Halloween is one of our favorite celebrations and we fill our October with lots of traditions–haunted hay rides, parties, harvest festivals, crafts, parades, and, of course, dressing up and trick or treating!
This year we are excited to add to our traditions and check out Boo at the Zoo: Dragons and Dinosaurs at the Bronx Zoo.
With my resident paleontologist, we’ll be checking out the Dinosaur Safari: Mysteries Revealed experience. Check back later this month for our photographs and tips!
“Boo at the Zoo: Dragons and Dinosaurs is presented by Canon and will begin on Saturday, Oct. 4 and will run for five full weekends including Columbus Day and Halloween. All attractions and activities will embrace the spirit of the season while highlighting wildlife and conservation. Annual favorites including the hay maze, pumpkin carving demos, costume parades, music, magic and more will return with some additional Halloween surprises.”
Visit www.bronxzoo.com for a complete schedule of dates, performances and activities.
Disclosure: We are receiving complementary press tickets to facilitate my reviews. As always, words and opinions are my own unless otherwise noted.
Every year, I throw a small Halloween party for my daughter and her friends. We serve some Halloween-themed treats and make some Halloween-themed crafts. This year, I made a Halloween mix of songs that I thought would be upbeat and kid-appropriate but still fun for the adults who hung around.
- Calling All the Monsters by China Anne McClain
- Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
- Witch Doctor by David Seville
- Zombie Jamboree, by Harry Belafonte
- The Time Warp, by Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Little Nell & Cast The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack
- I Put A Spell On You, by Creedence Clearwater Revival Chronicle, Vol. 1 Rock
- Purple People Eater, by Sheb Wooley
- Werewolves Of London, by Warren Zevon
- (You’re The) Devil In Disguise, by Elvis Presley
- Strange Brew, by Cream
- Sympathy For The Devil, by The Rolling Stones
- This Is Halloween, Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack
- Superstition, by Stevie Wonder
- Ghostbusters, by Ray Parker, Jr.
- Thriller (Single Version), by Michael Jackson
- Friend of The Devil, by The Grateful Dead
- Witchy Woman, by The Eagles
If it were an adult party, I probably would have mixed in some slower songs. And I love a good creepy classical piece, like Saint-Saens’s “Danse Macabre,” but I wanted to keep things upbeat for the kids.
What would you add to the list?
Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year and October is one of my favorite months because it has my birthday and Halloween.
Crazedparent at Maya’s Mom (love that tag) asked that we visit Green Halloween for Blog Action Day. Even though I missed the Blog Action Day fun, I thought I would still share some ideas for an eco-friendly Halloween. Besides, I can share this post in Scribbit’s Winter Carnival.
This is a great month to think about the environment because it is harvest time! I am living in an agricultural area and we’ve had a great time visiting local farm stands and going to corn mazes. I think one of the best things parents can do for the environment it to show their children the joy and beauty of our planet. And buying local helps the local economy, saves gas for transportation in huge refrigerated trucks, and encourages you to work with produce that is in season.
Hiking through the never ending corn maze.
Checking out the pumpkin patch.
Here are some ideas if you want a Green Halloween:
Focus on the harvest aspect of the month with your child: Visit local farm stands, talk about where your food comes from and how buying local reduces the stress on the environment (with older children, this is a great opportunity to do some practical math). Collect leaves and create art projects. Learn how to dry and press flowers. Find out how cider is made. Make some preserves before those local berries go completely out of season. Prepare your herb and vegetable garden for the winter or consider planning one to plant next spring.
Make Paper Bag Masks, Hats, and Headresses: Check out this cool book: What Can You Do with a Paper Bag?
Avoid Plastic, Go Re-Usable: On Mamanista, I already mentioned how you can Trick or Treat in Eco Friendly Style with this Cute Kitty Cat Trick or Treat Bag ($16.95). This felt bag is designed to last for years, saving both money and landfill and it also comes in Frankenstein, Skeleton Bones, Miss Pumpkin, or Mr. Pumpkin styles.
Think About the Animals: Adopt a Vampire Bat, a Meerkat (my favorite), or any one of over six dozen animals through the Word Wildlife Federation ($50 or $100) and you’ll get a FREE Trick or Treat bag and a soft plush version of the adopted animal. Make your donation by 10pm EST, Wednesday, October 17, 2007 for delivery by Halloween. Later adoptions may arrive in time, but order now to be on the safe side.
Shop around local thrift stores (or Grandma’s closet) for costume inspiration: Be a hippie, a mod maven, a gangster, a Southern belle, or whatever strikes your fancy when you browse the racks. Also try Freecycle or Craigslist since most kids’ costumes are only worn once!
Candy Alternatives: Try to convince your kids to take just one or two pieces of candy from each house (good luck with that) and to trick or treat for UNICEF. It is hard to avoid all of the individually wrapped candy or cheap plastic toys for trick or treaters, but try to limit it at the party if you are hosting one. Get local apples for caramel apples, make pumpkin bread and toasted seeds from the inside of your jack o’ lantern.
Make your costume yourself: check out this link for some ideas for DIY costumes, like giant bag of jellybeans.
Re-use household materials for decorations: old pillow cases or plastic supermarket bags turned inside out become ghosts (just tie them tight so they don’t fly away and cause more garbage), old clothes are perfect for a scarecrow, use toilet paper rolls to make a bat or a pumpkin, just look around for inspiration and I’m sure will find some. HGTV also has some ideas for crafts and costumes.
