Archive for September, 2009

Spooky Treats

My friend’s company is hosting a Halloween dessert contest in which the only requirement is that the submissions include pumpkin as an ingredient. Aside from there being a monetary prized involved as an incentive, participating in itself is rewarding. Halloween is such a fun holiday and there are so many things everyone can do to get in the spirit.

If any of you is getting your recipe together to participate in a contest at work, school or home, make sure to spice the presentation up with Halloween Themed Plastic Trays. Baking spooky treats doesn’t necessarily have to be for a contest, you could simply surprise your child or sibling’s class with a tray of chocolate cupcakes. Stick a couple toy hands in there to create a “buried alive” feel.

For best results, check your pulse and enjoy! ;-)

DIY Halloween Costumes

Costume catalogs are arriving in the mail left and right, and although I understand companies need the business, times are tough. I got home from work today to find a costume catalog full of circles, arrows, stars and happy faces indicating “my top favorites for this year.” Children live in a different world—a world that accepts wishes as currency and deems devastation a natural disaster.

This year, I highly suggest going for the DIY (Do It Yourself) alternative in regards to costumes. It may not be what the children expect, but a fun touch can definitely added if the process is labeled a “Costume Creation Occasion.”

The classic cats can use a black headband and attach makeshift ears (Use: construction paper and tape). Aspiring dancers can use their black leotards, tights and eyeliner to complete the costume. Non-aspiring dancers can use all-black street clothes.

Younger children can borrow a large trench coat and a hat to parade as detectives. Pick up some curly moustaches at a party supply store ($1-$2 tops) and a plastic pipe for added effects.

A larger group of sisters can team up as hula girls—minimal make up, coconut shells and a stack of Luau Hula Skirts will do the trick.

The possibilities are endless, and the less you have to reach for your wallet, the better.

Trick or Treat

Every Halloween turns into a treat battle when it comes to deciding how much candy to buy or how much candy is “fair” per trick-or-treater. Is it okay to throw in a couple more pieces if it’s a darling baby in a costume and less pieces for older kids trying to score free candy? It’s easier to grab a bigger handful when it’s a butterfly at your doorstep. Regardless, candy duty can get out of control if the appropriate measures are not taken.

This year, monitor treat sizes and/or quantities by pre-packing festively decorated Halloween cello bags with designs such as pumpkins, witches and ghosts. Filling hand-shaped treat bags adds a spookier touch to the evening and they make great craft projects for classrooms, after school programs, and Halloween parties.

After all of the candy has been distributed evenly, stuff excess baggies and make decorations.

Jack-O-Lantern Coasters

Today is officially the first day of autumn (hooray!) and there are now less than 30 days until Halloween. Although there are tons of parents who are opposed to celebrating Halloween with their children for reasons that range from anything like religion to anti-traditionalism, it’s important to make holidays like these fun for our children. Carving a pumpkin or dressing up as a ladybug never made any child diabolical (none that I know of, at least).

This year, help the children practice their jack-o-lanterns on construction paper. Grab a few, or more, boring disposable paper coasters, decorate them and scare the children into protecting the furniture in your home from those frightful water rings. Create jack-o-lantern cutouts out on sunkissed orange construction paper and mount them on black construction paper. Make sure the pumpkins are roughly the side of the coaster for you will be gluing your final piece onto them and voila.

These simple creations will add a festive air the dinner table on this spooky day! :-)

Balloon Eyeballs

Spider webs may be the classic Halloween decoration for festive classrooms and makeshift haunted houses, but I believe we can add some pizzazz to the ordinary this year. Balloon eyeballs might sound like a challenge, but delightfully enough, they’re not!

Also, please note: this small arts & crafts project will definitely keep the little ones quiet for at least 45 minutes (depending on efficiency :-0 ).

Your tools:

1.    Latex party balloons (preferably white/cream colored)

2.    Construction paper (in basic eye colors: blue, green, brown, black, etc.)

3.    Double-sided tape

4.    Glue stick (optional)

5.    Red permanent marker

Depending on the children’s ages, you can either outline them small circles on black paper (pupils) and larger circles in the brighter colors. Then, glue/tape the pupils inside the larger circles. Using the double sided tape, attach the construction paper to the white balloon and add eyeball veins with the red marker.

Go crazy, kiddos.

Halloween is in the Air!

Halloween is absolutely one of my favorite holidays of all time. It’s the one night of the year when you get to go crazy with the spooky sweets and as insane as you want with the wardrobe. The good news is that this year the holiday lands on a Saturday, making it a wonderful opportunity for parents to dedicate the day to the kids and for young adults to let loose without worrying about school or work the following day.

Since children will be home all day on Halloween this year, it would be so fun to let them help make and/or set up the Halloween Party Decorations for later that evening. Divide the work among each child so they can feel like an important part of the process. Some children can inflate balloons, others can arrange wall cutouts and spider webs, while others fill bowls with candies.

This Halloween is going to be a blast.


Oktoberfest is a German festival, and the world’s largest fair, that dates back to approximately 1810. The crown prince and princess of Germany at the time held the celebration in honor of their marriage. The festival lasts 16 days when celebrated in Munich and is celebrated widely around the world.

Nowadays, churches and communities put together large Oktoberfest-esque events such as street fairs, parties and/or themed fundraising events. The festivities are generally started with a memorable tapping of the first keg. Attendees generally like to wear traditional German attire and beer tents/stations, music, sausages and saurkraut are must-haves.

I just returned from Back to School Night and many teachers are definitely reaching out to parents in regards to donations/volunteering/fundraising ideas. Times are tough and we can’t blame them for their efforts. Music programs and extracurricular activities are among the most affect programs. So, ahem, teachers: Oktoberfest is only a few weeks away and you have plenty of time to put together a fun, German-themed fundraiser.

Use a park, or a wide open venue to set up tables decorated with Blue Gingham print tableware. Sell sausages, pretzels and beer-simple foods that everyone loves! To make your life even easier, try using Paper Hot Dog Trays and ordering classic Red Plastic Cups in bulk. :D

Lifesavers on the Go!

Moms’ purses could very well be clones of Mary Poppins’ magic carpet bag in the Disney film. The things that come out of those things are astonishing. As a child, I remember my mother always pulling out the most random things (don’t get me wrong, they were useful): aspirin bottles, first aid kits, Chap stick in almost every flavor, baby wipes, tissue. Needless to say, my mother’s purse was everyone’s lifesaver.

In an effort to send a bit of “Mom” to school with your kids, grab some Swankie® pocket tissues and throw them in their backpacks. These tissues are handy musts to have in the car (for the occasional spill or runny nose) and adorable Printed Swankie® Hankies make fun party favors!

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