Adventures of Mom: Ultimate Family Halloween Edition
‘Aren’t you a little too old for trick or treating?’ I asked my daughter.
She regarded me with horror as if to say: Who is ever too old for Halloween?
Though I suspect I would be given a few dirty looks if I attempted to stick my hand into the candy bowls, costume or not, my daughter, however, would slide by another year with youth on her side. Though her choice of costume surprised me. She had morphed from Tinkerbell to evil witches to a bloody vampire, but I think my son’s Walking Dead obsession has totally turned her off the gore, (Did you hear me sigh in relief?) and she chose something more er, sweet. Though I am expecting a twist to this tale the closer Halloween night approaches.
Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids
For years, we have delved into the homemade world of costumes, like the Mummy, the Archer (I swear, she looked like Katniss from The Hunger Games!), Frankenstein and a swamp monster, and this year will be no different. Check out our homemade costume ideas.
You can re-use and recycle last years costumes, trade them out with other friends, or check out the selections on offer at your local store, or thrift store. Never discount the traditional favorites, like ninja warrior using your child’s Ghee, or cheerleader (vampire cheerleader anyone?). And once your child grows out of their costume, join the mom-recycling ranks and PASS IT ON! Keep the clothes going! I love the mom-recycle route. It has saved us so much money over the years, especially on items that kids use briefly as they shoot past them growing faster than they can wear them out!
Halloween Makeup Artistry: Beyond the Cheap Grease Paint
Looking to step up your Halloween costume game? A relative of mine is a superb makeup artist. She walks you through step by step tutorials on character face painting on her amazing YouTube Channel: Only in UR Mind. She does neat characters and scary ones: like the Weeping Angels from Dr. Who, Walking Dead favorites, and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy (very cool).
Tash is so far advanced from my usual- break out the mom’s old make-up and let me paint your face- routine. She’s truly amazing!
Store Bought Costumes
Of course, if you are a last minute panster, you can always run over to your local store or grab a costume from an online store. It saves fighting the fabric-store crowds, bad sewing jobs (of which I am notorious!) & makeup on your towels. And there are plenty of costumes to choose from like Super Mario, Steampunk Princess, Anything from 5 Nights of Freddie, The Incredibles, Thor and other Avengers- Spiderman and a plethora of witches. This year stores seem to be promoting a lot of male costumes with bulk- fake rippling muscles (do they think we’ve become wimps?).
A visit to your local pumpkin picking patch is a must this time of year. It has been our family tradition since the kids were little. Here are 5 things you should do at your local picking patch.
To carve or not to carve? That is the question. The moment you cut into your pumpkin you have a short life span before rot sets in. So if you do choose to carve, leave it until the last moment. There are those that choose the hot glue route- gluing googly eyes and faces onto their pumpkins. I recently saw an article on wrapping tasteful ribbons around your pumpkins as well, but here, we have chickens to feed and kids that insist on the old fashioned pumpkin-carving.
Steps to carving your Halloween Pumpkin
- Choose your pumpkin. Be it from the Farmers Market, Local Pumpkin Patch or Grocery Store.
- Wash and dry the pumpkin (Not all farms are organic).
- With a sharpie, draw your desired face onto the pumpkin (or let your child do it).
- Using a sharp knife (adults only, please!), cut around the stem at the top of the pumpkin- a hole the size you can stick your hand in. This should then pull up like a hat. Set it aside.
- Let the kids pull the innards from the pumpkin and put in a bowl. You can either: a) compost these. b) feed them to your chickens- natural de-wormer! c) separate the seeds from the stringy mass and either dry them out and plant them next year or clean them and roast them lightly in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt and eat them. Yum. Your choice.
- Now that the guts are removed, begin carving out the face, Use a knife for the cuts that go all the way through and a carver for those that don’t. You can buy them at Walmart this time of year cheaply, or invest in a better one for years to come. My husband’s a chef, so we have vegetable carving tools on hand, that he has collected through the years. We also use our clay tools- see the note below. As always, these tools are sharp. Always monitor your kids closely, and when in doubt, do it yourself.
- Wipe clean. Compost all scraps.
- Place a tea candle in the pumpkin and replace the lid.
- You now have a Halloween Pumpkin!
Pumpkin carving sets that last: in addition to pumpkin carving, our family works with clay too and we have used our clay tools for fine details in our pumpkins. They are re-usable as well. You can pick up a set at your local craft store, or even at your grocery store this time of year!
Trick or Treating Safety
This is the biggie, especially now a days when people are not as friendly as they used to be. Don’t go to a neighborhood you don’t feel safe. You can read about some alternative Trick or Treating venues in this blog post.
Here is some Trick or Treating Advice for Parents:
The Dos and Don’ts of Trick or Treating Night
- Safety comes in numbers. Get a group together for you Trick or Treating night, with more than one adult to keep an eye on kids.
- Do get a bag/basket for each child to carry their treats. You can use last year’s buckets/a shopping bag.
- A lot of people in our T&T neighborhood have front-yard parties or put up games and even the occasional Haunted House to add to the evenings festivities. However, others don’t, so : Don’t approach any houses with their lights off. This is the sign that they have no wish to participate in this evening. Respect their wishes.
- Do have your kids say “thank you.” Politeness goes a long way.
- Don’t let your kids eat candy without you inspecting it first. Discard any open/tampered with packages and anything you deem suspect.
- Do watch out for cars. It gets dark earlier and though some drivers will be wary, not everyone is expecting a Ninja in black to pop out of nowhere. Use the sidewalks, the crosswalks and watch out for cars.
- Be safe. Always, safety comes first. Be smart and safe. If something doesn’t feel/look right, it probably isn’t: use your instincts. One year a really creepy costumed person was handing out candy. I couldn’t even tell if it was a man or woman, the costume and mask covered them completely. I steered the kids away (much like when I avoided that big gator on the Silver River!) Keep your kids safe!