I have always had a hard time planning for Halloween. I'm getting better at it though! Living in the Vortex helps. Plus I've figured out that All Hallows Eve is 5 out of 7 times a school night. Funny how that works. So that means a mad rush to get into the costumes that the Littles are so excited to wear, get dinner fixed and eaten, and get to trick-or-treating all before school night bedtime. It's exhausting, and the children are manic to go through their candy (that they can only have a few pieces of anyway).
Enter Neighborhood Halloween Party! This is a great way to either skip traditional trick or treating all together (some neighborhoods have very few participating candy giver outers these days) or add some extra time to leisurely be in costume.
I love my neighbors. Truly. And this collaborative effort for the kids (and, um, us adults too) was so fun. Here's the recipe that makes it work:
This party is potluck style...spooky treats, prizes, decorations and games provided by several neighbors, friends and family members.
Halloween can make preparing the food items so fun. Just look at Tracy's skeleton vegetable tray. She is the queen of vegetable tray art.
Individual cups of mandarin oranges get made over into Jack O'lanterns. White paper bags become a ghostly way to hold popcorn or snack mix. Also check out our (non candy!) favors and prizes in the Jack O'bucket. Stickers, glow sticks, straws, tattoos, pencils...all good stuff. None of it leads to maniacal children, so I'm a huge fan.
Hot dogs and crescent rolls make great mummies. Be sure to make the spiderweb ketchup and mustard for dipping.
And just because there should probably be some form of candy, Reese's cups and pretzel sticks are perfect witches' broomsticks.
If you want to go the extra step, especially if it's chilly out (you never know here in South Carolina) make a crock pot of soup or chili to serve with some fall ale and cider.
If you're working with a group of friends, chances are that you all have some sort of Halloween game somewhere. The spider web toss,
a themed twister mat...the things that go on clearance and you impulse buy because it's cute.
Even if you don't have those store bought games, here are some more fun activities the kids loved:
Toilet paper bowling...put a pumpkin costume on rolls of toilet paper and see if you can knock 'em all down. You could also use orange solo cups. Our kids love building and knocking down solo cups. Best toy I ever bought ;)
Another brilliant idea of Heather's (and I hope you all have a Tracy and a Heather on your street for parties like this...they're the coolest) is marshmallow eating contests! Heather drew ghoulish ghost faces on marshmallows with a food safe pen, and we strung them from the ol' magnolia tree. Kids had to try to eat them...no hands! That really kept 'em busy, let me tell ya.
One more quick and easy idea...chalkboard pumpkins!! I swear, I will chalkboard paint anything that will sit still long enough. A can of spray paint goes a long way, so I just picked up the craft pumpkins at Michael's and painted them. The kids can make all sorts of Jack O'lantern designs on these. So cute!