Even though Halloween is on October 31st your family could have a Halloween Theme Day on any day in October leading up to the big day. Plan your Theme Day around a trip to a pumpkin patch or a pumpkin festival, or a visit to the store if you are buying costumes, or even on the day you plan to carve jack-o-lanterns. You could even choose to do a different activity each day as a countdown to Halloween.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
If your child is afraid of Halloween use this Theme Day as a way to ease his/her mind by focusing on the costume part of the day.
There are many fun songs appropriate for Halloween. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is a great one for those who like their ghouls. Click here to watch the Thriller video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA&ob=av2e
Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” is another Halloween favourite at our house.
For something a little different try to find “Boris the Spider,” by The Who.
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Halloween coloring pages” or print out my Halloween Coloring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: What is your favourite thing about Halloween? What are you going to dress up as for Halloween this year? What would the scariest jack-o-lantern look like? Describe the best Halloween party ever?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or poem about Halloween.
Print out my Halloween Word Search:
Check here for the answer keys:
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about Halloween.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about creepy creatures or Halloween.
Go to the library on your own to find some Halloween books to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (type in “Halloween” under “Children’s Books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these spooky titles:
· 13 Ghosts of Halloween, by Robin Muller and illustrated by Patricia Storms, Scholastic Canada Ltd., 2007 – Ten children and three animals visit the Halloween Fun House in this Twelve Days of Christmas remake.
· Dem Bones, by Bob Barner, Scholastic Inc., 1996 – While, not really a Halloween book, this one has great skeleton illustrations throughout with not only the words of the classic African American spiritual song, but also interesting facts about each bone or set of bones. We love to sing this book in our family.
· Fright Night Flight, by Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrated by Henry Cole, Scholastic Inc., 2002 – A witch on a “super jet-fuelled broom” goes out to gather her monster friends for a flight to your neighbourhood to trick or treat.
· I like Pumpkins, by Jerry Smath, Cartwheel Books, 2003 – This rhyming book celebrates pumpkins big and small and all their uses.
· It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, by Charles M. Schulz, Little Simon, 2001 – Halloween wouldn’t be complete without reading the classic tale of Charlie Brown’s friend Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin in the most sincere pumpkin patch.
· J is for Jack-O’-Lantern: A Halloween Alphabet, written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Donald Wu, Sleeping Bear Press, 2009 – This alphabet book looks at many different aspects of Halloween (A is for Autumn, B is for Boo, C is for Costume...) and also has more historical information on the side of each page but also including recipe and craft ideas.
· The Night Before Halloween, by Natasha Wing, and illustrated by Cynthia Fisher, Scholastic Inc., 1999 – Count Dracula, mummies, Frankenstein’s bride, among others, prepare for Halloween in this book that follows the rhyming style of The Night Before Christmas.
· Scary, Scary Halloween, by Eve Bunting and pictures by Jan Brett, Clarion Books, 1986 – A mother Cat and her kittens hidden under a doorstep wonder over the costumed children trick or treating.
· The Spookiest Halloween Ever!, by Teddy Slater and illustrated by Ethan Long, Scholastic Inc., 2006 – Ghosts in this rhyming story host a Halloween party but are shocked when one of them reveals that she’s not a ghost but a little girl in the end.
· Spooky Hour, by Tony Mitton and illustrated by Parker-Rees, scholastic Inc., 2003 – This rhyming counting book about spooky creatures counts backwards from midnight to one.
JACK O LANTERN:
NOTE: Perhaps the most obvious Halloween craft is pumpkin carving. My extended family has a tradition of gathering together for a big carving party with cousins big and small. Deciding on which pattern to use or make is always a big decision with my boys. There are many store-bought kits with patterns or you could encourage your older child to create his/her own. Here are two websites that offer a few free patterns as well: http://www.hgtv.ca/articles/articledetails.aspx?ContentId=891&cat=2&by=1 OR http://www.spookmaster.com/pumpkin-carving-patterns-freebies.htm
Materials: Paper (with pattern on it), tape, toothpicks (or pumpkin kit picks), carving tools, large spoon to scoop.
