Boo! from our rock star-themed pumpkin
Just a quickie to wish everyone out there a Happy Halloween and to share a fun little last minute craft that’s obviously perfect for Halloween…. but if you ask my boys eyeballs are totally cool anytime of year! This little project is cheap, quick to make, not too scary, and something even the little ones can get in on.
- Ping pong balls
- LED Flameless tealights (we got ours at Target)
- Sharpie permanent markers
- Xacto knife
- Have an adult use an Xacto knife to cut a small “x” in each of your ping pong balls
- Slip each ping pong ball onto the “flame” part of a tealight
- Decorate with whatever funny, crazy, silly eyeball designs you like
More Halloween fun — 10 Minute Crafts: Mummy Jars and Monster Hands; Spooky Snacks Creepy Fingers and Mango Tummy Ticklers
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.
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.
- 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
- googly eyes
- votive candles or LED tealights
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.
- 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
For all your Halloween festivities, it’s always nice to have a few less-sugary options up your sleeve. Here are two fun “spooky snacks” we tried out this year: Mimi’s creepy fingers and wiggly mango-orange tummy ticklers. These are so fun to bring to parties at school, to nibble on alongside a bubbling cauldron of of your favorite soup or stew before you head out for trick or treats, or even as an unexpected after school snack during the rest of the year. Both take almost no time to put together and, more importantly, are really fun to make. Do you have a favorite spooky Halloween snack? We’d love to hear about it!
Wiggly Mango-Orange Tummy Ticklers
This is a homemade, fruit finger jello recipe from the Meal Makeover Moms, from their “No Whine with Dinner” cookbook (but I actually heard it on the Halloween episode of their “Cooking with the Moms” podcast). The two moms behind all three of these great projects are registered dieticians and offer lots of recipes and suggestions for healthy food for the whole family. Their podcast is fun, informative and worth a listen — a good one to keep loaded up on your MP3 device to listen to when you have a few spare moments in your day. For these fruity, wigglers all you need is juice, pureed fruit and 2 packets of unflavored gelatin. Since you can swap any kind of juice and fruit you like, kids can play executive chef and create their own flavor combinations. Here we used orange juice and pureed mango. Yum!
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups juice, 1 cup fruit, 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin, sweetener of your choice (as needed)
- Puree together 1 cup of whole fruit and 1 cup of juice, then bring to a simmer on the stove.
- Sprinkle 2 packets of unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup juice and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Add the gelatin mixture to the simmering puree mixture. Whisk while the gelatin fully dissolves (about 5 minutes). Give it a taste and add your favorite sweetener as needed.
- Pour mixture into an 8×8 pan. I poured mine through a strainer, just to catch any undissolved gelatin or bits and pieces.
- Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours to set. Dunk the bottom of the pan in hot water to help release the jello, then cut into squares and enjoy! (The Meal Makeover moms suggest using an offset spatula to remove the jello squares from the pan.)
Mimi’s Creepy Fingers (aka Parmesan-Tomato Puff Pastry Sticks)
Our neighbor Mimi served these fun appetizers when she had us over for dinner. They were so cute I made them for snack day at Luca’s preschool. When you bring a container, marked “creepy fingers” to school, everyone wants to know what’s inside! These are simply rectangles of puff pastry with cherry tomato “fingernails” added before baking. For a sweet version, you could use roasted grape halves and replace the parmegiano with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. You can find puff pastry in the freezer section of the grocery store, I nabbed mine at Trader Joes.
Ingredients: 1 Package of Frozen Puff Pastry, a Handful of Cherry Tomatoes, 1 Beaten Egg, Parmegiano Reggiano
- Optional (if you have the time), roast your cherry tomatoes to release some of the water before placing them on the puff pastry. Half the tomatoes, place them in a pan cut side up. Season with sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sugar. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until they start to look a bit dry and shriveled. You can do this in advance.
- For the fingers, let your puff pastry thaw slightly until you can cut it easily. Cut it into rectangles approximately 3/4″ x 4″. I rounded one end using scissors so the shape would be more finger-like.
- Place a halved cherry tomato skin side up on the rounded end of the pastry. Brush the whole thing with beaten egg and sprinkle with grated parmegiano reggiano.
- Bake as directed on the box of puff pastry. Best if served right away, but you can store in an airtight container after they have cooled. I like to separate layers with sheets of waxed paper.
There’s lots you can do with leftover puff pastry:
- Try Simran’s recipe for “Anything Puffs“, substituting the puff pastry for the crescent dough.
- Extra puff pastry also makes a great top for a pot pie, stew or soup (may I suggest Simran’s Fish Chowder?). Cut a circle slightly larger than the rim of your oven proof, individual serving-sized bowl. Brush the rim of the bowl with beaten egg and seal the bowl with the pastry (remember to cut a few slits for the steam to escape). Place the bowl on a baking sheet and bake as directed on the puff pastry package.