Caramel Apple Cider

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Halloween costumes have always been a source of stress for me. Even when I was younger, I struggled to figure out what (or who) I wanted to be. My mother would take me to the store and I'd spend what felt like hours looking at costumes until my eyes would glaze over, ultimately choosing none of them before my mother would take me away. Most of my years growing up, my mother would choose to make my costumes to avoid my shopping indecision entirely, staying up late the night before to stitch everything together with a little love.

Because of this, when the end of October hit each year, I dreaded the inevitable decision of the Halloween costume. Can't I just be myself?

In kindergarten, I dressed up as a very eager Baby Bop, a costume my classmates thought I was arguably too old for, but I rocked it just the same. From there, I was a witch and a basketball player. I wore a poodle skirt and a wedding dress. I was a princess and a very overweight clown (of which I hope all pictures of that horrific hoop-lined costume are burned. No one should ever have to relive that decision. Especially me).

It wasn't until college hit that finding Halloween costumes became a real challenge. While all the girls I knew seemed to be dressing up as a slutty [insert occupation here], that wasn't my style. I like to keep Halloween about the costumes, not the cleavage. So this year, while searching a warehouse filled with thousands of rental costumes, I ran into a mother and young daughter doing just the same. If I didn't know any better, this could have been my mother and me years ago.

The costume room was claustrophobic and smelled of lord knows what, only making the hunt worse. After looking through thousands of outfits, the little girl sat on the ground, exhausted. Her mother pulled one last costume off the rack, asking if this is what she wanted to be. The little girl put her head between her knees and grumbled nooo. The mother shoved the hanger back on the rack, completely exasperated. "Well, then what do you want to be?"

"Mom, I think I just want to be a potato."

I think that little girl might be on to something...

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This Caramel Apple Cider is a twist on the standard apple cider. A few tablespoons of caramel ice cream topping is swirled into apple cider and then heated on the stove until just boiling. It couldn't be simpler. The cider is then topped with whipped cream which gently melts into the hot liquid, making the cider ever so creamy. The caramel also gives the cider a smoother taste and finish (which I love). This drink is perfect for autumn weather when you are looking for something just a little bit different.

One Year Ago: Homemade Apple Cider

Caramel Apple Cider

Yields 2 servings

2 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
Whipped cream
Cinnamon sticks, for garnish (optional)

In a small saucepan, stir together apple cider and caramel ice cream topping. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Remove from heat and pour into heat-proof mugs. Top with whipped cream, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and a cinnamon stick for garnish.

Serve hot!