Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Party Ideas for Kids

We had my daughters Halloween party a couple weekends ago and I feel really bad that I'm just now getting around to making the post about it but here it is! I hope you're able to get some good ideas for your child's next Halloween party from it.

This one is my favorite picture from the whole party. It's got all the kids together and they are all showing personality and it's just adorable with them all in their costumes!

So I spent a lot of time getting things ready for this party, I decorated a lot and made sure everything looked Halloweeny and prepared  a craft, games, and food. 

For the Decor:
I like to drape those black cloth things over some of our furniture to give it an extra creepy Halloween look, you can find these at Dollar Stores and probably anywhere that is selling Halloween decorations. We've also got a skeleton bride hanging there and a "Haunted House" sign. On the hutch I put 3 sparkly tinsel witches hats that we got a few years ago, a ghost candle, pumpkin candle, paper mache skeleton face my daughter painted and a picture that looks like a man and a dog when you look at it one way and a skeleton and a dog when you look at it the other way. Those pictures are really cool and kids always like them, you can find them at dollar stores.

Here's more of that cloth covering another piece of our furniture. This is where I put the goodie bags on display (will talk about/show those more later). I also had sitting there some Halloween crafts my daughter had made, our craft, and one of our games sitting there.

There's also a ghost craft my daughter made with a cup and some crepe paper on display, and some of our pumpkins in the corner there.

Here we had another one of those cool pictures hanging and then put some of our littler pumpkins on display along with some Halloween decorations.
 We have all sorts of these things hanging around the house and on the windows in the front of the house. We like to put them on the doors inside too. There always at the dollar store this time of year and we have quite a few characters, they definitely add to the Halloween look in your home.

Then we just had some more simple Halloween decor like these pumpkin lights and this stuff.

More decor, we had some Halloween/spooky movies out in a stack during the party next to these cute ghost decorations. I did that to just give the house more of a Halloween feel, it's the little touches like these that look great in the backgrounds of pictures, in lieu of a messy array of movies you have watched that month or whatever. And of course Halloween stuffed animals were out on the couch.

 Let your kids help with the decorating too since you are throwing the party for them. My daughter was very proud of "her display" she made. And we hung that orange and black door thing for her because she really wanted to have that at the party.


Specifically for the party of course I printed out these super cute place cards from a blog called Deck The Halls.

I let my daughter set them out where she wanted at the table and it worked out really well. Our table had an orange plastic table cloth on it and then a black lace Halloween table cloth. I also had our big spell book on the center of the table.

For the Food:

Really quick I have one more thing to add about decorating! You can see in the photo below how on the fridge there is just a Halloween artwork of my daughters with some Halloween magnets keeping it up. I also had a few pictures of her still up on it higher but I took off all the extra magnets and things. This way when taking pictures at the party the background didn't look cluttered. I tried to make it look as Halloweeny every as possible!

So this was our food display!

I cut a Halloween plastic table cloth down to size for our counter and I put out Halloween paper plates, cups, and napkins. I printed the "Eat, Drink and Be Scary" thing out from this blog. I think it added the absolute perfect touch to the food display! I also set out a few little decorative items like pretend jars that said things like "spooky spider cider" and "skin of toad."
 So for food/drinks we had:
- Vampire Swirl Cake (which I'll share how to make soon)
- Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins, I made these even more Halloweeny by putting them in spider cupcake liners and putting witch hat food picks in them.
- tortilla chips
- pretzels
- guacamole spider web dip. I didn't take pictures of that up close but all you need to do is get a container of guacamole, put some sour cream in a ziploc bag, cut a hole and squirt it on top of the guacamole in a spider web design.
- water bottles
- apple cider

Vampire Swirl Cake Recipe:
- box of red cake mix and what it calls for (water, oil, eggs)
- whipped vanilla icing
- tube of red icing
- plastic vampire fangs

As you can see my daughter had fun with the icing. This is another part that is great to involve your kids in. Since it is your child's party after all it's nice to make them as big of a part of the planning, decorating, and getting things ready as they can.

So bake the cake according to the directions on the package and you'll end up with a red bunt cake. Once it is cooled you can spread on the icing with a spatula making it as smooth as you can. Then take the tube of red icing and squirt some on it lines. After you have some red on there you need to wash your hands thoroughly and then use your finger to swirl the red icing around until it looks really cool like a "vampire swirl". Stick the fangs in the back and you're good to go!

