“One of the things we did when my children were small is make luck eggs. We had an entire tree of them, so I will describe the whole process. One winter, I snowshoed all over the swamp through the brush and found a small tree with a birds’ nest left in it (Note to begining snow-shoers–always be careful to not fall over in deep snow!). I plaster-of-parised it into a pot, and the boys and I made a lot of leaves out of green tissue paper, pasted them on, put some small decorative eggs in the nest, and Matthew made a bird out of construction paper for the branch above. We saved it in the storage room and used it from year to year.
Then comes the egg part. You blow out eggs–I don’t make pinholes (it’s too hard to blow) but I chip off little holes and break the egg yolk before blowing. It goes much faster that way. Then I rinse them out and let them dry. I seal up the holes with tissue paper, putting confetti inside. It’s always tempting to use glitter, but if you use all paper then they are bio-degradable. On the top seal, I glue in a paper loop so that they can hang fron the branches of the tree. Then we would put initals on each one, and draw (poorly, but children don’t mind) a picture of something meaningful to the person the egg is for. So even well before your children can draw, they can pick a symbol for themselves.
We always made a lot–for ourselves, the baby-sitter, expected visitors, friends, extended family members so the tree was always full and looked beautiful.
On the day we would take our eggs and troop outside, make a wish for the coming season, and fling our eggs against the side of the house in a satisfying burst of luck and confetti!”
Whether you make your own by using Dixie cups and pipe cleaners for the handle, use store bought baskets, or create them using other materials, delivering May baskets is a fun and easy way to celebrate the arrival of summer. Once you have the basket, you can fill them with candy or little trinkets and deliver them to friends and family.
You can use any flowers to do this, but daisies work quite well. Once you weave the flowers into a crown, throw a party or have a parade around your garden. Check this page for a great how-to for making a flower crown.
Making a corn dolly is something all kids can enjoy doing, though I imagine little girls will especially love it. This link has a great visual how-to using easy to find items.
Pumpkin carving is, of course, lots of fun and a very traditional October activity. Here are some other ideas for celebrating with your little ones:
Bobbing for Apples
Probably the most well known and favourite Halloween game of all. Float apples in a large basin filled with water. The object of this game is to grab one of the apples and remove it from the water using only your mouth. Hands must be kept behind player’s backs. Be prepared with towels as the players generally get quite wet.
Pass the apple
This relay Halloween game can also be played with oranges. Line up the children in two rows, the same number of children in each line. They have to pass the apple to the person behind them only using their chin, without using hands or dropping the apple. If the apple drops a team must start from the beginning again.
Tie strings around apples and suspend them from the ceiling, a tree branch, or even use the washing line. You may need to adjust the length once your players arrive so they are at mouth height or lower. Each player must attempt to eat the entire apple without touching it with their hands. Another prize can be given to the person who gets the first bite out of their apple. It is quite tricky, and you may want to change apples for donuts for younger children.
Each child gets an apple, fruit knife and a plate with all being as close as possible in size and quality. The children each have to peel their apple, with the winner being the one who produces the longest and narrowest peeling. In times past the person then threw the apple peel over their left shoulder and the letter which the peel resembled was the first initial of the person’s future husband or wife.
Setting the scene for a scary story is what is needed for maximum effect. Your story could be a real life haunting, a classic ghost story, or an urban legend. Candles, strange noises and even a hidden prankster (to jump out at the right moment, or squeak some floorboards) will all provide suitable ‘fright’.
This Halloween game is well known and can be made much creepier by blindfolding the guests and passing around the contents of the ‘corpse’ (something gooey) while all of your guests cringe at the feel of their gooey hands!
Ghost in the Graveyard
One player, the ghost, hides. Meanwhile, the other players stay together at a spot designated “base” or “safety” (such as a lighted porch), and count loudly in unison, “One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock,” and so on, all the way up to “midnight,” at which point they all head off in search of the hiding ghost. When a seeker spots the ghost, he yells, “Ghost in the graveyard!” and, along with everyone else, runs back toward base. The ghost lets loose a ghostly scream and chases after the seekers, trying to tag as many as he can before they all reach base. Who gets to play the part of the ghost next depends on which version of the game your group prefers, but usually it’s the first player tagged.
If you’re handy in the kitchen, here are some tasty Hallowe’en ideas:
Various things are baked into the loaf, including of course a ring. It is seen as a form of divination for the year ahead. This is a traditional game and the hidden objects signify different things:
- Ring – marriage
- Coin – wealth
- Rag – poverty
- Thimble – old maid
If you’ve been carving pumpkins, you’ll have a lot of flesh left over. Put it to good use in this pumpkin pie.
- 225 grams pumpkin puree (fresh pumpkin stewed)
- 175 grams sugar
- 1 teaspoon plain flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 250ml evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- Pastry shell
- Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices and flour in medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add eggs and mix well.
- Add evaporated milk, water and vanilla, mix well.
- Pour into pastry-lined pan.
- Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes
- Reduce to 180°C and bake for another 35mins.
These sweet treats are minimum fuss, and maximum fun.
- 20 pink and white marshmallows
- 2 bars milk chocolate
- 15 firm liquorice sticks, such as Bassetti
- 40 chocolate drops
- Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.
- Individually dip the marshmallows into the chocolate ensuring all are evenly coated. Put onto greaseproof paper.
- Cut the liquorice into 5cm legs, slice lengthways into two or four, depending on thickness, so that you end up with 160 thin legs. Gently push 8 legs into the body of the marshmallow spider, add two chocolate drops for the eyes, then leave to set.
Apples are a traditional Hallowe’en favourite – add a toffee coating to entice your little monsters.
For the toffee coating:
- 225g demerara sugar
- 25g Butter
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 110ml water
- 0.5 tsp vinegar
For the apples
- 6 dessert apples
- 6 wooden skewers, for holding the apples – lollypop sticks will do
- Dissolve the sugar in the water over a moderate heat. When it has dissolved, stir in the vinegar, syrup and butter. Bring to a boil and cook without stirring until it reaches hard-crack stage (138C) or hardens into a ball when dropped in a jug of cold water. This should take around 10 minutes boiling time.
- While the syrup is cooking, pierce each apple with a wooden stick. Once the toffee is ready, dip each apple into the hot toffee, turning it around in the syrup so that each one is fully coated.
- Leave to harden on a lightly oiled tray before serving. If you’re planning to keep them for a day or two, wrap the apples in cellophane.