Planning a spooktacular Halloween for the kids

Halloween is just around the corner, and my boys are already carefully planning their costumes for the big day.  At this point, I think they have decided on Harry Potter, a Soldier, and a Policeman.  I think dressing up is a wonderfully, magical part of childhood, don’t you?

Without question, Halloween is a really fun time for kids, and now is the perfect time to start planning some frightfully fun crafts and activities for them.

Of course, you’ll need a pumpkin or two.  We like to visit a pumpkin patch to pick one out, but a pumpkin from the farmer’s market or grocery store works too.  When carving your pumpkin – don’t forget to save the seeds.  Did you know that pumpkin seeds are magic if you plant them in sugar and place them by the window on Halloween Eve?  The “night before Halloween” moon will shine on them, and in the morning the kids will find special treats.  Last year, our magic pumpkin seeds grew into cookie pops…and I have heard they can grow into suckers or chocolate bars too.

My boys and I always set aside a few “magic” seeds to plant, but we love roasting the rest of them.  To roast pumpkin seeds*:

1)     Have the kids pick the seeds from the pumpkin pulp.  Then, rinse the seeds under cold water, and pat them dry.

2)     Spread the seeds (in a single layer) on a cookie sheet.

3)     Coat seeds lightly with oil.

4)     Sprinkle seeds with salt, and bake at 325 degrees (until toasted) for 20-25 minutes.  (Stir & check halfway through.)

*We like our pumpkin seeds plain, but if you are looking to “kick it up a notch”, you should totally try the Jack-Be-Spicy Pumpkin Seeds recipe by Canadian Living.

It’s also fun to make a special treat or craft to celebrate Halloween.  We usually make a few things, but one of my favorite simple ideas is recycling an old water jug into a jack-o-lantern.  All you need to do is draw a face on the water jug with a sharpie, and pop a couple of orange glow sticks inside.  It’s a simple craft, and makes a great decoration.  Craft up a few decorations, let the kids pick out a few things from the dollar store, and your house will be spooktacular in no time.

Happy Halloween!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)