Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days of Halloween...

I didn't intend to get on board with the whole "31 Days..." posts that all of the internets are doing. Not that I think there's anything wrong with those...I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed reading them...but I just blog to have something to put into a Shutterfly book every few months.

However, I love, loooove Halloween and fall and all the things that go along with that so I was trying to come up with some cute, creative things that James and I could do each day.

Truth be told, if he doesn't have something to do he turns into another child and we wind up having back-to-back timeouts all day long. The kid literally wakes up in the morning, demands breakfast (we're working on it... :/) and then says, "Where are we going today?" SO...activities! WE NEED MORE ACTIVITIES!!!! (Do any of my college of ed friends read my blog? There's a memory for you, if so!)

Disclaimer: I found some of these on Pinterest, imagined some up on my own, and saw some on other blogs...And I actually put a few on my list and didn't get to them (something about being busy with birthday parties...) so I'm just linking you to those blogs and I'll update when I DO get to them! I'm not trying to steal anybody's ideas at all! Unfortunately, a lot of this I saw, wrote it down on a notepad, and moved on so I can't link back to it.

So, here you go. 31 activities to do with your preschool-aged kids during the month of October....with a smattering of fun things for mamas and recipes for your families. I'll link back to it for next year. Enjoy!

1. Halloween books. A smattering of our favorites. We read these over and over {and over and over} all month long.

2. Pumpkin Pie Playdough. Seriously, one of my favorite things on this list. EASY to make, fun to play with! I wrote the directions down in my planner so I don't have a link for it. 

5.5 c flour
2 c salt
8 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 c oil
1.5 oz pumpkin pie spice (I didn't put this much...)
orange food coloring (2 parts yellow to 1 part red)
4 c water

Cook over medium heat until lumps disappear and it has a play dough consistency. Knead until smooth! Store in a sealed container up to two weeks.

3. 5 Little Pumpkins Thumbprint Art. This was simple and fun. And The 5 Little Pumpkins is one of James' favorite books. {When he was teensy we read it all year 'round!} I got a little fancy and cute a gate out on my Silhouette and then we each stamped our thumbs on top {James volunteered to go twice!}

4. Falling Leaves Handprint Art. This was fun...but ours really looks more like a turkey. I think I'll do it again in November!

5. Handprint Bat. James thinks this is hysterical. It was EASY, peasy to make. Took less than five minutes and then he played with it for a while! I just traced his hands, drew a bat body/head/ears (can't you tell?!), and attached the "wings" with brads.

6. Visit the pumpkin patch. This year we didn't go to the BIG pumpkin patch in Southwest Georgia (we usually go to Mark's if you're local and looking for a place...and Burt's in North Georgia is AWESOME!) but went to a local church instead. It was fine since our October is SO busy. We enjoyed it!

7. Pumpkin Carving.

8. Watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! - Seriously, does anyone NOT do this? I'm not sure about everywhere else, but I could only find it on HERE on Halloween night. So we'll watch it after Trick or Treating and baths, I suppose! Eddie and I have usually just watched it by ourselves. We'll see if James can join us this year or if he's turned into a pumpkin!

9. Paint pumpkins. This might be my LEAST favorite activity on the whole list. It took me longer to unload the dishwasher than it did for him to paint and he got paint everywhere. I know, that's expected, it just wasn't quite as much fun as I'd hoped.

10. Ghost Footprint Art. So here's my advice on this. It was SUPER easy. But don't use construction paper. ;) The kindergarten teachers are all nodding their heads in agreement. Who knew? Not this high school teacher. Next time I'll use black cardstock. Hopefully that will solve the black paper + white paint = pink paint issue. Our ghost has high arches. ;)

11. Halloween Jammies! James LOVED matching Will. Both sets of Will's are old ones of James' - one is Gap, one is Gerber from Target. Both of James' sets came from WalMart.

12. Make S'Mores! Sadly, we haven't done this yet. I have big plans to do it next week. It's still fall then! We have an outdoor fire pit and that would be all KINDS of fun, but I'll probably actually throw them in the oven to make them. Delish!

13. Spider Web Marble Painting. Just like the ghost footprints, in hindsight I would've used black cardstock to avoid bleeding and white-turned-pink paint. I just put a piece of black paper in a shirt box, drizzle white paint in a circle, and let him roll a ball around to make the "web." You are SUPPOSED to use marbles because they're smaller but we didn't have any. Easy peasy!

14. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Mine were delicious and SPICY. I used 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1.5 tablespoons of chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Delish but fiery! I saw another recipe for sweet and spicy seeds and I may try that next year!

15. Chili Night! Yum! I wish I had a super-tasty chili recipe for you. I do what my mama did. Go to the store, pick up the McCormick's seasoning packet, follow instructions. In the future I'm going to find one that you cook for a while. When Eddie and I first got married he was horrified that my chili only took 30 minutes to make. ;)

16. Halloween Movie Night. James is still a bit too little and Eddie is anti-anything even REMOTELY scary, so I was on my own with this one. I watched Hocus Pocus, but I'm planning to watch Nightmare Before Christmas, and something Alfred Hitchcock before Halloween, too! (I LOVE Hitchcock. Love.)

17. Spider Handprint Art. Super easy, fun project! This literally took just a few minutes. You could use both hands but I just smooshed the same one on the paper twice. I probably should've reapplied the paint. Oh well! Skip the thumbs for an 8-legged spider!

18. Burlap Pumpkin Door Hanger. I am so sad that I never got to this this year. Boo! I may try to make it soon anyway {I finally got around to getting the things I needed from Hobby Lobby yesterday!} and keep it up through Thanksgiving. For a cute tutorial, see Amy's blog post HERE.

