Gather around my little Witches, Goblins and Ghosts. Yes, you too, oh sweet Vampire Maiden. Dracula put the glass of red “Wine” down and you Frankenstein quit eyeballing the nuts and bolts in my Cabinet. No matter what age group you are it is time to come together around the big round planning table and set up the Guest and to-do-list for Halloween.
Now that I have your attention, I would like to invite you on a little tour of all the great places and things you can do for Halloween this Year. Take you Notebook in hand and have your Pen sharpened. We are on our way.
Witches, Goblins and Ghosts oh my!
Before we get started, we have to set the mood of course and there is no better place to start then Costumes. You have to have Costumes for Halloween. I hope you are not one of those boring Adults that believe that dress up is just for kids. If you are, go stand in the corner over there with Scrooge. I will get back to you later. The rest of you come and follow me.
On my travels through the Cyber World on my “digital Broomstick” I came across this fascinating little Place. http://www.halloweenishere.com is a wonderful Website for everything from Halloween Costumes, Recipes to Movies. If you are looking for a starting point this is it. My favorite was the Halloween Carols. How can you not have fun as you stroll down the street singing at the top of your lungs…?
Screech owls hoot, are you listening?
‘Neath the moon, all is glistening.
A real scary sight, we’re happy tonight.
Waitin’ in a spirit wonderland.
You can find the rest on the Website and even print them out. What more could you ask for. Now that we in the singing mood, let us go on to the next little digital Realm of spook a lot.
If you want to purchase an already made custom, I advice you get started now before the best ones are gone. http://www.halloweenmart.com has a great selection of customs and most of them are fairly reasonable priced. (Just a side note here, they have customs for almost all the holidays, but I did not tell you that).
Personally, I prefer to go treasure hunting for my costumes, and where better to go then to your local thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets. Not only are you coming off much cheaper, but you will be guaranteed to be original.
Excuse me for a moment, Dracula has his fingers in my blood sausage again. “Put that down, bad Dracula!” Ok, where were we?
Ah yes, the thrift stores. Now the trick is not to purchase already made items, but clothing you can alternate. For example, have you ever been a Dead Zombie Bride? No? Ok, let us use this one for an example. You need a black net material veil (hobby stores, thrift stores, fabric stores), some dead flowers, a fancy dress which you can rip, decorate, dye or whatever to your own personal fancy comes up with and some black and white make-up which you will be able to find just about anywhere. Most importantly however you need – wait for it! Here it comes – ready? You guessed it, imagination. With a bit of imagination you can turn the dullest, oldest, most boring outfit into a creation worthy of an Award. The rewards are plentiful too, you can have fun making the outfits with your kids (family time), you get to act like a Kid (oh don’t look at me like that) and you safe money (I gave you the grown up bit, now leave me alone).
Another place you may find some unexpected Treasures are your grandmothers closet (if she is alive and lets you near it) or your mother’s closet (she used to be young at one point and you may be surprised at her “not so motherly” tastes). If all else fails, dig through your own closet and your linen closet and your cupboards and …. You get the point. Again, imagination is the key and who says you have to be something “normal”. My daughter and I have some of the best times dressing up for Halloween. She is my living canvas and she even holds still when I paint on her face, neck and arms.
Movies, Music and Magic
Now that you have your custom Idea and hopefully some of the things you need to create them, it is time to get it set up. Depending on the age of your Children, get your favorite Halloween Movies out, put in some dark Music and create some magic.
Here are a few of my favorite Halloween Movies or Magical Movies that I used to enjoy with my kids.
5 and under: Pooh’s huffalump Halloween Movie, Mickey’s House of Villains, Mickey’s Sorcerers Apprentice.
6 – 10: It’s the great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The black Cauldron, The Dark Crystal, Casper and Wendy
11 and up: Hocus Pocus, The Halloween Town Series, The Tower of Terror, The Haunted Mansion, The Monster House,
14 and up: Horror Movies…. The Ghost Ship, Dracula, Halloween, Hellraiser
Put an age appropriate movie in, pop some popcorn, have some cider and gummy worms ready and go to town. You are only doing it right if there is an absolute mess all over the floor and you are all giggling with fun or shivering with fright.
Let the haunting begin.
Your costume is ready and hanging up in the closet, you step out of your designated creation area and it suddenly strikes you. Your house is – gasping in horror- normal. (Somewhere in the background there is the slow solemn sound of a funeral march playing). How can that be with Halloween right around the corner and the magical, mystical, fictional, horrific and at times funny Characters already assembling at your house? Well there is nothing for it; you have to take quick action. Unless you are a Hollywood styled Witch and you have a working Harry Potter Wand you have to do it per hand. Call you little Monsters (in this case I am talking about your kids) and have them help you dig through the cupboards, look in the Attic, under the beds (make sure they apologize to the Monster made of Dust that lives there) and in whatever other nooks and grannies you may think off.
