Fortunately, for parents with school-aged kids, Halloween falls on a week day this year. However, for those of you who have pre-school aged kids, home school kids, or are merely worried about filling the hours between after school & trick-or-treating-time, we all need ideas to occupy the kids. Check out some of the ideas I use to cling to my sanity on October 31st. Happy Halloween!
Decorate Pumpkins I HATE decorating pumpkins. I possess no artistic skill. My efforts could, at best, be compared to those of a 3 year old. However, my kids love carving pumpkins so this activity should keep them happy for 30 minutes or so. Check out all these fantastic pumpkin stencils! If you like roasting pumpkin seeds, I learned a trick last year. Boil them first! Makes all the difference in the world.
Take Part in a Halloween Event Around Vancouver There are TONS of events on Halloween morning to help occupy the kids. Visit the Halloween version of FlyOver Canada (a big favourite of ours). Check and see if you can get last minute tickets to the Ghost Train in Stanley Park (the matinees are kid-friendly). Ride the Pumpkin Express at Bear Creek Park in Surrey. In Abbotsford, EcoDairy is hosting Moo or Boo (even the cows are getting in on the Halloween fun).
Plan a Spooky Meal I love to cook (it makes up for my non-craftiness in every other aspect of my life). A few years ago my mother-in-law sent me this great recipe: Ghostly Shepherd’s Pie. Crazy easy and always a big hit! This year I’m going to get the kids to help assemble the dinner (e.g chop carrots, whip the potatoes, sprinkle on the cheese). Again, I should be able to fill 30 minutes with this activity.
Watch a Halloween Movie Of course I mean the kid-friendly Halloween movie not chainsaw-ridiculousness that would have me hiding under the bed for eternity. Family Fun Canada has rounded up a great list of kid-friendly Halloween movies…movies like Monsters Inc or Casper are Halloween-esque and a good mid-afternoon activity.
Explore Your Neighbourhood If your neighbourhood is anything like mine, there are plenty of Halloween decorations to make a family walk highly entertaining. If you have little ones who spook easily, it might be a good idea to do a “practice” trick-or-treat walk. Visit the houses in the daylight when they aren’t nearly as scary. If nothing else you might pick up a few ideas you want to implement in your own decorating next year.
Visit the Library and Bring Home a Stash of Halloween Books Curling up on the couch and reading Halloween picture books are still a favourite for our kids. We own a number (that I only bring out at Halloween) and the kids can’t stop pouring over them. The Vancouver Public Library has a huge collection of Halloween books for kids. A few favourites of mine, from when our boys were little, are: Pumpkin Cat, Mole’s Harvest Moon, The Halloween Play, The Runaway Pumpkin, and The Haunted House that Jack Built.
Get Crafty This idea is for the craft-inclined parents out there. I’ll be honest there won’t be crafting happening in my house; just the idea sends me into a mild panic. However a quick check of “lovely” Pinterest shows me their are many Halloween-crafts I could quickly convert into Pinterest-fails. Though I must say, even the kids and I should be able to master Pumpkin Apple Stamps. And while this isn’t really a craft, I love the idea of Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe!