Halloween ‘Round the House

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Bewitching ideas for getting into the festive spirit of Halloween at home with the kids.

October would be incomplete without the scent of apple cider, hay rides and pumpkin spice. Bringing these things, as well as many others, into your home can be an easy and fun way to get into the fall craze.

Try just a few of these suggestions or go down the list and do all of them with your kids. Chances are you’ll have just as much fun carving those pumpkins as they will — and don’t wait for the 31st! Get into the mood now during our fabulous fall weekends!

1. Pumpkins

Grab your kids and head to one of Middle Tennessee’s local pumpkin patches (like Honeysuckle Hill Farm or Lucky Ladd Farms) or check out all the festivities in Best Fall Fun. Let them pick out their own pumpkins from the patch — it’s photo option time when the kids are running about trying to choose! Set your jack-o-lanterns out without carving them and choose the day when you will — a few days before Halloween is best for freshness. Get some battery operated tea lights to keep them lit once they’re carved.

2. Spice

Take a couple of spice sticks and toss them in a pot of apple cider. Bring that to a low boil/slow simmer and let the aroma of everything October waft through your house. Your kids will love coming in from the brisk cold outdoors to a warm and inviting home. When you’re ready to drink the cider, take the spice sticks out and pour into special tea cups for your kids to enjoy.

Candles can sometimes feel like a thing of the past with all of the infusers that are available now, but they really do give off a warm feeling in the home; not to mention a nice scent. Get your favorite smelling candle and make a special home for it on your counter in the kitchen or on your dining room table. The feeling that a candle gives us usually helps with the task of doing the dishes, folding laundry and any other household chore.

3. Apples

Caramel apples aren’t just for the fair anymore. These delicious treats are quite easy to make. Go apple picking and choose which apples you think would be perfect to dip into your homemade caramel sauce or if you’re short on time, grab a bag of apples from the grocery store and a bag of caramel candies. Heat the candies in a large pot until you can stir with a creamy/syrupy consistency and dunk your apples one at a time using a skewer cut in half and poked into the apple as your handle. Let your kids decorate with whatever candy they like. A few ideas for toppings are crushed nuts, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, rainbow or chocolate sprinkles, crushed cookies and M&Ms.

4. Decor

The local dollar store has some great decorations for next to nothing. What kid doesn’t like to hang fake cobwebs from their doorway? Grab a few pumpkin printed trash bags to hold your leaves, spider webs for the front entryway and paper mice to tape onto your stairwell and you will have the whole neighborhood clan wanting to come and see your house on Halloween night.

A welcome mat can seem like such a simple thing and is often overlooked but it is the first thing your visitors will see upon entering your home. Head to your hardware store or department store and pick up a cute, whimsical doormat.
Fall décor has a way of accumulating over the years as does any seasonal decoration. Take inventory of the items you don’t want and donate or sell to make room for new, nicer items. Kids love to help with setting up something special in their homes and Halloween is no different. Let them help you get those tubs out from the basement and attic and reminisce over holidays past.

5. Treats

Pumpkin bread, banana bread, zucchini bread and spice bread are a few of the season’s favorite treats. It seems that everyone has a famous family recipe these days and why not carry on the tradition of making bread for your family like your grandmother used to do? This is a great way to get your kids to eat breakfast in the morning and they’ll get a nice portion of fruit and vegetables in their bread depending on what you make. Let your little ones help you by having them measure out the flour and whisking the eggs. They’ll feel really good about themselves and chances are they’ll be more likely to help you with future recipes in the kitchen.

6. Trail Mix

A bowl of candy corn, peanuts, M&Ms and popcorn is the perfect Halloween mix for any sweet tooth. If you’re prone to putting your hand into the bowl one too many times, put it out of sight where you’re less likely to splurge. If you don’t mind the extra helpings, have at it and put that bowl smack dab on the counter.

7. Costumes

Halloween costumes aren’t just for Halloween night. Any parent knows that these pieces of clothing are like gold. Let your kids get out their old costumes and dress up to their hearts’ delight before the big night. Save the actual costume they’ll be wearing this year for the big night but let them have fun exploring and using their imaginations with collected pieces from years past.

Don’t forget to paint those faces. Who says face painting is only for carnivals, fairs and festivals? This is the perfect time to whip out your cosmetic skills and draw your little girl a heart or tiara on her plump, soft cheek. It will be a fun bonding time as you channel your inner makeup artist and she marvels at the way her mom can do just about anything.

8. Festive Shows

Basic TV networks usually air something special for Halloween like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Make it a special occasion and let your kids stay up late that night to enjoy some of the programs you watched when you were a kid.

Meagan Ruffing is a freelance parenting writer living in northwest Arkansas. She looks forward to hearing what her kids want to dress up as this year and letting them eat more candy than they should on Halloween.

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