It is no secret that I am a big advocate of Halloween. Adults, kids, parents or not – it’s just a great holiday with a month of spooky, scary and fun nonsense. When I lived in the south I got my first taste of how they do it in the country: guys with REAL chainsaws chasing you past the haunted house into the parking lot to your car (yep, that happened) and hayrides that drop you off in the middle of the woods and leave you there. California, we cannot hold a candle with Knott’s Scary Farm and the Queen Mary Haunt against being abandoned in the woods at midnight. Trust me.
At any rate I couldn’t let my favorite day of the year go by without an “All Things Halloween” blog post with everything you need to know for this holiday. So let’s start with the foundation of Halloween: the pumpkin. What I love – Pumpkin Patches. What was the best thing at this patch? The Pumpkin Launcher at Tanaka Farms.
Well, really these two were my most favorite
The only thing I really don’t like about Halloween is pumpkin carving (and I KNOW I am not alone). It’s not the mess but just the long process to gut and carve it only for my glorious pumpkin to droop and mold within about 48 hours. It’s a sad death. So, this year I have been on the hunt for a pumpkin more my style and here are my contenders.
A pack of glow puff paint, some artistry and you are DONE!
Of if Angel had her way it would be this “Frozen” pumpkin
But even this looks like too much work to me. Maybe next year.
Because if I had it my way and I was sure I wasn’t ruining my kids childhood for not properly decorating a pumpkin – I would choose this. Bottle of paint and glitter. Done.
Now let’s discuss food and drinks. Many of the Halloween appetizers and such I found I realistically couldn’t ask guests at a party to eat mainly due to the gag reflex I had just looking at them. But these snacks made the cut.
Because serving you guests this is just wrong, even if it is brownies & nuts. Shame on you.
Moving on…….kids crafts.
I am all about simplicity. Solids and Caroline Kennedy for my closet, Pottery Barn/Restoration Hardware interiors, low-cal organic meals and most of all crafts that don’t require a degree from the Martha Stewart school of food, decor and crafts. If I can’t make a craft in 3-4 simple steps I am out. So, here is our house’s tried and true crafts for this season.
This one is always the winner and the most popular pastime for Halloween in our neighborhood. You can “Boo” a friend or neighbor with just a note on their door and small gift or candy or with a balloon like this one. Once you tag your friend, they must pass it forward with “boo-ing” someone else (sounds like our ISP wands, doesn’t it?). We have opted for the balloons as it just added a fun element.
As much as I LOVE Halloween what I also don’t care for is all the candy my kids want to eat after. We limit a lot of sugary foods at home so 2 tons of candy and chocolate on November 1st at my house is a crisis. It falls under crisis mode because the one most tempted to eat it is me so it must be eliminated quickly. So last but not least, here is a list of things you can do on November 1st with your hard earned loot (see, this is where the kindness factor comes in!)
1. Participate in a candy exchange: most pediatric dentists offer a program where kids can donate their candy in exchange for items or money.
2. Candy can be sent halfway around the world for our heroes. You can explain to your child what an amazing thing they are doing sending a commodity to our troops who need a pick-me-up. You can find these programs at Operation Gratitude or Operation Shoebox.
3. Pinatas for donation. Purchase some pinatas and fill with candy to donate to various churches or organizations that help underprivileged families so another child can have a fun gift on their birthday
4. Check in your area to see if any local businesses are trading anything for candy. The twins’ favorite restaurant (and one of our ISP “friends”) is handing these out at their locations.
5. Various charities could use extra candy. Try a local women’s shelter, nursing home or Ronald McDonald House. When we were at the Ronald McDonald facilities during Angel’s surgery the donations people brought were incredibly important to all of us spending days and nights waiting.
6. Leave for the “Candy Fairy”. I have a friend that would have her daughter leave her candy on the porch November 1st only to find a non-edible gift in exchange for her generosity. *A hint to parents: if you go to most grocery stores the day after a major holiday all the expensive balloons they sell during that holiday are given away free. Just a thought!
Whatever you do in the next 10 days, have fun, and definitely…..most definitely don’t let anyone drop you off in the middle of a field for a haunted house.