Tuesday, October 6, 2009


So close yet so far.

Consider the irony. Halloween... the one night of the year when kids get to run around the neighborhood dressed like their favorite characters, chanting "trick or treat," receiving handfuls of candy in exchange, and then returning home to sort and taste their riches. The one night of the year when a child's imagination is the same size as his sweet tooth. And...

It's the LAST freaking day of the month. T-H-E last!

Not even Christmas or Hanukkah has the nerve to make a child wait the FULL month. Then, of course, there are the second tier holidays - the ones that know not to make a child wait. Fourth of July, only four days in. Valentine's Day, a two week wait. St. Patrick's Day, same thing. Yeah, Easter might occasionally land on the last day of the month, but at least it has the smarts to move around and keep us guessing.

But, the truth is...

one of the things that makes a holiday fun is sheer anticipation. If Halloween or Christmas were the first week of the month, we would be robbed of all the hashing, rehashing, day dreaming, speculating, and imagining that makes these holidays so magical.

Birthdays, by the way, are the same. Three hundred sixty five days of build up makes your birthday pretty hard to beat.

Three years ago I bought a tapestry to assist me in creating a sense of anticipation around Halloween. This holiday tapestry from Pottery Barn comes complete with 31 pockets. Each pocket is supposed to be filled with a small treat to be retrieved daily.

Year one I was totally unoriginal, putting candy in each pocket. Problem? By the time Halloween arrived, the thrill of candy was diminished.

Year two, I did better. Pockets were filled with activities. Problem? Making an elaborate mask and creating a haunted house in the living room left this working mom counting the days until her part time job would end.

Year three. That's this year. I'm in pretty good shape. I've come up with 29 well-balanced activities including things such as wear an orange shirt to school, tell a Halloween joke, do the Monster Mash, drink hot cider, send a Halloween card, and 24 others.

I still need two ideas.

That's where you come in. Submit your ideas for simple, but festive things I can include in Ricky, Matthew, and Jack's Halloween tapestry. Weekend day activities are already full, so keep them simple.

If I select yours, you win a Halloween package from me - including a fun collection of Halloween cookie cutters.

I'd love to choose from a healthy list of 50+ ideas, so pass today's post along to all your friends on Facebook!

Signing off until tomorrow...


Robin said...

Hmmm, plant a gummy worm sandwich to surprise a friend (for the kids); wear silly teeth; have a backwards day; talk like a zombie day; silly hat day...

Glad to be home from my conference where I left to anon SHINE shirts laying around WDW. Hopefully someone will check in!

Heather - how was the 5K?

Jessie Freeman said...

What about take a normal PBJ sandwhich and using the halloween cookie cutters to make a great shape for lunches? What about creating jack-o-lanterns, go to the pumpkin patch, have the boys decorate a t-shirt with what they want for halloween.

Here is to 31 days of fun at your house!

Heather said...

Wow we are off to a great start so I'll just throw out one idea for now since it seems our readers are so on this...what about baking some Halloween cookies then sharing with a neighbor/friend/family member

Robin...the 5k was great. I wasn't anticipating all the hills (Grapevine isn't that hilly but they chose some of the biggest ones in town to make us run UP). I finished in 41 minutes and 52 seconds...so basically 42 minutes. Next goal is 35 minutes. Bal and I are starting our running regimen tonight so we'll try to run our shorter trips for the 3day as we want to start doing a 5k once a month. Thanks for asking!

How was your presentation?

Kat said...

Do a Halloween coloring page, Make a scary paper plate mask, make pumpkin muffins, watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", eat a caramel apple...

I will have to do a few of these before the month is over!

Peggy said...

Okay, here's a few...
DD did this in her high school ancient civ class... they just embalmed stuffed mummies....
toilet paper roll
timed contest using one person as the mummy, wrap them with the entire roll of toilet paper. Whoever has the best time and whomever's body is wrapped best, wins!

Peppermint Patty Spiders http://www.splitcoaststampers.com/gallery/photo/1070155
I made these last year, big hit!!!

Family room Obstacle Course... pillows stacked, sofa cusions, under tables..... all with a white (ghost) or orange (pumpkin) balloon.... between your knees.... if you drop the balloon, you have to go back to the start...no hands to hold the balloon. Alter ideas to be age appropriate.

