What’s more fun than making things with your kids? We’ve all seen those craft websites and magazines with those amazingly good looking crafts that look oh so easy to make. Have you eve tried to make those? Yeah, they never turn out the way you though, right? Well, here are five crafts that are guaranteed to turn out great because they are simple in construction and explanation.
Halloween jars. Just get some empty glass jars, clean them out well and paint away! It’s a great creative way to engage with your kids!
Paper Bag Monsters. These are a fun and easy craft and a great creativity spark! Simply paint, cut out construction paper and then glue!
Popsicle Sticks. Glue together a bunch of Popsicle sticks (on paper or a heavy string) and paint away!
Seed Crafts! All you need is some construction paper, corn seeds, beans, rope and lotsa glue! Have fun with it. How many different things can you make?
Fun with Paper Plates. These are also an easy, fun craft for kids. All you need are the cheapo paper plates, some construction paper, scissors and glue! Create any Halloween inspired monster you can think of! Frankenstein, Dracula, Jack-O’-Lanters, Mummies, etc!
Ah, Hocus Pocus. This film was only mildly successful when it came out in 1993 and to this day it is a very divisive film. However, it is one of my favorite Halloween movies and a great family friendly movie, so I will be presenting it. The story focuses on three witches who were burned at the stake for their evil deed of stealing the souls of children in Salem, Massachusetts in 1693. Right before they died, they cast a spell on a black flame candle that once a virgin lit the candle on the full moon before Halloween, they would rise once again. Fast forward 300 years to 1993 and a young high school boy named Max Dennison lights the candle to impress a girl. The three witches rise again to steal the souls of little children.
Max, his (hopeful) girlfriend Allison, and Max’s little sister, Dani must stop the evil Sanderson Sisters before the sun rises on November 1st in order to prevent the sisters from coming back permanently. Of course, the hard part for Max and company is that it is Halloween night and none of the adults or authority figures believe them! I will not spoil the ending, of course, but you can expect much hilarity, adventure and creepy Halloween spooks.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: Max is every bit the aspiring young hero for middle school aged boys, with just the right amount of disobedience and knowing when to do the right thing. He is also an especially good role model for any big brothers who have little sisters to take care of. Max learns throughout the movie and teaches your kids at the same time. You can be irresponsible and have fun, but there will be consequences. You can hate your little sister for being a
burden, but you’re going to do everything you can to protect her when things turn ugly. And lastly, you can try to impress the cute girl at school all you want, but you’re not going to win her over that way.
The little girls in your family will wish they were in Dani’s shoes from the very beginning. Dani is lovingly portrayed by Thora Birch, who really steals many of the scenes in this film. She is strong-willed and won’t stop tormenting her big brother until she gets her way. Your little girl will be going on the adventure with Dani, reveling in a night of witches, zombies and magic that all seems fresh and real. She even gets a talking cat as her companion through the film. Another plus, just when Dani is getting too scared – and maybe your little girl, too – her big brother swoops in and comforts her. It is a perfect lesson in sibling relationships. Just enough rivalry, but in the end it is compassion that wins the day.
Of course you can’t mention this film without talking about the witches themselves – the Sanderson Sisters. They provide most of the comedy throughout the film, mostly having to do with being from 1693 and being awoken in 1993. The elementary school is deemed a “prison for children” (your kids will
agree with that), a man dressed in a devil costume is mistaken for the real thing, and the entire concept of Halloween being a night of young children dressing up as creatures is quite upsetting to them. Bette , Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker play the creepy yet kooky witches to perfection with just the right amount of terror and humor. If these three witches do not get your kids excited about all things Halloween, then there is not much that will.
There are Halloween decorations abound, zombies, talking cats, creepy cemeteries and picturesque Salem settings, which really bring that cold Fall feeling to the film.
The entire movie itself is one long, grand adventure that never lets up and teaches very important lessons along the way, all the while building your kids’ love of Halloween.
There is one thing in October that is more important than anything else. Letting your kids pick out there pumpkins is a personal experience and one that they will always remember. I have a few jack-o’-lanterns that I fondly remember carving. And why should your kids be taken to a boring supermarket to stare into a bin of bruised pumpkins? Get out of the house, spend a little more money than you should and enjoy the season at your local pumpkin patch!
Don’t know where your local pumpkin patch is? Go to this website to view pumpkin patched by State and County. Pumpkin Patches and More!
Why go to a pumpkin patch? A proper pumpkin patch will be much more than just a clump of dying pumpkins on a parking lot floor. Even if you live in Fall challenged part of the globe, your kids can have the experience of hay bales, carnival rides, petting zoos and even deep fried Oreos at any proper pumpkin patch. It is an experience full of adventure, amazement and exploration that your children will remember year after year and will hopefully come to define their love for Halloween!
This year my family went to Pa’s Pumpkin Patch in Long Beach, CA. Here are a few photos that represent what a pumpkin patch experience can be! I encourage you to find one in your home town and begin creating wonderful Halloween memories for your children!
Today’s Fantastic Adventure in family Entertainment brings us to the Neitherworld with the cartoon version of Beeteljuice. In particular, the Halloween episode “Laugh of the Party.”
When snobby Claire Brewster excludes Lydia and her friends from a popular kids’ Halloween party, Lydia decides to have one of her own. But when Delia takes over the planning, it looks like disaster is imminent until Beetlejuice — as Mr. Beetleman — offers his catering service. Armed with party supplies from the Neitherworld, he’s ready for anything…except the discovery that one of his decorations, Party People in a Can, shouldn’t be used during a full moon. He and Lydia must hunt down the missing Party People before they wreak havoc on all of Peaceful Pines.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: Your kids will obviously love the zany antics of Beetlejuice and will be able to relate to mom taking over the planning of a party (sorry, moms!). As in most children’s cartoons, there is a message to teach the kiddos. In this case, the message is one that you will enjoy as a parent. You see, Beetlejuice ends up getting on over his head (another good lesson) and Lydia has to help him clean it up (lesson number two). But the big lesson is that it is usually for the best when your bumbling but helpful parents plan your party because they know what they are doing.
