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Frightfully Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween

Halloween isn’t just about candy and costumes. Mighty Mommy has fanastic, creative, and fun ways to celebrate this ghoulish holiday.

By
Cheryl Butler,
October 22, 2012
Episode #203

Frightfully Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween

Did you know that Halloween is the second most celebrated holiday in the United States? (Christmas is first). Like Christmas, Halloween is steeped in traditions but Christmas tends to be a stressful time for families while Halloween is all about having fun. In my house, the kids start thinking about their Halloween costumes while we’re still sitting on the beach enjoying summer! 

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Although the focus each year is on finding the perfect costumes and stepping out for a ghoulish night of trick-or-treating, Halloween has lots more frightful fun to offer families. This includes easy-to-make crafts and decorations, spooktacular treats, and rib-tickling games for all ages. Here are some of my kids’ favorite ways to get into hauntingly good spirits:

Home Is Where the Haunt Is

Decorating the home and yard are definitely on our Halloween to-do list, but don’t forget about your kids’ bedrooms. A few days before Halloween, we use canned spider web spray to create a creepy canvas in each bedroom. We also hang rubber bats from the ceiling with fishing line. Mirrors get pasted with a scary goblin looking back at them, and we drape black and orange crepe paper from corner to corner. (This needn’t be expensive – the dollar store has everything you need for little money).  

Get your kids into the spirit by letting them make spooky crafts. These are particularly fun to do if you decide to host a Halloween party rather than go trick-or-treating.

Easy Halloween Crafts: Tissue Paper Ghosts

My kids love making tissue paper ghosts. They couldn’t be any easier to make and look adorable scattered throughout our home. All you need is paper wedding bells and black construction paper with cut outs for eyes and mouths. Adhere paper to bells with glue sticks. If you want to take it one step further, drape the ghosts with cheesecloth to give them a wispy effect. Display on mantels, tie to banisters, hang with fishing line from the ceiling, or plop randomly throughout your house.

 

Easy Halloween Crafts: Illuminated Goblin Jugs

Light up your front porch or walkway with these whimsical goblins. You’re sure to get glowing reviews! 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3-6 clean plastic gallon milk jugs

  • Black permanent marker

  • Craft knife

  • String of 50 clear low-wattage holiday lights

How to make them:

  1. Draw ghost eyes and mouths on the jugs.

  2. Use the craft knife to cut a half-dollar-sized hole in the back of each jug (a parent's job!).

  3. Arrange the ghosts near each other and string the lights between them, stuffing several bulbs into each of the jugs.

Spooktacular Halloween Treats: Monster Munch

Ingredients: 10 cups popped popcorn, peanut butter chips and/or candy coated peanut butter candies, 1 cup candy corn, plain and peanut candy-coated chocolate candies or M&Ms. Combine ingredients and mix well.

Spooktacular Halloween Treats: Mummy Muffin Pizzas

Ingredients: English muffins, pizza sauce, black olives, scallions, red or green peppers, cheese sticks or slices.

How to make them:

  1. Heat the oven to 350º F. For each mummy, spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin (toast it first, if you like).

  2. Set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green onion or bits of red or green pepper for pupils.

  3. Lay strips of cheese (string cheese works well) across the muffin for the mummy’s wrappings.

  4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty. 

Games: Halloween Bone Hunt

Get enough bones for each child at the party. Mark some of the bones as prize bones. Before the party, scatter the bones throughout the party area. When the kids start to show signs of boredom, announce the Halloween Bone Hunt. On the start signal, kids run around finding bones and putting them in their treat bag (Easter Egg-style). Award a prize to whoever finds the most bones and smaller prizes to everyone who finds a prize bone.  For younger kids, you can hand out Halloween pencils, stickers, Yo Yo’s, matchbox cars, pretend make–up, etc., and for older kids you can award money, iTunes or other gift cards, T-shirts, and anything else they like. 

Games: Musical Pumpkins

Cut pumpkin shapes from construction paper and arrange them on the floor. Kids must move from pumpkin to pumpkin while music plays, just like in musical chairs. To keep kids from being excluded, allow them to share pumpkins as you remove a pumpkin for each round. By the end of the game, all the kids have to squeeze onto one spot. For variety, you could also use spider webs, or witches’ hats.    

Games: Pass the Pumpkin

We play a game after dinner at our house called “pass the pumpkin,” similar to hot potato. We use a small plastic pumpkin and play Halloween party music as the kids pass the pumpkin. When the music stops, whoever is holding the pumpkin is out but we add a twist to our game—they can remain playing if they can answer a trivia question or complete a math equation. The game continues until one person is left with the pumpkin and that person doesn’t have to do their chore for that evening.

Games: Go Booing

Halloween Booing is a fun tradition that we’ve been doing in our neighborhood for years. In the weeks prior to Halloween, you secretly leave a variety of treats on your neighbors’ porch or hanging on the door, along with a Boo Poem asking them to pay-it-forward to other neighbors. Here is the poem that we use in our neighborhood:

The air is cool, the season fall,
Soon Halloween will come to all.

Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore...
Tricky witches at your door.

The spooks are after things to do,
In fact a spook brought this "Boo" to you!

The excitement comes when friends like you,
Copy this note and make it two.

We'll all have smiles upon our faces,
No one will know who "BOO"ed who's places!

Just two short days to work your spell,
Keep it secret, hide it well.

Please join the fun, the season’s here .
Just spread these "BOO's" and Halloween cheer.

Include a sheet of paper that says:

You have been BOOED! Please keep it going by following these directions:

  1. Place the BOO sign on your front door or visible in a window

  2. Within 2 days, make 1 copy of this note, put together a treat bag, and make a sign that says “BOO” for neighbors to hang in their front window so others will know they’ve already been visited.

  3. Secretly deliver to 1 neighbor/friend without a BOO.

There are so many wonderful ways you can get into the spirit of Halloween with or without candy and costumes. Be sure to make it a safe holiday for your kids and don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

Do you have any favorite Halloween traditions that help your family to celebrate each year? Let me know in Comments or post them on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.

Check back next week for more Mighty Mommy tips. Don’t forget to check out my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com.MightyMommyQDT.

I hope you and your family have a safe and “bootiful” Halloween.

Until next time—Happy Parenting!

Pumpkin photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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