Herald Journal Columns
Oct. 17, 2005, Herald Journal

Ideas for Halloween fun


My children love to listen, share and tell “spooky” stories, especially at this time of year.

Enjoy a family “spooky story” night by dimming the lights, playing some faint Halloween music and sound effects, and sharing some funny or “spooky” stories (depending on what your children are comfortable with). The website www. celebrationcorner.com offers these suggestions for a fun-filled “spooky” stories night.

• Choose a night for spooky stories and get into costume to help set the mood. Dressing in black and orange is effective.

• Dim the lights, play the music and sound effects softly, and have everyone sit in a circle.

• Have someone be the story leader and, to add to the fun, have a candy basket filled with candy. The story leader will start with the basket of candy and a flashlight. It is the leader’s job to welcome everyone to story night and possibly begin a spooky story chain.

Holding the lit flashlight under her or his chin, the leader begins the story with a story starter, such as, “It was a stormy, spooky Halloween night and the bats were flying about . . .”. Or create a funny story starter if the spooky stories are too scary.

The person then takes a treat from the candy basket and passes the basket and the flashlight to the next person, who must continue the story. Keep passing the basket of candy and the flashlight around until everyone has added to the story. The last person in the circle must end the story.

Another option to the story chain rendition is to give every participant paper and pencil and have them write down a small part of a spooky or funny Halloween story.

Fold the papers up, place in a basket, and begin the story chain as above, but each person will draw one of the pieces of paper out of the basket and read it.

After the story is over, enjoy some hot chocolate or apple cider and the treats from the candy basket (if you didn’t eat them while listening) or some other fun Halloween snacks.

Halloween party treats

Here are some quick Halloween recipes, tried and true and from www.amazingmoms.com

• Cut lime, orange, and grape Jell-o Jigglers with Halloween cookie cutters, such as pumpkins, bats, and witches. Cut sandwiches with the Halloween cookie cutters as well, to help add to the festive mood.

• Make “bugs in a bowl,” mixing cooled popcorn, chocolate chips, and gummy worms in a bowl.

• Stir up a “witch’s brew” by mixing grape juice and club soda in a pitcher. Cut an apple or two into small chunks and add grapes, as well. Float the fruit into the witch’s brew just before serving, and like magic, the grapes and apples will look just like eyes and teeth. Pour the punch into a caldron (punch bowl) before serving.

• Add a “floating hand” into the brew or punch by pouring some of the brew, juice, or colored water into a surgical or rubber glove. Tie the glove shut and freeze. Place into the brew caldron before serving time. Won’t the kids be surprised to see a “floating hand” in the “witch’s brew!”

• Have the children help make simple festive cupcakes by baking chocolate cupcakes and, when cooled, frost with orange frosting and top with candy corn.

Halloween games to play

Take this festive time to share some more family fun by playing some games and engaging in some simple activities.

Bobbing for apples is always a favorite of kids. Try a pumpkin seed spitting contest, too.

Have a Halloween treasure hunt by hiding a plastic pumpkin filled with goodies. Cut out some small pumpkins from orange paper and write clues on them leading them to the plastic pumpkin.

Hang plain donuts with string from a pole or ceiling, with the object of the game to be the first to eat the donut without using one’s fingers.

Pin the stem on the pumpkin, the nose on the jack-o-lantern, stem on the apple, the hat on the witch, etc.

Put some candy corn in a jar, and have everyone guess how many are in the jar.

Many of these ideas are from www.amazingmoms.com

FamilyFun, October, 2005 offered this simple craft activity. Using nontoxic rubber stamp pads in orange (for the pumpkins) and black (for the bats and spiders), and stamping onto paper, have your child press her thumb into the pads to create the pumpkins, spiders and bats. When the ink is dry, your child can use markers to add eyes, legs, wings, stems, and other details. Your child could also use googly eyes, too.

Have a safe and happy Halloween.