10 Minute Halloween Crafts: Mummy Jars & Monster Hands

Halloween is about costumes and candy of course, but it’s also about that special feeling of fall in the air,  pumpkins patches and (my favorite) having some fun with spooky decorations and treats. When we lived near Belvedere street in San Francisco’s Cole Valley neighborhood we used to eagerly await the transformation of this normally quaint and quiet tree-lined street into “Hell-evdere” in the weeks leading up to Halloween. It’s a hot spot for trick or treating on Halloween night, but even more than that we loved the chance to take October afternoon strolls to look for ghosts up in the trees, admire the pumpkins decorating the beautifully preserved Victorian homes and to crunch dry leaves along the way — and of course end our walk with hot chocolate at Boulange de Cole.

We love bringing a little of that Hell-vedere spirit to our current digs, so when October 1st rolls around Luca and I waste no time getting to work. This year we put up a giant spider web in our window, invited some friendly ghosts to inhabit the tree in front of our house, and made a mini graveyard out on the sidewalk. We also made some time to do these two super fun, and super easy spooky crafts which we recommend for anyone with the craving for a little Halloween fun.

Mummy Jars 

I’m filing this one under “stuff I tagged on Pinterest and actually got around to making”. Because loose and messy wrapping gives the best result (even more loose and messy than our mummies above would be good), it’s a great project that even younger kids can do from start to finish. And if you ask me and Luca, any craft that involves googly eyes gets an automatic thumbs up.

you’ll need:

  • glass jars
  • first aid tape or gauze (you can also use strips cut from paper towels, tissue or toilet paper, see note below)
  • glue dots, clear tape and/or white glue
  • scissors
  • googly eyes
  • votive candles or LED tealights
  1. Wrap first aid tape or gauze around the outside of each jar to cover it completely. Tuck in the ends or use a glue dot or clear tape to secure them. We found that that you get the best result by wrapping in an irregular pattern (zagging up and down as you wrap). For this craft, loose and messy is the way to go.
  2. Stick on googly eyes with glue or glue dots. If using glue you will have to allow some drying time for the glue to set before your mummy jar will be ready to use.
  3. Light with a votive, or better yet and much safer, an LED tea light (you can find them at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and sometimes your local drugstore.)

We also got a nice result by wrapping one of our jars with 1 1/2″ – 2″ wide strips of paper towel (strips of toilet paper, white tissue paper would work too — but I wouldn’t use a regular sheet of paper because it will be too stiff). If using paper, paint the jar with a thin coat of white glue before wrapping it to help make everything stick. You may also need to dab on additional glue as needed  as you wrap to make sure paper strips adhere well the the jar. 

* * * * *

Monster Hands

These popcorn-filled monster hands are a fun little snack meets mini craft project — easy to put together, with just a touch of sugary fun. Keep it simple or make this more of a cooking project by customizing popcorn with your favorite sweet or savory spice mix, or even try our favorite white chocolate popcorn recipe with a dash of witch-ly green food coloring. What a cute goodie bag for a Halloween bash, a school carnival or just to take to friends in the neighborhood.

you’ll need:

  • Food Service Plastic Gloves (like this kind here)
  • Candy Corn
  • Popcorn or snack mix of your choice
  • Yarn or Raffia

Making these monster hands is pretty self-explanantory. Just push a candy corn down unto each finger to make fingernails, then fill the rest of the hand with popcorn leaving enough room at the top to tie the glove closed. The two sides of the glove have a tendency of sticking together making it hard for kids to push the candy down into the fingers. Adults can help by using a chopstick to separate the layers of the glove before filling.

You might also like: Spooky Snacks for Halloween (Mimi’s Creepy Fingers and Wiggly Orange-Mango Tummy Ticklers), What to Do with Leftover Halloween Candy: Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies 

Advertisements

A Sweet Trip Back in Time: The Ice Cream Bar, Cole Valley

We made countless drives past The Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley (815 Cole Street, at Carl) while it was still under construction —  drooling and plotting our first visit. It opened this month and we finally got our chance to stop in for a banana split and a twirl on the counter stools. The 1930’s ambiance alone (think wood, chrome, servers clad in white hats and aprons) gets a big thumbs up from both me and the kids. If you love vintage, trust me… this will be up your alley. But the menu is pretty interesting too.

The ice cream has it’s hipster moments, but it’s very traditional compared to what you’ll find at other hot spots like Humphry Slocombe, Bi-Rite Creamery or Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. They showcase a short list of flavors among which you’ll likely find versions of old favorites like vanilla, milk chocolate and pistachio. The ice cream is solid, but I think this is much more of a sitting at the counter and having a sundae kind of place. We looked no farther than the banana split because it combined three flavors of ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, tart cherry), hot fudge, butterscotch, tart cherries with syrup, whipped cream and toasted almonds. The best part was definitely the caramelized banana which the gal behind the counter bruleed to order, and it was all served up in a perfectly old fashioned stainless steel footed dish with long handled spoons. I can’t remember the last I had a banana split and in these days of olive oil splashed sundaes and bacon brittle, it was a nice return to the classics.

So you can go old school with the ice cream, but you can go, really, really old school at the soda fountain in back with turn of the century style sodas, frappes, phosphates, malts and the like. Their huge list of housemade extracts, syrups, and tinctures is kind of overwhelming with what seems like a hundred flavors ranging from sweet and dessert-y to medicinal — pineapple, pink peppercorn, rosemary, dill, and chicory coffee to name a few. You can get lost in the possibilities but luckily you can also just go with a tride and true made-to-order rootbeer or one of their signature creations. It’s a a really fascinating concept that starts the wheels turning about homemade soda experiments at home, and it’s  a great way to take the little ones on a mini trip back in time while discovering some new flavors at the same time.

The Ice Cream Bar place isn’t fast and it isn’t cheap, but that’s just part of the deal here. If you go in the evening or on the weekend, chances are you wont come by a seat too easily, so this is probably most do-able with kids in tow as a special afterschool treat. We hear they are going to be offering beer and wine, sandwiches, hot dogs and snacks in the coming weeks too.

Check out these other ice cream and soda fountain faves: Really Refreshing Fresh Lime Soda, We Love Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, Delightful Treats at the Twirl & Dip Soft Serve Ice-cream Truck , Smitten with Smitten ice Cream