Ghost Projects

I’m all about ghosts right now. They’re silly and sweet and I can’t get enough. Here’s a quick round-up of my very favorite not-too-spooky ghost projects this Halloween.

BooedThe Neighborhood Ghost: My kids get so excited for someone to “boo” us each year. They check the doorstep the minute they arrive home after school, and multiple times throughout the evening. But we’ve never been the first to start the Boo. Until this year. My only real issue with the neighborhood boo is a petty one – I can never find a cute sign. I made my own this year. Why have I never thought of this before? Pretty sure I’m getting  smarter with age.

This little guy is clean-cut and well-mannered, and promises not to be an eyesore hanging on your door for an entire month. His name is Frederick. He’s shy and thoughtful and enjoys root beer floats and claymation movies. He’s more than happy to deliver goodies to your neighbors, and if you ask him really nicely, he may even throw in a batch or two of laundry.

Booed Printables

I made a free printable for you. Click on the photo above to download and print.

Ghost FootprintsThe Footprint Ghost: It’s a real classic at my house. I think we started doing this six or seven years ago. We’ve never been able to pull off annual family photos where we’re all frolicking in a golden meadow in matching shirts. But slather my children’s extremities in paint? Now that I can do. Their entire childhood will be well-documeted in black and white footprints. Who needs a family photo anyway? Just kidding. I’m looking for matching plaid shirts as we speak.

Simply paint your child’s foot with acrylic paint. It’s non-toxic and washes off skin easily. Help them “stamp” their foot on the paper. After it dries, use a sharpie to draw on eyes and a mouth. I highly recommend doing this activity outside, with newspapers on the ground. Just in case.

Squash GhostsThe Squash Ghost: Why eat your veggies when you can paint them? Or is squash a fruit? Whatever it is, this make for a fun afternoon activity and a great centerpiece. Charlotte and I spotted this activity in a magazine last week while hanging out in the waiting room at the car repair shop. (But upon further research, it appears that Butternut Squash ghosts have been all over the internet for years: blogs, pinterest, etc. 2012 was their big year. Where have I been? Living under a rock, apparently.)  All I’m saying is we definitely did not invent the squash ghost. But we’re thankful for whomever did.

And there you have it. I’ve got a couple other fun Halloween projects in the works, but that should get you off to a good start. Happy Haunting!

Halloween Game: Roll A Haunted House

Haunted House 5A couple years ago I took on the entire first grade Halloween party at the last minute. I struggled to find activities that would be easy to explain, fun for everyone and inexpensive. In math that year, the kids had been working with dice – as a visual of how to add two numbers together. I used the dice as the starting point for my Halloween party game. As I was wandered hopelessly through the craft store late one night, a tub full of foam Halloween stickers caught my eye. That’s when I knew what to do. I grabbed a pack of black construction paper, some chalk and I was set.

One of the best parts about this game is that it takes very little advance preparation, so it’s perfect for classroom parties and family activities. Here’s how to play:

Haunted House3 copyGather your supplies:

  • Black construction paper – the tall kind allows for a two-story, extra spooky haunted house
  • Foam stickers – I stock up at the craft stores right after Halloween when they’re 70% off
  • Dice
  • White chalk

Haunted House 1 Step 1. Use the chalk to draw a house on the construction paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect. After all, haunted houses are more creepy if they’re crooked and crumbly, right?

Haunted Houses 2 Step 2: Make a quick guide numbered 1-6 for what each number on the die represents. 1 = spider, 2 = ghost, etc. (or better yet: do this beforehand).

Step 3: Start playing. Roll the die and earn the corresponding sticker. Use the sticker to decorate your haunted house. My two-year-old especially loved this part. Each time he got a sticker he fist pumped, then cheered “I won!”

Haunted House 4Step 4: Pass the die and keep going. For larger groups I like to have at least two dice going at once so there’s not a lull in the action. By the time they peel the backing off their sticker the die should be almost back around to them.

And there you have it. Probably the easiest Halloween game in the history of Halloween games. Happy haunted house building!

Restaurant Bingo Printable

Restaurant Bingo copy

Before I had kids, I had it all figured out. We’d have a fresh, healthy meal every night promptly at 6 pm. My kids would love veggies so much they’d ask for seconds. Pretty sure I was wearing pearls and lipstick in that daydream, too. Then I actually had kids and realized I have nothing figured out. We’re all damn lucky if we have clean clothes to wear everyday. My days go by in a blur of diaper changes, playdates and carpools; before I know it, we’re on our way home from the evening’s sporting event or school function and I haven’t even thought about dinner. (Dinner? You mean I have to feed them again?!?) Ugh. The kids climb in the car with those hangry scowls on their faces. Beware: if you look at them wrong, they’ll either cry or tear your head off. You’re best to avoid eye contact and get them safely to the nearest food source.

restaurant bingo 1 copyIt’s nights like these that Bryce and I look at each other and say, “Hey! Let’s just grab something on our way home.” In theory, it’s a fantastic idea. It’s almost like we’ve never had it backfire on us before. So we go for it. It goes something like this: Enter the restaurant. Sit down. Youngest child climbs out of highchair. Hey, look: crayons! Children fight over the red one. Red crayon breaks. Middle child cries. Order meal. Refuse multiple requests for soda. Oldest child orders soda anyway. Override him and order milk behind his back. Middle child needs to use the bathroom. Take her. Don’t forget to wash. Come back. Wait for the food. Blow the wrappers off of straws and onto nearby tables. Someone spills milk. Usually on my pants. Clean up milk. Grumble about wet pants. Food finally arrives. Eat. Everyone is good as new…like the whole fiasco never happened.

If we could just erase the whole part between sitting down and the food arriving, we’d be fine. That’s when I remembered Noodles & Company. We used to go there all the time when we lived in Cheyenne. There’s actually not a Noodles in Cheyenne. It’s in Fort Collins, CO. But that’s a story for another time. We ended up there quite often because A) it’s good and B) everyone likes it. If I had a penny for all the restaurants where my entire family can eat without complaining, well, I’d have one penny. Another great thing about Noodles & Company? They give the kids a bingo game to play while they wait for their food. Genius.

restaurant bingo printableI figured if I could make a generic printable restaurant bingo game, we might be able to eat out every once in a while in relative peace. Good news: it works! The kids are so busy observing their surroundings that they forget they’re starving/tired/grumpy. I keep extra copies in my glove compartment, because you never know when a restaurant emergency will strike.

I’m sure you’re family is perfect and your children are well-mannered and patient. But just in case they’re not, here’s a free printable for you. If your kids are in fact, perfect, then print some out and give ’em to the rambunctious kids at the next table. Everyone wins.

Click on the image above or go HERE to get your free printable restaurant bingo.