Halloween for Little’uns

I love Halloween, perhaps it’s because it’s the changing of the seasons and the cooler weather, the beautiful spectrum of colors that the fall leaves bring, and the magic of Halloween through the eyes of small children.  Halloween is just different now with children.  I WANT to decorate my house and carve pumpkins.  Before it wasn’t done, or it was just a chore.  Here are some Halloween things I now like do with my children:

Carve Pumpkins

I let my son (3 years) do as much as possible to help and feel included.  My daughter is too young, but keeping her around and watching and still giving her toys to play with when she gets bored makes it feel like an activity for the entire family.  I do most of the cutting, but my son always has his hand on the handle to make it feel like teamwork.  We have a posh pumpking carving kit from Willams Sonoma, which is totally better than those crappy ones you can get from the value stores.  In this case, you get what you pay for.  When the pumpkin is all cleaned out, I let my son draw the face on his pumpkin, and then together we cut it out.  This year I did a face too.

Make Spooky Cupcakes

You know, I am all for making cupcakes out of scratch but when you are making cupcakes with children, who have such a small amount of patience, it’s best to go with a box mix.  I am a vegan, so I love Cherrybrook Kitchen products.  Their cupcake and frosting mixes are incredible.  Our cupcakes came out moist and goregous.  Together we smear icing on the cupcakes, although I think the majority of the icing goes on little anxious fingers and lands in little anxious mouths.  For Halloween, we decided to sprinkle black sprinkles on top and give the cupcakes orange eyes.  My son said they were ghosts, and loved them.  I know how exciting cupcake making is for little ones (thank you, joyce, my lovely), and the experience allows me to relive that feeling of utter happiness through their eyes.

Watch Movies

We always watch “Nightmare Before Christmas” for Halloween, and we also watch it for Christmas.  Very clever making a holiday movie for two holidays…cha-ching!  Yo Gabba Gabba has a good “Halloween” dvd, and we also watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Books

There are so many good Halloween spirited books.  They may not exactly be about Halloween but encompass general Halloween themes.  I think these are especially great for little’uns:

What was I Scared of? By Dr. Suess

Ghots in the House by Kasuno Kohara

Aaaaarrgghh!  Spider! by Lydia Monks

Three Little Ghosties by Pipa Goodhart

 

Decorate

This year I haven’t put up so many decorations because I simply cannot find them, the halloween decoration box has simply lost itself.  So I have made some. The Halloween bunting I made is easy to do with children.  If you’d like to make a Halloween Bunting too, here’s what you’ll need, and the steps:

Take some old newspaper you have lying around.  I used the coupons pages we get stuffed in our mailbox.  Next, grab some white printing paper and some orange construction paper.  You’ll also need strips of cardboard, black paint, scissors, a brush, a stapler, and of course a glue stick.  Feel free to modify any of the ingredients or steps to suit your own style and space.

With the newspaper, cut out your bunting shape.  Traditionally it’s a triangle, but I cut out a rainbow shape.  Keeping your paper folded, use the fold of the newspaper as the top side of the bunting to create two exact mirrored shapes, which will then be folded over the cardboard strip.  Cutout 16 shapes to make HAPPY*HALLOWEEN.  I made my bunting shapes differ in sizes to add a bit of funkiness.

Next unfold your bunting shapes and paint them black.  I used gouache paint and added water for an element of transparency so the other colors and letters of the newpaper were still present.  This is a great time to include a child if you wish to do so.

Next, take your white printer paper and make 16 circles.  I used a traced the bottom of glass to draw the circles.  If you want to hang this in a window then make it double sided draw 32 circles. Cut these out.

Next take the orange construction paper and write H-A-P-P-Y H-A-L-L-O-W-E-E-N in thick block letters.  Don’t worry about what you think it should look like, the more wonky and crooked the better.  If you want to make a double sided bunting, fold your paper in half and cut out the letters so you get twice the letters with the same amount of work.  Take your letters and use your glue stick to glue them onto the white cirlces.  This is another task you can do with a child.  There are 15 letters, so there should be one blank circle left.  This circle breaks up the words HAPPY and HALLOWEEN.  I painted a little skull in my circle, but a spider, a bat, or cat (or anything black) would look great.  You need to make two of these if you are doing a double sided bunting.

Now it’s time to get your cardboard strips.  They should be about an inch wide, and I taped two together to make it almost seven feet long.  Make it the same length and then after you position your bunting, you can cut any excess off.  Take your black painted bunting shapes and hang them over the cardboard strip so the bunting folds are resting on top of the cardboard.  Space the shapes out to however long or short you want the bunting.  When you have the shapes in place, staple them down.

Now you can take the glue stick and glue your circles onto the bunting.  Do not forget about your painted circle that goes between HAPPY and HALLOWEEN.  If you are doing a double sided bunting, flip it over and glue the other circles.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY!!

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