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

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  or go to
  • 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).


Easy Halloween Ideas

We discuss getting ready for Halloween and some ideas to make it simple and fun. Using your printer and some ingenuity, you can make your house a Halloween haven.  Scroll down to get the Podcast.




  • Collect your candles and other things to decorate (add a few Dollar store spiders and rats)
  • Add spooky pictures to your family portraits


Pumpkin Chili

1 medium pumpkin,  4-5 pounds (or 2 cups canned)
1 small yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 T oil
1 lb. ground beef
4 c diced tomatoes
2 c tomato sauce
2 c cooked kidney beans
1 c corn
1/2 c diced green chilis
1 T chili powder
1 t ground cumin
salt and fresh black pepper

Cut lid in top of pumpkin; set aside. Remove seeds, replace lid. Bake at 375° for 20-40 minutes until pulp in soft. Scoop out pumpkin flesh, leaving at least 1/2 inch to hold pumpkin shape. Dice pumpkin and set aside. Reserve pumpkin shell.

In large pot, cook onion, garlic and bell pepper with ground beef. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, reserved pumpkin, beans, corn, chilis, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Serve from reserved pumpkin shell. Garnish with shredded cheese and/or sour cream. Serve over cooked rice. 6-8 servings.

Green Halloween

Halloween is one of the most Eco-Unfriendly times of the year.  Mom-daughter eco warriors Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson have taken the holiday on with Green Halloween and the National Costume Swap Day.   They are also co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family and founders of the non-profit Green Halloween initiative.  Learn how to make your Halloween fun less harmful for the planet.  Check out the locations in your area that might be holding a costume swap or learn how to hold one in your area!