Herald Journal Columns
Oct. 10, 2005, Herald Journal

Having fun with Halloween


Autumn and Halloween are among my favorite times of year. I have many good memories of Halloweens pasts.

Because I have many nieces and nephews around my age, trick-or-treating was always a group affair in our household when I was growing up. And fun it was!

With my twin and I and our family gang, we would have almost every ghost, goblin, creature, and princess imaginable among us as we went house to house trick-or-treating.

As a group, each year, we would put our creative minds together and come up with a new “trick” in case someone asked to see a trick before we could get a treat.

And it was always fun when we returned, to spill out all our candy and goodies from our plastic pumpkin pails. The floor was, basically, covered with our collective Halloween treats, to be inspected by the adults before we could sink our teeth into them.

Whether it be trick-or-treating or attending a Halloween party, Halloween is about spending time with our children, focusing on quality fun time with them, and having fun as adults, too.

I have always enjoyed creating a fun atmosphere around the house for Halloween, decorating the house and yard with Halloween and festive fall decorations, playing Halloween music and sound effects, lighting candles and jack-lanterns, and dressing in costume, myself.

One year, my husband dressed as a scarecrow and sat in our yard on a straw bale. He looked like a real scarecrow, sitting motionless – until children came to the door, and then he would get up and move. He scared a few children, but usually, after the initial scare, the kids figured it out, and they would start laughing. My husband enjoyed the entertainment as much as the trick-or-treaters did.

It’s healthy for our children to observe adults and their parents having fun and participating in what children enjoy, as well. It makes us seem like, well, real people that enjoy having fun, too!

With that, here are some more ideas that we can share with our children for a festive, fun, and memorable autumn and Halloween.

Festive holiday and autumn treats

For a healthy snack, have children use cookie cutters to cut out various leaf shapes from cheese slices (I found some leaf cookie cutters at a department store). Assemble a tree by using a pretzel rod for the tree trunk and pretzel sticks for the branches. Add the cheese leaves on the branches.

The children can eat the leaves off the branches, just like the leaves fall from the trees during the fall season. This idea is from FamilyFun, October, 2005, from June Daly, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Before your kids go out trick-or-treating, or when they get back, they can enjoy and help make a healthy Halloween meal, before their stomachs are filled with all the Halloween goodies that are so hard to resist.

Make English mummies or jack-o-lantern pizzas with your children You will need English muffin halves, pizza sauce, shredded or grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese (or pull-apart string cheese works, too), and sliced black olives.

Spread about a tablespoon of sauce on the English muffin. Cover with the cheddar or mozzarella cheese – depending on if you want an English mummy or a jack-o-lantern. Put olive slices on for the eyes and put the mini pizzas on a cookie sheet. Add other favorite toppings for other decorations if you so choose. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven, or broil in the oven until cheese is melted. Kids love making and eating these ghoulish snacks.

For another Halloween meal, make spaghetti and eyeballs. Prepare spaghetti, sauce, and meatballs per package instructions. When meatballs are done, cut out a small hole and stuff an olive in to look like an eye. Serve individual plates with spaghetti and sauce, and then top with two meatballs for the eyes. This idea comes from www.amazingmoms.com

Halloween decorating

It is always fun to decorate your house or porch for Halloween.

Cover furniture near the front door with sheets so the inside of your house looks spooky. Turn off bright lights and have some dimmer lights glowing.

Use window markers to write a message to trick-or-treaters or to create Halloween scenes. Write such things as “Keep out,” “Enter at your own risk,” or just “Trick-or-treat,” or draw such pictures as black cats, bats, and ghosts.

Use regular or fluorescent sidewalk chalk to write messages or draw scenes on the sidewalk or driveway. Put black, green, purple, or orange light bulbs on the front porch or entry way of the house.

These are pretty simple things to do, yet create a fun holiday atmosphere for everyone involved.

Here’s a spooky see-through craft activity to make with your kids to further decorate your home. This idea is also from the above mentioned website.

Mix together white glue and food coloring to make a special paint. Paint a Halloween picture on a piece of plastic wrap using a brush or cotton swab.

Before the picture dries, lay another sheet of plastic wrap over the picture. Make frames with cardboard, tag board, or paper. Glue the picture between the two frames.

Hang your decoration in a window with tape or from a piece of yarn.

Homemade Halloween face paint

In a bowl, mix one tsp. cornstarch, one-half tsp. water, one-half tsp. cold cream, and two drops food coloring, and you and your child have some paint to create some Halloween masterpieces on your faces. This recipe is also from www.amazingmoms.com

Halloween jokes to share

What do ghosts and goblins drink on Halloween? Ghoul-aid.

What do you call a witch who lives at the beach? A sand witch.