Happy Haunting!

I tell my students and children that I love Halloween because it's the only day I don't have to wear a costume!
I tell my students and children that I love Halloween because it's the only day I don't have to wear a costume!
"L" and I ready to welcome the unsuspecting trick or treaters!
"L" and I ready to welcome the unsuspecting trick or treaters!
"L" and the Grim Reaper who adorns my door each Halloween.
"L" and the Grim Reaper who adorns my door each Halloween.
The kids stand in front of the Haunted fireplace during our party and we judge on their costumes..everyone gets a ribbon for something!
The kids stand in front of the Haunted fireplace during our party and we judge on their costumes..everyone gets a ribbon for something!

Halloween has become my favorite holiday!

I used to cherish Christmastime. The songs, the festive lights and gaiety all around. I still enjoy the Christmas holiday and season but I look forward to Halloween and all of the creative things I do each year!

First of all, I decorate the exterior of the house. I buy police/caution tape and string it from the trees on the side of my house and across all of my front windows. I place my 5 foot Grim Reaper on the door, complete with chains and scary gauze in his hands. On each side of him is a "dead" bride and groom. I have large skeletons hanging from the second story windows and a large bat flying from the overhead porch area light. My railings are decorated with garlands of colorful silk leaves and mini pumpkins. I put fake tombstones along the front of the house and have movable hand stakes that appear to be crawling up from the grave. My big metal pumpkin glows with candles inside and a human skull sits atop this.

When the trick or treaters come to the door that evening, I have a fog machine that I control with my foot. Each time a group approaches "L" and I, I step on the button and the air fills with smoke. Motion activated objects; like my plate with a man's head on it and my witch head in a large crystal ball that fills with steam add to the frightful scene as the children approach with trepidation. "L" doesn't move; he sits there and kids don't know if he's real or not. Once in a while, when teens come to get candy, he will make a quick movement and the air is filled with shrieks, screams and then laughter.

My kids always carve pumpkins that are placed on the stairs and I have a huge black witch's cauldron that holds the candy. The children can choose what they want, however they have to come up on the porch to get their treat. Our house is famous each year for the decorations and the thrill of defying fear to get a large sized candy bar! I also play scary music and have a strobe light flashing from an upstairs window. Each year, my house receives over 300 trick or treaters!

I begin decorating the 1st of October. After I decorate the exterior of the home, I then focus inside. My mantle becomes a graveyard with mini tombstones and glowing ghosts that illuminate with electricity. I clear my knick knacks from the tables and shelves and fill them with Halloween decor; pumpkins, ghosts, black cats and witches. My window sills sport Halloween decor as well. A large, black spider is taped to the ceiling in the kitchen and fills the room. Stick ons for the window sport oozing blood, hands reaching out of prison cells and scary faces. I also have animated items that scream and move at the press of a button. My kids' friends love visiting the house for the annual Halloween party we have the weekend before Halloween. The three hour party sports a lot of fun activities.

Pick out pie pumpkins for softer pumpkins to carve; they are smaller too
Pick out pie pumpkins for softer pumpkins to carve; they are smaller too
When bobbing for apples, to avoid too many germs being shared, don't have the kids eat their apple until it has been washed first
When bobbing for apples, to avoid too many germs being shared, don't have the kids eat their apple until it has been washed first
You can make these ghosts with large or small bags
You can make these ghosts with large or small bags
You can even heat up chocolate and put in a squirt container to drizzle over the apples
You can even heat up chocolate and put in a squirt container to drizzle over the apples

Activities for the party...

 Each year at the party, the children are handed a card that needs to be marked off by activity.  One activity is to carve a pumpkin.  I buy the pumpkin carvers so I don't have to worry about someone cutting a finger off and I set the garage up with tables and plastic tablecloths for the carving.  I ask parents of the children attending if they could assist me with the party and I usually get help because it means free food!   One parent oversees the carving and makes sure the "guts" are disposed of and tables cleared for upcoming carvers.  If a child doesn't want to carve, they can opt to decorate their pumpkin with the plastic face pieces sold at Dollar Stores or local grocery stores.  I make sure that the parent in charge writes with permanent marker, the child's name on the bottom of the pumpkin and we set the carved pumpkins on a table outside for when the kids go home.

Bobbing for apples is another activity.  Kids love this!  To make sure that someone isn't eating an apple that has been licked repeatedly, I take the apple right away, dip it in soapy water and rinse it well before the child eats their treasure!  If they don't want to eat their apple right away, they can put it in their goody bag they receive at the beginning of the party.  I vary in what I give the kids.  Some years, they get a small, plastic Dollar Store pumpkin.  Other years, large, plastic goody bags.  Another year, burlap bags I had found.  Any kind of bag will work.

