Halloween has a way of sneaking up on parents – it comes just as the school year and all its homework and extracurricular activities are in full roar. Here are some holiday ideas that’ll make it look like everything was planned:

Quick Recipes

Treats are a big part of celebrating the holiday. Try these two recipes that take only minutes to prepare, from Snyders of Hanover (complete directions at snydersofhanover.com):

Make “ghost sticks” using Snyders pretzel rods, Cake Mate white icing and Cake Mate Writers. Melt the frosting in a bowl in the microwave, and twirl top half of rods in the frosting, cool in the refrigerator and then draw faces on each “ghost.”

Make “mini squiggle monsters” snacks using Snyders mini pretzels, white Cake Mate easy squeeze decorating icing and candy eyes. Pipe squiggles over the mini pretzels in a random pattern and push in the eyes.

Here’s a fun craft recipe the family can enjoy making together, from SweetWorks (buy some supplies at sweetworks.net or from a local retailer):

Witches and Wizards Sixlets Hats

Cones for each hat, chocolate or plain
Cupcakes or large sugar cookies (or both) to use as the base of each hat
Celebration by SweetWorks Halloween Mix Sixlets
Celebration by SweetWorks Pearls in orange, black and green
Colored icing, chocolate and orange

Apply a generous amount of chocolate royal icing to the rim of the sugar cone, and affix the cone to the center of a cookie or cupcake.  Decorate your hats using icing to hold the Sixlets in place.

  • Make sure you buy cones with an even mouth (opening) and that the bottoms of your cones are pointed. Buy a few extra cones in case little hands break some.
  • Put together the hats first for all of your cookie/cone combinations before you begin to decorate. This will allow the icing to dry. 
  • If you are using cupcakes, the frosting on the cupcake should be plenty to affix your cones.
  • Use any extra icing to make spooky designs and patterns on your hats.
  • Use a real witch’s hat or spooky platter to display your creations!

Fun Trick-or-Treat Treats

Give away a few eyeballs when the kids come to call. Individually-wrapped Spooky Eyes gumballs, from sweetworks.net, costs $9.95 for 100 “eyes.”

Halloween Stuff We Like

Flipeez Action Hats will keep younger kids warm while trick-or-treating, and the rest of the winter, and can be the basis for a costume. The funny/scary hats ($19.95) include Twitchy the Kitty, Huggy the Monkey, Peek-a-boo Monster and Playful Puppy. With the squeeze of a puff ball, ears on the hat come to  life, waving and twitching. See what we mean at flipeez.com.
Here’s an fun way to make sure the kids get enough milk. Dean Foods’ TruMoo lowfat vanilla milk is getting a holiday makeover – it will be tinted bright orange, through Oct. 31.
Duck Tape has some new colors perfect for Halloween decorations. Scary Chevron is a print in purple, orange and green; Ghoul and the Gang has skulls, pumpkins, ghosts and Frankenstein monsters; Glow in the Dark Rolls and Sheets are available in various shapes, including moons, stars, numbers and letters. Fine more at ducktape.com.
Sakar International has a new line of themed flashlights to help the kids see and be seen on Halloween night. Themes include Tom’s the Train, Hello Kitty, Ninja Turtles, Batman, Spiderman, and a Monster High skull-shaped light. Information at sakar.com.

What to Do With Candy

We all know it’s unhealthy to binge on Halloween treats. Try these ideas from the creator of Blue’s Clues series and the phone app, Yummiloo Rainbow Power:
Get the kids involved in making daily baggies of the candy supply for school.
Cut up candy and freeze it for use when cooking; put it into cookie batter instead of chocolate chips.
Instead of eating the candy, use it for these crafts:
Make a wrapped candy mosaic on a piece of recycled cardboard or poster board.  Use Hershey’s kisses to make clouds, make houses out of Tootsie Rolls…the possibilities are endless.
Make a Halloween Haunted House with candy as you would do at the holidays with a gingerbread house.  Simply coat an empty milk carton or other small box with frosting and stick on the candy. Alternately you can use frosting as glue and create candy monsters.
Introduce the Candy Fairy as the cousin of the Tooth Fairy. Kids put their excess candy under their pillow at bedtime. The Candy Fairy then exchanges it for a new book, small toy, or gift certificate for special date with Mom or Dad.
Have kids sort their candy into piles and then use the candy as game pieces to play classic games.  Draw a tic-tac-toe board or get a checker board and use the pieces to play.  An on-your-feet-option:  Set your child’s candy pail on the floor and have everyone try to toss in pieces of candy.

Healthier Halloween Treats

Get your kids involved in making these snacks, also from the folks at Blue’s Clues:
Make a Pumpkin Smoothie, Frankenstein Smoothie (kale and fruit), or Monster Mash (purple berry) and sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds on top for the “bloody teeth” touch.
Make ghost pops by slicing a banana in half, sticking a popsicle stick in the wider half, covering in vanilla yogurt and using raisins for eyes and mouth.
Peel a whole orange and stick a cut piece of celery in the top for a stem. Voila! You have a delicious juicy pumpkin to eat whole!
Cut sweet potatoes up into long fang-like triangles (instead of the usual French fry shape) and bake, serve with ketchup “blood.”
Toast up the pumpkin seeds you scoop out, roast in the oven, and sprinkle with salt or any spice.

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