We are looking for: black and orange construction Paper, pencils, scissors, black, red, orange and white candles, spider web material from last year, all the decorations you hopefully have from last year, white crepe paper, toilet paper, googelie eyes and what ever else you can find that can be horrified.
Once you have it all in a big pile all gathered together take stock. Designate one general Area of the house for the Halloween Mansion look. This room is preferably where you get together most of the Time. A Dinning or Living Room works the best. Take the regular “easy to break” pretties down for just a little while and store them away safely. We are going to do a make over.
“Hey, Spooky and Haunt, can you glide over here for a moment and bring your measuring Tape?” There are no better helpers for this project then your resident ghosts, after all they know everything there is to know about sheets right?
With your Helpers take the width and length measurements of your Windows, Couch and whatever table, mantel or pretty table you may have in your room. Make certain you write them all down correctly.
Time to go to your local Wal-mart; bring your list and some money. If the Zombies are coming tell them that Brains at the Store are off limits, most of the People working there need every little Cell they can put their Hands on and can not spare a single one. Drop Dracula and sexy Vamp off at the Blood Bank first. After a stern warning to the rest of the Monsters (here again we are talking about the kids) we are off to Wallyworld.
In your shopping cart you should soon find: Black Flat Sheets that cover the entire Windows, some white fabric Paint, hopefully some fun or spooky fancy material for the Tables, Mantels etc. Whatever little decorations for Halloween catch your eyes. Please remember, Halloween is suppose to be at least a little scary not all cutesy.
Don’t forget a light up pumpkin or two, a couple of wrote Iron Candle holders and long black tapered Candles. Make certain you have something to tack the Sheets up with as well. Some wonderful fake black Roses and a black veil material works great. Might as well get all your other shopping done while you are there, but remember not to take too long, the natives are getting restless.
Back at home you spread the Window Covering aka Bed sheet out on the floor and have your special Artists take the white paint and make spooky symbols on the sheets. You can use some of these symbols if you are brave: http://library.thinkquest.org/16665/symbols.htm, or make up your own of course.
Once the paint is dry hang up the sheets to cover your windows, at the bottom you can even cut a couple of ribs with a knife and if you have a nice plastic Rat handy have it sit up towards it to look as if it has was nipping away at the remaining Material. Make a few table and mantel coverings out of the other material. Be creative, this is your house. Remember in a haunted house things aren’t neat, they are rat eaten, spider web covered and creased. Out of the construction paper you can make Bats and other Halloween related animals. A nice scary black cat would be fun (please don’t harm any animals in real life however, they are our friends and don’t deserve that). You can find some how-to Ideas for Halloween crafts here: http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/halloween/index.html or http://www.dltk-holidays.com/halloween/index.html once you have crafted the Items (what a wonderful way once again to spend with your family and practice some fun hands on skills) it is time for you to finish decorating your Room. By now you should have bats ready to fly on a string from the Ceiling, Spider Webs with little spiders in the Corners and draping down to your coach. Candles on the Tables with a scary black rose and webbing bouquet for your main table. The pumpkin to guard the door and all sorts of decoration lit up by candles all around the room. Remember to keep things in the shadows a lot, which gives it a spooky feeling.
Out of the House we go
If you have a backyard or front yard you can make spooky signs to put up, drift wood, cardboard cleverly painted work great. A real carved Jack-O-Lantern when the time grows closer. Some fun plastic monsters and you can even hang plastic bats, a crow and spiders in the trees. If you feel as if you want to spend the money for the extra electricity they have Halloween Lights for the outside. Here is a great Company that has just about everything you can think off and reasonably priced. No reason to leave your house, they are online: http://www.hauntedprops.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=118&gclid=CJjgm9yKyI0CFRsrYQodIQwnIg or http://www.orientaltrading.com
Going to a Haunted House
Some like creating their own Haunted House and others enjoy going to one. As the Halloween Season grows ever closer you will see advertisements for local Haunted Houses in your local Papers and on sidewalk Advertisement Billboards. You don’t have to wait that long however, if you want to go now before the season comes up you can find Haunted Houses almost all over the World. http://www.horrorfind.com/Haunted_Houses has a list of Haunted Houses from all over the US.
Please be kind to your little Monsters, not every Child is up for this kind of Adventure. My younger daughter loved it and my son and oldest daughter were too scared to go through. Make sure you know your kid first and don’t bully them or make fun for being cowardly either. Haunted Houses are not for everyone. If you have a Heart condition or Epilepsy you may want to stay away from them as well. Some of the Haunted Houses use lights that can trigger an attack.
Going on a Tour
That is a haunted Tour of course. Again you could ask your resident Ghosts (oops I forgot to pick Dracula and sexy Vamp up from the Blood Bank – be right back).
