I love putting notes into Miss Sarah’s school lunch — and here are a few fun ones you can use for your littles! I even have a blank template that you can use to write your own notes on.
Halloween can be filled with all sorts of laughs and surprises around every corner. Special memories can be made in even the simple things that we do to go out of our way and make our children’s lives more exciting and magical. One fun way to brighten their Halloween this year is to mold the atmosphere with unique and creative treats that surprise and delight even the gloomiest little ghosts and goblins.
1. Windy Ghost Lollipop Chimes
Ready to put an eerie twist on an old favorite Halloween treat? Take some lollipops that are round (such as Tootsie Pops or Dumb Dumb lollipops) white tissues, orange and black curling ribbon, a permanent black marker, and some small jingle bells and have a Windy Ghost Lollipop Chime “creation station”. Wrap the lollipops in the tissue like a ghost (imagine a child wearing a sheet over it’s head), and tie at the base of the lollipop with a piece of 6-8 inch curling ribbon. Tie a jingle bell onto one end of the ribbon so that it dangles from the neck of the ghost pop. Add eyes and an eerie mouth onto the tissue head of the ghost using the permanent black marker. Use additional ribbon to hang your Windy Ghost Lollipops from your front or back trees in your yard or banisters on a porch to create a spooky chime effect on a windy day!
2. Hauntingly Delicious Caramel Apples
Many families love to create traditions year after year and this is one that is both easy to do and tasty too! Gather a bunch of different toppings to have in small bowls that include things like chopped nuts, sprinkles, white and dark chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, raisins, and small candies like M & M’s. Buy a bag of 12 Granny Smith (green) or Macintosh (reddish) apples and 12 craft sticks, 2 bags of individually wrapped caramels, wax paper (or butter for greasing) and 4 tablespoons of milk. This recipe makes 12 caramel apples.
Start by cleaning and removing the stems from each apple then place craft stick inside where the stem used to be. Use wax paper on a baking sheet, or grease a baking sheet using butter and set aside. Unwrap and melt the caramels and milk in the microwave in a bowl for 1 minute. Stir. Repeat in microwave for one more minute. Let cool for 1-2 minutes. Proceed to roll each apple in the caramel sauce quickly while coating it thoroughly then place on wax paper or on the buttered baking sheet and place in refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to firm up.
Once the caramel apples begin to firm a bit, try to roll gently or sprinkle and press items like chocolate chips, raisins, chopped nuts, candies, or sprinkles onto the apples. Melt a few chocolate chips and drizzle over top of your finished apples for a spooky look.
3. Creepy Crawly Whoopie Pies
Let’s create some spooky delights in the form of spider whoopie pies! Follow a standard whoopie pie recipe, but use a drop or two of red and yellow food coloring to make the filling orange in color. Once the whoopie pies are prepared, you can use thin pretzel sticks or twizzlers candy to create four legs on each side sticking out of the center of the whoopie pie for spider legs. Now add two drops of icing on top front of whoopie pies and place two matching color M&M candies (such as green) onto the drops of icing to make the eyes. Kids love helping in the kitchen, so this could even be an entertaining family baking and creating activity which will soon turn into a scrumptious eating activity!
4. Bootiful Rice Krispies Treats
Make a batch of Rice Krispies Treats using a traditional recipe. Use a Ghost shaped or Witch Hat cookie cutters to form the rice krispies treats into those shapes after you make them. Icing the top of the ghost shape with vanilla icing and the witch hats with either black or purple icing. Trim the hats with a secondary icing color using the piping icing in orange, white or yellow. Add eyes and a mouth to the ghosts using black, purple, or orange piping icing. Turn this into a kids activity by inviting family, friends, or bring them into your child’s classroom (mostly completed except for piping icing) to turn their class Halloween party into a decorating party!
An alternative option for those who are not fond of icing on Rice Krispies Treats is to use mini chocolate chips and gently melt bottoms to make them stick onto ghosts for eyes and a mouth. Use the mini chocolate chips in a straight line at the border of the witch’s hat for added decoration or melt orange chocolate chips and drizzle across in a pattern on the witch’s hat for a Spooktacular Touch.
5. Jack-O-Lantern Firecracker Surprises
Talk about excited kids – these will make them beg for more! This Halloween treat is one of the most mysterious surprises yet! The “mystery” is in the contents that YOU get to choose to include inside each firecracker surprise treat! Gather up some empty paper towel rolls cut in half or thirds (your choice on how long they should be), some orange tissue paper, black permanent marker, black curling ribbon, and black construction paper cut outs for eyes, nose, and mouth of Jack-O-Lantern.
