Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

1 Day to Halloween

Trick-or-Treat Etiquette

The Unwritten Rules of Halloween

 1. Trick-or-Treating starts just after dark (~7pm). Some people argue that little kids should trick-or-treat before dark and older kids go after dark. But it is generally assumed that 9 pm is the cut off time for trick-or-treating. However, your city my have a specific time for trick-or-treating.
2. Only ring the door bells of the houses with the porch lights on. And only ring the door bell once.
3. Everyone receiving candy must be in costume. You gotta earn that candy.
4. Age limit for trick-or-treaters should be 12-13 years old. But if you have younger children with you, the older kids can come if they are in costume.
5. To get candy you must say "Trick-or-Treat" and remember to say thank you after receiving candy. You should only take one piece unless otherwise instructed.

Safety Rules to Follow
1.Young children should always go trick-or-treating with an adult. Never trick-or-treat alone!! Have at least 2 friends go with you.
2.Plan you entire route and make sure your family knows what it is.
3. Wear only flame retardant costumes and accessories.
4. Accept candy only in the doorway. Never go inside a house. Don't take unwrapped candy.
5. Don't play near lit jack-o-lanterns or other open flames.
6. WALK! don't RUN. Stay on sidewalks and driveways. Cross the street only in crosswalks.
7. Take a cell phone with you if possible.
8. Carry a flashlight.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

2 Days to Halloween

Haunted Houses in Houston
 Since Bruce and I will be stuck at home studying on Halloween night, we decided to admire the Halloween decor today. Here are some of our favorite houses. Not only are these houses beautiful, but they have spared no inflatable prop while decorating. REALLY what happened to the good old spider webs and tomb stones? When I was a kid, people stuck chicken bones and fake blood on their front yard to scare off trick-or-treaters. Seriously, we need some good scary houses. Please send me a picture if you find one!

 This was Bruce's favorite. It's a spider crawling down the balcony.
This was the creepiest front yard. It was random scarecrow-like figures in purple dresses with masks. You have to give them an A for creativity.
 Straight out of a serial-killer movie is this colonial style home. I bet this house is frightening at night. If you look closely you can see that trick-or-treaters have to walk past the giant spider with a severed human foot dangling out of its mouth. And on the other side of the walkway is a graveyard who's occupants have dug their way out of their coffins. You may not make it back in one piece . . .
Pretty cool doorway decoration. 

Another haunted house that utilized the fake cob webs. They even have one of those creepy zombie babies on the porch bench.
Another cool entryway.

What 90's thriller does this scene take you back to? Arachnophobia! The movie that still haunts me these days. 

Now that you have got the hebe-geebees, see if you can find any houses in your neighborhood to top these ones.

Friday, October 28, 2011

3 Days to Halloween

Trick-or-Treat Bags

Who says you have to use a boring old pillow case for a tick-or-treat bag. How about having your kids make their own bags this year. It can be as easy as stickers to a bag or more involved with glitter and buttons. I decided to use felt.
 Here are a few things you may want to have on hand:
-fabric scraps
-hot glue gun
First cut the top 1 inch to 1 1/2 off the top of the felt sheets. These will be used for the handles. Hot glue them on.

 Next, cut out the eyes, mouth, nose, and other features or shapes.
 Assemble your shapes on the bag. And hot glue them on.

 Finally, glue the front of the bag to the back of the bag. Now, you and your kids are ready to hit the streets with your new candy bags.

Here are some more ideas for trick-or-treat bags.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

4 Days to Halloween

Caramel Apples
You can never go wrong with caramel and apples. Whether it's the contrast between the sweet of the caramel and the sour of the apple, or the candy pieces, this treat will have you licking your fingers when it's gone. To make it even better, I found a recipe that is simple and fast.

Here are the ingredients you will need:
- Green apples
-Popsicle sticks or wooden sticks. (I found these at Walmart for $1)
-Pure Caramel pieces
-Your choice of extra toppings. Anything from nuts and sprinkles to your favorite candy bar will work.

 Make sure you wash your apples and take out the stem before inserting the stick. I used a hammer to tap it in. Do not go all the way through the apple. About half way works fine.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Live and Learn: DO NOT USE WAX PAPER - the apples will stick. At least that's what happened to me.