Step 1: Cut a hole either at the top of your pumpkin (more traditionally by removing a circle of pumpkin around the stem) or cut a hole in the bottom to place your pumpkin over a candle.
Step 2: Use a scooping tool or a big spoon to scrap and scoop the pumpkin seeds and “guts” out. Be sure to save some seeds for roasting later.
Step 3: Tape your paper pattern onto the face of your pumpkin. You may need to cut some folding tabs to tape it on properly.
Step 4: Use a toothpick or carving pick to press along the patter on the paper to imprint the picture onto your pumpkin.
Step 5: (Parent step or older child step) Use a small knife or pumpkin caring tools to carve out the pattern.
Step 6: Place a candle inside the pumpkin to light and make the pattern glow in the dark!
HALLOWEEN STICKER COLLAGE/STAMP COLLAGE or SCENE:
Materials: Coloured paper (try Halloween colours like black, orange or green), assorted Halloween stickers, (Optional) crayons or markers, OR Halloween stamps and an ink pad.
Step 1: Give your child the stickers and the paper and have him/her either make a collage or a Halloween scene using them. You could also use Halloween stamps and an ink pad.
Step 2: See if you child wants to embellish the picture using markers or crayons by drawing more details to the picture.
Step 3: Display or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook. You could even use it as a Halloween card for a relative or friend who lives far away.
Materials: orange, black, yellow and green paper , child-safe scissors, pencil, glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Have your child draw (or you can draw for little ones) a pumpkin shape onto the orange paper. Encourage your child to use his/her imagination. Does he/she want the pumpkin small, large, fat, skinny, odd shaped?
Step 2: Help your child cut the pumpkin shape out.
Step 3: Have your child glue the pumpkin shape onto the black paper.
Step 4: Using the pencil, let your child draw pumpkin lines down the orange shape.
Step 5: Have your child draw (or you can draw for your little one) shapes on the yellow paper to give the pumpkin two eyes, a nose and a mouth. Once again, encourage creativity by suggesting different shapes or emotions.
Step 6: Help your child cut the shapes out and then have your child glue the face shapes onto the orange paper.
Step 7: Have your child draw a stem on the green paper and then help your child cut the stem out so it can be glued to the Jack-o-lantern picture.
Step 8: Display or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook. You could also use this as a decoration for a window or a Halloween party.
Materials: Large sheet of white construction paper (be sure to use harder paper for this craft to work), pencil, child-safe scissors, hole punch, string, black marker.
Step 1: On the sheet of construction paper draw a simple skull shape (an upside-down pear shape), ribs (use the picture on the right for a guide), four long bone shapes for the legs, four shorter bone shapes for the arms, trace your child’s hands, and trace your Childs feet.
Step 2: Use the hole punch to make holes at the end of each piece and tie the pieces together to assemble a skeleton.
Step 3: Draw a face on the skull and hang it up by another string for a spooky decoration!
Materials: Black paper, white paint, black paint, old clothes or art smock to paint in, newspapers or old table cloth to cover the table.
Step 1: Help your child pain his/her hands white and then gently press them onto the black paper to make handprints.
Step 2: with the fingers pointed down, use black paint to paint on eyes and perhaps a mouth if needed.
Step 3: Let it dry and then display or use as a Halloween decoration in your window or glue in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Materials: Lollipops, tissues, white pipe cleaners cut into smaller pieces (parent step only), black marker.
Step 1: Gently wrap the top of a lollipop with a white tissue. Pinch the tissue under the lollipop head and wrap a piece of pipe cleaner around and twist.
Step 2: Gently draw a face on the ghost using a black marker.
Step 3: Give away as Halloween gifts! These make great classroom treats!
