Get Your Spook On: Halloween Preparations

20141003_143858  What costumes do your kids want? How are you going to decorate (or not) for the season?  Are you in charge of games at the school party? What about some fun food ideas?  We cover these topics and more with some excellent ideas to help you get your Spook On!

Some Decorating Tips

  • If you can’t decorate a lot, choose one area to decorate and put it all in that one place.
    • Your front door is a great place to decorate because many people come there (see the photo of Nancy’s front door above)
    • Choose one Room to decorate (Nancy’s living room gets transformed with a Harry Potter Theme–check out the book titles and the magazines–great printables from online)
  • Choose a theme and a style
    • The key is to have some cohesive look (cutesy or scary, Harry Potter look or Fall Décor, witches or scarecrows)
    • Find a color palate and stick with it. Spray paint can be a life-saver20141006_11583820141006_11592620141006_115758
    • Black and Orange are not the only colors. Try using lime green or turquoise to spice it up. Silver and white work too to give a ghostly feel.20141006_115810
  • Use what you have—don’t buy new things
    • Outside lanterns for summer become spooky lanterns
    • Planters/Urns can be used to stage pumpkins or Witches Legs
    • Trimmed trees or bushes can become backdrops for both Fall and Halloween scenes
    • Vases and jars can become apothecary jars
    • Family silver and old photos of relatives add that old feeling
  • Candles add ambiance
  • Check out a past podcast and photos
  • Paper can be your cheap friend for a great impact (Shelly’s silhouette)
  • More is More—one bat won’t cut it. You need a swarm for impact.
  • Check out the perfect 20141006_120000way to cut out a pumpkin for cleaning and lighting  http://makezine.com/2009/10/23/a-better-20141006_115903way-to-slice-a-pumpkin/

Ideas for School Games

  • Eyeballs—have you played Kerplunk? Do this at school with eyeballs (ping pong balls painted)
  • Eyeball relay with eyeballs and spoons where they have to carry the eyeball through a course and drop it in the cup.
  • RENAME a game Shrinking Island (like Musical Chairs)
  • Witches Stew (kids have to make a stew by picking up pieces of paper with a straw and suction to get them in to their stew—the first one wins) Print pictures of Halloween ingredients for the stew from the Internet and

Costume Ideas

  • Start early
  • Think of something easily recognizable but not often repeated
  • If on a budget, think of something that uses what you already have (Clothing, etc)

Food Ideas

  • Use a toothpick to drag out legs from melted chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies   http://jensfavoritecookies.com/2013/10/19/spider-cookies-2/  or go to http://iambaker.net/spider-chocolate-chip-cookies/
  • Inside out Caramel Apples–slice the apple in half, core out the seeds and a bit more flesh, pour the caramel in the center and let set up before slicing.
  • Turn Cuties (small oranges) into pumpkins (with or without the peel).  With the peel–draw faces on the peel.  Without the peel–stick a green candy coming out the top like a pumpkin stem.

How to Get the Witch Leg Look

1410794201268Use what you have around the house. I used one pool noodle cut in half, halloween tights, old boots, and some stuffing and bubble wrap to get the shape of thighs.

Once you get the legs, you can attach them to your pot.  I used two dowels (actually two checkered flags on wooden sticks) to give the legs some stability. Then, I attached the shoes to the legs using rubber bands that I covered with cute ribbon (see the photo at the top).

1410796768582

Pantry Sparkle

20140604_102023Got a dark, unorganized pantry?  We have the solutions to make it sparkle and stay organized! You will save money and time when you organize your food and kitchen organization.

Here are Nancy’s tips and check out the photos below:

  • What You See is What you Get: if I can see it in my pantry or cupboards I won’t buy it again on accident—when it is in my basement
  • Location, Location, Location: put most used things where they are most accessible—not in the basement (take cereal out of boxes and stack bags behind the cereal in the shelves)
  • Once a Year Means Not Here: prime real estate needs to be used for things that get used all the time.  Things that got used once a year got moved down to the basement and the food got moved up. Take this chance to purge and decide if you use things often enough to keep it at all.
  • Divide and Conquer: I added more shelves in my cupboards and my pantry to give me more space to organize (love Lowes).  See the photos below. You just have to add cleats to the wall and put new shelves down!IMG_1323IMG_1324
  • Let There Be Light: Mr Beams battery operated motion detection lights added the light I needed to my pantry and to my shelves.  After several months of use, I have only changed the batteries once.  I used the Mr Beams LED Spotlight and the Mr Beams LED Motion Sensor Slim Light for the places you need to reach in to.

OK so here is the cute stuff:

  • Paint the walls in a bright color so the pantry makes you smile!
  • Use a bright color for the shelves (white) so you can see everything more easily)
  • 20140604_102002Paint old bread pans and 9×13 cake pans to sort your foods. You can add cute chalkboard stickers and write what’s inside on the end. If you don’t have old bread pans, check out the local thrift stores and garage sales or ask friends and neighbors if they have old ones.
  • Use see-through containers so you can see what your foods are (these are from IKEA)
  • IMG_1325Use baskets to wrangle the things like bags of pasta, rice and beans (these are from the dollar store but I had them before–no need to purchase new stuff)
  • Use lazy susans for the corners to get the most out of your space.  Mine are from IKEA and only cost $9 each–a great price.
  • Go up as high as you can!

Check out our past show on Pantry Organization!

FYI:  The pantry is still organized and looks great 5 months after I organized it.  Doing this motivates the kids to keep it clean!

IMG_1290

IMG_1295

 

20140604_102016

IMG_1322