31 October 2014

Not ready for Halloween? Here's your 2-item to-do list.

Did Halloween sneak up on you this year?

You knew it was coming -- who could miss it -- but planning for Halloween, well...the time sort of slipped away.

There's no jack o'lantern on the doorstep, no costume laid out for trick-or-treating, and the decorations are packed away in a box somewhere.

It's not that you don't care about Halloween -- you want your kids to have a wonderful time -- you just aren't up to the holiday frenzy that seems to get more intense every year.

You know what?

It's okay.

There's still time for this to be the best Halloween ever.

Halloween-to-do-list

Photo Credit: Matt McGee via Compfight cc

All your kid needs for a great Halloween is a costume and some treats. 

The costume doesn't need to be homemade nor particularly creative. 

Buy a costume today, from a nearby store. Or throw a costume together using stuff around the house. It can be something totally unoriginal: a movie character or a bedsheet ghost. If your kid loves it, the costume doesn't even need to make sense.

The treats can be regular old candy. 

Pick up a few bags of whatever candy is still left at the grocery store. If your kid has allergies, forget the candy and get whatever treat is her favorite.

You're done.

Halloween's a moment to watch your kid have fun, maybe admire the neighbor's decorations, and sneak a few treats yourself.

No preparation required.

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30 October 2014

In support of teenage trick-or-treaters

In support of teenage trick-or-treaters.
My son, aka Unicorn Man

I'm the mother of a 5-foot-10 high school freshman.

He looks like a man, sounds like a man, and (at times) acts like a man, but he's still trick-or-treating this Halloween.

You know why this makes me happy? Not because of my sentimental need to hold onto his childhood a little longer. Not because I'm looking forward to the massive haul of candy he'll bring home.

I'm happy because I recognize that the path from childhood to adulthood is crooked. Sometimes it even doubles back on itself. My son grabs his independence with both hands and then, in the next moment, he crushes my legs because he wants to sit on my lap.

The teen years are full of push me/pull you from both of us. I push him to take responsibility for himself as I pull him close to advise. He pushes me away with silence and boundaries and then pulls me toward him for validation and reassurance.

From "What you need to know about 6-foot trick-or-treaters:"

When a crowd of under-costumed teens shows up on your doorstep, welcome them. It’s a big group because they find strength in numbers. They’re not wearing costumes because they didn’t realize that they’d want to go–nor how badly.

It's Halloween. A lighthearted moment for my son to choose between the man he's becoming and the boy he is. There are fewer of these moments each passing year.

I say: grab it with both hands.

29 October 2014

6 last-minute Halloween costumes you can make using stuff you've already got

Halloween is the holiday for which very little preparation is necessary, despite what the press and Pinterest are telling you. The only thing you need for a great Halloween is candy, a costume, and readiness to have fun.

A while back, I demonstrated last-minute costumes on our local morning show. Here's the clip:

Those are real items from my family's closets and dress-up bin. A T-shirt ninja, chef, little kid, businessperson or Secret Service agent, random sparkle fairy/superhero and sports player, all from stuff sitting around the house.

These costumes are not particularly flashy or magazine-worthy, nor will they blow you away with their cleverness.

That's the point. 

Kids' standards are a lot different than adults'. A good costume is doesn't have to bring down the house...it simply needs to be something your kid can wear with pride and a sense of fun.

So let your imagination make up for your lack of preparation. Let's enjoy the annual parade of oddly-dressed children eating far too much candy...that's the best treat of all, right?

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27 October 2014

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.

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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.

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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. Parent Hacks readers are a practical bunch, and together we've come up eight ways to simplify Halloween pumpkin decorating. Perfect for...

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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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ALL hacks in October 2014 →

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