In the meantime you could check this Site out, it give you the Top Ten most haunted Tours in the USA. http://www.hauntedamericatours.com/toptenhaunted/toptenhauntedghosttours
I am back and Dracula told me about this Haunted Walking Tour in San Francisco, supposedly it is filled with spooky facts. You may want to give your Kids a Treat and let them go on this Tour or you could go with them if you dare: http://www.hauntedhaight.com/html/hauntedhaight_tour.html
Putting on the Ritz
Sexy Vamp has been tucking on my shirt and has been plain pesky about this, so allow me to suggest you might put a Halloween Party together. Even kids like to have a Party; however you need to make it Age appropriate.
We need Halloween Food, spooky music; we already have the place (your own haunted Mansion Room just move the furniture out of the way and throw down a lot of pillows), some Halloween drinks and Games.
By using Jack-O-Lantern as illumination (set up high and out of the way if you have younger kids) you give it a Halloween feeling. Get your Calendar out and check what day Full Moon falls on, than set the Party for that Evening. Make sure to send the invitations out at least 2 Weeks ahead of time. Again, you can have your Monsters help you out. Make it a Custom or Theme Party. Don’t forget the prizes for best custom, scariest Story Telling, most original Party Food etc. Have each guest bring one Party Food with them. It has to be Theme oriented and is up for a Prize. Before everyone eats it up you will award the prize for the best and most original Party Food brought. Sorry, your own is not eligible. This serves two purposes; your cost for the party is cut and you have another reason for a prize. We all love prizes.
A ghostly Treasure Hunt
This will take a little planning and maybe some assistance from your Neighbors. If you have a lot of children on your street, it may even turn into a Block Event. Get some Neighborhood Mom’s together and set up a night (yes it has to be AFTER dark) when specific houses or more correctly back or front yards are available to the children. You want adults present to supervisor behind windows or around the corner. Maybe they would be willing to dress up as Monsters and scare the kids a little. We want to make sure that the Kids are safe. Once you have all the Adults willing to get involved, have a little meeting with coffee, tea, hot coco and snacks of course. The kids can not be in the area otherwise the surprise is busted.
Make a List of at least 25 Items that have to do with Ghosts. Anything you can think of. Examples might be: a bit of chain, a white sheet, a ratted out cotton ball, an obituary, a ghost book, a ghost sticker… You get the idea.
Have each of the Adults get a few of those Items, then set up clues for each Item and the location where they will be found. Each item has to be hidden in one of the Yards in the Neighborhood of the Adults willing to help out. Make sure the final clue will be located at the House the Game ends.
When the Children walk in with all the Items, they will be greeted with a small fun feast and a Prize. You can either have all the kids go together or you can have them go in two groups. I like to encourage team work so one big group is good. A Prize could be a Pizza Party at their favorite Pizza Place, a big cauldron full of Candy, or little gift sacks for each child that will include trick or treating supplies they will need for the big Trick or Treating night.
The Witch is in – Welcome to Halloween 101
If you have a Witch in the Neighborhood and you are on good terms with her, she would be the best person to do this. If not, have someone that is interested in this type of information dress up as a Storybook Witch and have a spooky class room set up.
Halloween has been around long before it was Halloween. “No, little goblin boy it was not invented by the Candy Companies”.
Have your children get educated about the real history of Halloween. http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usny&c=holidays&id=11207
Once you have learned about Samhain and All Hallows Eve, why not have the kids come in the Kitchen and help create some of the traditional Recipes.
What is the purpose of having a Halloween Lesson? One it is History and we all should learn it and two it is fun if you know how to pull it off. Give a Test at the end and have a lot of pranks set up during the Lesson.
Guess the Ghost
A nice Game you can play with your kids on a chilly Autumn Night. Do a little quick research on the Internet or have your Ghost Specialists help you out.
Find the top 25 of who is who of Ghosts. All through out literature and History we have had Ghosts that have become famous. Find 25 famous Ghosts and learn a little about them. Then set up questions about each Ghost with three Clues for each Ghost.
This Ghost appears and seems to scatter gloom as it moves.
It is immortalized in a famous Christmas Story
He shows us things that we may not wish to see.
The Answer to this Question is: The Ghost of Christmas yet to come from the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
You can add famous Halloween Movies, famous Hollywood Monsters etc. The possibilities are endless.
If you play this Game well in advance you can have a great Prize for the winner with the most correct answers at the end of the evening: A $25.00 Gift Card for a Halloween Custom.
Put on a Halloween Play for the Neighborhood
If you would like to raise some money for a Charity or the local Animal Shelter why not enlist Teenagers and School Kids with a talent for Writing and Acting. You can have a couple of kids write a simple to follow Halloween Play. Have the Neighborhood Mothers help with customs and Fathers can build a simple Stage. You can have the Play in a Back Yard and charge a small fee for entrance. Advertise this Play well in advance and check with the City first for any Rules. Make sure you let them know what Charity you collect for.
Everyone gets to have fun and you do a good deed.
These are just a few Ideas on what you can do before Halloween. Halloween is one of the most versatile Holidays and great fun for Children and the young at heart.
Please check back in Part 2 for more Ideas, Tips and Tricks. Happy Halloween!