Category Archives: Halloween

Halloween Party with Grandchildren

(Dear Readers, I do apologize for all of the crazy question marks that were in my last newsletter. The newsletter service that I use must have had goblins in it because I do not have a clue as to what happened! Just call me Clueless Granny . . . )

For the  last two years, I have had a Halloween party for my grandchildren. (That was the age that I felt that they were old enough for the activities and crafts that I wanted to do with them.)

We held our party last Saturday. It was a beautiful fall day for such a grand party!

It ended up having a ghost theme. (I really did not plan it that way. Really. I did not!)

Two grandchildren wore ghost costumes. The other two were Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen. What a challenge to get them all to hold still at the same time!

costumes on Grandma Ideas

They made cotton ball ghosts. Using a white crayon, I drew a ghost shape on a piece of black construction paper. The grandchickabiddies stretched out cotton balls and glued them onto the construction paper.
cottonball ghosts on Grandma Ideas
cottonball ghosts on Grandma Ideas

While it might be a challenge for someone to recognize their end product as a ghost, the kiddos had fun making them.
cottonball ghosts on Grandma Ideas

We made more ghosts by wadding up some material into a ball, covering it with more fabric, tying a string around it to create the head of the ghost, and then drawing a face on it.
floating ghost on Grandma Ideas

We made more ghosts out of empty toilet paper rolls.

more ghosts on Grandma Ideas

I cut out pieces of white construction paper that fit around an empty toilet paper tube. The grandkids taped the paper on the tube.

Then, they drew a face on their ghost. I cut crepe paper streamers that the kiddos taped around the bottom of the tube. What an easy craft for them to do!

However, I think the flying ghosts were the hit of the party. (At least I had a riot. I think the grandkids enjoyed them, too!)

I ordered white plastic film canisters from Amazon. (You might be able to find these at a local craft store. I did not check it out. It was much easier for me to just order them online. Lazy bones, eh?)

I drew ghost faces on them and gave each grandchild a canister.

flying ghosts on Grandma Ideas

(Please, I ask you, Dear Reader, why in the world didn’t I move the garden hose out of the way? Shesh!)

Then, I broke an Alka Seltzer tablet in half. I put one half piece in the canister with a little bit of water. I hurriedly snapped on the lid. The grandchild put the ghost canister on the ground with the cap side down.

Then we waited for the magic to happen.

The Alka Seltzer started bubbling, bubbling, bubbling. The pressure built up until — POP! The canister flew into the air leaving the cap on the ground.

The ghosts flew over 20 feet high. It was so fun to watch them fly up and then crash to the ground.

flying ghosts on Grandma Ideas

Do you know how hard it is to capture an exploding film canister as it shoots into the sky? That’s why I don’t have any pictures of it. Just some of the grandkids waiting for the ghosts to take flight.

While it would have been fun to have a ghost themed treat, I didn’t make any.

I made pumpkin pudding.

pumpkin pudding on Grandma Ideas

I simply made instant vanilla pudding. Since it is yellow in color, I added a few drops of red food coloring until I got the desired orange color.

I drew pumpkin faces on clear plastic cups and put the pudding in the cups. Since the grandchildren don’t eat an awful lot, I only filled the cups half full of pudding. (For adults, you could fill the cup to the top.) Even though the cup was only half full, I was still pleased as punch at how they turned out.

Then, I made spiders.

I got round pretzels, Skittle candies, and mini chocolate frosted donuts.

spiders treats on Grandma Ideas

I carefully cut the pretzels into pieces for the legs. (Use a sharp knife instead of a butter knife. It works better.) Push the pretzel pieces into the donut to form the legs.


Push the Skittle candies in the donut to make the eyes.


Serve your spiders to your little guests. They will love them! (The adults will, too.)

spooky spider treats on Grandma ideas

Paper Monsters

Got colored paper? Scissors? Markers?

Great! You have enough makings for paper monsters. (Cue spooky music here . . .)

These monsters are easy to make. You simple fold some paper, trim it, fold it again, tear it, and draw facial features, hands, legs, and other creepy markings.

He’s so proud of his monster!

Get some brightly colored paper. One doesn’t want a drab-colored monster, now does one?