I have had the children make garbage bag ghosts as an activity.  Very easy craft!  Take a large or small (I prefer small) white garbage bag and put crumpled newspaper inside of the head area.  Tie the head off with a twist tie.  Take permanent marker to make the face.  Put packing tape over a paper clip attached to yarn and viola!, you have an instant ghost!

Another activity is decorating a caramel apple with different candies and treats.  I roll the apples in caramel first for time and the kids put their treats on top.  Raisins, m & m's, skittles, sprinkles, hot cinnamon candies, nuts, etc., can be placed on the caramel.  Place in a large baggie and have the child put it in their goody bag.

I have a tossing game where I created a large ghost with a wide open mouth (I used a large piece of foam board).  I bought large hairy spiders to use as the tossers and the kids can get a prize for getting at least one spider through the mouth. 

These brain molds can be found at most party theme stores and the ideas on how to use them is endless!
These brain molds can be found at most party theme stores and the ideas on how to use them is endless!
Be creative with your jello!
Be creative with your jello!
Gross to look at but great to eat!
Gross to look at but great to eat!
Make little mummies with crescent rolls and smokey links
Make little mummies with crescent rolls and smokey links

Food

 No party is complete without food!  Halloween themed food is so much fun to make!  I have small plastic brain molds and I melt white chocolate in a double boiler and coat the inside of the mold with the chocolate using a pastry brush.  I take a spoon of peanut butter and a gummy worm and put them inside, then pour more chocolate over the inside ingredients until level with the mold.  Place in the fridge for about 20 minutes and pop the brains out!  When the children bite into the chocolate, they'll get a gooey surprise!

I also have a skeleton jello mold.  This picture shows only a red jello skeleton; however, I put gummy worms or gummy body parts inside of my jello to add to the fun. 

I have a plastic hand mold as well and fill this with juice and freeze it.  It looks great floating around in the punch bowl.  Another way to make frozen hands is to fill non-powdered plastic gloves with juice and freeze the hands (this is more difficult because you have to hang them somehow in the freezer).  Just cut the plastic glove off after freezing and you have your hands!

Kitty litter cake is usually a big hit at the party.  Take white cake mix, bake as directed.  Prepare vanilla pudding and set aside.  Crush some graham crackers until fine pieces are left.  Crumble the cake mix into a clean, new kitty litter box.  Mix in the graham crackers.  Take dollops of the pudding and plop into the mixture, lightly covering with mix.  Take large tootsie rolls and unwrap.  Microwave for a few seconds on a plate and pull apart; they will look like the ends of kitty poop!  Put in mixture.  Use a new, clean scooper to serve the cake.  I guarantee that everyone will be totally grossed out with this one.

To make worm sandwiches, I cut bologna into very thin strips and pile them upon a hamburger bun.  Take mozarella stick cheese and put under a napkin with only one end sticking out.  Then, use little red candies for eyes and a little black candy for the mouth; pressing into the top of the cheese stick.  They will look like little ghosts in bed!

I've made deviled eggs and used a cut, black olive for the center of the "eye".  Mix up some of the yolk mixture with red food coloring and using a piping bag, drizzle bloodshot squiggles coming out of the olive.

Baby carrots make great witch teeth!  Make little smokey links and cook them in a crescent roll.  Use dots of mustard and ketchup to make faces on the tip of the link and it will look like a mummy wrapped up!

The internet also has some fabulous recipes that you can make for your Halloween party.

A bloody punch to serve that is simply yummy!
A bloody punch to serve that is simply yummy!
Make your own little grave yards
Make your own little grave yards
Witches fingers make a hit with kids!
Witches fingers make a hit with kids!

Other food ideas...

 Besides floating a frozen hand inside of your punch bowl, you can freeze little plastic spider rings inside of ice cubes and give each person a cup of ice cubes to pour this "bloody" punch into.  It is simply made of Hawaiian punch, red pop and raspberry sherbet!

Make your own little graveyard by giving each child a clear, plastic cup, a Milano cookie for the headstone, ground up oreo cookies and chocolate pudding.  Put pudding in first, then cookies.  Decorate the tombstone with icing and top off with little pumpkin candies.

Witches fingers can be made two ways; one as a bread course or as a dessert.  For bread, use a Pillsbury bread sticks in the tube container.  Cut in thirds (each bread stick) and shape like a finger.  Score with a knife to make indentations for finger lines and press an almond into the end for the nail.  Bake.  Fingers can be made into a dessert by using pre-made sugar cookie dough.  Follow the same instructions for making.  Create fake blood by using red gel icing.

The ideas are limitless and so is the fun.  Make your next Halloween a holiday to remember and become the most popular party giver around!  Happy Haunting to you all....!!!

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