I remember being a small child full of excitement at the thought of going trick or treating, to eat tons of sweets, to dress up and take part in the festive season. My grandparents who raised me made the experience fun for a few years by decorating the home, making it spooky and taking me trick or treating. After a certain age, I was told that it was no longer safe to be going door to door asking for sweets. I had been made more aware of the dangers of you don’t know whose door you’re knocking on. Even now, I don’t know if this was accurate, or if it was just an excuse to not have to do it.
Nonetheless, instead, my nan would go to the local supermarket and buy me sweets for this occasion. This was nowhere as near as fun; in fact, it took a lot of the excitement out of this time of year. She did always make an effort with the young trick or treaters who came by, continuing to decorate her home into a spooky place and by giving sweets. Nowadays it is such as shame that the shops have commercialised the holiday into a money-making scheme. They put our children’s health at risk by promoting Halloween as a sweet filled day, when actually it should remain about the fun. So how do we stop those big companies ruining the fun, and take Halloween back?
Crafts & Pumpkin Carving
Last Halloween, my fiancé Sadie, and our children got creative and made some Halloween themed paper bags. The fronts featured ghosts and other mystical creatures that had been firstly drawn on paper, coloured in, cut up and glued to the front of each bag. These were perfect for going out trick or treating and gathering treats!
Pumpkin carving is by far one of the most popular Halloween traditions, from one week leading up to Halloween and possibly one week after depending on your location. It is very likely that you will see a pumpkin outside most houses and this is a sure sign that they are interested in celebrating the event by allowing people to visit on the night.
Whilst carving pumpkins can be dangerous due to having to use a sharp knife, this does not mean that your child can’t get involved. A great idea would be to get a pumpkin for each child, letting them scoop out the insides ready for carving. Once they have done this you can give them a pen and with guidance help them to draw the eyes, mouth, and other facial features. Then you can go ahead and carve the features out for them. On the day to finalize you can place a candle inside to illuminate the pumpkin.
A carved pumpkin is one of those Halloween traditions. At this time of year, you see them outside most houses. Some are carved in a simplistic way and others appear more complex using additional ingredients to create finer detail throughout the pumpkin.
Traditionally it wasn’t just pumpkins that were carved but many types of squash, and turnip vegetables. You should check your area. But in ours, the rule is; that if someone does not have any Halloween based decorations up. It is a clear signal that they do not celebrate this holiday and do not want people knocking on their door.
At this time, you should respect their privacy, and should bear in mind that they could have disabilities or could be elderly. Please remain mindful and make sure your children do too. We are going to guide you on how to make an easy carved pumpkin in five simple steps!
- Choose your pumpkin (For children, you could use a smaller pumpkin. Overall you should check for damage, bruising or decay before purchasing to avoid it breaking upon carving)
- Start by drawing your design. (Think facial features – eyes, mouth, teeth, etc)
- Once it has all been drawn, cut the top off so that you can begin hollowing it out removing the pulp and seeds. You can roast the pumpkin seeds or alternatively use them later for decorating your pumpkin.)
- An adult should carve the pumpkin unless your child aged 12+ has a safe to use pumpkin carving kit which is sold in most supermarkets.
- To finish you could use some of that pulp in the pumpkins mouth, place the top back onto the pumpkin and if you’d like you could place a small candle inside to illuminate it at night time.
How long will carved pumpkins last?
Whilst it does depend on the freshness of the pumpkin, they do usually only keep for about 3-5 days. If however, you live in a colder climate, it is possible for it to last up to 2 weeks. That being said there are some things that you can do to make it last longer.
I wouldn't exactly recommend them because they are not ecological but spraying the pumpkin daily with a water blend with a few drops of bleach can help to keep it clean, thus preserving it and causing it to decay slower.
If you do decide to use bleach, you must not use a candle inside as it could be a fire hazard. A candle inside, in general, will cause the pumpkin to deteriorate much faster and after it has dried it, it will start to collapse. If you can go for one of those battery-powered flickering lights.
Making homemade spooky décor for Halloween
This is a great activity and can really boost the mood for the day! You could start preparing two weeks before Halloween if you’d like to make quite a lot or would like to do it in advance. There are no limitations to what you could make but a good place to start would be to draw some scary characters ‘think ghosts, vampires, pumpkins, witches, etc.
Once you have drawn them, your children can begin the fun in colouring them. Afterward, you can cut them out with scissors, make a small hole somewhere and place some thread inside. Create a knot to avoid the thread slipping through, and then tape the other end of the thread to hang it up as a decoration.
Alternatively using cardboard boxes, you could paint them various colours to make scary looking ornaments that can be placed by window ledges, on shelves, or on your everyday furniture. The only limitation is your imagination. Whilst the main reason for making spooky décor for inside and out would be to create a fun creepy setting for your children. Other people passing by will likely enjoy your efforts. It does send a message through that you are up for people knocking on your door asking for sweets!
Trick or treating & movie night
Trick or treating is the most obvious thing that you can do on Halloween when it has got dark. The result usually ends up getting a lot of sweets that you can bring home after you have all decided that you have had enough of walking the cold streets. It's time to head home with your night’s treasure. What better to do than to sit back, eating your treats and watching a family Halloween based movie that is suitable for kids!
