5 articles Tag Halloween

Host the Perfect Halloween Garden Party for Kids

Halloween Garden PartyHalloween is fast approaching and more and more people in the UK are celebrating, especially families with young children. For American families, trick or treating plays a huge part in Halloween but parents in UK can be a little more reluctant to let their children take part in the door to door tradition. Instead of trick or treating, parents can avoid stranger danger by hosting their very own outdoor Halloween parties instead. Find out how to host the perfect Halloween garden party for kids with advice from the garden specialists at Artificial Grass Direct.

Step One: Party-Proof the Garden

Children + face paint + copious amounts of sweets = carnage. A Halloween garden party is a lot more forgiving on the home than a house party but there are still steps you can take to ensure easy clean up. Re-home all breakables (including ornaments and potted plants) for the night and cover furniture to protect it from spills. If you have natural grass in your garden, we recommend covering it with blankets or tarp otherwise you could run the risk of little monsters tearing up the turf. If you have artificial grass, this will require less maintenance as it is much more durable and can easily be wiped clean!

It’s important to keep guests warm and dry so double check the weather on party night and consider using a gazebo or similar cover if it looks like it might rain. You can also use a patio heater or fire pit to regulate your garden temperature but make sure to protect your garden and your guests (especially if there are young children attending) from the heat.

Set the Scene

Now you’ve party-proofed your garden you can focus on making it look the part. A quick and easy way to set the scene is to pick up a couple of cheap Halloween themed fairy lights and decorations. You can save money on these by buying at local pound shops and discount stores as opposed to name-brand supermarkets. From fake cobwebs and spider decorations, all the way through to bat bunting and life-size plastic skeletons, these decorations might look a tacky but that’s the spirit of Halloween! You can even go all out and carve a couple of pumpkins, if you have time, as a fun pre-party activity to do with the kids.

Spooky Snacks

Bring the trick or treating tradition to your own back garden by setting up sweetie stations with a variety of treats. You can buy plenty of themed sweets this around time of year including gummy worms and eyeball candy or you can make your own. We recommend cake pops since they are simple to make, fun to decorate, and easy for little ones to hold.

Halloween doesn’t have to be unhealthy, though. If you’re worried about the sugar content of store-bought sweets swap them out for healthy alternatives. A couple of chocolate chips can turn a regular banana into a ghostly ‘Boonana’. Another option is to sandwich apple slices together with peanut butter before adding mini marshmallows to make mutant mouths with terrifying teeth. There are plenty of healthy Halloween snack recipes out there on the internet, a quick search will yield plenty of ideas and inspiration!

Gruesome Games

Finally, no party is complete without a little entertainment. Depending on the age of your audience you can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned horror story but there are plenty of other options if you’re worried about giving your guests nightmares. Bobbing for apples is a classic Halloween party game (just make sure to supervise at all times) and little kids will enjoy activities such as scavenger hunts or cupcake decorating. You can even host pumpkin carving contests for older children.

Getting Your Family Ready for Halloween

Summer has settled, school is in swing, and fall has officially begun. Now that October is here, it’s time to start gearing up for Halloween. Planning for holidays can be fun, but it can also be cumbersome. As a busy mom, it’s easy to forget a few details. Here you’ll find an all-encompassing, step-by-step guide to prepare you and your family for Halloween.

Check the Calendar

Halloween falls on October 31st every year, but do you know what day of the week that is? For the record, this year, it’s a Tuesday. How might that change things? Mothers with young children have to consider a late night followed by an early school morning. Will that affect whether or not you let your child go trick-or-treating or attend a party? If so, check to see if there are any local community events over the preceding weekend that your child could experience instead. Great examples include trunk-or-treats in church parking lots or mall-sponsored giveaways. Also glance at the calendar to check for any events related to Halloween that take place within the weeks prior. Is the school having a Harvest Festival, and if so, do you need to set aside time to volunteer? Is there a costume contest you need to be aware of and prepare for in advance? Staying organized with your calendar will prevent last-minute panics. You don’t want to get caught on your heels or in a bind for procrastinating.

Act Early

Just like any holiday, the best practice is to act early. With a hectic schedule, this is much easier said than done. Try to do things little by little so you won’t feel so overwhelmed when you wind up decorating moments before trick-or-treaters start knocking on your door. Get those decorations down sooner than later, and slowly start putting things out as you have time. It’ll help your children get in the spirit and will lighten the burden by spacing it out. Going to the pumpkin patch is one of the best fall events to do as a family. If you wait too long, the best finds might be picked over—and the prices may be dramatically higher. Hold off on actually carving the pumpkins until the week of Halloween to avoid rot and decay, but secure your pieces early. Or, skip all the mess altogether and opt for alternative crafts instead. Be sure to avoid heading to the costume store with only a few days to spare. The selections and sizing are sure to be limited.