Pumpkin Bowling: empty soda bottles (painted if you have time) tiny pumpkins

Ghost Bingo: Make bingo card off computer, G H O S T at the top. have each player use halloween stickers to fill in card.(or I used and made cards with computer images) Use candy corn as the marker. Instead of saying BINGO... you must say BOO! when you win!

Is that enough?? I was a room mom for 6 years, I got more!!!

Peggy said...

PS another one... instead of musical chairs... this is a version of that and hot potato....use a tiny pumpkin.... everyone stands in a circle and 'hands' the pumpkin around to scary haunting music... when the music stops.... whomever is holding the pumpkin is OUT!

Claudia said...

Wow! This is GREAT! I might need to go back and replace some of what I have with what you have come up with.

Peggy, if you have time today, I would love to hear some more.

T said...

~Bake cookies and use cookie cutters to make shapes like pumpkins, bats, etc.
~Go pumpkin picking
~Go apple picking
~Carve a pumpkin

~Make lollipop ghosts:
Use Blow pops or Tootsie pops. Wrap a white tissue around the lollipop. Tie a rubber band right below the candy part (around the tissue). Use a black marker to make eyes.

Ashley Benz said...

Practice trick-or-treating at your house.

Reverse trick-or-treat and take candy to a neighbor.

T said...

Here's a few more....
~Have apple cider with a cider or pumpkin donut.
~Make a pumpkin with construction paper and markers.

~Play ghost and pumpkin checkers:
Cut out pumpkin shapes from orange paper and ghost shapes from white paper. Use a checker board and the pumpkin and ghost shapes are your checker pieces.

Claudia said...

NICE suggestions! Checkers is a great example of taking an every day activity and making it feel special.

Keep 'em coming.

Cheryl said...

Wow! Great suggestions. I don't have anything original. Carve pumpkins. Bake pumpkin seeds (my boys look forward to this every year). Fly around the house on a broom cackling like a witch. Make a witches brew.

Peggy said...

Aargh! I'm upset I can't find this really cool thing, from about 7 years ago... it's an interactive halloween story... I used to have a room mom folder....

there are about 10 sound effects:
coffin (squeak)
midnight (bong, bong, bong 12 times)
candle (flicker, flicker)
troll (hee hee hee)

We split the class room up and each time the narrator read the 'key' word, you instructed the kids to make the sound effect.... often you said midnight (so they'd keep bong, bong, bonging)

it was a cute little story, but I can't find it ANYWHERE... even tried google... I'm thinking it's an interactive halloween story... but it's not a computer game....we even had the principal come in and he was the troll... the kids loved it!!!!

Maybe I'll keep looking.... or how can I find it?????

Katie K said...

How about adding candy corn to a bowl of cheerios in the morning for breakfast? Or candy corn for an afternoon snack?

What about making pumpkin and ghost garland out of construction paper and then hanging it from the trees and bushes in the front yard? Kind of like Christmas lights, but different.

Covering the mailbox with a white sheet to look like a ghost.

I'll keep thinking.

Lauren said...

I got my package today with the cookie cutter and the swirly punch thing. Thanks HLA!! I can't wait to use them.

Ideas: Bake pumpkin seeds - i like to do variations, salt, garlic, cinnamon and spice, etc...; paint one of those small pumpkins or gords that supermarkets sell; wear a spider ring; make ghost pops (tie a piece of white cloth on a blow pop); hide mini pumpkins around the house like an easter egg hunt...I'll keep thinking throughout the day.

Kate said...

Take a clear rubber glove, fill them with candy corn being sure to put one at the very end for a finger nail. Next, tie them off with some ribbon and hang them from the light fixture over your kitchen table!

Tera said...

Halloween ideas for the kids:

*paint a pumpkin and give it to a teacher or neighbor
*make creepy-crawley dessert (dirt with gummie worms sticking out and nutter butter cookies as tomb stones. even add plastic spider rings for some extra crawley)
*have an impromptu costume party. give the kids 10 minutes to come up with a costume then parade down the stairs
*write a halloween poem or song
*make caramel covered apples

And my personal fav....
*Create a halloween video. Ask neighbors, classmates and even trick or treaters why they love halloween so much. Play it back next year as you're doing Halloween all over again!

amy said...