Some of our family favorites are the classic Ghostbusters, Scooby doo the movie, diary of the wimpy kid, hocus pocus, and more. One of the best places to get inspiration is by checking on Netflix or Amazon video for some films if you have a subscription. If you feel like giving trick or treating a miss. Why not get some baking items such as food colourings, and try your hand at making some Halloween inspired cupcakes, cookies, etc.
You could all decorate your own, or if you’re up for it, you could have a Halloween party. Generally, everyone dresses up, eats some great food, plays some classic spooky music, and socialize together! You could create a quiz, or prepare some other Halloween games. Even if you don’t feel up to making the party yourself. You could get together and go to a Halloween event! Usually, there are many available due to the growing popularity of Halloween. Adults tend to go to fright nights, which involves actors who have scaring people as their primary aim!
Dark chocolate apples recipe
Dark Chocolate Toffee Apples Recipe. Toffee apples are a wonderful Halloween tradition that belongs in a well-known game called apple bobbing. Whilst you could buy your toffee apples reasonably cheap from nearly any supermarket, it makes no sense to do so. Trust me they are cheap for a reason. It’s likely because they are made with very poor quality sugary milk chocolate with the most minuscule amount of cocoa.
The apples used are not so great either and tend to be on the mushy bruised side. Whilst every manufacturer may vary, but generally, they want to keep profits high, and overheads low so this terminology makes sense. Nonetheless, toffee apples can be made in many different ways and because we have two young children, I don’t like to make the overly sweet variety. I do believe that the sweet glazed kind lacks flavour and overall just tastes of sugar.
I love the chocolate type, and I can’t stress it enough that your toffee apples will only be as good as the ingredients that you buy. You should find some great tasting apples, good varieties that I like are Braeburn and Gala. You could use any type of chocolate that you like, I like bittersweet dark chocolate that is at least 70% to avoid eating too much sugar.
Dark chocolate is also higher in iron and has a richer antioxidant content which is extremely beneficial to health. These are such a great treat on this special occasion, being so delicious and healthy, what more could you want? These are so good that my family make them often, not just on Halloween! I use icing sugar sprinkles for decoration on top.
Things you’ll need
- Wash your apples and then dry them with a clean cloth
- Spear a skewer or chopstick through the bottom of the apple
- Boil some water in a saucepan on a low heat and place your bowl on top of it to melt your chocolate.
- Once it has melted, holding the apple by the stick you can then begin to coat it in the chocolate, whilst letting the excess fall off.
- Press the top of the apple into the icing sugar sprinkles.
If you would like to take it that step further you could, of course, use food colourings in some icing to create something more artistic. Or if you’re not that into the idea of using sprinkles you could replace them with the likes of raisins, ground almond, coconut, or marshmallows.
Whatever you put on top bear in mind that if you use these apples for bobbing, the ingredients may not taste the best when wet, however, dried fruits should be fine. If you feel like experimenting, essentially you can adjust this recipe to almost any fruit. I haven’t tried making it but I could imagine that dark chocolate bananas would be tasty.
Popular Halloween games to play
- Apple bobbing is a classic game that is played on Halloween. The idea is that you fill a bucket or bowl with water, place some apples in with the water. Using only their mouths to grab the apples out of the water, two people start at the same time in an attempt. Whoever gets the apple/s out first wins the game.
- Face painting – Most supermarkets sell face painting sets, fake blood, and other things that can help towards making your costume more realistic. Alternatively, there are many easy Halloween make up tutorials online to provide you with inspiration. You could even have a competition for who is wearing the best costume.
- Pin the spider on the web. Sure this will take a bit of preparation to make but you can use the same ones each year. Simply draw lots of spiders on one sheet of paper and a large web on another piece of paper. Cut out the spiders ready to play. To play the game each player must wear a blindfold. The objective of the game is to pin the spider as close to the middle, whoever is closest wins.
What Halloween costume should I wear?
You could dress up as almost anything with the right clothing and makeup. Here are some ideas to help get you going;
What are some great Halloween songs?
- Monster mash by Bobby Pickett
- The time warp by The Rocky Horror Show
- I put a spell on you by Annie Lennox
- Highway to hell by ACDC
- Thriller by Michael Jackson
- Superstition by Stevie Wonder
- House of the rising sun by The Animals
Where did the Halloween holiday originate?
The origin of Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain which was around two thousand years ago. Whilst they partied on the 31st of October, they celebrated their new year on November the 1st. They believed that the dead returned to earth on the day of that festival each year. Since then, it has stuck and we follow this tradition. The Celtics also used many types of carved vegetables such as turnips and squash as part of their celebrations. This was in the hopes of invite-only good spirits into their homes.
That is how Halloween started and now it is becoming popular all around the world. Especially throughout the united states, Canada, and Europe. Some people now take this holiday very seriously and even give their pet cats and dogs special names for the day. We hope that you enjoyed this article and hope that it has given you many ideas for your to-do list. As always, we wish you a happy Halloween.
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