Choose small items to include inside your firecracker such as Halloween stickers, individually wrapped candies, fruit snacks, dollar bills, small toys, bookmarks, stencils, stampers, small playdough containers, mini cars, or other surprise. Once you’ve selected your surprises, wrap the paper towel rolls in orange tissue paper leaving about 2 inches of extra at each end. Wrap closed and twist the ends shut with a black curling ribbon. You may need to place some tape on outer edges against the paper towel roll. Use tape or glue stick to place your Jack-O-Lantern faces on the outside of the orange tissue paper. Use the permanent marker in a discreet place on the back to write name of each child in case your ingredients/surprises inside the firecrackers were gender specific or age specific per child.
Now set these on the table at dinnertime as a centerpiece with some candy corn sprinkled around them and watch their faces light up when you tell them they get to open them after dinner is finished and dishes are done.
SCARY SELFIE CONTEST
Grab a white wall or a black curtain to hang in the background and create your own backdrop with Halloween decorations for a “Scary Selfie Contest” that will delight kids of any age – including teens and tweens! Do a quick print collage to display of each participant’s photo (makes a great keepsake to take home from the party too!), or show a slideshow on the TV by connecting your computer to a smart TV then email the pics to the participants as a keepsake. Have kids or parents vote on best Scary Selfie and give out a ghoulishly awesome prize to the winner(s)!
Easy enough for the youngest toddlers and exciting enough to entertain even the teens, this fun fall favorite can be a creative masterpiece of scares, laughs and squeals of delight depending on what you are willing to “hide” in the hay for the kids to discover.
Suggested items for younger folk include:
- Either regular or Halloween themed rubber duckies or bathtub toys/pool toys
- Small balls
- Plastic snakes and lizards
- Plastic bugs and spiders
- Plastic animals and dinosaurs or fossils of dinosaurs (skeletons)
- Plastic bats, black cats, or jack o lanterns
- Plastic monster characters
- Large oversized coins (non choke size)
- Toddler friendly toys such as TV character figures or Halloween themed toddler safe toys
- Safety pop lollipops
- Sticker sheets or strips
- Plastic tiaras (rings, necklaces and bracelets can be used for kids 4 and up)
- Matchbox cars or small trains
Suggestion items for Tweens or Teens include:
- Coins or dollar bills
- Popular Super Heroes or TV Show Decals and stickers for decorating lockers or school binders
- Packs of collectible cards or other “mystery” booster packs
- Card game packs like UNO or ROOK
- Music CDS
- Lip Balms, Nail polish, or other make-up
- Rings, bracelets or necklaces (guys like Lantern rings or other Movie themed jewelry or band bracelets)
- Pencils or pens with Halloween themes
- Scary items to hide: fake fingers, or fake eyeballs
- Scary items to hide: plastic/rubbery snakes, bugs, or spiders that look real
- Scary items to hide: fake rats/mice or bats
- Corny prizes to hide would be small magic tricks or gag gifts
- Hide one “grand prize” (a slip of paper with gold star or the words “winner” – attached to any item which means they win a movie pass or gift card or something exciting to the group attending)
Halloween “Chubby Bunny”
Here is a hauntingly fun version of the classic “Chubby Bunny” Game using Halloween Themed Marshmallow Peeps or oversized marshmallows in regular, roasted marshmallow, green apple or caramel flavors. Kids have to take turns stuffing their faces with as many marshmallows or marshmallow peeps as they can handle (without choking) and it creates a hysterically funny look to the form of their faces and cheeks seeing all the marshmallows stuffed in their mouth. They have to pause after every 10 or so marshmallows and say the words, “Chubby Bunny” or you can have them say “Chubby Halloween Bunny” instead. It gets tougher and funnier to hear them say those words with each subsequent addition of ten or more marshmallows in their mouths. A bucket of marshmallows or peeps handy at all times and another empty bucket under each participant so they can spit out the marshmallows when they reach their max is needed.
Flashlight Haunted Scavenger Hunt
Get all hands on deck for this spooky adventure! Recruit neighbors and friends or their teens to lend a hand participating as the spooks that hide in the dark in your yard or within your house or building being used for this event. Have each “spook” hide near a bucket with a pack of stickers with same # written on back of each, or index cards with same number on them for players to grab and put in their trick or treat bag before or while getting “spooked” by that character. Ask volunteers to dress up for this activity, but limit how scary they are allowed to be based on the visitors ages attending the party.