Eating their cake. Yum!

For Activities:
We played two games, read some Halloween books and had a special dramatic play area set up for the younger guest at our party.

The first thing we did was play Halloween bingo. I printed out the adorable sheets from here. We played it with candy corn and the winner got a sheet of Halloween window clings for a prize.
The second game we played was our version of "pin the boo on the ghost"

We got a white poster board and cut it into the shape of a ghost and used a black Sharpie to give it a pretty ghost face, complete with eyelashes. But the important part was that it had a decent sized mouth since that's where the kids were going to be pinning the boo. I taped the ghost to the wall underneath our "BOO" sign which I thought was really cute. For the boos I cut out speech bubbles from black paper and wrote "BOO!" on them. I had a Halloween bandanna for the kids to put over their eyes but we ended up just letting them close their eyes and giving them a spin before letting them try to pin the boo on the ghosts mouth. For the pinning I just folded some tape and put it on the back of the black speech bubbles before I gave them to the kids so they would adhere to wherever they stuck it. The winner of this game won a child's vampire mask.

For our next activity we had reading. I was going to read a Halloween book to the kids but I ended up letting one of our older guests do it instead. She read Goodnight Goon (which is the book I had picked) and Five Black Cats.
Here's our Halloween book display I had set out. I had most of them in a stack and then a few favorites put up, along with two I specifically thought would be good for our younger guest. If you have young toddlers/babies coming to your party because they are siblings of your child's friends you need to make sure you set up some activities for them too. So I had Biscuit's Pet & Play Halloween sitting out since it's a touch and feel book, as well as Can You Make The Monster Giggle? because it too is a touch and feel and makes noise.

We had one more activity for our younger guest (she is one by the way). 

I called it "The Princess Patch" and it was just a Little People vehicle we had that could be used as a hayride, some Disney princess Little People, and some toy pumpkins. One of them lit up.

For Our Craft:
I printed out a "draw the details" Frankenstein face from this website .

So I had the sheets and then a little purple Halloween bucket to put the supplies everyone could use in them. I put out facial feature stickers, bottles of glue, googly eyes, green glitter, and black crayons. This way everyone got to do their own thing and be creative, and there was a variety of supplies so everyone's looked different.

For The Goodie Bags:

 I let my daughter make the goodie bags for each kid. We used paper goodie bags that had ghosts on them which is where I wrote the kids names. Every goodie bag was the same except for the
one for our youngest guest, but I like to label them and put them on display. We gave each guest three skeleton rings, 2 boxes of Halloween stickers, a couple pieces of candy, and a pack of fruit snacks. Our younger guest got stickers, Plum Organics pouch and a piece of chocolate.

There's the display I had for the goodie bags, just put them all out with some Halloween/Fall crafts my daughter had made and two little cute rubber duckies, a witch and Frankenstein.

Photo Ops:
We bought this mummy to tape on the wall and take each kids picture next too all dressed up. Not everyone wanted to do it and that was fine, but the ones that did turned out super adorable and it's a great keepsake. Also great for when you go to make a photo book of this Fall and you want to include cute stuff from the Halloween party.

Other good photo opportunities are when parents are dressed up with their children like I did for my daughter! Also having a Halloween decoration that stands on it's own like this witch is great for the kids to take their pictures next too. The first picture on this post was all the kids and the witch.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Gift Ideas for Kids

Here's a quick post on some ideas for what to put in your kids jack-o-lantern bucket for Halloween. I love giving my daughter little presents so I of course do on Halloween as I'm sure many of you do as well.

1. You could go with the obvious and give them some candy or sweet Halloween treats. They're going to get a ton of candy on Halloween already so I don't give a lot of that but this year I did grab some of her seasonal favorites for her bag that won't be available in stores much longer, like the candy corn Hershey's bar. And another treat that I knew would make her so happy, she loved Peeps this year at Easter time so I got a little pack of ghosts and a little pack of grave stones.

2. Halloween books

3. Grab & Go Halloween coloring packs, like this one . They have them for many characters and are at most grocery stores/Targets/etc.

