Halloween Pt. 2: Window Silhouettes

Somehow I’ve overcommitted myself again to none other than, well… myself. Seriously, what is my problem? This is a habit. I worked all day, commuted home and then proceeded to make this list that I started at 6:30PM tonight:

List of unnecessaries

List of Unnecessaries

And now it’s 11:30, I’ve already crossed off “blog” so I guess I should finish it. And most everything else got done in some rushed, half-assed way. Except, as you can see, homework. That didn’t get done at all. Way to fumble on the important stuff!

Not much good came out of tonight so I’m blogging about last night. But before that, I do have a tip for parents who need a super quick idea for a preschool Halloween party potluck:

Halloween Cheese Plate
– Pre-sliced Cheese
– Halloween Cookie Cutters
– Crackers

Cut Halloween shapes out of the slices of cheese with the cookie cutters. Layer on a Halloween tray with some crackers. done. Oh, save the scraps for homemade mac ‘n cheese.

Yeah, so by “cheese plate” on my list I sadly didn’t mean a nice display of a goat, cow, and sheep’s milk medley with figs and pear compote. No, I meant Cheddar pumpkins and Monterey Jack Ghosts. Classy. Anyhow, this isn’t about tonight’s subpar performance, this is about last night…

Halloween Window Silhouettes

Our Halloween House

Our Halloween House

Every year I get really into making silhouette cutouts for the windows. On our dinky little craftsman we have two front windows that beg for something Halloween-y. And so I buy some black poster board paper, bust out my clear packing tape and scissors, and get to work.

A simple Google search for Halloween Silhouettes generates a ton of ideas and usually gets me inspired. I then decide what I want to do, draw it out with pencil on the poster board, and start cutting. Scissors work well for most of the cutting, in fact you can do it all this way, but an X-Acto knife for the cutouts and fine details does give a cleaner look. Once complete, I tape them up with the clearest packing tape I can find. This way the tape on the window doesn’t show as much.

I don’t think the photography does these justice, they look much better lit up in person. I love this project because it’s totally free-form, it’s paper art which I love, and it can be as simple as a few bats and gravestones, or as complicated as entire spooky scenes.

Halloween 2013:

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2008
My favorite…

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008

Supplies:

Simple supplies

Simple supplies

Halloween: Pt 1

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat


Remember Halloween when you were a kid? How good was Halloween. Throwing together some funky diy costume, grabbing a pillowcase for your candy haul, running around with the neighborhood crew until well after dark… adult-free. Then coming home, dumping out your candy piles, trading with your brother while your mom checked for rumored razors. Good times. I loved it. LOVED it.

I was feeling nostalgic about it today while at our school’s Fall Halloween Carnival. I mean, while we live mere miles from a major metropolis, Halloween is still much the same all these years later. Old-school style carnivals, pumpkin patches, trick or treating, candy… it’s still going strong.

Halloween is also obviously a really perfect holiday for making stuff. This week I’ll try to post some of our favorites, starting with stuff we’ve made in the past.

Mummy Cake
Ok, this isn’t from the past, this is from today. My daughter and I made it for the carnival cake walk. We totally cut corners because she’s four and I work full time. So I got a box of Red Velvet (mwahaha, blood) Cake mix, a jar of vanilla frosting, and was all set to bust out some mummy wraps with a piping bag when I stumbled upon a mummy cupcake kit at Target. White sour gummy strips! Like striking gold.

MMM, delicious mummies.

MMM, delicious mummies.

All we did was cut a top of a cardboard box and wrap it in foil for the tray. We then baked the cake in a 7″ Corningware dish so that it would be tall. Then frosted it with the white frosting, leaving the eye area bare. My daughter plopped some sugar eyes on, and we wrapped it like a mummy with those gummy strips. So easy.

Candy Eyes

Candy Eyes


frosted, ready to wrap.

frosted, ready to wrap.

Crafts of Halloween Past
A few other Halloween things from years past…

Mummy Dogs
These are so easy and kinda rad so I make them every year. Use full hotdogs, or cut them in half, or get lil smokies, they all work. I’ve wrapped them in strips of Trader Joe’s pizza dough and I’ve tried breadstick or other pre-made doughs. I like the look of the pizza dough best but I recommend brushing them with some melted butter before baking. So pick your dough, cut it in strips, wrap the dogs, bake at 375-ish until the dough looks done. Dot mustard or ketchup for eyes.