Goal of the game is to have all participants venture out through the yard or house in the complete dark with only a flashlight or finger lights used to see their way around and to collect as many of the different numbered stickers or index cards as they can before time runs out. Pass out maps of the route to players and set a limit of 3-5 minutes or something for each player to finish the map in that time frame.
Only one or two players should go through at a time. If younger students are scared to go alone, let teams of 2 go through together and they’ll share in the goodies at the end of game. For older students, it is recommended that they have to run through as fast as possible to collect each number before getting “caught” or have the volunteer spooks try to grab the bucket of numbers before they players can successfully retrieve one. If caught, the spook gets to take one of their numbers away.
For each numbered sticker or index card players successfully retrieve before running away, they will get whichever Halloween treat (cookies, cupcakes, candy or prize) that matches the numbers they have. Make the prize table look really exciting with a big bowl full of candy, tasty cookies or other fun treats to encourage students who are nervous that it’s worth participating in this fun activity.
Monster Mash Paintings
Grab some orange, green, black, yellow, and purple non-toxic paints, construction paper in white or black, large googly eyes and cut out felt noses, mustaches, or ears and hair in various colors to use with this messy activity. Have the little Halloween monsters take their shoes and socks off to show their “monster feet” and use them to create some unique Monster Mash Paintings to take home later. Start with a piece of construction paper in white or black and ask child to paint the bottom of their feet with one color paint or one color per foot. They can then step on the paper with their feet to create right side up or upside down footprints. Have wet wipes, or washcloths and towels and small basin ready for cleaning their feet afterwards. After cleaning their feet, ask students to add googly eyes, hair, noses and ears to their masterpiece for a ghoulishly amazing painting. Don’t forget to write their names on the backs somewhere before painting!
Making Sure Your Kids are Safe this Halloween
Halloween is such a fun holiday, the kids love dressing up and trick-or-treating, but it can also be scary and I’m not talking scary as in BOO! I’m talking about the fact that your children could be in potential danger. There are a lot of dangers on Halloween night you’ve got to be aware of, that is why I am going to give you some tips and tricks on making sure your kids are safe this Halloween the best way possible.
It is always a good idea to plan a route to go trick-or-treating on, ahead of time. Especially if you live in a big area, this way you can stay on track and not get lost. If your kids are old enough to go on their own make sure you plan a route with them anyway and make them stick to it so you know where they will be in the case of emergency or if you just feel the need to go check up on them.
Try and stay in areas that you and your kids are familiar with this way you know kind of what to expect and you know the people around these areas. It’s a lot safer than just going somewhere completely random and again if your kids are old enough to go on their own and you’ve told them to stay in familiar neighborhoods, if you know anyone you could ask to have them call and check in once your kids have passed by just to take extra caution.
Where Not to Go
Stay away from alleys and back yards, of course, you never know what could happen, even if it looks like a “short cut” don’t go, you are better off staying on a well lit up path. Also, don’t go to houses that aren’t well lit up. If they are kind of dim this could indicate that they just don’t want trick-or-treaters or they could be very unfriendly and just all around people you should stay away from.
Thoroughly inspect your children’s candy, especially before they have any. There are a lot of sick people out there that like to put things such as razors, needles, and poisonous substances into candy they hand out and even sometimes drugs that look like candy. I know it is difficult not to just let them eat it, but you should think about safety first.
Make sure ahead of time that your kid’s costumes are safe. Look out for anything hanging off or big wigs that could go up in flames if they get close to a candle. Try and find flame retardant materials for their costumes. Just in case of a situation like that, review the stop, drop, and roll procedure so they will be ready if anything happens.
Halloween safety for your children is the utmost important thing. Halloween may be a fun time but it can be dangerous for your kids and making sure your kids are safe this Halloween is pretty easy if you just plan ahead of time and pay attention to any potential dangers out there. With that said I hope you and your kids have a great one! Are there any tips you would add to this list? Have you used any of these methods to keep your little ones safe on Halloween? Share in the comments!
Looking for some delightful children’s books to entertain the kids with this Halloween? This selection of Fall/Halloween themes is perfect! From funny jokes to baby board books or popular TV favorites, this collection of engaging storybooks is sure to please even the most reluctant readers!
Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? (Karen Katz – Lift-the-flap-books) board book
Ghost Jokes (Funny Halloween Jokes)
Halloween ABC (Little Golden Book)
The Berenstain Bears and The Prize Pumpkin
Winnie The Pooh’s Halloween Pumpkin (board book)
Popcorn (A Frank Asch Bear Book)
Happy Halloween Curious George Tabbed Board Book
LEGO City: Halloween Rescue
Biscuit Visits The Pumpkin Patch
Trick or Treat Pout-Pout Fish Adventure (A Pout-Pout Fish Mini Adventure)
The Monster At The End Of This Book
Halloween Hustle (hardcover)
Lift-the-Flap Tab: Spooky House (Lift-the-Flap Tab Board Book)
Mickey’s Halloween Treat (Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club House)
Little Cat: Finger Puppet Book
Splat the Cat and the Pumpkin-Picking Plan
The Berenstain Bears Happy Halloween
Duck & Goose Find A Pumpkin (Oversized Board Book)
Laugh Out Loud Spooky Jokes For Kids
I Love You, Little Pumpkin! (Padded Cloth Covers with Lift-the-Flaps) board book
The Witch Who Was Afraid Of Witches (I Can Read Level 4)
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
Little Owl’s Night (board book)
Little Witch Goes To School (Step-Into-Reading Step 3)
Wisconsin is famously known as America’s Dairyland. The Swiss Cheese capital of the world is actually located right here, too. Our great state also has over 15,000 lakes, and I bet you didn’t know that the oldest city is actually Green Bay.
Wisconsin is also home to professional sports teams like the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bruins, and Milwaukee Bucks. Enjoy the beautiful Wisconsin scenery as you drive around, but watch out for the ghosts…
The Real Deal: Haunted in Wisconsin
Summerwind Mansion, built in 1916 by Robert Patterson Lamont, is said to have been Wisconsin’s most haunted house. Back in the 1970’s, the Hinshaw family moved into the property with their children and began hearing voices, doors and windows opening on their own, and the presence of a woman ghost.
A human corpse was discovered in a hidden closet partition, and that’s when things got bad for the Hinshaw family. Arnold Hinshaw had a nervous breakdown and said demons were in his head, and his wife Ginger attempted suicide. Arnold was sent away for psychiatric treatment and Ginger moved herself and her kids away from the house after only 6 months of living there.
Ginger’s father bought the house and wanted to turn it into an Inn and restaurant but never followed through because of all the odd occurrences at the property. The mansion was struck by lightning in the 1980’s and all that remains is the foundation and chimneys.
Nelsen’s Hall dates back to the Prohibition Era. Owner Tom Nelsen wasn’t about to shut his doors so he went and got a pharmacist license so he could distribute bitters for “medicinal purposes”. Nelsen’s Hall claims to be the largest supplier of Angostura Bitters in the world. With its alcohol content being 90 proof it was said that the bitters were a cure for more than just stomach aches and hiccups. Tom Nelsen lived until he was 90, they believe because of his drinking a pint Angostura Bitters daily. Today his spirit can be heard walking upstairs and shutting doors when they were left open. You can join the “Bitter’s Club” by downing a shot of bitters, and you even get a special certificate.
The Phantom Hitchhiker of Baraboo is said to be a man wearing a green Army jacket and jeans walking down the highway. Most people say he has a dark beard and long black hair. Drivers who have seen him once will notice him again a few miles down the road and get confused because there is no way he could have gotten ahead of them. When drivers attempt to pick him up he seems to disappear before they can. Nobody has been able to explain who he is or why he is “hitchhiking” down this road eternally.
The Grand Opera House is located in Oshkosh and first opened its doors in 1883. Famous performers like Houdini, the Marx Brothers, and Charlie Chaplin were featured here during the early years. It is said that a former stage manager named Percy Keene is still very much a big part of the opera house. Mysterious reports of a ghost going into underground passages and unseen hands grabbing ankles have been made. Lights are seen turning on and off, and reports have been made of a man wearing a white shirt and round glasses watching over the theater.
Haunted Attractions in Wisconsin
Ghosts of Galloway is a fun place that I was able to see a few years ago! The amount of work these folks put into making this one-of-a-k
Escape MKE is said to be Wisconsin’s #1 Escape Room game. Your team is locked into a themed room and has to work together to find the way to get out! Rooms like Mr. Dupree’s Office and James Bomb are featured at Escape MKE. Can you and your friends escape before the room explodes?!
Seven Keys to Escape is currently running a scenario called “Nora’s Nightmare”. Little Nora lost her special dream catcher and her dreams are becoming very troubling. You and your friends must work together as a team to figure out the cause of Nora’s nightmares and return her extraordinary dream catcher before time expires. You don’t want sweet little Nora to continue to have nightmares, do you?