4. Halloween coloring books. They often will sell small ones that would fit good into a jack-o-lantern bucket.

5. Halloween stickers. 

6. Maybe your child is in need of some new accessories, like a scarf for the cold months or some new hair bows. Those could easily be stuck in a jack-o-lantern bucket. Even tights, socks, etc. You can stay with the Halloween theme and get some in black/orange colors or Halloween patterns or not.

7. Halloween/fall themed dishes. I am obsessed with buying seasonal plates/cups/utensils/place mats at Target. A cup can easily be stuck in a jack-o-lantern bucket.

8. Little stuffed animals (Halloween themed or not)

9. I always get one of the little Halloween Barbies for my daughter's jack-o-lantern bucket.

10. Something that has to do with their costume. One year I gave my daughter a Lalaloopsy t-shirt because she was being one for Halloween. You could do something similar for lots of other character costumes. Shirts, underwear, all sorts of things.

11. Halloween finds from the dollar store. They have tons of little cute things for Halloween, my daughter loves the packs of holiday erasers at Dollar Tree.

12. Other Halloween themed snacks that aren't candy. Lots of stores will carry stuff like that. We've found cheese puffs in bags with Minnie & Mickey dressed up for Halloween on them. You could get some Halloween cookies and put a few in a bag for the jack-o-lantern bucket.

13. Glow bracelets to keep them safe and seen by drivers when out trick or treating.

14. Spider rings.

15. I like to keep it Halloween themed, but if you don't the options really are endless as long as it'll fit inside your jack-o-lantern bucket. Crayons, bubbles, bracelets, bouncy balls, etc.

These pictures are from  a couple years ago, all the ones from her last years basket turned out pretty blurry and she hasn't gotten hers yet this year because I give it to her Halloween morning.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Our Favorite Halloween Books

There are hundreds and hundreds of children's Halloween books out there and it can be hard to decide which ones to purchase or check out from the library. We own the majority of these but some we have checked out at the library and loved. The library is so great to check out holiday books if you're not wanting to buy them but still want your kids to experience the joy of reading festive stories. Here's a list of some of our favorites!

1. Five Black Cats by Patricia Hegarty

2. Biscuit's Pet & Play Halloween by Alyssa Satin Capucilli 

3. Monster Party by Nate Evans
Monster Party


5. Tricked For Treats by Sarah Willson

6. Fancy Nancy Candy Bonanza by Jane O'Connor

8. Room on the Broom by Julie Donaldson 

10. Happy Halloween, Hello Kitty by Becky Gold

11. Hooray for Halloween! by Diane Wright Landolf 

13. Corduroy's Halloween by B.G. Hennessy 

14. At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman

15. 10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman 

16. The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing

17. Inside a House That is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

18. Ten Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage

19. Sofia the First Halloween Ball by Lisa Ann Marsoli

20. Halloween at Creepy Castle by Alison Inches

23. Pinkalicious Pink or Treat! by Victoria Kann

25. Franklin's Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois 

26. A-Boo-C by Pamela Jane

28. The Tiniest Pumpkin by Janet Craig 

29. Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino 

30. Happy Halloween, Ladybug Girl by David Soman

31. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz 

32. Trixie the Halloween Fairy by Daisy Meadows
Trixie the Halloween Fairy (Rainbow Magic Series: Special Edition)

33. Allie Gator's Halloween Ride by Ted Williams
Allie Gator's Halloween Ride (John Deere Children's Series)

34. Happy Halloween! by Rosemary Wells
Happy Halloween!

Mrs. Jeepers' Scariest Halloween Ever (Adventures of the Bailey School Kids: Super Special #7)


38. The Halloween Secret by Dandi Daley Mackall

40. The Witch Next Door by Norman Bridwell

41. Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

42. Sam's First Halloween by Mary Labatt

43. The Big Halloween Scare by Steven Banks

44. Trick-or-Treat Safety by Megan C Peterson

45. And Then Comes Halloween by Tom Brenner

46. Clifford's First Halloween by Norman Bridwell

47. Happy Halloween!

48. Spooky Bunny Tales

49. The Witch Who Couldn't Fly: A Glow in the Dark Book) by Mary Packard

50. Let's Celebrate Halloween by Peter and Connie Roop
Let's Celebrate Halloween

51. Aliens Don't Carve Jack-O'-Lanterns by Debbie Dadey
Aliens Don't Carve Jack-O'-Lanterns (Adventures of the Bailey School Kids: Special Series)