I love Autumn it’s my favourite season. The colours are stunning – it’s as if Mother nature is showing off what she can really do at this time of year. It feels quite magical to me and as October progresses and the night’s become darker I still get a buzz out of planning for Halloween.
Children love the magic of Hallowe’en too with tales of witches and ghostly goings-on so if you’re planning to host your own gruesome gathering here are a few ideas to help get you started…
Firstly there has to be a costume! Witches and wizards, ghosts and ghouls, pumpkins and spiders – there are lots of scary options to choose from for your Halloween costume. Lots of shops now sell pretty reasonably priced costumes for kids and adults alike but you could always try a homemade costume instead. I still love the holes-cut-out-of-a-sheet type of ghost costume but not so practical for eating or playing games!
Instead try Ripping up some old clothes, add talc or baby powder to the hair, darken around the eyes with grey eyeshadow and you’re a zombie! Another cheap alternative is to buy a roll of fabric bandages unravel the roll and soak in tea to give it an ancient appearance. When it’s dry, wrap the bandage around the body to make your Mummy costume or cut into strips and sew at different angles across a plain t-shirt and leggings.
Once you’ve sorted costumes it’s time to fill your haunted house with spooky decorations to delight your guests. Pumpkins are an obvious place to start – carve some scary faces into a row of pumpkins to light up your front steps wall or garden. The best thing about a party at this time of year is that it gets dark fairly early so even for younger guests pumpkins will look fabulous lit up as they arrive.
Haunted House Pumpkin (HJBowman at Giddy Girls World)
If you’re going all out for a ghoulish entrance using glow sticks is a brilliant trick for a super spooky appearance. Carefully break a glow stick and tip the contents along the edge of step and let the goo run down each one – the contents will glow like ghostly ectoplasm! (well…that’s the theory! I’ll let you know how well this works at the end of October!)
Hang bats and spiders from every corner, add sinister black crows and throw fake cobwebs around. There are some brilliant DIY projects online – like this one from HGTV for making spiderwebs from binbags (our Americans friends really have this Halloween thing wrapped up!)
Binbag Spiderwebs at HGTV
..or how about some fabulous ideas from this side of the pond courtesy of the Red Ted Art blog? Maggy Woodley has collated 50 Halloween Crafts _ Ideas which covers everything from bubbling brews and pompom pumpkins to ghost lollipops and brains-in-a-jar!!
crows, pumpkins and witches at Good Housekeeping
Bat filled front door at Country Living.com
Hang skeletons in front of your windows or cut out spooky shapes like a witch in black card and stick them to the inside of the window - the light from the room will make scary shadows for anyone looking in.
Last year we found some very inexpensive battery operated tealights with an orange glow that we put along our windowsills and cut out our own haunted house in black card – it gave a brilliant effect.
Once your decorations and costumes are sorted, it’s time for some frightful fun with your food! There are some amazing recipes and ideas – one in particular for ‘witches fingers’ I couldn’t even bring myself to add to the post, they were so horrific!! (perfect for an adult party but think they would scare the wits out of the kids!) So here are some slightly more child-friendly ideas for your halloween feast
Meringue Bones at Martha Stewart
Witches Hat Cakes at babble.com
Ginger-dead Skeletons at Oh So Yummy
Meringue Ghosts at SkinnyTaste.com
Oozing Toffee Apples at Woman’s Day.com
Vampire Blood Soup in test tubes with ghost sandwiches at Food network
Mummy pizzas at Parents Magazine.com
For some slightly healthier options try ghost bananas and pumpkin satsumas or clementines!
Freaky fruit at myeasyrecipes.net
Pumpkin mandarins at Haworth Handmade
If you’re anything like me, then there is nothing more terrifying than spiders! However , I could just about cope with these spidery drinking straws and I added the plastic spiders to those jellies myself for some fun desserts last year…and they went down a treat!
Spider Jellies (HJBowman at Giddy Girls World)
Spider straws at Lia Griffith
After all of that ghoulish grub, it’s time for some games!
Cover some bowls or boxes with black fabric but leave enough room for small hands to feel around inside and guess what’s inside. Fill your bowls with cooked spaghetti or noodles, peeled grapes or tomatoes, hotdog sausages..anything squishy or slimy to the touch will have your guests squealing!
Mystery Bowls from Parents Magazine
Pin the spider on the web
Spider game at HGTV
Just like the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game but use a large web and spider instead! Put the web up on your wall, blindfold each child in turn and let them stick a cardboard cut-out or plastic spider to the web. Closest one to the middle wins!
You could also include apple bobbing and a Halloween treasure hunt for skeleton bones! (Find more Halloween party ideas here at Netmums)
If you’re sending your party guests home with a treat (or a trick!) , you’ll need a suitably scary goodie bag.bUse orange striped paper bags and seal with a halloween sticker
Striped bags from Little Cherub Designs
Another homemade option is to use latex gloves for a horribly gruesome swag bag! Fill with gooey worms, skeleton skull sweets, halloween badges, gold coins and spider rings and tie with a ribbon or string
Spooky badges at Evajeanie
If you’re stuck for time and ideas, there are great pre-filled halloween party bags available too
Fun filled party bags at Edamay