my October weekends as tightly as I could. It was tiring (there were ZERO October weekends where we got to just relax) but it was so worth it.
This year was the best Halloween season ever. I did just about everything on my list and had a really fun time enjoying the season. For once, despite how busy I was, I was able to soak it all in.
So this year, I finally feel like I have a year in review worth sharing. Here’s a look back at some of my favorite moments of the year — and get ready, because this (very long) post has a lot of pictures:
Visiting Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up — twice
I went once with the three of us (me, my husband and Pickle) and another time with friends. And both times were so much fun, each in their own way. I have so many photos from both visits.
Our new family traditions
This year we introduced a ton of new Halloween traditions into our triangle family: The Great Pumpkin, Halloween gift baskets and a Halloween egg hunt were all new to us this year and it made for a fun filled Oct. 1. We’ll definitely be doing all of that again in 2023.
Trick-or-Treating for the first time since I was a kid
We went trick-or-treating in our neighborhood and at my mother-in-law’s much trendier neighborhood (you know the kind! The kind where the parents hand out jumbo size bags of Halloween cookies AND candy bars). Pickle got so much candy and it was nice reliving something so fun from my childhood.
Launching the Splash of Spooky website
Launching the site and hearing that you guys loved a certain blog post will always make my day.
Visiting Disneyland during Halloween season
We spent Labor Day weekend taking Pickle on his first family vacation (and airplane ride). He had a blast seeing his favorite “Cars” characters. My parents came with us and it was a really fun time despite how HOT it was. Cars Land was my favorite, especially when they changed the lights at sundown.
Going to a pumpkin patch with friends
Typically I reserve a visit to the patch with family, but this year, we made it a friend trip. The best part was the corn pit! Oh, and all the food. The worst part was the crowds.
Going to a fall festival for the first time
Chicago has tons of fall festivals year after year, but so for some reason, I never went to one. My friend and I went to Apple Fest this year and tried all the apple ciders and cinnamon donuts. It was a blast!
Getting Halloween tattoos
I got a pumpkin stack (my first spooky tattoo!) and also the same tattoo Eddie Munson from “Stranger Things” has on his arm. Also, the obsession the spooky community had with this season of “Stranger Things” was certainly something to remember. It greatly influenced getting that Eddie tattoo.
Fangirling over the McDonald’s buckets
Does anyone else think Bucket Day was just FUN? I really enjoyed looking at everyone’s photos and loved going to McDonald’s that night to get one for Pickle. It was great seeing the spooky community come together for something so wholesome. My timeline was FILLED with bucket photos.
Visiting a really decked out Halloween bar
My friends and I visited a favorite bar of ours called Deuces in Wrigleyville. It was the first time we all went to Wrigleyville during the day — if you know anything about Chicago, you know that Wrigley is Party Central, USA). The decorations and the Halloweenified menu was super fun. I was too chicken to visit the haunted house they had on site but I enjoyed the giant spooky drink we all had!
Honestly, this year’s entire fall/spooky season
I wasn’t kidding when I said this was a spooky season to remember. That’s thanks in part to all of you — my readers, followers and supporters. You all truly know how to hype up this spooky gal. When I post about fall stuff on my regular “normal” account no one really cares, but you guys are always so excited and ask a bunch of questions. You also share things about your own fall happenings. This is a a great community. Sometimes I want to do things just because I get excited about sharing it with all of you! So if you took the time to comment on a post or share my pictures, THANK YOU! And to all my friends and family who were a part of my spooky season: You’re the best!
And while all of those fabulous things happened on the spooky side of my life, there were a few other memorable things that happened this year as well:
Leaving my old job and getting a new one
I left a job I had been at for five years for something new, and it was scary at first, but as I sit here typing this blog post (inside my house, NOT in a newsroom when it’s -6 outside and snowing) I can’t help but feel grateful the change happened. I loved my job, but toward the end, I knew it was time to go. Change is scary, but often very necessary. Also, I really like working from home at this new job. I don’t like driving, so that in itself was a great change to my life.
My husband and I had been engaged for about eight years and our wedding was originally supposed to happen in 2020, but the pandemic postponed it — twice. We finally had our wedding this May in downtown Chicago and it was an amazing celebration surrounded by friends and family. Enjoy how excited Pickle looks in this photo:
Visiting London and Edinburgh
My classmates and I went on a two week study abroad to the United Kingdom this summer. The class that made it possible? A Harry Potter Literary and Fan Theory class. That’s right! We went to various places in London and Edinburgh to explore all of the famous magical Harry Potter locations. The one thing I love as much as fall is Harry Potter. It was truly, truly a great trip.