Take one of the short sides and fold it part-way over to the other short side. (You don’t want to fold it exactly in half because that would make a too fat monster that would fall flat on his face all of the time. And there’s nothing worse than that!)

Next, fold one of the short sides part way down. It really doesn’t matter how much. What you are folding down turns out to be the monster’s head. The more paper you fold down the bigger the monster’s head will be.

Starting at the top by the fold, start tearing the paper. Zig this way, Zag that way. Rip and tear away! The uneven-ness (is that even a word?) of the tear gives the monster his unique shape. (If you wanted to, you could cut out your monster instead of ripping the shape. Whatever floats your boat!)




Now comes the tricky part. Imagine that the paper that is currently facing ‘out’ is the monster’s back. If you unfolded it, the inside would be the monster’s tummy.

So, unfold the monster and lay it on its tummy. Do no, I repeat, do not, smooth out the folds. Carefully hold the monster so that the folds aren’t flattened.

Now, draw facial features, draw arms, and add other markings if so desired.


Now comes the second tricky part. Are you up to all of these tricky things? Good. Let’s proceed.

You’re going to re-fold the folds the opposite way. (Boy, this is going to challenge my description giving abilities . . .) Open up your monster so that his tummy is facing you.

Fold the head down (which is the opposite way it was originally folded). Crease the paper so that the tummy is now folded the opposite way.

Ta da! Your monster is finished.


You can add feet if you would like. Cut small rectangle shapes of paper — either the same color as your monster or a different color. Tape them on the back side of your monster and then fold them so they are facing out the front of the monster.

After I read these directions, I thought to myself, “Self, it sure would be a lot easier just to demonstrate, to show your readers how to make this. So, I’ve made this little movie to help you.”

YouTube Preview Image

You can add all sorts of designs on your my monster — spots, stripes, creepy markings.

Can you find the one that my grandson made?



Halloween Games for Grandkids

pumpkinsI know that it is barely the first of October. But, if you are like me, you’re always on the lookout for ideas of things you can do with your grandkiddos at your Halloween party.

Here are a couple of ideas that take minimal preparation and are inexpensive to do. (Cheap and easy — that’s my motto!)
Digital Scavenger Hunt.
(If you have more than five grandchildren coming over for a party, you might want to divide them into two groups for this activity and have grandpa be with one group.)

Write up a list of things that each group is required to do. (It’s best to either have different lists so the groups are not doing the same things at the same time. Or, put the activities in a different order.) Give each group the list and a digital camera. They need to perform each activity on the list and take a picture of the group doing the activity. The first group back to grandma’s house is the winner. Afterwards, have fun looking at the other group’s photos.

Example activities for the lists: Standing in the candy aisle in a grocery store with each team member holding a bag of candy. Holding or standing around a pumpkin on your front step. Trick or treating. (Prearrange with a friend or neighbor to let your grandchildren do this at her home.) Sitting on a park bench (or an appropriate place) painting their fingernails black. Dancing in a McDonald’s parking lot.

Build a Scarecrow.
Have a variety of old clothes, hats, gloves, old pillowcases, newspapers, string, and markers. Divide the grandchildren into teams. Give them 15 minutes to build a scarecrow by stuffing the clothes with newspapers.

Candy Corn Toss. Divide your grandchildren into two teams. Give each person 20 pieces of candy corn. Place a plastic pumpkin (the kind stores sell for trick or treating) about 10 feet away. Have the grandchildren toss their candy corn into the plastic pumpkin. The team that has the most candy pieces inside their pumpkin is the winner.

Halloween Pictionary. Write Halloween words or phrases or activities on slips of paper. Divide into two teams and play Pictionary using the Halloween words.

Pumpkin Bowling. If you don’t have old plastic drinking glasses that you don’t care about, purchase six plastic ones from your local dollar store. To play, set them up in a triangle form with a row of 3 glasses, then 2, and then one. Place them fairly close together. Get a small pumpkin. Have your grandchildren take turns rolling the small pumpkin trying to knock over the glasses.

Halloween Bingo

bingoPsssst! Wanna know where to get free, printable Halloween Bingo cards?

Look no further, Ralph. They are right here!

Here is a set of 12 Halloween Bingo cards that you can print up for your Halloween party with your grandkids. Of course, you’ll need the key, too. (I’ve done all the work so you don’t have to. Aren’t I nice?)