 Unwrap the amount of caramel you want to use for your apple. I only made one apple so I used about 10-12 individual caramel pieces. If you are doing a whole batch of apples (4 or more) I would use the entire bag. If you are using the entire bag, you will need to add 2 Tbsp water to the caramel. The quickest way to melt the caramel is to microwave it on high for about 1-3 min. You have to stir the caramel every 30 seconds. Live and Learn: When I make these again I am either going to keep them melted over the stove or put them in a hot water bath. Otherwise, I found that it got hard really fast.

 Cut your candy or get your other toppings ready. Live and Learn: When I make these again, I am going to stick the candy onto the caramel apple before it cools. They will stay better.

 When your caramel is melted, roll your apple in it. If you used the whole bag you may be able to dip the apples. You can also use a small plastic spatula to smooth out and spread the caramel. Also, let the excess caramel drip off the apple before flattening the bottom of the apple.
Refrigerate your apples for 10-15 min to let them get cool. Some recipes ask you to wait 1 hour, but I'm not that patient.

 Here is my first attempt at the caramel apple. It wasn't a complete failure. I scraped off the wax paper and smoothed out the bubbles with a spatula. Reminder: use tin foil; not wax paper.

 To help the candy attach, and because it's yummy, I melted some chocolate.
Roll the apple in the chocolate, and let the excess drip off. This is when I added the candy. I had to push the pieces into the apple so they wouldn't drip off. Be careful not to push too hard. Put back into the refrigerator to set the chocolate.

 Here is the yummy apple! You can get really creative by drizzling more caramel, chocolate, or peanut butter over the apple. Have fun with the toppings. When you are ready to eat the apple, try cutting it into pieces with a knife or with an apple cutter. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 Days to Halloween

Halloween History
I found this great documentary about Halloween yesterday and I had to share it. It's not really scary, the freeze frame looks scary. It's a short history on everything from Halloween traditions, Halloween candy, costumes, Mexico's Day of the Dead, and why we get scared. Here is a little taste of the episode:

If you like what you see, follow this link to to watch the full episode. It's about 40-45min.

If you are in the mood for something that will make your senses tingle, follow these links to read a short ghost story. Some of these stories are creepy, other are common urban ledgens.

Warning: Do NOT read before bed. I hid under the covers all night!

6 Days to Halloween

Outdoor Halloween Decoration Ideas

Sight seeing Halloween houses is one of my favorite activities in October. I love all the spooky decorations. They are even more fun on Halloween night. Here are a few ideas to spice up your yard for Halloween.
Bush Witch
This is one of my own creations. I found the legs and hat in a dollar bin at Target. They light-up eyes are from the grocery store. I think she is super cute!

 Bat Attack
This is another simply spooky idea. The bats are cut from black paper and taped to the door and wall.

 Ghoulish Ghost
This ghost was made with an old white sheet, a ball for the head, and paint for the face.

Carve Your Own Gravestones
I found this great tutorial I just had to share:

Scary Silhouette
I had never thought of this until I saw this picture! All you need is black paper, scissors, tape, bright light, and a silhouette. And it's an easy clean up, no cob webs!!

Now that you know how to make your house a little more eerie, I have an assignment for you. Explore your neighborhood and admire all the spine-chilling homes in your area. Take a picture of your favorite house and email it to me. I will post them this Friday, the 28th, for everyone to see!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

7 Days to Halloween

Last minute Halloween Costumes
Simple overalls or suspenders with a plaid shirt and a straw hat.

 Scientist Smarty Pants

 Cute Frog Prince and Princess Hoddies
Here is the tutorial; courtesy of Martha Stewart: She also has a tutorial for Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.

Another simple idea for clothes you may already have in your closet, or your parents' closet. The mustache is a great touch.

 A Knight made out of tin foil.
I thought this was so cool! I might try this just for fun. Here is the tutorial:
Miss Universe
 All you need is a fancy (sparkly) dress, a crown, and sash.
The nerd costume revolves around over-sized glasses, nerdy hair, and a tucked in shirt. This is a fun one for teens.
 A Sunbeam
This one is a little fancy, but a felt sun on the front of a yellow sweater would do the trick.

Stick Person
I love this idea! My old young women's leader's son did this one year. For this costume you want to dress in all black, and glue glow sticks on body to made a stick figure.

Spider Princess
Another cute idea. Here is the tutorial: My favorite part is the spider web wings.

Just some straw and patched up clothes.
This was another really creative idea, especially in Texas!

Super Hero

I hope this list gives you a few good ideas for Halloween costumes.