PAINTED MINI PUMPKINS:
Materials: Mini Pumpkins, paint, brushes, paint clothes or art smock, newspapers to work on.
Step 1: Give your child the small pumpkins and let him/her paint or decorate them however he/she wants. Encourage creativity and suggest faces or monsters or various colours.
Step 2: Let them dry and then display.
OTHER: Many Craft stores sell Halloween Craft kits like foam haunted houses or ornaments or stamps.
Make some pumpkin pancakes. Use a store bought pancake mix and follow the instructions for 1 cup. Then add 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree and about 1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Mix well and cook according to box instructions.
Ingredients: 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (saved from pumpkin carving. Rinse and pat dry), 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, seasoned salt.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 °F.
Step 2: Mix the pumpkin seeds with the vegetable oil and the seasoned salt.
Step 3: Spread on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until crispy.
Step 4: Let cool and then enjoy!
Goblin hot chocolate:
Ingredients: 4 cups of milk, 1 cup of white chocolate chips, green and yellow food colouring.
Step 1: Heat milk and white chocolate chips in a saucepan (do not boil) until melted and blended, stir often.
Step 2: Add about 10 drops of green food colouring and 6 drops yellow food colouring. Mix.
Step 3: Carefully pour into mugs and enjoy!
Carmel Apples: Find a recipe for Carmel apples online or in a holiday cookbook.
Pumpkin muffins: Find a pumpkin muffing recipe online or in your favourite cookbook.
Cheesy Guts Soup: Make a can of tomato soup as directed (we like to make ours with milk). Rip up a cheese string into threads of cheese and add to the hot soup which will melt the cheese.
Ghost Grilled Cheese: Use a ghost cookie cutter (or hand cut yourself) to cut slices of bread into ghost shapes. Cut white cheddar with the cookie cutter as well and place the cheese on top of the bread. Place in an oven under the broiler and melt cheese for approximately 2 minutes (watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn).
Honey and Soy sauce glazed chicken wings can be called bat wings for Halloween. Serve with noodles or worms.
Shortbread Jack-o-lantern Cookies: Make some whipped Short bread and add some orange food colouring to tint the dough. Roll out and use a circle cut-out or pumpkin cookie cutter to make pumpkin cookies. Make an orange glaze by mixing 2 cups powdered sugar with 4 tbsp orange juice and ice the cookies. Then use mini chips for a face.
Gingerbread skeletons: Here is another cookie idea which we thought was fun (and yummy): http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/gingerbread-skeletons-929720/
Print out my Halloween Traditions Worksheet and together as a family write down different Halloween traditions from the past and present as well as those your family follows. You may find some books in the library to help you with this worksheet or try the Halloween Websites below.
Print out my Halloween Safety Family Brainstorm Sheet and together as a family discuss and write down ways to be safe this Halloween. For some safety ideas you can check on these websites:
NOTE: Don’t forget to give out peanut/nut free candy on Halloween.
Halloween doesn’t have to be only about dressing up to receive candy; it can be about giving as well. Use it as an opportunity to help others. Here are some Halloween Charities to consider:
www.sightnight.org to donate old eyeglasses
To collect canned foods for your local food bank on Halloween night register here: http://www.freethechildren.com/getinvolved/youth/campaigns/campaigns.php?type=halloweenforhunger
DECORATE YOUR HOUSE, WINDOW or YARD FOR HALLOWEEN:
Use some of the above crafts or any of your child’s from school (or those found online or at craft stores) to decorate your home.
MAKE YOUR OWN COSTUME:
You can make your own costume by making a mask from a paper headband or a paper plate, or by using old clothes. Have fun working together.
MAKE A HALLOWEEN FUN BOX:
We have a large plastic bin that we pack our Halloween goodies in each year. Over the years I have collected various Halloween books and shows, decorations and toys, and crafts. Each year in October we take out the Halloween bin and have lots of fun decorating the house, looking at old crafts, playing with Halloween toys and games, and reading our spooky books. It is a family tradition we look forward to each Autumn.
Make your own Halloween Board Game:
Materials: Coloured paper (we used two sheets), markers or crayons, glue stick, tape (optional), child safe scissors, a coin.
Step 1:Glue two or more sheets of paper side by side together to make a large game board (we used three).
Step 2: Either draw large squares or circles ahead of time on the board for each space or draw the shape after you’ve done the writing. Write “start” on the first space and “finish” on the last space. You could also cut out pumpkin or ghost shapes and glue them to the board for each space.
Step 3: Together with your child come up with different Halloween related things to write on each space. We included simple actions like clapping your hands, singing, thumbs up...and also standard board game instructions like roll again, miss a turn (although beware of temper tantrums If you have a competitive child), go ahead a space, go back 1 space, etc.
Step 4: We also drew little pictures for each space that related to what was written.
Step 5: When the instructions for each space are finished tape the pages together along the glued seam to make the game board stronger. You could also laminate the whole board game as well.
Step 6: Draw some Halloween related playing pieces (like a Jack-o-lantern or a ghost) and cut them out to use when playing (or use Halloween stickers on folded pieces of paper as we did).
Step 7: Play your game! Flip a coin for each turn. Heads—move one space. Tails—move two spaces.
Here are some examples of what we wrote on our spaces:
· You see a haunted house! Scream!
· Say “BOO!” 5 times.
· Make a funny jack-o- lantern face.
· Someone gives you 2 treats! Roll again.
· What’s your favourite Halloween monster?
· Fly ahead on your broomstick 2 spaces.
· This house has run out of candy. Go back one space.
Ghost in the Graveyard – Pick a designated area (like a backyard), pick a home base, and have one person as the ghost. The rest of the players close their eyes and count to midnight while the ghost hides. The players yell “Red light, green light , we’re off to find a ghost tonight“ and set off searching for the person who is the ghost. When the ghost is found you yell “Ghost in the graveyard! Run run run! “ and everyone must run back to home base. If you are tagged you become the ghost.
HALLOWEEN PARTY OR PUMPKIN CARVING PARTY:
Host or attend a Halloween or Pumpkin Carving party. Make some spooky treats and play some party games or make a craft. Don’t forget to dress up.
Q: What do skeletons say before they eat dinner?
A: Bone appétit!
Q: Who did the monster take to the dance?
A: His ghoul friend.
Q: What kind of injury do ghost usually get?
A: Boo Boos
Q: How do you fix a broken jack-o-lantern.
A: with a pumpkin patch
Q: What do you call a witch who lives at the beach?
A: A sand-witch
Q: What’s the best dessert to eat on Halloween?
A: Ice- Scream!
Q: What is a vampire’s favourite type of dog?
A: A Blood Hound
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with a Halloween theme .
For young children try these titles:
· Dora the Explorer’s Halloween
· Franklin’s Halloween
· It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
· Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie
Older kids might enjoy these titles:
· The Nightmare Before Christmas
· Any Scooby Doo
Festivals: See what your community or surrounding area are offering for October. Many places have pumpkin festivals, haunted walks or hay rides, corn mazes or costume parties.
Shopping: Go shopping for a pumpkin to carve or for a Halloween costume together.
For the some Halloween fun take your kids Trick or Treating to fill up your candy bowl.
TRICK OR TREAT POSTER: Sometimes my husband is not home to hand out candies at the door so while I take my boys around the block Trick or Treating I leave a poster up by our front door with our bowl of candy. You can have your kids decorate the rhyming poem as we’ve done. I have two poems: Trick or Treat Poem 1 and Trick or Treat Poem 2.
Jack-o-lanterns from our 2009 Pumpkin Carving Party
Halloween Sticker Collage
Ghost Grilled Cheese
Halloween Stamp Collage
Trick or Treat Sign
Homemade Halloween Board Game