Simply print up the cards, get Halloween candy for markers, and you are all set for this activity. (Make sure you buy enough candy to use as markers and enough to be consumed during play . Voice of experience here . . . )

Speaking of consuming, make some of these Spider Legs treats for your party. While they may look creepy, they taste yummy.

spider_legsChocolate Spider Legs

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips
1 tablespoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
1-1/2 cups (3-oz. can) chow mein noodles, coarsely broken
red hot candies

Place milk chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and shortening in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth.

Dump in chow mein noodles. Stir to coat. Drop by teaspoons on waxed paper. Press 2 red hot candies on for the eyes.

Yields about 2 dozen clumps of chocolatey spider legs.

Halloween Party Ideas

pumpkinHalloween’s a-comin’. What have you got brewed up for your Halloween party with the grandkids?

Need some ideas Try these!

I Have a Little Vampire
When you were young, did you ever play the game I Have a Little Doggie and He Won’t Bite You? (We played that at our family reunion on Labor Day weekend and the kiddos loved it!)

Change it to ‘vampire’ instead of dog for your Halloween party.

Don’t know how to play the game? Here’s how. It’s simple.

Have the grandkids sit in a circle on the floor. Choose someone to be It. Give It a hanky or a bandana. It walks around the circle saying, “I have a little vampire and he won’t bit you, and he won’t bit you . . .” As she says ‘won’t bit you,’ she taps one of the kids on the shoulder with the hanky.

She keeps walking around the circle saying the phrase. Then, she says, “But it will bite you!” She drops the hanky on the ground behind one of the kids and runs around the circle.

The person picks up the hanky and chases after It. The person who is It runs around the circle and then sits down in the spot left empty before the person chasing her can tag her. If she isn’t tagged, the other person is now it.

Play continues  until children get tired of playing the game. (Which could take quite some time!)

You could also do a Skeleton Scavenger Hunt or play the Spooky Memory Game or the Skeleton Game.

Or you could play the Dice Game or Zilch.

For treats, you could make Witchy Fingers, Monster Eyeballs, or chocolate spider legs. They are guaranteed crowd pleasers.

Mexican Sugar Skulls

The other day at work, my co-worker’s daughter came in excited about something she had just made: a sugar skull.

Of course I had to take a picture of it. And, of course, I had to share it here. This is what it looked like.


Rather a cheerful, bloke . . . er skull, eh?

Here’s the recipe:

1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon meringue powder
1 cup sugar

Mix with your hands in a small bowl. It should resemble coarse, wet sand. If you press your finger in the sugar and it holds your fingerprint, it is ready to put in the mold. If it doesn’t hold the shape, spritz some water on the sugar and mix it well.

Press the sugar into your mold. Carefully tap it out of the mold. Let your skull dry over night. Decorate by adding colored frosting, sequins, flowers, and other baubles from the craft store.

This one has sequins as part of the eyes. When I took the picture, the flash glared off the right eye making the eyes rather eery.

When you make these with younger grandchildren, I recommend that you just decorate the skulls with them. They may not have the skills or the patience to make the sugar to put into the mold.


I took a moment to learn about Mexican Sugar Skulls. Isn’t this skull colorful?!?

Now, I do not particularly care for the dark, evil, creepy part of Halloween. And for me, skulls tend to fall into that category.

But, as I read up about Mexican sugar skulls, I think their origination is not necessarily dark or creepy.

Sugar Skulls are a traditional folk art from Southern Mexico and are used to celebrate Day of the Dead — October 31, November 1 and November 2.

It is a holiday  to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. Families take flowers and sugar skulls to the cemetery to decorate their graves.

If you decide to make these with your grandchildren, you could share some of the history of sugar skulls. You could even spend a few moments talking about family members who have passed away, share some of their life’s story, and honor them. Sort of like remembering people on Memorial Day who have passed away (even those who did not serve in the military).

Or, if you’d rather, tuck away this idea of making a sugar mold for a different season. You could make hearts for Valentine’s Day, Easter eggs or bunnies at Easter time, or a flag for the 4th of July. Check out your local craft store and see what kind of molds they carry. Then, use this recipe to make a mold that is more joyful and happy.