Another fun aspect of this show is the animation. There is something very comforting about hand drawn animation from the late 80s and early 90s. Maybe it’s just the overload of horrible CGI in cartoons these days, but seeing hand drawn animation is very inviting. Plus, the animation style of this show is very unique. Your kids will hopefully appreciate the old animation style, as it is creepy, colorful and fun all at the same time.
As part of my 31 Days of Halloween festivities I will be holding several contests throughout the month, including a movie giveaway, jack-o’-lantern contest, and costume contest.
Today I will be giving away copies of two fantastic Halloween inspired films, Hotel Transylvania and Monster House. Details below!
Bookmark this post so you can come back all week to edit your entry or tell your friends.
NOTE: Film will be in your country’s Region Code, so everyone from around the globe is eligible!
The next stop on our Halloween tour: Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost! This animated movie came straight to DVD in 1999. Like most Scooby-Doo movies, this one revolves around a mystery. In this case, there is a witch’s ghost tormenting the citizens of Oakhaven, a sleepy little town where famed Horror writer Ben Ravencroft goes to write his books. Ben Ravencroft runs into Scooby and the gang after they solve a mystery at a local history museum.
Once Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred arrive in Oak Haven, they immediately begin to investigate the suspicious behavior of the mayor. The gang is skeptical about the Witch’s ghost being real , but once they see it for themselves will they believe in ghosts? Join the spooky adventurers as they try to solve the mystery of the Witch’s ghost!
Why it is a fantastic Adventure: This movie is one that I view every October to get me into the Halloween and Fall spirit. The town of Oak Haven has a picturesque Massachusetts Fall setting: brown leaves, barren trees, a small Main Street where everyone knows everyone, and even a re-creation of a Puritan village. If you live in parts of the world where the weather doesn’t change much and Fall doesn’t really happen, this is a great way to get yourself and the kids in the proper Fall mindset.
Along the way, the gang meet a group of Gothic witches who are in the rock band, The Hex Girls. This trio provides a few songs in the movie (which are actually pretty good) and help keep the kids entertained through the somewhat plodding mystery story.
Scooby-Doo provides the majority of the movie’s laughs, whether he is scarfing down a gigantic sandwich, begging for Scooby Snacks, or trying to churn butter in the Puritan village. He also provides crucial entertainment value in a story that is somewhat dark for a kids’ Halloween adventure.
On that point, the ghost in this movie is real. She is not someone dressed up in a costume to be de-masked at the end. She has a real thirst for revenge and will do anything to get her way. She brings pumpkins to life and turns them into evil jack-o’-lanterns that try to eat Scooby and the gang.
The plot deals with witches, Wiccans and warlocks, and provides a safe introduction to the topic of real life witches- Wiccans -that you can elaborate on later if you so desire.
The mystery plot is a lot of fun and will keep your kids guessing until the end, especially since the witch turns out to be real (but who was behind the other part of the mystery, and why was the mayor being so suspicious?). There are plenty of eerie locations to keep up the Halloween vibe: abandoned mills, forests full of dead trees, a cabin shrouded in an eerie fog.
Overall, Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost is a great atmosphere setting movie with a fun mystery and a few teachable moments and imagination igniting ideas for your kids. Watch and get ready for Halloween!
One of my best childhood memories of Halloween is sitting around the TV turning on the Disney Channel and watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. For those who don’t know the story, it basically involves a very superstitious and easily scared school teacher, Mr. Ichabod Crane, being told a spooky story of a headless horsemen by the town prankster. When Ichabod makes his way home after the gathering, he is chased down by this headless horsemen and never heard from again.
This story appeals to such a broad audience because we all love a good unsolved mystery. Kids enjoy it because it is spooky, scary and a stern reminder not to run off alone!
The animation may leave younger kids a bit disappointed as it is not CGI and is actually hand drawn (oh, the horror)! However, they will quickly forget that little tidbit as they are sucked into the world of Sleepy Hollow. The daytime settings are pleasant to look at, which gives you a nice secure feeling. Hold on to that feeling. You’re going to need it.
When night falls on Sleepy Hollow the quiet, melodic town turns into a foreboding maze of dark forests, dimly lit cabins and dark, unlit paths. Of course, this is the part that is most appealing to kids and adults on Halloween night. If you talk to your kids and explain tot hem that the dark is not scary, and that the headless horsemen is not, in fact, real, they will not be frightened and will be able to enjoy the story for what it is.
The sense of fear and adventure stirs something primal in all of us, which is why this story and this cartoon version of it, continues to enthrall us all these years later.
Sit down and put this family friendly telling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in your DVD player!
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is available on DVD from Amazon.com
In preparation for Halloween, which is quickly approaching, my publisher and I have set a temporary discount on my children’s picture book, Jeremy, the Jack-o’-Lantern. Now through October 31st, save 15% off the cover price only at Lulu.com !
Get in the mood for Halloween and share this story with your kids, neighbors, friends, relatives, or anyone who enjoys Halloween!
What does a pumpkin think about being turned into a jack-o’-lantern? Join Jeremy as he goes from a small pumpkin on a vine to a delightfully wicked jack-o’-lantern! Go on a journey as Jeremy experiences Halloween for the first time!