Smix & I were dashing about this morning at 8.45am, him trying to clean his teeth while I simultaneously tried to do his hair, when I heard a knock on the door. When I ran down to open it, a very intriguing box was on the steps, because the top of it had wild, orange fuzz poking out of it.
When I got home from the school run, I realised it will filled with wonderful nostalgia. Yes, MONKEY NUTS. I realise I’m already turning into my parents because the number of times I’ve begun lectures with, “when I was a child I didn’t even HAVE a computer in my house”, and I’m about to sound like I’m ancient again, but here I go.
1980s Halloween. There was no “Halloween aisle” in Tescos. Okay, that’s mostly because there was no Tesco in Northern Ireland, but there was maybe a small section with those plastic masks that cut your lips when the condensation built up behind them during the evening while you wore them, there was a witch hat. You had to make the rest of the costume out of bin bags. There were no decorations beyond a cardboard skeleton or witch.
There were no other Halloween home decorations up until around when Smix was born because I was still a total rockabilly type then and when TK Maxx got all the Halloween decorations in the first year, imported from American stores, who always DID decorate, I bought a tonne of it to decorate my new house. That was 2007.
Anyway, this is supposed to be a blog about Forest Feast, so I’m almost getting there. Pumpkins- kids now, you don’t know how good you have it. Have you ever tried hollowing out a raw turnip with a spoon? That will build muscles on a seven year old.
I’m guessing we didn’t have pumpkins because they are so hard to grow locally, and I have first hand experience of that this year. I had several huge pumpkin plants I grew inside a greenhouse, upward rather than along the soil. They flowered and I cross pollinated the plants by hand daily. In the end I managed to get one pumpkin to grow, which only took in mid-August, so it’s slightly smaller than a tennis ball right now. It’s also green. It might be ready for Halloween 2020.
So those Halloweens were more basic, but you had to DIY it more, you had to make your own decorations with your family, your own outfits, snacks, and wasn’t that a lot more fun? I certainly have so many fond memories of my childhood Halloweens, when they were less commercial, when it was about the simple little things, which finally brings me to- MONKEY NUTS!
That’s the term for peanuts sold in shell, which for some reason was, and is a tip top Halloween treat. I remember every year my Dad would buy a big bag of them, and a big bag of mixed nuts in shell too. I would love the walnuts and brazils too, but found them so hard to crack. Monkey Nuts, or Peanuts in Shell, which you can buy from Forest Feast either regular or Roasted, are very easy to crack. The shell is soft and you can break it with your hands usually.
For Halloween 2018, Forest Feast also has a 500g novelty bucket of Peanuts in Shell, smaller bags of Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Mixed Nuts. Completing the spooky selection shoppers can choose from share packs of Chocolate Peanuts, Chocolate & Yoghurt Raisins, Super Natural Mixed Nuts, and Frightfully Good Fruit & Nut.
Forest Feast is a Northern Irish brand, based in Armagh, and you should find them in leading retailers, I know my local Spar & EuroSpar stocks their ranges.
Now you have your nostalgic snack fix for the spookiest month ahead, how about winning a five-star weekend for two at the luxury Lough Erne Resort, and a very unique, nutty prize? Forest Feast have enlisted the incredible skills of the world’s ONLY monkey nut artist, Steve Casino, who will model you and a friend or family member in miniature, much like the little figures below.
The competition is easy to enter, and don’t worry, you don’t have to start whittling your own peanut shells! All you have to do is tag yourself and your friend on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #MakeMeAMonkeyNut The competition runs until Halloween, 31st October 2018.
Here are some more examples of Steve Casino’s excellent work, please visit his Instagram and give him a follow, I have. All photos here are from his Instagram, click on any below to enlarge for a closer look. This is how your miniature you could look if you win the competition! He also does tiny Tic Tac art, and other amazing pop culture work. It’s great when you stumble upon some cool, unique art like that in such a random way like via our very own local Forest Feast!