Create a Halloween hopscotch with chalk on the driveway.

Tie socks together to make garland and hang in the kitchen with a sign that reads, "Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet, Give me Something Good to Eat."

Holly said...

write a halloween story and everyone contributes to the story (you can keep the book you make and read it every year)

Family Halloween item scavenger hunt

candy corn toss into a plastic pumpkin

halloween pictionary or charades

pumpkin ring toss

create your own silly slime

make a scrapbook of halloween costumes past, each child can find pictures of them from previous halloweens and decorate their scrapbook pages

fill a jar with candy corn or other fun halloween candy and have them guess how many are in the jar

BeeKayRoot said...

Eyeballs and brains... (Boil some spaghetti, put it in a big container with some marbles inside (the eyes)... They have to fish them out with their bare feet.

BeeKayRoot said...

Guess how many Candy Corn... have a jar of Candy Corn and have them take a guess. Better yet, have them invite friends over to take a guess. (OR... have them take a jar of candy corn to school and have all their friends guess the number). The winner can have the candy corn!

BeeKayRoot said...

Scary story around a campfire. (If you have a firepit accessible, have a fire with hot chocolate and tell the kids a scary story)

BeeKayRoot said...

Guess what's inside... Blindfold the kids, put something that's gooey and slimy inside ziploc bags. Have them guess what the goo is inside the bag. (cooked spaghetti, mashed potatoes, other foods)

BeeKayRoot said...

Volunteer at a local pumpkin patch

BeeKayRoot said...

sorry for all of my messages!

I am really curious to hear all 31 of your activities when all is said and done.

heather said...

great ideas everyone!!! Love them!

My all time favorite was getting a block of dry ice and putting it in a little water to make it steam while someone dressed as a witch stirs the cauldron and creates a witches brew!

Peggy said...

Yay! I found my interactive story, the kids loved it!!

Each time the word is read, someone makes the sound effect.

Casket: Eeeeek! Eeeek! Eeeeek!
Monster: Thump! Thump! Thump!
Victim: Help! Help! Help!
Candle: Flicker. Flicker.
Mummies: Oo-ah! Oo-ah!
Midnight: Bong, Bong, Bong (12 times)
Leprechaun: Ho! Ha! He!

Once upon a time, there was a walking casket. It was at least a trillion years old. The casket walked by day. And the casket walked by night. Whenever it came upon an unsuspecting victim, the door sprang open and out popped a Frankenstein-like monster. The monster was horrible. So horrible, the monster spread goose bumps up and down and all over his victims. And you know how that feels. This monster was a towering creature . . . at least 100 feet tall. And he always carried a flickering candle that burned on and on and on.
Upon spotting a likely victim, this monster would wail and shriek something awful, paralyzing his victim with fright. Everyone was horrified. The monster actually turned his victims into mummies. Big papa and mommy mummies. This terror went on for years and years. Would it ever stop? It seemed doubtful. Then on night a strange thing happened. The casket was making its regular rounds through the cemetery at the stroke of midnight, when the casket came upon still another victim. A leprechaun, of all things. Well, thought the monster peering from his casket, here's a leprechaun I can take care of in short order. Out popped the monster from his casket. he carried on something fierce. Was the tricky little leprechaun frightened? You bet your boots he was. But the determined little leprechaun wasn't about to be scared off by this ghostly monster. Not on our life. The leprechaun was going to out-smart the monster. The leprechaun raised himself up to his full two-foot, seven inch height -- he was a real shorty - and with one mighty blow.. what did he do? Did the leprechaun strike the monster square i nthe stomach? No. Did the leprechaun kick the monster in the shins? No. Did the leprechaun clobber the monster over the head? Nope. The brave little leprechaun-- with one mighty blow-- blew out the monster's candle. That did it. Without his candle, the monster had had it. The monster vanished in a puff of smoke. From that midnight on, no one ever saw the walking casket again. Everyone was happy!

Claudia said...

Wow! The ideas you've come up with are great. Still a few hours left to the day. Who else can we get to post an idea?!?!?!

Brian, I will be happy to share my 31 days of Halloween fun. Tune in for the next few days and I'll build it into a post.

Claudia said...

Oh my gosh, Peggy! I love that you found the story. It will DEFINITELY be one of the two I use.