Dancing Rain

My Life Inspired by My Loves

File for Next Year: Family Halloween Arts & Crafts

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It’s never too early to plan for next year’s Halloween! Gathering your ideas now will help when it comes to planning and prepping later. For this post, I am sharing some fun kid-friendly activities. These are good for family time fun or Halloween party arts and crafts.

Monster Cupcakes
Whip up a batch of your favorite flavor cupcakes, and then let the kids decorate them like monsters. Get a couple tubs of white/vanilla frosting and use food coloring to create the desired colors. I suggest green, purple and orange at a minimum. Use candy eyes, candy and black decorating gel to create the perfect cupcake monsters!

No-carve Jack-o-lanterns
Avoid the mess of carving pumpkins and decorate them instead! They will last longer uncarved so this is a great family activity to do early in the month so you have more time to admire your creations. Pick out a variety of small pumpkins when you visit the pumpkin patch (or buy fake pumpkins at your local craft store), then decorate with foam cutouts, paper, pipe cleaners, cotton puffs or pretty much any craft scraps you have on hand.

Milk Carton Ghosts
This is a good activity to plan a bit in advance, as it might take a few weeks or more to collect some empty milk or water jugs. Clean them and dry thoroughly. Then use black permanent markers or paint to draw the ghostly faces. Vary the faces for a fun variety. For added excitement, line up the ghost cartons, insert a strand of white lights and set them out at night for a homemade light-up decoration.

Marshmallow Ghosts
This one is very easy and cheap to make! All you need is a package of mini mallows, some glue and black paper. Use the glue to make a ghost design on the paper, then cover the outline with mallows. Reapply glue if it dries before you can place the mallows. And voila, a cute decoration! Just make sure to let it dry before displaying.

I hope you enjoy these and the many other Halloween activities out there. There is so much fun to be had by kids of all ages!

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Kid-friendly Halloween Party Food

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Our Halloween party this year featured a variety of adult- and kid-friendly treats. I have to give big props to my mom and sister for their creative spirit in helping to make our great treat spread happen!

Here’s the breakdown of what’s pictured above:

  • Jack-o-lantern puffs: Great as party treats or take-home favors (see the how-to here)
  • Pb&j Halloween cutout sandwiches: A loaf of white bread and a loaf of wheat bread, strawberry and seedless boysenberry jam, reduced fat peanut butter and a selection of Halloween cookie cutters were all it took to whip up 20 kid-friendly snacks
  • Spider cookies: Make these simple adorable cookies with a peanut butter cookie box mix, chocolate candy balls, candy eyes and black icing gel
  • Character cookies: If you are feeling adventurous, make and decorate some cutout sugar cookies with the kids, or find a great local bakery and buy some festively decorated cookies like we did
  • Halloween brownies: Bake your favorite box mix and decorate with orange frosting and Halloween sprinkles

I also recommend our Halloween seven-layer dip that was featured separately (see “Halloween Twist on 7 Layer Dip“).

This selection of treats combines simple homemade, semi-homemade and store-bought goodies to make your Halloween party prep manageable while creating a memorable spread for your adult and kid party guests alike.

Time to start planning for next Halloween!

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Jack-o-lantern Puffs for Kids’ Halloween Party Favors

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Looking for a simple, last-minute kid-friendly treat for a party or classroom treat? This is a great option to consider! I saw this adorable idea on Pinterest and decided to try it. All it took was 20 sandwich bags, a roll or two of Halloween ribbon, a black permanent marker and your choice of orange-colored snack treats.

I drew the Jack-o-lantern faces on the bags and then filled some with Cheezits and some with mini cheese puff balls. I liked the puffs best because of the round shape to make a nice little pumpkin. You could also use goldfish crackers, Cheetos or anything else orange! I filled each bag with enough treats so that they were approximately 100 calories each. I then tied with the ribbon and taped back the bottom corners to help shape the pumpkin.

These were great snacks for the kids at our Halloween party and made good favors as well for those who wanted to take them home for later. Either way, they will decorate the table nicely and are a simple, DIY festive treat!

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Halloween Twist on 7 Layer Dip

Looking for a festive appetizer for an upcoming Halloween party or work potluck? Try putting a Halloween twist on an old favorite: 7 layer dip.

Seven layer dip is a classic party dip in my family; in fact, my mom is a pro at it! I’ve found that it’s pretty easy — and actually not very expensive — to make, despite all the ingredients and steps involved. I got the spider web design inspiration from Pinterest (of course) and put my own spin on it. In all, I spent about $15 and 20 minutes to make a delicious dip for my Halloween party guests to enjoy! Check it out.

