Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Halloween & Half Term Holidays

I love the build up to Halloween, but it has been a few years since I was in the UK to see it through.

But, I have been fortunate enough to live in an area where there are lots of children and 'willing parents' and so Halloween is very special for the children who live around us with lots going on and lots of smiley facey (and scarey faces).

Having spent the last 3 years over in the US (home of Halloween Festivities) we have seen some spectacular displays invloving pumpkins the size of a bean bags and shops (all of them) dressed in spectacular displays of fruit, Autumn colours and amazing scary costumery.  Everyone seems to party when it comes to Halloween and so the fun goes on into the night with teenagers and adults joinging in the festivities.  I have to admit, it left me wanting to do 'even' more back here at home in the UK.

My local branch of NCT (Chorley & Leyland) hold a fabulous Halloween Party (which is raved about for weeks and the photos are amazing) but which I am yet to have attended, due to my trans-atlantic addiction!  If you get the chance to go to a Halloween Party that has been running for a few years, chances are they have got it off to a fine tee and you will have a great time. It's a great way for your kids to have fun, socialise and stay safe.

Dress Up:  It doesn't have to be scarey - but scarey is good if your little ones like that! Ghosts, vampires, witches, skeletons, monsters ...... they all do the trick (or treat).  But, you can also go for the less scarey options, fun characters or even a bit of mystery/fantasy - pumpkin costumes are cute, fairies with a bit of sparkle (add a touch of Halloween colour) and even white witches (no warts or green faces required) will leave your little ones with a 'magical' theme to follow and smiling all the way to your neighbours door for 'trick or treat'.

Trick or Treat:  After dressing them, dress your house (particularly the doorway).  If you are stopping in, you can make a 'Halloween Supper', play fun themed games and when the doorbell goes you can be prepared for your little ones to see the 'big kids' look fabulous costume.  Don't forget to have treats to hand - little made up paper bags of a sweeties pre-made up wil make it easier for them to select and helps you keep an eye on how much is needed. Add just a few sweets as they are likely to return home with a 'booty' that they will have a sugar high on for the rest of the week. Thank them for their efforts and especially if they have an adult in tow (encouraging safety is a must).

If you do allow small ones to go 'trick or treating' make sure they have warm underwear and/or leggings under those costumes and 'always' go with them and make yourself visible to the adults answering the door.

If you are unable to participate in door answering - leave a polite note at the door saying "Baby in Bed, please don't knock" or "Out Trick or Treating - please call later". You could leave a bowl of treats at the door if you wish!

Dressing the Doorway:  Add pumpkins, orange flowers/plants, candles (take care they are in a heat proof  container - or pumpkin), broomsticks, hanging spiders, webs, anything Autumn colour will enhance your display (including logs, pine cones, etc.). If you can have music playing low, either when continuously or before you answer the door this adds great effect too.

Halloween Supper: You can create or re-construct a number of delicious bites from food that you would normally serve - but with a Halloween theme.  Pizza can be cut into fingers and you can pretend they are real fingers or chips have the same effect.  Hot dogs definitely get the fingers vote!  Jelly made up with grapes (eyeballs) looks good, cakes with jam filling can pass for blood filled cakes (jam doughnuts are even quicker).  Make shortbread biscuits and let them decorate them with spooky designs with wrtiting icing for a great game.  Toffee apples are always a hit and if your children like gingerbread or parkin then these taste great too!

Here's a fun virtual pumpkin carving game to play:  http://www.theoworlds.com/halloween/ 

And an educational site 'All about Halloween' and some cut out games to play:

Time Out for Mums Blog: http://timeoutformums-honiebuk.blogspot.com/
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