Category Archives: Halloween

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.

skull

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.

sugar_skull

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.

Halloween Party with Grandkids

Saturday, we had our family Halloween party. Before I talk about the party, I’ve got to brag about the cutest grandchildren and their costumes.

First, my cutey pie grand-witches.

lil_witches


Next comes my little grand-rooster. (I don’t think he’s too sure about dressing up in a costume. What do you think?)
rooster


And my grand-dragon.
dragon


Aren’t they just the cutest ever? I’d say!

Now for our activities.

We drew ghost faces on plastic cups and used them for bowling. Here are some of the cups.
cups_bowling


Here is the dragon bowler.
dragon_bowling


Here’s the witch bowler.
witch_bowling


After the bowling, we dropped pompoms into muffin tins. (Here is a link to the pictures that I used.)

Muffin_tin
I printed Halloween pictures, cut them out, and taped them randomly into the bottoms of muffin tins. The grandkids dropped pompoms into the cups with the pictures. Well, they tried. Interestingly enough, the pompoms bounced (who would have thought!) — and they bounced right out the the muffin cups. My grandchildren ended up gathering the pompoms in handfuls and flung them around the room.

At which time, I quickly brought out the next activity.

Next, we made pumpkin men with fan-folded arms and legs. (You’ll notice the lil’ witch took off her costume. She was getting hot.)

pumpkin_craft


Then, we made monster robots. (You can print off the pattern here.)
robot_craft


Then, we made ghost garlands. You can download the pattern here.  (Notice the dragon shed his costume, too . . .)
ghost_garland_coloring


Here is the finished product.
ghost_garland


For treats, I made these witches hats. There were simple to make. I got some of the fudge-striped shortbread cookies and used orange colored frosting to add a Hershey kiss.
witches_hat


I also made these tasty chocolate spider legs with red eyes. (I explain how to make them here.)
spider_legs


I hope that there are a couple of ideas here that you could easily incorporate in a Halloween party with your own grandchildren.

Happy Halloween!

P.S. I had an article featured on Grandparents Link. If you’re not familiar with this site, I highly recommend you spend some time poking around and reading their great articles!

Have a Blast Making Sugar Cookies with Grandkids

(This is a guest post by Rachel Thomas. Thank you, Rachel, for writing it. This would be a perfect Halloween activity to do with your grand-ghoulies.)

bat cookieOver the years there are recipes that we have made over and over again just because they are so much fun, not to mention delicious! One of the recipes my kids and I, along with grandma, love to make are sugar cookies. Because not only are they delicious but they are so much fun to roll out, cut with cookie cutters, and decorate.

Any child that loves playing with play dough will also love to make sugar cookies because it is all about fun. Not only that, but you get to decorate them with sprinkles, sugar, and even icing and then eat the finished product.

We have a recipe that has been passed down through the years from my kids great-grandma and for all I know it came from her grandma. She lived to be a hundred and four and passed away in the early 2000’s. So, this is an old recipe but it is the best one we have ever tasted.

Munna’s Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

3 cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter (not margarine) (two sticks)
2 eggs
1 cup of sugar

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl except the sugar.

Work the cold butter into the flour mixture (with your hands) as if you are making pie dough. (If you are not familiar with making pie crust this means that the consistency will feel like small peas.)

Add the 2 eggs and the 1 cup of sugar at this point and mix well (with your hands as well).

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about ¼ inch thick and cut with cookie cutters.

At this point you can decorate with sprinkles, white sugar, colored sugar, nuts, raisins, or cinnamon candies aka red hots (which happens to be my favorite). You can also leave them plan for icing after they have cooled.

Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

It makes approximately six dozen- or it is supposed to, we always use huge cookie cutters and get about half that many.

When we ice them, we wait until they are completely cooled on a wire rack. While we are waiting, we make up bowls of different colored icing. You may have an icing recipe you like. Most of the time we use a mixture of powdered sugar, milk, and food coloring, and we use the mad scientist technique and do our best to get it to the right consistency. We use the drizzle method from a spoon. I know there are pros out there that actually have the little icing bags and do some serious icing but we are amateurs.

This is so much fun for the kids and for me as well. We can spend an entire afternoon or evening working on these and then we eat on them for days. Since they are full of real butter and sugar and decorated with sweets, who could resist?

Author Bio:

Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to rachelthomas.author @ gmail.com.

Creepy Halloween Food

monster eyesI like it when something is way easy to make and is a hoot to serve. Monster Eyeballs fits the bill!

To make Monster Eyeballs, get some small donuts covered with white powdered sugar. Then get some gummy circles.  (They come in green, red, orange and red,  and yellow — and probably even more colors!)

Place one gummy ring on top of the small donut. Cut up a piece of black licorice and stick it through the hole in the gummy circle and the donut. It will be the eye’s iris — and it will hold the gummy ring on the donut.

See. I told you they were simple. The hardest part is to refrain from eating all of the black licorice!

In addition to eating eyeballs, you need to nibble on a finger or two.  Have fun making and eating these Witchy Fingers.

witchy fingersWitchy Fingers

Make a batch of your favorite sugar cookie dough. (See mine here.)

Roll out a small amount of dough until it’s thin like a pencil. Cut lines for the knuckles and press an almond slice on one end to make the fingernail.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.After you take them out of the oven, dust around the almond and the knuckles with cocoa powder.

You can also make creepy Chocolate Spider Legs.

Chocolate 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

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. Yields about 2 dozen clumps of chocolatey spider legs.