Tag Archives: family

Fantastic Adventures Halloween Edition: Garfield’s Halloween Special

Today’s Halloween adventure is a blast out of the past. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure came out in 1985 as a television special and was titled Garfield in Disguise. This story focuses on Garfield and Odie’s strange trip around town while on the hunt for candy. Naturally, Garfield wants all of the candy in the neighborhood for himself, and will do anything to get it. He begrudgingly takes Odie with him in order to collect more candy. Just when Garfield thinks he is done trick or treating, he spies an island off the coast and decides to try his luck over there. On the island, Garfield and Odie enter a creepy and creaky old house inhabited by a small, wrinkled old man who tells them the story of the cursed pirates who buried a treasure on the island and return every Halloween to claim it. Horror and hilarity ensue!

The ghost pirates!

Why it is a fantastic adventure: In the beginning of the cartoon, Garfield begrudged Halloween and would rather sleep. It isn’t until he watches a cartoon clown on TV that he realizes that he is missing out on all the candy. What kid can’t relate to that? Candy is definitely the universal language of kids everywhere. If you watch this on Halloween, this opening sequence will get your kids excited for trick or treating later in the night!
Garfield runs to the attic to concoct a costume. He goes through many different ideas: A rat, bat, old man, nerd, ghost, and eventually settles on a pirate. This sequence is a great kick starter to get your kids brainstorming about different costumes. After the excitement of trick or treating is over, Garfield and Odie head off on a boat to an island where they enter the haunted house. This is where the fun really begins on this spooky Halloween adventure. While the old man is telling the story of the ghost pirates, there is a great little animation of pirate ghosts creeping from under the floorboards and into the house. It is a frightening scene for young kids, but this being Halloween and all, it is entirely appropriate. It is a great way to get your kids spooked for a night of tricks, treats and just plain old fun.
In the end, Garfield lets the ghost pirates keep their treasure that is hidden in the haunted house. This is a good lesson about possessions and what is right and wrong to take. People hand out candy to you, and that is okay, but taking something from someone else is not okay.
The program ends on a high note with Garfield sharing his candy with Odie (another great lesson) and collapsing off to sleep after a grand adventure.

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure is available to stream for free if you have Amazon Prime, or rent if you do not have Prime: http://www.amazon.com/Garfields-Halloween-Adventure/dp/B0083GPSYQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351548026&sr=8-1&keywords=garfield+halloween

Fantastic Adventures Halloween Edition: Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost

The next stop on our Halloween tour: Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost! This animated movie came out straight to DVD in 2001. Like most Scooby-Doo movies, this one revolves around a mystery. In this case, there is a witch’s ghost tormenting the citizens of Oak Haven, 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!

Fred, Daphne and Velma with Ben Ravencroft

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 New England 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 Scoobyand the gang. This is also a great way to get your kids’ imaginations soaring and get them creating and

Imagination running wild!

thinking out of the box.
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 Ghostis 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!

Available to purchase on DVD from your favorite retailer!

The Hex Girls introduce your kids to great music and modern witches!

NEW RELEASE: Jeremy, the Jack-O’-Lantern

 

My latest book, Jeremy, the Jack-O’-Lantern is now available to order! 
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!

Buy it at Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/ryan-r-palmer/jeremy-the-jack-o-lantern/paperback/product-20472337.html

Coming soon to Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and more!!

Fantastic Adventures Halloween Edition: Berenstain Bears go on a Ghost Walk

The Berenstain Bears are a popular series for both parents and kids because it teaches great life lessons, helping the parents approach difficult subjects. This Halloween edition has a similar theme, in that it teaches about dressing up for Halloween and why being scary is okay. When Papa Bear gets to design a haunted house for the school’s Ghost Walk at Halloween, he decides that it’s going to be the scariest Ghost Walk ever, with every frightening thing he can possibly use. Mama Bear is concerned that he might be going too far, especially since this event is for young children, but Papa is having too much fun to take her warning seriously. Then, a nightmare of his own causes him to reconsider.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: As mentioned above, the book teaches about Halloween and the appropriateness of the scary costumes, decorations and evil creatures shown on TV.
It is a good chance for parents to have a great conversation about Halloween costumes and what is appropriate. Of course, the level of that appropriateness is up to each individual parent. The illustrations also allow for your kids to open up their imaginations and really get into the different aspects of dressing up for Halloween. it is a great way to help them kick start costume ideas.

Fantastic Adventure #8: Spy Kids

Today’s entry in Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment is the 2001 film Spy Kids. What kid (or grown up) doesn’t enjoy a good spy story? Even better, what kid doesn’t love seeing him or herself up on the screen as a spy? That is the premise behind Spy Kids. Take the exciting elements that make adults enjoy James Bond (gadgets, unique villains, action sequences) and put kids in the roles. It sounds like a simple premise, but this film brings in complex themes like what it means to be a family, brother and sister bonds and how enjoying being a kid is important.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Family is the overarching theme in this film, and it does not hold back. We start with the Carmen and Juni Cortez not liking their parents because they are boring and nothing exciting ever seems to happens. Their parents get pulled out of spy retirement by OSS headquarters, they eventually get captured and the kids learn the truth about their parents. Carmen and Juni learn that their parents are really spies and are thrust into action.

Families kick butt!

Carmen and Juni bring perfect brother sister interaction, whether it is mimicking fights, name calling or roughhousing, these two characters know exactly what it means to be brother and sister, and this is something that your kids will really take away from this movie. They will, perhaps, see their siblings in a different, more appreciative, light. And if you play your cards correctly, they may be looking in your bedroom for the secret trigger that will unlock your spy base.
There is a lot of action and adventure to get your kids excited and running around the house, and hopefully motivate them to go on their own spy adventures when the movie is over.
Of course, the final and lasting message of this film is that of family. The kids realize that their parents are cool and exciting people. They are not just mom and dad who make us do our chores and go to school. This is a great learning opportunity for your kids to get them to see you as more than just an authority figure. There is also a large importance put on the cohesiveness of the family unit. In the end, this film – and all of its sequels – will bring your family closer together and have your kids wanting to be spies not when they grow up, but right now!

Fantastic Adventure #5: Batman: The Brave and the Bold

So, you took my advice and showed your kids Batman & Robin, and now they have a hankering for more? With Batman being so popular lately, it really does a disservice to kids when toy companies make The Dark Knight Rises action figures

and other toys, as that film is extremely graphic and nowhere near safe for child viewing.  But, of course, your kids will see the toys and then want to see Batman. If you took the first step and showed them Batman & Robin, great! If not, you can read about it on my blog and come back to this post, if you so desire. To continue with family friendly entertainment, my pick for today is Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a TV series on Cartoon Network.
Think of this cartoon series as an animated version of Adam West’s 1960’s Batman. It has all the corny humor, gags and overacting fight scenes that we all remember from the Adam West show. Each episode Batman teams up with a different hero from DC Comics and together they take out the different villains and stop their dastardly schemes.

Heroes

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Having Batman team up with a different hero each week is a good way to introduce your kids to comic books and all of the different heroes that are out there. Beyond that, it is a good way to show your kids the power of teamwork.
The entire series has a very fantastical feel to it. The heroes are big, strong, wise cracking purveyors of justice and the villains are over the top failures of massive schemes. The schemes are so ridiculous and out there that it really encourages kids to think outside the box and cerate lavish ideas of their own. Imagination is downplayed in our society. there is a time to play and a time to be “serious’. We teach our children that being imaginative is not serious. They have to study hard, do homework, learn Math and Science so they can get a job that makes good money. Don’t worry – you are not a bad parent. You are only passing on what your parents taught you. However, that may be another topic for another post.
Back to the show. With the over the top schemes (stealing a giant piano or trying to ruin Christmas), you won’t have to explain elaborate schemes to your kids.
The villains are always doing something simple and are defeated in mostly simple ways. They are brought to justice and all is well with the world. These are great base values for your

Villains

children to learn, and you can use them as talking points about right versus wrong.
Teamwork, right versus wrong, imagination and justice are the main themes of the show and a great way to not only introduce your kids to comic book characters, but a great family friendly Batman cartoon.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is on reruns on Cartoon Network. Also available to own or rent on DVD. Rated TV Y7.

Fantastic Adventure #3: Scooby-Doo (2002)

10 years is a good length of time to re-evaluate a film and include it in my list of current and lasting family adventures for two reasons. One, your kids either saw this movie when it came out and are now teenagers and too “cool” to watch this movie, or, two, your kids were not born yet and maybe you were unaware of, or forgot that this movie came out. This is the most contemporary piece of my series so far, and I am going to try to present more obscure and, perhaps, a bit older items, as the current popular kid shows and movies are reviewed and presented all over the web. I would like to use this series as a tool for introducing your family to experiences you may have passed over or never heard of. With that said, I present Scooby-Doo (2002).

Chances are, you’ve probably heard of Scooby-Doo and his pals. Most people fondly remember the cartoon of the 1960s and ’70s. I am presenting the 2002 movie version not because it is the best Scooby-Doo story, but because it is the most accessible for your kids. As a child of the 1980s, I was able to enjoy the reruns on Saturday mornings, but kids of today require something a little more flashy and stylized to keep their interest.

This live action version of Scooby-Doo introduces the characters of Mystery Inc as they are at the tail end of their careers. They are frustrated with each other and split up. They all get invited separately to the latest summer hot spot, Spooky Island, where they reluctantly share hellos and ponder as to why they were all secretly brought back together. It isn’t long before the gang realizes that something fishy is going on the island, and they all decide to investigate. Without giving too much away, the gang must put aside their differences and band together to solve the mystery, finding along the way that they really do work well together and that they all miss each other and wish to reform Mystery Inc.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Scooby-Doo himself is always a fun character, and the kids will get a lot of laughs from a talking dog. The CGI version of Scooby still holds up very well and your kids won’t have to ask why Scooby looks like a man in a suit or a puppet.
The sets range from bright and colorful to dark and scary, as the gang ends up in a haunted house at one point in the film. The haunted house scenes in particular are a lot of fun and will remind your kids of a spooky ride at a carnival, which only heightens the sense of adventure. Even pretending to be in a carnival ride sparks creativity and imaginative thinking, and that is a very important factor in child development.
Also, you will be entertained by the various adult references in the film that will completely fly over your kids’ heads. There is something for the parents in this one, as well.

Talking dogs, spooky haunted house rides and bright, colorful imagery will help fuel your kids’ imaginations and hopefully get them outside to play “make believe” after the film is over.

Rated PG