Ready for Halloween

Halloween is a great holiday for thrifty families. While it is certainly possible to spend hundreds of dollars decorating and dressing up, it’s also relatively easy to fully enjoy the holiday without spending anything.

FREE CANDY

When it comes to free handouts, Halloween definitely has it covered! Trick or treating is perhaps every child’s favorite festive activity. And it’s free!

But in addition to trick or treating on Halloween night, you can find many other opportunities for similar activities. Trunk or treats have become very popular in the past few years. Similar to trick or treating, but children travel from car to car – trunk to trunk – rather than house to house. Many towns offer their own version of trunk or treat, and some organizations, businesses, and even schools have gotten in on the action. Check out the Events Calendar to find some scheduled trunk or treat events around the state, but be sure to also check with your own town. Some towns will offer events just for their residents. Some of these events will also have other activities to add to the Halloween fun.

EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

In addition to trunk or treat events, you will find other festive happenings on the Calendar. Games and activities, both light-hearted and spooky, are available for families to enjoy. Not seeing something you like? Check with your local library. Many have Halloween-themed activities to celebrate the holiday.

In addition to activities offered elsewhere, however, you can also partake in festive activities right in your own home. You can enjoy Halloween-themed crafts using items you already have on hand. This list of 100 Halloween Crafts for Kids is a great place to start for simple projects using common items. As a bonus, many of these items can be turned into decorations to make your home ready for Halloween.

Looking for some games? Here are some easy options:

With a little creativity, you can turn items you have on hand into lots of fun activities!

COSTUMES

It just wouldn’t be Halloween without a costume to wear! The easiest way to create a budget-friendly costume is to take a look at clothes your child already has in his closet. Then see what can be turned into a costume by adding just a few supplies you already have on hand. You can also peruse the links below to get some ideas for DIY costumes your child is sure to enjoy.

Need more ideas? Google “DIY Halloween Costumes” and you’ll find plenty of options!

Enjoy the season, have some fun, and don’t stress about the budget! Happy Halloween!

Spread a Little Happiness

Back at the beginning of the pandemic, ideas were tossed around that encouraged people to stay positive, interact with each other from a safe distance, and have a little fun. Restrictions may have lifted, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some of the same ideas – and some new ones – and spread a little cheer.

GET CREATIVE

Cheerful pictures can brighten someone’s day, and they’re so easy to do! One idea that my kids and I have tried is taking sidewalk chalk and drawing pictures on the sidewalk near our house. Pretty pictures and even inspirational words and sayings can add a smile to someone’s day. Take a tip from a Kohl’s commercial and make a hopscotch board or other game out of chalk. Add a little pizazz to someone’s walk!

You can also try painting rocks with bright colors, pictures, and kind words to spread a little kindness. Large, smooth rocks work best. Tuck them where people can see them – at the edges of your yard, in a public park, or outside your school!

USE YOUR WINDOWS

Another simple idea is to create pictures on pieces of paper and hang them in your windows so passersby can see them. Use bold colors so they can see them from a distance. Or cut out colorful hearts or flowers and showcase those.

You can also send passersby on a teddy bear hunt and tuck stuffed animals (or pictures of stuffed animals) in your windows. Get neighbors in on the act for added fun.

WRITE IT DOWN

Who wouldn’t love a handwritten note saying something nice? It can be a quick “thank you” for delivery drivers and postal workers, a note of appreciation for your teacher, or an “I’m glad you’re my friend” message to your bestie. While you’re add it, leave little messages for your family members and neighbors. Tuck them where they will find them easily – but unexpectedly! Some note ideas:

  • Appreciation – why you’re grateful for them
  • Compliment – something you appreciate or admire in them
  • Poem or story – write your own or share a favorite (but remember to give credit!)
  • Coupon to do something together, like play a game or watch a movie

For a little added treat, draw a picture to go with your note or make a small token gift, such as a bookmark or paper flower.

GRAB YOUR PHONE (OR COMPUTER)

In this digital world, it’s easy to grab your preferred device and send a message to someone. You can call, text, or e-mail your way into someone’s thoughts. But you can also take it one step further by sending an e-card, photo, funny meme, or motivational message. You can even take a short video and forward that along. Why not share a favorite memory? Or make plans to play an online game together or watch a movie at the same time – and discuss it via text or video?

What are some other ways we can spread happiness?

Only in the Rain

When the weather’s not so great, and you want to stay inside, you have lots of options to keep you busy. I outlined several in a previous blog post. But what about when you want to enjoy the rainy weather? There are some things that can only be done on those dreary, wet days!

GET WET

Kids love water play, and that shouldn’t change just because the water is coming from the sky! Toys that can be used in the bathtub or swimming pool can certainly be used in puddles. Encourage kids to take it a step further with some creative building, and have them make boats for their toys, or build a dam to stop a stream of water. See if they can use only items they find in nature – sticks, rocks, leaves, etc. – in their creations.

Grab some empty bowls, cups, and containers, and have the kids fill, pour, and splash. With all the comparisons and measuring, they’ll be learning some math along the way!

Finally, don’t underestimate the simple pleasure of stomping in puddles. The bigger the better! Your child can also experiment with splashing by tossing some items, such as rocks, into puddles. How big a splash can he make?

GET MUDDY

For some messy fun, encourage your child to play in the mud! Make mud pies, draw in the mud, even make mud angels! Mud can be a great sensory experience, and its squishy firmness makes it a great medium for art projects. Give your kids permission to get messy, and you’ll be amazed at what they can create – and how much fun they’ll have!

BE A SCIENTIST

With an abundance of water available, take this opportunity to experiment. What materials sink or float? What materials dissolve in water? If you draw or paint, how does the rain affect your pictures? Does the color look the same? Does it even stay, or does it disappear?

Go for a nature walk and see how different nature can look when it’s wet. Do you see the same animals you would normally see? Are some hiding? Are some others – like frogs, ducks, or worms – popping up when you wouldn’t usually see them?

Use your senses. How does the rain feel against your skin? Does it feel differently on your head, where your hair is? Or through your clothes? What does it taste like? How does the world around you smell? Feel? What can you hear? Does it sound the same as it does on a sunny day? What’s different?

HAVE FUN

As tempting as it can be to just sit inside and stay dry, Playing and exploring in the rain can be a memorable experience for you and your children. Give it a try and have fun! If you’d like more ideas on how to enjoy the rain, check out these sites:

And, finally, a disclaimer. Always make sure to stay safe! As fun as the rain may be, if you hear thunder or see lightning, stay inside. If the temperatures dip, be sure to stay bundled up and warm, and keep feet dry. And when you’re done playing outside, be sure to dry off and find some inside fun!