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Tame Your Halloween Monsters

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halloweenHonestly, what's scarier than a little girl in a very scary witch outfit?

OK, maybe apart from Anne Robinson on a good day, nothing is scarier than a little girl in a fancy Halloween outfit!

If you plan to give your kids a great Halloween day, we're here to help with some extra ideas to boost your creativity and tame those cheeky little monsters.

 

Spooky style decorations

Imagine this: your kids wake up, wash their hands and their faces and go in the kitchen for breakfast: shock and horror, little ghosts are hanging down from the ceiling and paper spiders are stuck to cotton wool spider webs in every corner.

You can make the little ghosts out of white tissue papers wrapped over tennis (or table tennis) balls and tied underneath in a 'neck'. You can draw eyes and a mouth on the face of the ghost and hang it from the ceiling or put one in every corner of the room.

You can thread some cotton wool and stick at the corners of the room for a 'webby' look.

Spooky Halloween games

Haunted Teddy Bear Picnic
Dress the teddy bears in ghosts as above, by wrapping a tissue or small white canvas and tying it underneath the chin with a string and arranging them as having a picnic with your kids.

Pumpkin Golf
Carve a pumpkin in the shape of a face with an extra large mouth and watch the kids trying to score the highest. Every time the ball goes inside the pumpkin the player gets treated.

Ghost Fire in the Back Garden
OK, for this one you need at least 4 sticks (around 2 foot tall), 4 white sheets, 4 pumpkins, hollowed and carved so they resemble a face and illuminated with a small candle each.

Consider playing this game if your kids are old enough to understand the danger of fire.

Arrange a small fire in the back garden with the autumn leaves and circle it with the sticks covered in the white sheets. Make sure the sticks and sheets are far enough not to catch fire. At the top end of each stick, attach a pumpkin in a Vlad the Impeller fashion and light up the candle inside it.

For an even greater effect, join the corners of the sheets together as if the ghosts are holding hands in a circle around the fire.

If it doesn't scare anybody, at least it helps getting rid of the unwanted leaves in your garden.

Yes, but is fear good for my kids?

Well, apparently yes, it is.

Why? First, most fear comes with a great deal of fun. And fun is good for all kids. Nobody knows why, but we love to get scared as long as we know we're OK. We love peek a boo games, being chased, we love ghost trains, roller coasters and a truly scary face to trick or treat us, too.

Fear is associated with adrenaline and adrenaline try outs are good now and then for the proper emotional development of any child. It sharpens the senses and responsiveness of children in face of danger and trains the brain to 'assess' quickly the danger and react accordingly.

So don't be scared to take your children to activity and fun places full of rollercoasters, climbing frames or water activities that could give their adrenal glands a good try out, as long as they understand they are safe.

Knowing they are safe is more important than we would think at first sight, because it all has to do with how confident they will be to try new experiences in the future.

Boohoohoo Halloween Menu

Cheesey Spider Web

  • 2-3 cheese strings
  • 3-4 black olives
  • Noodles or vermicelli

Make a spider web by pulling a string of cheese as long as you can and arranging it in a web shape. When it's all ready, decorate it with big black (pitted, for safety) olives acting like spiders. For a better effect, boil some noodles or vermicelli and attach four on each side of the spider as legs.

Pumpkin Pie

You can't go wrong with the good, old pumpkin pie. So here's what you need:

  • Short crust pastry
  • 450 g pumpkin flesh, cut into 1in/2.5 cm cubes
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 275 ml double cream

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Arrange the crust on a pie dish about 9 inch/23 cm diameter and 1 1/2 inches/4 cm deep.

Steam the pumpkin and mash it by sieving it through a coarse sieve or grinding it with a baby food grinder.

Whisk the eggs and extra yolk together in a large bowl.

Place the sugar, spices and the cream in a pan, bring to simmering point, mixing continuously. Then pour it over the eggs and whisk it again.

Now add the pumpkin puree, still whisking to mix the ingredients completely. Pour the filling into your pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes.

The pie should look crunchy at the edges, but still wobbly in the middle. Serve chilled with double cream or creme fraichee.

Pumpkin Soup

You will need:

  • 1 pumpkin
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 200g celery root, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 l vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste/passata
  • 300 ml cream
  • 2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds

Cut a lid from the top of the pumpkin in a zigzag fashion. Scoop out the seeds and the flesh, leaving about an inch of flesh on the bottom of pumpkin.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Fry together 500g pumpkin flesh with onions, garlic, carrots and celery.

Add vegetable stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Season everything with spices, sugar, tomato paste and cream.

For an added effect, add the soup into the hollowed pumpkin and sprinkle with the roasted seeds.

Monster Pie

Colour some mashed potato in green with food colorant and arrange it in a semi-globe on a plate, decorating it with olives for eyes, a small half of a red pepper for nose and a circle cut out of the red pepper for mouth, adding some fresh pasta cut into triangles for teeth. Delicious!

Share your spooky ideas with other mums on our forum, who, just like you, are looking for ideas on how to turn Halloween into great fun for their kids.