23 October 2014

Turn leftover picnic supplies into reusable, adorable Halloween decorations

Turn the last few picnic supplies cluttering your pantry into easy, clever Halloween decorations.

Dangling Eyeball Door Garland

Dangling Eyeballs & 12 Free Halloween Printables (Photo credit: Paging Supermom)
Dangling Eyeballs & 12 Free Halloween Printables (Photo credit: Paging Supermom)

At Paging Supermom, Bettijo offers a set of free Halloween printables, including the irises for this eyeball door garland made out of yarn and paper plates.

Plastic Cup Halloween Luminarias

DIY Halloween lanterns (Photo credit: Tracey/Australian Baby Blog)
DIY Halloween lanterns (Photo credit: Tracey/Australian Baby Blog)

Tracey of the Australian Baby Blog turned plastic party cups into Halloween-themed luminarias with a little Sharpie handiwork and some LED tea lights.

Ghost Spoon Centerpiece

Ghost spoons (Photo credit: Kate/Our Best Bites)
Ghost spoons (Photo credit: Kate/Our Best Bites)

Kate of Our Best Bites turned plastic spoons into lollipop-like treats, but I say you could use this idea for a simple decoration as well. White plastic spoons + Sharpie ghost faces stuck into bowls of candy corn or jelly beans and you're done.

Got a Halloween hack? Post it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with #parenthacks so I can share it!

21 October 2014

Glow in the dark no-carve Jack-o-lanterns

Create a glow in the dark pumpkin by coating it with non-toxic zinc sulfide powder. Part Halloween decoration, part science project.

This looks like such fun, especially for the chemists in your family.

The supplies aren't cheap. That said, I know a few of you are die-hard Halloween fans ready to pull out the stops for something different.

I'm assuming you need the large container of glow powder plus a black light to show off your creation ($39.99 for a kit that contains both from Steve Spangler Science, creator of the video).

I looked for zinc sulfide powder elsewhere (including Amazon) and the prices are still pretty high. Another option to try: a couple coats of glow in the dark craft paint or spray paint.

If you decide to do this, I suggest using a foam pumpkin so you can bring your creation out year after year.

Thank you, Kris-Ann, for finding this great project!

Got a Halloween hack? Post it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with #parenthacks so I can share it!

15 October 2014

8 Jack O'Lantern hacks to make decorating your Halloween pumpkin easier (including not carving it)

Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite Halloween traditions, but it's not the most kid-friendly project, nor is it without effort and mess.

Time to hack the Jack O'lantern.

8 Jack O'Lantern hacks to make decorating your Halloween pumpkin easier (including not carving it) #parenthacks

Parent Hacks readers are a practical bunch, and together we've come up eight ways to simplify Halloween pumpkin decorating. Perfect for kids of all ages and their very tired parents.

Tips for carving pumpkins

1. Choose a small pumpkin. If you're into big pumpkins, choose one that's squat.

So much easier to scoop seeds out of a small and/or short pumpkin.

2. Cut the hole in the bottom of the pumpkin.

Easier to place the candle when the carving is done.

3. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds with an ice cream scoop.

The best scoopers have angular edges. I'm an OXO Good Grips ice cream scoop fan, myself.

4. Sketch the carving lines with a dry erase marker.

Amy's genius tip:

We use a dry eraser marker to sketch out the face of the pumpkin. After everything is cut out, a wet paper towel wipes away all the marker and no lines show on the face.

Tips for no-carve Jack O'Lanterns

5. Glue a face onto a pumpkin.

From Rebecca:

I cut pieces of black construction paper into eye, nose and mouth shapes and let my toddler glue them onto little pumpkins. They may not look like normal jack-o-lanterns, but they give the idea (besides, a nose floating above your eyes is a little scary, isn’t it?).

6. Stick Mr. Potato Head parts into a pumpkin.

Stick Mr. Potato Head parts into a pumpkin. #parenthacks Photo credit: Guy via Flickr cc
Photo credit: Guy via Flickr cc

7. Draw a face on a pumpkin.

Use a black Sharpie or washable markers. Paint works, too, if you don't mind the cleanup.

8. Buy a battery-operated pumpkin you can reuse every year.

No kidding! Fake pumpkins look great! Use one to back up your non-carved Jack O'lanterns. If you wait till the day after Halloween, you can buy them half-price.

If you've got more Jack-o-lantern simplifying tips, please share them in the comments!

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13 October 2014

8 tips for your child's first Halloween

How do you best prepare your toddler (and yourself) for her first Halloween?

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09 October 2014

Turn a plastic drink carton into a pet food scoop

I HATE buying small, overpriced packages of anything. Because of this hack, the money I save on dog food will pay for the fancy pet food storage bin I now keep in my basement. I admit, I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself about this one. I invite you to follow...

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06 October 2014

10 ways your butcher can save you time in the kitchen (for free)

Having the butcher help me with dinner is the closest I'll ever come to having a prep cook. I'll take it.

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01 October 2014

DIY bottle holder lets babies feed themselves

I already love the Oball by Rhino Toys -- it's my #1 gift for new babies. But THIS hack? Damn smart. From sueb262: From the very first, my granddaughter has been independent. When she was about 2 months old, she started trying to hold her bottle herself, but it was...

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29 September 2014

Heat pancake syrup with your old bottle warmer

The bottle warmer is one of those baby gear items you just don't need. At least Ingrid came up with way to repurpose hers.

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25 September 2014

Your turn: Creative uses for...the binder clip

I love "new uses for old things" -style tips. The cheapskate declutterer in me can't resist a) reusing an item I already have and/or b) avoiding buying another "unitasker" which will eventually make its way into the giveaway pile. As I've been sifting through the archives for book research, I've...

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24 September 2014

Freeze french toast by the loaf for quick weekday toaster breakfasts

Jill's simple tip makes french toast easy and quick enough for weekday mornings.

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ALL hacks in October 2014 →

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