19. Felt Pumpkin Faces. I stole this idea from Amy Tippins' Christmas trees last year but searched EVERYWHERE and could never find orange felt large enough. She says fleece works, too. Here's Amy's post about using fleece to make a pumpkin. (Sidenote, if you're not reading Amy's blog, you are missing out! Girl is HILARIOUS, has fantastic craft skills {I'm really considering going back to school for elementary ed because all of my teacher friends of the little ones are so stinkin' creative!}, and two precious little ladies! Those girls are so cute!)  I got smaller pieces of felt and made MINI pumpkins. I think it's fun anyway! I almost made 8 of these and rolled them up to put them in bags as goodies for James' class. How CUTE would that be??? James has a variety of pieces to put onto his pumpkin's face. It's a pretty cute little activity! We'll definitely do a felt Christmas tree this year!

20. Slime, Dirt, and Worms. Can you say Boy Mom? Ha! These were fun! Vanilla pudding dyed green (slime), topped with Cool Whip, crushed Oreos (dirt), and Gummi Worms. They were a hit!

21. Haunted House. This was FUN. James is allergic to tree nuts so I couldn't go the pre-done route, although I am making a Candy Cottage purchase in a few weeks at Mistletoe Market! (Have y'all seen these? Google them if not. They are plastic "gingerbread" houses that you can decorate, wash, and re-use! I'm so excited about them that I called a store an hour away the other day to see if they'd have them for sale at Mistletoe Market again this year!) Anyway, I put the house together and let James have full reign of the decor - a bit of an accomplishment for this control freak. He was SO proud and had SO much fun!

22. Pumpkin Pancakes. Sadly, I think I was the only one who enjoyed these. My sweet friend, Meredith, did this with her girls but let them DECORATE them like jack-o-lanterns! Those elementary school teachers are geniuses. I didn't even THINK of that. Strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate chips! Next year that's what we'll do!

23. Tootsie Pop Spiders/Peep S'Mores. I was going to make these as goodies for James' class but waited until the last minute and then didn't have everything I needed. For the Tootsie Roll Pop spiders you need Tootsie Pops (allergy alert! Tootsie Pops are made in a nut free facility! woohoo! Halloween has been tough this year...), black pipe cleaners, and google-y eyes. You just take four pipe cleaners and twist them around the sucker stick and then bend them to look like spider legs. Add the eyes on top and viola! For the Peep S'Mores you need graham crackers, mini Hershey bars, and ghost shaped Peeps (these are sometimes tough to find...I think Walgreens had them last year. There MAY be a search function on their website.) You just bag up the items and tie with some ribbon. FUN to share. (I actually decided against these because the mini Hershey's said they may contain almonds. James isn't actually allergic to almonds but we avoid anything that "may contain" any type of nuts anyway so I just scrapped this idea.)

24. Caramel Popcorn. This was good, but maybe just good enough to eat it every once in a while. It's Orville Redenbacher brand. I saw it at Target and didn't buy it, then I went back and DID buy it. Then it sat in my kitchen for about two weeks and yelled my name every time I opened the cabinets. I finally broke down and tried it. Ha! I do LOVE caramel corn but I think this is only good every once in a while! (It was easy enough to make, but make SURE you follow the directions about removing the kernels. I was a dummy and skipped that step and those suckers blend right in with the caramel. Thought I was going to hurt my teeth!)

25. White Chicken Chili with Cheesy Muffins. Recipe for Chicken Chili HERE. I took the easy way out with my cheesy muffins and used the Bisquick biscuit recipe and added cheese. You could also add in some spice but I was feeding them to James and while he THINKS he likes hot, he does not.

26. Make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. Recipe HERE. It's lots more fun if you have a little helper to make these. ;)

27. Apple Cider on the patio at night. Eddie and I sat out on the patio on Saturday night after he finished spray painting our castle (see #28). It was CHILLY so I had apple cider (just a Keurig K-Cup...nothing fancy). He declined the cider and chose something a little *ahem* stronger. It was SO nice to sit outside in the quiet. We'll be doing this more often! (I must say, this would've been quite the perfect little set up if we had a screened-in porch like a certain Athens-dwelling friend of mine. *wink*)

28. Trunk-or-Treat. This is always so much fun. I think more and more churches are doing this as a safe alternative to Trick or Treating. We decorated our trunk with a cardboard castle to go with our knight and dragon theme and put a bowl of candy out. Then we walked around to the other cars and trick or treated. I think that most people actually sat with their cars and let the little ones go, but Eddie and I both walked.

29. S'Mores Teacher Treats. Definitely stole this idea from Dixie Delights. Seriously, if you don't already read her blog, add it quickly! She's one of my favorites! And she's a fellow Georgia girl! For this treat I bought Wilton treat boxes, full-size Hershey bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers and I packed Mrs. T. a big 'ol box of S'Mores fun! Hopefully she and her girls will enjoy these!

30. Halloween Book Bin. I did this last year just for Halloween but will be adding a Christmas Book Bin to my list this year. It is SO fun. I just bought a plastic orange bucket, added a vinyl cut-out and presto! A place to store our seasonal books! See the whole post HERE. James knows right where to go for his Halloween books and he actually puts them right back when he's done! We've read these over and over this year!

31. Trick-or-Treat. We're going tonight if my two ill boys will take naps and perk up. Whew! Trick or Treating is FUN, but be safe! And stay warm. Georgia is unseasonably cold this year on Halloween and while I LOVE this weather, I'm pretty sure we might freeze our costume-d behinds off this evening! Pictures tomorrow!


Jodi said...

I love this post!! Need to pin and remember these cute ideas for next year!!

Bechtel Family said...

Such cute and fun ideas! I did the spider pops for G's class..they were a hit! Loved the felt pumpkins with faces. We do the tree but will have to remember that for next Halloween! You're so creative!