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What You Need:
Items are listed in order used, from bottom up
Oval or round serving dish (mine is plastic with spider decorations on it, $1 at Dollar Tree)
2- Roma tomatoes, sliced ($1)
1- 15oz can Refried beans ($1.25)
1- Roma tomato, diced ($.50)
1- 8oz pkg shredded cheese ($2.50)
2- Hass avocados, mashed ($2.50)
1- small can large pitted olives, diced ($1)
1- 16oz tub of reduced fat sour cream ($1.50)
1- plastic bag (sandwich or zip ok)
Plastic spiders (pack of bugs, $1 at Dollar Tree)
1- large bag of your choice tortilla chips ($3.50)

How To Make It:
1. Prep your ingredients as specified above.
2. Start layering, starting with the tomato slices for your bottom layer border.
3. Spread the beans, then diced tomatoes, cheese and mashed avocado.
4. Sprinkle olives on top.
5. To add the sour cream layer in the spider web design, I used a plastic bag as a piping tool. Scoop about 3/4 of the sour cream into the bag and twist the top closed, letting out all air. Snip one of the bottom corners of the bag and begin piping your spider web, just like you would with frosting.
6. Place one or more creepy plastic spiders decoratively on the plate.
7. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Tips:
1. I suggest pre-mixing the avocado with 1 or 2 tsp of chicken bouillon for better flavoring. Try it!
2. You could add a layer of sour cream after the beans if you want more of it.
3. Substituting bean dip for the refried beans also works well, if you can find a good bean dip. Be careful, as some bean dips are spicy.
4. For a thinner web design, snip a smaller corner from your plastic bag. The bigger the opening, the thicker your web lines will be.
5. Keep the dip refrigerated if you won’t be serving it right away.

If you try it, please share your pics and let me know how it turned out!

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Halloween Treats for Being So Sweet: Simple Teacher Gift

Looking for a cheap and simple Halloween treat for the teachers in your life? Decorated Halloween cookies are a festive gift idea and a great alternative to my other teacher gift idea.

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All you need are some Halloween-decorated cookies (I went with some purchased from a local bakery, about $2-$4/ea), clear cello treat bags ($2/20pk at Michaels) and some Halloween ribbon (found at the dollar store or Michaels for a couple bucks).

I put two cookies back to back in a cello bag and then tied a bow around the bag. I trimmed the excess cello at the top, about an inch, and was done. Simple DIY gift and I even have bags and ribbon left for future projects.

If you are more adventurous than me, you could make the cookies at home and have the kids decorate them!

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How-to: Easy Bat-themed Halloween Party Invitation

Halloween is quickly approaching and party planning is under way! Save money this year by creating a cute and simple bat-themed Halloween party invitation to announce your party and get guests in the festive mood from the moment they open it.

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For our Halloween party this year, my sister and I decided on a traditional Halloween theme, featuring all the usual favorites: pumpkins, bats, spiders, ghosts and mummies. I wanted to create a fun party invitation to highlight this theme. I had seen a bat cutout paired with a candy bar used as a Halloween gift, and thought I could adapt that for the invitation. My solution was to replace the candy bar with the party details. It worked perfectly, and I got numerous compliments on how cute it was!

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How to Make the Invitation:

Items needed: Black cardstock, white printer paper, computer with printer, black marker, pencil/pen, double-sided tape or glue stick, scissors, hole punch, paper cutter (optional).

1. Download and print this free printable bat template, created by Skip to My Lou.

2. Cut out the pattern and trace it onto black cardstock. I used 65# paper, purchased in a pack of 50 sheets from Michaels for a few dollars.

3. Put a couple of black papers together and cut out the traced bat. I usually try to save time by cutting a few at a time, as many as your scissors and hands can handle.

4. Type your party details and print on white paper. I recommend making two columns on your document, approximately 2 inches wide, so that you can easily fit your party details in the middle of the bat’s body when printed.

5. Cut out the party details, preferably using a paper cutter if you have a hard time making straight cuts with scissors like me. Tape or glue to the bat’s body, lining it up in between the wings.

6. Hole punch your white paper scraps to make eyes. Tape or glue eyes to the bat, placing just above the party details. Use a black marker to color in the pupils of the eyes.

7. Fold in the bat’s wings and deliver your cute invitation to your guests.

8. Take it a step further and cut out more bats to use as decorations or pair with candy bars to use as party favors.

Happy haunting!

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