Pick Your Costumes

Decide whether you intend to buy new costumes this year, upcycle previous years’, or make something yourself. Setting a budget will make this decision easier. If you do plan to buy, consider using online retailers to save you time and money. Shopping online will allow you to compare prices and browse ideas. Give your child autonomy and let them exercise their own choice instead of choosing something on their behalf. As for yourself, jumpsuits make excellent choices for Halloween costumes for women. These onesies are easy, comfortable, and reusable as pajamas all year long. If you have toddlers or newborns, picking family-themed costumes are a fun way to stand out in the neighborhood. Some examples include the circus – with a ring leader, clown, and lion – or Disney cast members.

Stay Safe

One of the most important things as a mother is to ensure the safety of your family. Halloween time presents new obstacles and hurdles to look out for with increased pedestrian traffic, increasingly darker nights, and spikes in neighborhood vandalism. Take the time to sit down with your children and teach them proper safety tips, such as using sidewalks and always crossing at corners. Before trick-or-treating, consider lining their tote bags with reflective tape, purchasing glow sticks to wear around their neck, or investing in other safety products. Make sure you trust the area and that your child is always with a buddy or under supervision.

Halloween is a lot more involved than it used to be. It’s not just a day, it’s a season. If you take the time at the beginning of the month to plan properly, you and your family will thank you for it later.

How to Throw a Costume Party on a Budget

Costume parties are great fun for all ages, instantly setting a mood of revelry and excitement. Yet adding costumes on top of other decorations, food, drink and games can really add up. Whether you’re thinking of throwing a themed birthday party or a Halloween bash, use our tips to save money on your next costume party.

1. Get the timing right.

No matter what type of party you’re throwing, if children are involved you should set the time during the magic hour between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. Why is this the magic time? It falls in between meals so that you don’t have to worry about full catering. Your guests will already be full from lunch, so a few snacks will suffice. However, if your guests are still young enough to take afternoon naps, you should shift this to the morning and provide coffee and treats instead.

2. Start planning early.

If possible, plan your party as early as you can. Shop around for supplies so that you have time to compare prices, rather than dashing out the night beforehand and panic-buying overpriced plastic plates. Ideally, your party supplies should include a mix of pre-used decorations and supplies you buy when they’re on sale. Keep this in mind now if you’re planning any holiday parties, as well!

3. Dip into your kid’s dress-up box.

Children love to play dress-up, so you can create a whole activity out of this for your next party. Set up a photo booth area in one corner of the home. This doesn’t have to cost very much money at all – all you need is an area with good natural lighting or a lamp, a simple sheet as a backdrop, and a handful of props and costumes. This is where the dress-up box comes in. From a power rangers costume to old princess tutus, all of these bits and pieces can be used by guests to create something silly and new. Snap digital photos and send them to the guests afterwards as a souvenir!

4. Turn decorating into an activity.

Invest in a few arts and crafts supplies for your costume party and you’ll be able to get DIY Decorations as well as a time-killing activity. For example, if you’re planning to throw a Halloween party, you could set up an area for your guests to decorate their own pumpkins when they come in the door. Put these on display and you’ll add to your ambience, no further decorations needed.

5. Go paperless.

Paper invitations look nice, but let’s face, how many of us end up chucking them in the bin as soon as we’ve RSVP’d? Don’t bother spending money on paper invitations and thank you notes. Instead, keep it digital and you’ll save money as well as a few trees in the process.

Make sure that your guests have a great time without going broke in the process by following these top tips, and you’ll throw a party to remember!

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Craft #BostikBlogger

day-of-the-dead-sugar-skull-craftSo, a little while ago I was asked if I’d like to be a Bostik Blogger, which basically involves being sent a box of craft materials each month and coming up with something relevant. Seeing as we’re on the run-up to Halloween, and Halloween is basically Sausage’s favourite holiday, I thought we’d do something Day of the Dead related, which is the Mexican day to celebrate those who aren’t with us anymore and celebrated on the same day as Halloween.

Having “age-gap kids” as I do (there’s five and a half years between Sausage and BB) means that we need crafts which are engaging enough to keep Sausage interested whilst being simple enough for BB to get involved with, which is why this simple Day of the Dead mask is perfect for both of them – plenty of BLING for Sausage but lots of simple shapes and sticking-on for BB!

Here’s What You Need: img_20161122_114327_hdr

1 paper plate, Bostik White Glue, Bostik Glitter pens, scissors, A black felt tip or permanent marker, Various sequins and pom-poms for decoration, a lolly stick

Cut the plate into the desired skull shape

img_20161122_114430_hdrMark between and around the ‘teeth’ with your black marker and draw your eye and nose shapes with a pencil (I drew around something for the eyes because my freehand is rubbish!)

img_20161122_114724_hdrGo around the eyes and nose with your black pen and fill then completely

img_20161122_114948_hdrStick sequins around the eyes and in the nose using your Bostik white glue

img_20161122_120326_hdrOnce the glue has semi-dried, outline the eyes with whatever colour of glitter glue you like

img_20161122_120508_hdrStick the pom-poms along the top edge of the skull. Add decorations on the cheeks using more sequins and glitter glue to create patterns. Stick a stick to the back of the mask.

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And you’re done! It really is that simple. Given the small amount of effort it takes, I really think this is such a lovely craft and we’ll definitely be making a whole load of them to decorate the house with! You could even cut the eyes out and use them as masks with a little elastic stapled to the sides.

Do you love Halloween and Day of the Dead? I’d love to see your crafts so please do leave me a link below!

Our Favourite Halloween Crafts

Sausage is a huge fan of Halloween. In fact, just the other day, she told me that Halloween was actually her favourite, ahead of Christmas; if a kid chooses something ahead of a holiday which involves copious amounts of presents, you know it’s serious! I do my best to indulge her love of Halloween with costumes and pumpkins and a yearly viewing of Ghostbusters, but this year the goalposts have changed. This year, we’re living in a village which actually DOES STUFF for Halloween!

On Saturday evening, we’ll pop over to the other half of the village to meet in the Mission Hall. From there we’ll indulge in a supper of hot dogs before all the families go trick or treating together! Sausage is beside herself with excitement as we’ve never done trick or treating before. Houses who wish to be involved are to place a pumpkin outside, so we thought we’d go one step further and make some awesome Halloween crafts for our display, and we’ve been searching blogs for inspiration. Here are our favourites:

These glowing ghosts over at Adventures of Adam are so simple, yet wonderfully effective and would make a lovely window display for Halloween night.

Toddler-made-ghosts

These tissue paper pumpkins from Parenthood Highs and Lows are wonderfully easy to make and look fab, and I reckon even Burrito Baby could get involved with making them.

Tissue paper Pumpkins

As someone with a Pokemon FANATIC as a daughter, I know for a fact that we’ll be making this at some point this week! Go to In The Playroom for full instructions.

Pumpkin-pikachu-pin

Another craft which would look fantastic as part of a window display and is super simple to do are these clothes peg mummies from Thinly Spread. Their googly eyes and wavy arms don’t make them look too scary, making them perfect for toddlers and little ones.

clothes peg mummies

If you’re looking for some fun, spooky treats to give out to Trick or Treaters, these brilliant spider cakes from Pink Oddy are just the thing and they’re great fun for the kids to make, too.

spier_eight_eyes

We love a bit of bunting in our house and this super-simple Halloween version from Daisies and Pie is a great addition to any Halloween house, especially if you’re throwing a party.

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I’ve been wanting to make these Jelly Worms for ages as they make the perfect gruesome Halloween sweets, but I’ve never got around to it. Luckily, The Gingerbread House has a great tutorial to help you make your own.

Jelly Worms

These lanterns would be the perfect accompaniment to Trick or Treating, especially if you used battery powered tealights or glowsticks, as the tutorial from Mum in the Madhouse suggests.

Halloween-Crafts-Mason-Jar-Lanterns

These sugar skull dolls from Zing Zing Tree could not be more appropriate for us this year as Sausage is going to be dressed as a real-life Day of the Dead Senorita this year, so these will definitely be being made by us!

Sugar-Skull-Doll-Tutorial

Sausage and I were a bit late to the Hama beading party but now we’ve discovered them, we’re massive fans. This spooky glow-in-the-dark Hama craft from Hannah Spannah would be brilliant to hang in windows or on gate posts on the night itself.

Halloween Hama

If you have a little one (or even yourself) who isn’t keen on the full dress-up experience, then these autumnal Halloween masks from Dilly Drops could be the perfect solution.

Halloween Masks

Finally, these pop-up ghosts from Diary of a First Child make a really gentle ‘trick’ if people aren’t in the giving mood but you don’t want to go full-on and egg people’s houses! People will find it so adorable that they’re bound to muster up a treat after seeing them!

Pop Up Ghost

What will you be making this week?