Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos Paper Calaveritas: Easy Kids Craft

Have you heard of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead? It’s one of my family’s favorite Holiday traditions. Celebrated November 1st – 2nd, in many Latin American countries, the Holiday is about remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed away. I learned all about the Holiday when my family moved to Mexico City when I was in 8th grade. I loved the concept of not only taking a day to remember the people you miss, but also to honor them with some fun and festivity. Sounds odd, right? But here’s the thing. The Mexican culture embraces death as just another aspect of life. It is not to be feared. And even when you are gone, you are not truly gone if someone remembers you.

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Tags: Halloween Family Fun Ideas

Cute Homemade Kids Halloween Costume – Gingerbread Cookie

Two years ago, my daughter and I decided to make her Halloween costume since she didn’t like any of the costumes we saw in the stores. She’s very creative and she wanted to be something really unique. We saw an idea in Family Fun magazine for a Gingerbread Cookie and of course we felt the need to add our own flair to make it funnier and cuter than the one in the magazine. (You didn’t know crafting was a competitive sport, did you?)

We liked the idea of the cookie on the baking sheet but she didn’t want just her face sticking out. She wanted her whole body to be the cookie so that if she took off the cookie sheet part of the costume, she would still have a full cookie costume on. Even though I’m not that talented with a needle, we went for it.

Cookie Costume:

We started by shopping for a brown outfit. We had to hit two different stores but we found a plain, long-sleeve brown shirt and brown sweatpants. We happened to have a brown knit hat and gloves at home which worked perfectly into our plans.

I couldn’t find anything three dimensional that would be easy to attach to the costume to serve as gum drop buttons so I chose large candy colored buttons instead. I purchased some wide rick rack ribbon to look like icing. I’m not great at sewing. I can sew on buttons and baste stitch but that is about it. So I sewed the rick rack ribbon on to each pants leg and shirt sleeve to look like icing. I sewed three large colorful buttons down the middle of the shirt to look like gum drop buttons. Voila, that was done!

Cookie Sheet:

I took a large cardboard box and flattened it out so that I had a large rectangle shape to work with. I used packing tape to tape the two long sides together so it would stay flat. Then I just started wrapping the box with aluminum foil and scotch tape until every part of the box was covered. I left about half an inch of aluminum foil over the side of the box so that I could wrap it around to cover the sides of the box so no cardboard was showing. Now for the slightly more difficult part. We needed to add straps so that she could slide her arms in to hold the cookie sheet on her back. We used twine as our arm straps. My husband measured out the length of the twine based on how much was needed for her to get her arms through but not leave too much gap so that the cookie sheet hung down too low on her back. Once we had the length, he measured where to drill two holes so that the cookie sheet stayed high enough over her head. We drilled the holes instead of using scissors or cutting a slit because we wanted a clean hole that wouldn’t wrinkle or tear the aluminum foil too much. We threaded the twine through the hole and tied a big knot in the back so it couldn’t pull through.

For the final touch, I took pink lipstick and made a round rosy mark on each cheek, for extra cuteness. When we walked around to trick or treat, I dressed up like Suzie Homemaker with my rolling pin to match her outfit.

Not only was it a cute, unique and easy costume to make, my daughter and I had fun creating it together. If that’s not a Chocolate Cake Moment (or a warm gingerbread cookie moment) I don’t know what is.

Are you making a costume this year? What is it?

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Tags: Halloween Family Fun Ideas

The Haunting Hour Themed Kids Halloween Party

Who’s up for a fun, spooky kids Halloween party idea? MommyParties contacted me a few weeks ago to host a party to promote R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour TV series. I was definitely interested since my kids like to read Stine’s Goosebumps books and I was planning on hosting a Halloween party for my kids and their friends, but I wasn’t sure what theme to go with this year. Problem solved, then! I set to work to create a party centered around the Haunting Hour TV episode they sent us, which featured vampires. (Grampires, to be exact. You know, a Grampa who is a vampire.)


DECORATIONS

We used a lot of our existing Halloween decorations to create a mood for the party. Bats, rats, spiders, and pumpkins helped create a mood. As part of the promotional package for the show, they sent us Team Grampire t-shirts. We put a t-shirt on our full size skeleton for some spooky humor.

I also decorated several tables wtih Scarrots. They are super easy to make. You just take full size carrots and glue on googly eyes or draw on the carrots with a marker. My daughter made one look like a mad scientist. Then put them in a black or Halloween candle holder for some funny, spooky decor.



PARTY ACTIVITES

To start, we spent some time crafting. I had two craft projects for the kids to keep them busy. The first was to create a paper skeleton mask. The kids could color, stamp, bejewel a paper skull to take home and use as Halloween or Day of the Dead decorations.


Or, if they wanted, we glued popsicle sticks to the back to turn the skull into a spooky mask. I had purchased a paper skull decorating kit earlier in the year which was perfect to use for the party, but you can also download this free skull template and use your own craft materials for this easy kids craft idea.


The next craft we worked on was to create spooky wooden peg people. I saw the idea at the Eighteen25 blog and the kids just loved this whole craft idea. I bought the wooden pegs at Hobby Lobby but instead of paint, we used Sharpie markers to create our spooky creatures. As you can see, they were veeeeeery creative.

Our next activity was to watch the Haunting Hour episode that we were sent. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and eat pizza while we watched. Let me tell you the kids were hanging on to the edge of their seats during the episode. Even my 12-year-old son, who felt he was too old to come to the party, came in to watch the show. If you think your kids might be interested in the show, you can watch a sneak peak trailer for Season 3 of The Haunting Hour here.

As our final party activity, we played the Blood Red Donut Bobbing Game. Our local donut shop has great red velvet flavored donuts whose color reminded me of blood. So, it was a natural fit for this vampire party. To play the game, I used black curling ribbon to tie several donuts to a large stick. I then had my husband and son hold the stick up in the air and the kids had to bite the donuts using no hands. Whoever finished their whole donut first won.

To make the game harder, I tried to have the kids use their vampire fake teeth to bite the donuts but they quickly felt the game was hard enough on its own and took their teeth out.

TREATS

As parting treats, we gave the kids a goodie bag that I made to look like a tombstone. I just purchased small black treat bags and cut the top so it was rounded. We used a white poster paint marker to write R.I.P. on the front. I filled the bags with some of the material that I was sent from MommyParties like fake vampire teeth, glow in the dark wrist slapbands, and Haunting Hour Bumper Stickers. I also included some Halloween candy in the bag.

As a final treat, we sent the kids home with a Vampire Bite Cupcake that my daughter and I made. We saw the idea on Pinterest but we adapted it to make it our own. I made chocolate cupcakes from a mix. I frosted them with store-bought white vanilla frosting. I then rolled the edges of the cupcake in black sugar. Then we used a chopstick to puncture two teeth marks in the cupcake. We then filled the holes with red gel frosting. Remember to gently taper the frosting out of the hole to make it look like the blood is dripping. You could also use a toothpick to pull some of the red gel frosting out of the hole for the same effect.

You can find the original version of the vampire bite cupcakes and tons of other Halloween party ideas on my Halloween Party Pinterest Board.

Thank you to MommyParties and the Hub TV Network for sending us the materials. We had a great party and I had fun putting everything together with my daughter.

NOTE: I was selected to be a MommyParties host as part of a promotional program through MomSelect. However, my opinions and party ideas are my own.

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Tags: Halloween Family Fun Ideas · Kids Halloween Party

10 Creative Ideas to Use Leftover Halloween Candy

Help! It’s the day after Halloween and we have way too much Halloween candy in our house. Waaaay too much candy. The kids trick or treated for hours and brought home enough candy to feed a small nation. There’s no way we can eat or even want to eat it all. So, Houston, we have a problem.

You can’t bring the candy to work because EVERYONE ELSE brought their extra candy to work. Your waistline does NOT need to collect the “Mommy or Daddy Tax” from the candy haul. You don’t want to throw it out but you certainly don’t want to urge your kids to eat more candy, so it doesn’t go to waste. That won’t win you any Mom-of-the-Year awards. So, what should you do with the leftover candy?

1. Repurpose it

Use your Halloween candy to fill a pinata for an upcoming child’s birthday party. Freeze the candy and then put it out in candy bowls as snacks for your Christmas, New Year’s, or Superbowl parties.

2. Play with it

Use the candy to have some fun. Have your kids build structures with the candy as if they were building blocks. My kids love to build structures using the jelly, butter and sugar packets on restaurant tables, so why not do the same at home. See who can build the tallest candy tower. Use the hot glue gun and build a fort for their Lego guys. Have your toddlers play games sorting the candy into sizes, colors or exact matches.

3. Add it up
Use the candy to work on your kids math skills. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and making groups of fives or tens for counting are all ways you can put the extra candy to work for you.

4. Craft with it

Store the candy away for a few weeks and then use it to decorate a gingerbread house. Don’t want to wait until Christmas? Make a Halloween or Thanksgiving themed candy house. If you don’t have the gingerbread pieces, just glue the candy onto a shoebox. M&Ms, hard candy, Smarties, and jelly beans make the best gingerbread decorations. Alphamom.com has some cute ideas for crafting with leftover Halloween candy like making an advent calendar or a turkey piñata.

5. Cook with it

Thekitchn.com created a round-up of cool recipes using leftover Halloween candy. Some recipes are family-friendly like Peppermint Patty Brownies but some sound like fun for Mom and Dad, like Skittles Flavored Vodka. For Thanksgiving dinner, here’s 13 Amazing Cake Recipes using leftover Halloween Candy.

6. Exchange it

You don’t want your kids to eat all of the candy they collect but you also don’t want them to feel like you are taking away their hard earned prize. So, have them exchange it. My daughter has Type 1 diabetes so we started the tradition of the Pumpkin Fairy who comes on Halloween night and exchanges the candy for little gifts such as a craft kit, book or toy. We tell her she can eat whatever she wants and trade the rest, but she eats hardly any because she wants a bigger stash to trade in. Read to learn more about the Pumpkin Fairy and how my daughter even built her Fairy a house out of a pumpkin.

7. Donate it

Get the candy out of the house by donating it. There are quite a few organizations that accept candy donations. Operation Gratitude sends care packages to the troops overseas. Make sure you have your child include a letter of support to a soldier, as well. According to Operation Gratitude, that’s what the soldiers love most. Some libraries and dentists will collect the candy on behalf of Operation Gratitude to make it easy for you. Otherwise call your local nursing home, food pantry, woman’s shelter or even children’s hospital ward to see if they accept candy donations.

8. Or, donate it to science

Older kids will have a blast running experiments with their candy. Check out CandyExperiments.com for some cool science experiments that go beyond exploding Mentos in Coke. Making Lifesavers flash in the dark or running acid tests on your candy look like some serious fun. Science20.com has even more experiments.

9. Ring in the Holidays

Girlfriendology.com has some great advice on what to do with your leftover Halloween candy but the idea I liked most was to create a countdown to Christmas calendar. Save out 24 pieces of candy from each kid’s stash. Then add the candy to your advent calendar or tape the candy to your family calendar. The kids get one piece every day in December as they countdown to Christmas Eve.

10. Regift it
Use the candy in homemade Holiday gifts. Create a movie night basket with some DVDs, popcorn, and Halloween candy. Put together a gourmet coffee basket with coffee, mugs, and some Halloween chocolate candy to melt into the coffee. These are easy to make and would be great ideas for Teacher’s Gifts.

What is your favorite Halloween candy? Any other ideas on what to do with your leftover Halloween candy?

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Tags: Halloween Family Fun Ideas

{Easy Kids Halloween Craft} The Avengers Pumpkins


I admit that I am a bit of an Avengers Fan. My kids think I’m nuts for watching The Avengers movie at least 10 times since we grabbed our DVD. But hey, what can I say? Thor and Iron Man make me supernaturally weak in the knees. Moms are entitled to a little eye candy and fantasies now and then, right?

So when it was time to decorate pumpkins this year, I decided to go with my obsession and create The Avengers pumpkins. I roped my daughter in to help me. We bought 4 small pie pumpkins.

We then drew the faces in pencil first to make sure we liked the design. We used two different craft ideas for inspiration on how to draw the Avengers characters. First, I love the Avenger bookmarks from CraftsbyAmanda.com. The faces are so cute! But they aren’t 3D so then I used the Superhero Pegs craft from Girl and a Glue Gun to design the whole head.


Once we had our design set, it was time for color. I didn’t have any paint so we tried to use Sharpie markers to color the pumpkins. It didn’t work that well. Only a few colors showed up. So, I broke down and went and bought kid-friendly acrylic paint in green, red, blue, yellow, and black. We painted around the pencil marks and let the pumpkins dry.

For Iron Man’s gold face and Thor’s silver helmet, I used Zig’s Posterman Metallic Paint Markers which worked perfectly. I cut wings out of thick cardstock paper, colored them silver and hot glued them to the side of Thor’s helmet.

Even though I have a thang for Thor and Iron Man, I think the Hulk pumpkin turned out the best. What do you think?

All in all, this was a super easy way to decorate pumpkins with the kids.

How did you decorate your pumpkins this year?

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Tags: Halloween Family Fun Ideas

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