MMM, more mummies

MMM, more mummies

Alien Cupcakes
These were from the Hello Cupcakes book. They were hard. Don’t start them at 10PM.
http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com/2009/10/21/more-halloween-cupcakes.aspx

MMM, delicious aliens.

MMM, delicious aliens.

Dalmation (Cow?) Costume
White onsie, black fabric paint… all planned around a cute hat she already had. She was a cute little Cowmation.

Puppy? Cow?

Puppy? Cow?

Just Don’t Call It A Party: DIY Pokemon Non-Party

When Jack’s birthday rolled around this year I asked him what he’d like to do:
“No party.” was his response.
“No party?” (can’t quite compute)
“No.” (adamant)
“Well, we don’t have to have that party” I said.

See I knew what was wrong, no need for him to elaborate. It was the confirmation that yes, I had indeed scarred him over past years with what has been deemed “Birthdaypalooza.”

Birthdaypalooza started out innocently enough back in preschool when a group of us parents with October birthday kids pulled together and threw one big bash. Brilliant! Four b-day kids, ONE party! Done.

We pulled this off in various forms for four years in a row. It got so big after the first year that we had to move subsequent years to a park. It swelled to a point where last year there were 40+ kids, 40+ adults, a jumpy house, a Pirate who did magic, twisted balloons and painted faces, a pinata so big you could shove a small child in it (we went with 10lbs of candy), lots of BBQ. We had to hire a backup face painter.

I loved this party. Loved prepping with the moms. Loved making the favors. Loved watching the kids have so much fun. Loved catching up with all the parents we don’t get to see too often. But after the last one, I knew it wasn’t really Jack’s thing. Don’t get me wrong, he had a blast every year, but I knew it wasn’t the birthday party he would choose for himself.

And this year he chose the opposite. NOTHING. It’s official: I scarred him for life.

So let’s rewind a bit:
“No party.” was his response.
“No party?” (can’t quite compute)
“No.” (adamant)
“Well, we don’t have to have that party” I said.

And at this point I threw out some options:
“Invite a couple of buddies over and play pokemon?”
No.
“Take a small group of friends mini-golfing, to the movies, or to the pinball museum?”
No.
“Is there anything you’d like to do for your birthday?”

The answer was 1) Go with one friend to The Winchester Mystery House & 2) Have our regular neighborhood crew over for movie night + birthday cheesecake. But don’t call it a party.

Pokemon Pizza Night
We’re lucky to live on a block with a group of kids that have grown up to this point together. They are a tight group that hang together often. So we invited them over for a pretty typical movie-pizza night. As it grew closer, Jack started getting into a few “party-ish” elements. He put together gift boxes for them, filled with Pokemon things. He sought out cards he knew his friends needed and put those in their pokeball boxes. He didn’t protest when I brought home some Pokemon decor. And I think he genuinely got excited when the following two things rounded out the emerging theme:

Easy Pokeball Pizza

Easy Pokeball Pizza


Pokemon Pokeball Pizza:
This was a super easy way to integrate some Pokemon power. I cheated a bit and bought a couple of large pepperoni take-n-bake pizzas from Costco. I figured the kids probably weren’t craving the grilled pizzas. I simply took off half the pepperoni, put a slice of onion in the middle of the pizza, then used olives to make the black lines. voila!
cooking Pokeballs

cooking Pokeballs

A little overcooked, cheese got too brown.

A little overcooked


                                              

Pokemon Pokeball Cheesecake:

Pokeball Cheesecake

Pokeball Cheesecake

Here’s a funny thing about Jack: He doesn’t really like cheese, he doesn’t like cake… but he loves cheesecake. I was thinking about making him one and turning it into a pokeball but I wasn’t confident in getting the top super white and free of cracks, so I bought one from Costco. I then covered one half with strawberry spread, made the center button with upside down Hersey kisses, then used black cake decorating gel to finish it off.

Pokemon & friends, what more does a kid need?

Pokemon & friends, what more does a kid need?

Jack had the perfect birthday. He loved it. He loved prepping his gift bags. He loved being surrounded by his neighborhood crew. He loved the little bits of a Pokemon theme. But still… don’t call it a party.

Pokeball non-party party favors.

Pokeball non-party party favors.