Terror on Rural Street is a haunted attraction located in Hartford, boasting 17 frightening rooms. It’s open Fridays and Saturdays in October, and is said to be too intense for children, so you’ll want to leave the littles home for this one.
Abandoned Haunted House Complex features three of the best haunted houses in Wisconsin. Visit Ambush Haunted house for a “startle-scare” experience, or Hysteria Haunted House for a real adventure! Stalker Haunted Corn Field is an interactive maze filled with lurking characters, and Shoot A Freak is a paintball experience you are sure to enjoy. Each attraction takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
The only question left is: Which one will you be visiting first?! Let me know in the comments!
Pumpkin Cake Pops
2 ¾ C flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
2 C sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
4 eggs, room temp
¼ C vegetable oil
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
½ C whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
Let’s make the cake balls:
1 container of Cream Cheese ready-made frosting
2 cookie sheets
Candy Coating Ingredients:
2 bags Wilton Orange candy coating
Package of straws or candy sticks
Microwave safe bowl
2 cookie sheets
Icing for the pumpkin vines:
2 egg whites
1 C powder sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
Gel food coloring, green
Making the cake:
Let’s start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Put all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl, mixing all ingredients together. Add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time, beating 1 ½ minutes until the dry ingredients are throughly blended with the butter. Grab a second bowl and add the eggs, oil, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla whisking as you add each ingredients. Divide the egg mixture into halves then add the first half to the dry and butter mixture. Beat on medium speed for 1 ½ minutes. Then slowly add the rest of the egg mixture ½ threating both sides and the bottom of the pan. Put all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl, mixing all ingredients together. Add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time, beating 1 ½ minutes until the dry ingredients are throughly blended with the butter. Grab a second bowl and add the eggs, oil, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla whisking as you add each ingredients. Divide the egg mixture into halves then add the first half to the dry and butter mixture. Beat on medium speed for 1 ½ minutes. Then slowly add the rest of the egg mixture ½ half of it at a time beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Prep a large cake pan using Pam spray treating both the sides and the bottom of the pan. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. When done remove from oven and allow to completely cool.
Making the cake balls:
Tape the wax paper to the top of the cookie sheets. Next crumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl. Continue until the entire cake is crumbled into a fine texture. Add ¾ of the cream cheese frosting mixing it with the crumbled cake until they are thoroughly combined. Place the cake and frosting mixture in your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before making it into balls. Using a small ice cream scoop make cake balls about 1 ½ inch size. Work with them to ensure that they will hold a round shape. Place each one on the covered cookie sheets. Lastly, cover each sheet with cling wrap and place them in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Now you want them to be firm but not frozen.
Let’s melt the candy coating:
Pour the orange candy coating into a microwave safe bowl. Place the bowl in your microwave on medium heat for 30 seconds at a time, stir after each 30 second cycle. Don’t over cook the candy coating.
Ready to make cake pops:
Next dip one end of the straw or candy sticks into the melted candy coating and immediately stick each one into a cake ball about ¼ inch deep. Place the completed cake balls into the refrigerator for 5 or more minutes to harden.
Remove several cake pops from the refrigerator at a time (this will allow the remaining cake balls to stay firm until ready to be dipped into the candy coating). Using a spoon or fork place the cake balls into the melted candy coating (do not use the candy stick or the straw to hold them). Make sure each cake ball is totally covered. Sprinkle each coated cake ball with the orange sprinkles. Return the completed cake balls to the refrigerator to stay firm. Repeat until all of your cake balls are done.
And now the royal icing:
Combine all of the ingredients except the food coloring in a mixing bowl on medium speed for 4 minutes. If icing isn’t stiff enough, you’ll want to add ¼ cup more of powdered sugar until it becomes stiff. Add several drops of green gel food coloring to the bowl, mixing well. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a #2 tip.
Adding the vines to the pumpkins:
Start at the top of the cake pop where the straw is inserted and begin making the pumpkin vines by squeezing out a small amount of the icing in a circle motion. Add several small heart-shaped leaves on top and around the straw or cake pop, Allow to dry completely before serving.
Storing your cake pops:
Refrigerate and store completed cake pops in airtight containers in flat layers separated with paper towels (if they aren’t individually packaged). Nest when ready to defrost, this storage will keep the condensation on the outside of the container or package and not on the cake pops.