Tag Archives: Jack-O’-Lantern

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Costume Quest 2

Costume_Quest_2_Logo

Last year, I wrote about the first Costume Quest game. A rare gem that perfectly encapsulates the experience of Halloween. This year, Costume Quest 2 has been released and looks to continue the amazing Halloween spirit.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Differing from the first game, Costume Quest 2 takes place in various eras of time. Not only will you and your kids get to virtually trick or treat in a familiar neighborhood setting, but you’ll get to visit Ancient Egypt, the Louisiana Bayou, a future where Halloween is illegal, and more!
There are multiple costumes to try on, lots of creepy cards to collect, and tons and tons of candy to collect and spend.

It is a fun adventure for the entire family. So gather round the computer or TV and spend some quality family Halloween time together.

Costume Quest 2 is available on PC, PlayStation or Xbox.

Have you been to a pumpkin patch yet?

From last year’s 31 Days of Halloween, don’t miss out on the chance to take the family to your local pumpkin patch!
See Last year’s post to find a pumpkin patch near you!

Jeremy, the Jack-O’-Lantern HALLOWEEN SALE!

Good evening, readers!

I am pleased to announce that now through October 31st, my children’s picture book, Jeremy, the Jack-O’-Lantern is being sold at a huge 25% discount exclusively through Lulu.com. 

Grab it now for only $7.50! This book is printed on demand, so there is no worry of it selling out. Please share this post with your friends and family!

Jeremy Cover 001
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!

The History of Halloween

shutterstock_109713119
We all celebrate Halloween but how much do you really know about it? Here’s a little history lesson for Halloween!

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.

 

Interested in going deeper and learning more about Halloween? I strongly recommend this Book: Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton
http://www.amazon.com/Trick-Treat-A-History-Halloween/dp/1780230478

5 More Halloween Crafts

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.

3-halloween-jars-not-lit-up
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!

 

 

bags-b
Paper Bag Monsters. These are a fun and easy craft and a great creativity spark! Simply paint, cut out construction paper and then glue!

 

 

post_713176_1193518667_med

Popsicle Sticks. Glue together a bunch of Popsicle sticks (on paper or a heavy string) and paint away!

 

 

 

Seed-Halloween-Crafts
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?

 

 

th
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!

Halloween Village Favorites

Department 56 Display
I have always wanted a Halloween village. Sure, most people have Christmas villages with happy ice skaters and a cheery Santa frolicking in the snow but I’ve always wanted a village of dead trees, spooky creatures and haunted houses! I have yet to acquire any parts of my Halloween village, but one day I hope to have a sizable collection. I fin it is the perfect final addition to great indoor Halloween decor. Pictured below you will find pieces that inspire me and, I hope, inspire you too! Which ones do you like?  Happy Halloween!

 

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Hocus Pocus

Hocus-Pocus-movie-posterAh, 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

Max and Dani portray a great sibling relationship.
Max and Dani portray a great sibling relationship.

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

The Sanderson Sisters
The Sanderson Sisters

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.