Re-use cans and jars for a candle-lit path: cut the tops off cleaned out tin cans or use cleaned glass jars. If you use tin cans, you can use an old-fashioned can opener to make a spooky face. Use small votive candles and melt the bottom a little to make sure the candle is stuck to the bottom. Make sure not to place on a stable surface and avoid over-dry grass.
Creepy Glassware: While you are at the thrift store, pick up cheap glasses and paint the outside with non-toxic paint (spiders, ghosts, etc.). For adults and older children, you can serve the beverages in these cups. For younger kids, you can fill with water and food dye and place high up out of reach. Light from behind and it becomes a decoration. These are reusable year after year!
Don’t forget to check out some more of my Halloween recipes and ideas and share your Halloween Recipe at Mamanista for our carnival–I need some new recipes to try and we’ve got prizes, too.
I’ve already shared my Halloween Recipe for Spicy Witch Fingers (click for a pic of these and the Monster Toes) with you as part of Mamanista’s Halloween Recipe Contest/Carnival, so here are a few more Halloween ideas:
Food and Beverage:
Severed Monster Toes: Make pigs in a blanket with mini-franks and crescent dough, make marks for knuckles and add ketchup for blood.
Monster Brains: Serve guacamole, salsa, or dip in a hollowed out pumpkin with a apainted face!
Jello Brains: Get a Jello Brain Mold and surround with gummy worms or spaghetti. For an adult party, you may wish to add vodka, but be careful, the results may be scary.
Beverages: For an adult party, serve “blood” (sangria) and mulled wine and spiced cider.
More Recipes: A friend shared this EXCELLENT link with a bunch of Haunted Halloween Recipes (warning: there are pictures and some are very gross).
Eerie Entrance: Cover a hallway with black plastic trash bags and light with a black light. Hand your guests white out pens as they enter.
Giant Hanging Spider: Paint a large beach ball black and add eyes and fangs. Create eight legs out of paper links. Suspend from ceiling and tape the middle of the legs to the ceiling so just the last part of each leg hangs down.
Mood Lighting: Take out at least a few light bulbs and replace with red or green lights.
Anne Boleyn Costume: Get a rubber hand and cut off all but the thumb (leaving attached). Get a Renaissance style dress from a thrift store. Wear light (ghostly) make up and paint a red ring around your neck.
Ghostly Games: Here’s another link for Halloween Kids’ Games.
Also, I’ll be making my Halloween Music Mix, soon…Monster Mash, of course…I Put A Spell On You, naturally…Werewolves of London, Little Red Riding Hood…please share your ideas, too!
This is just a few off the top of my head to share. I’ll be adding more this month, I’m sure, including the BEST RECIPE FOR PUMPKIN BREAD I’ve ever tasted. You can also check out my product review blog for cool Halloween Costumes and Deals.
Here’s a picture of a portion of our spread one year:
Over at Mamanista! we’re having a Kooky Carnival, where bloggers and webmasters who contribute a will be entered to win an e-subscription to What’s Cooking and a copy of the Shrek Cookbook.
I’m not entering since I own that blog, too, but here’s my recipe for Spicy Witch Fingers:
12 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and cleaned of seeds, etc.
1 red bell pepper
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, or monterey jack cheese
Spices to taste: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs
salsa, for serving
- Halve and clean jalapenos carefully (most people will want to use gloves)
- Mix together cream cheese, shredded cheese and spices.
- Fill jalapeno peppers with cheese and spice mixture
- Roll stuffed peppers in bread crumbs**
- Cut the red bell pepper into mini-triangles for witch nails and press into the narrow end of the jalapeno.***
- Cook at 350 for 30 minutes on a greased pan or on foil.
- Serve with bloody salsa or other dip if desired.
** Some people like to dip the peppers first in flour, then in a well-beaten egg, then the bread crumbs
*** If prepping ahead, you can freeze these.
Captain Dad shows off my spicy witch fingers and bloody monster toes.
Here are the latest plugs for contests around the blogosphere.
I want to win:
Also, Laura Williams lists lots of contests and she has two of her own going on right now:
A $50 Gift Certificate from HalfPriceCostumes.com. But I can’t, because it is on my blog. Anyone can enter through the comments section and we’d love for you to submit a photo to get a second entry. We’ve gotten some really cute ones so far–please send us more. Enter by Oct. 5.
Mod*Mom’s Dyson Vacuum Giveaway. I mentioned it last time but it is too cool not to mention again. Mod*Mom is a breast cancer survivor and her story is as inspiring as her design sense. Enter by Oct 1.
- Well, the super-nice ladies at 5 minutes for mom ALSO want you to know that Dyson has Gone Pink and have one to give away, too. If you don’t already have visions of a pink dyson dancing across your carpet, go enter anyway to support Breast Cancer research…and if you win you can give me your vacuum 😉 Enter by Oct. 1.
Lots of cool stuff from Two Moms in a Blog, including a stuffed animal kit. Enter by September 30.
Mom Views has a copy of Siente. This is a lovely CD and we actually have one to give away later in October, too. We’ve been backlogged with contests but I’ll let you know when ours is up. Enter by Sept. 30.
So, a Blonde Walks Into a Review and hosts a shopping spree at Skimbaco. If you haven’t already checked out Skimbaco, make sure to give Katja’s great luxury children’s boutique a looksee. Enter by Sept. 30.
- Lincoln is currently offering a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate to qualified bloggers who mention his blog, the Habitation of Justice on their sites. Go check it out! Enter by October 24.
Cool Moms Rule is giving a way a different prize every day for a week.
- Finally, who couldn’t use a fresh look, so enter this contest by October 4:
And you’ll always find more great contests at From Dates to Diapers: