Halloween at Home – 4 Ideas for a Festive Celebration

Halloween is a special time of year, but this year it might be a little different. The impact of COVID-19 doesn’t mean that Halloween has to be completely cancelled. We’ve compiled 4 fun activities to do at home to ensure a memorable Halloween during these unique times.

1 – Decorate the house

Halloween decorations help create the festive mood. Be as elaborate as you’d like, and remember that you are creating the experience! Pull out the construction paper in all your favourite colours, and have the children create window décor and more! Add in some spider webs and orange lights for an extra spooky feel. If you’re heading out to decorate the yard, pick up some danger tape, and some leaf bags to double up your fall cleanup and your Halloween yard display. If you’re not in the mood for a spooky feel, consider these 7 fall décor ideas to create the fall mood. Also, be sure to check out our Halloween décor contest! (Ends Nov 1st, 2020)

2- Pumpkin Carving

Children love to carve pumpkins. There is something special in the memories created together when crafting your own pumpkin design. Anything from a simple face, to an elaborate silhouette, the pumpkin is your blank canvas. All you need is a pumpkin carving kit, some space and old news paper to help capture the mess. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these 23 jack-o-latern ideas!

3- Halloween Candy Hunt

It’s like Easter, but without the eggs. All you need are your favourite Halloween treats. Simply hide them around the house while the kids are distracted and then let them dress up and get hunting. Added bonus: you can create spooky traps to add to the experience! Imagine a skeleton drops down when the treat is collected. Turn on the black light, turn up the scary music, and let the kids run around searching for treasure! (Weather permitting, it can be an inside and outside activity, with treats hidden in the yard or garage too!)

4- Homemade Halloween Treats

Our friends over at Nestle have crafted some creative ways to enjoy the season. Try any or all of these recipes for some delicious home made treats everyone will enjoy.

KIT KAT Witch’s Broomstick

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 24 (12 g each) Nestlé KIT KAT Treat Size Bars
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
  • 5 cups (1.25 L) mini marshmallows
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) puffed rice cereal
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) white chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly

Directions:

  1. Grease baking sheet; set aside. Chop 6 KIT KAT bars. Melt butter in large saucepan set over low heat; stir in marshmallows for about 6 minutes or until completely melted. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat.
  2. Immediately stir in cereal and chopped KIT KAT bars until coated. Scrape onto prepared baking sheet; using wet hands or buttered spatula, spread evenly. Let cool slightly; transfer to cutting board and trim edges. Cut into 3 long strips. Cut each strip into 12 triangles. Cut a small part from top of each triangle to create a flat edge; make an indent in the top with a chopstick or teaspoon handle.
  3. Spoon milk chocolate into resealable bag; snip bottom corner. Break remaining Kit Kat bars in half along seam. Pipe some chocolate into indents of triangles and affix 1 Kit Kat bar into each, pressing down lightly into rice cereal treat.
  4. Spoon white chocolate into resealable bag; snip bottom corner. Pipe or drizzle remaining milk chocolate and white chocolate over rice cereal treats to resemble bristles. Let stand for about 1 hour or until chocolate is set.

Makes 36 servings.

Nutrition Facts – Per 1 broomstick

Calories 140
Fat 6g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 75mg
Carbohydrate 19g
Fibre 0g
Sugars 13g
Protein 2g

SMARTIES Cookie Cauldrons with Witch’s Brew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 (10 g each) Nestlé SMARTIES Treat Size Bars
  • 1 pkg (496 g) Sugar Cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) milk
  • 1 egg
  • 16 (8 g each) MACKINTOSH Toffee Pieces, halved
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) corn syrup
  • 2 black licorice whips, cut into 24 (2-inch/5 cm) pieces
  • 24 pretzel sticks

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Stir together cookie mix, butter, cocoa powder, milk and egg until combined; shape dough into 24 balls and place into ungreased mini muffin pan.
  2. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and dough is cooked through. Immediately press indentation into each with end of wooden spoon, pressing gently against edges to create “cauldrons.” Let cool completely in pan. Remove from pan and transfer to serving tray.
  3. In microwave-safe bowl, combine toffee pieces and corn syrup; microwave on Medium for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until smooth and melted. Drizzle into cookie cauldrons. Fill each cauldron with 5 Smarties. Using round edge of skewer, poke hole on each side of cauldron; insert ends of licorice whip into holes to create rounded handle. Insert pretzel stick into each cauldron as a broom handle. Let cool completely.

Makes 24 servings.

Nutrition Facts – Per 1/24 recipe

Calories 220
Fat 9g
Cholesterol 20mg
Sodium 110mg
Carbohydrate 32g
Fibre 1g
Sugars 21g
Protein 2g

CRUNCH Frankenstein Brownie

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time:  60 minutes

These brownies will delight the kids because they look exactly like mini Frankenstein heads.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (400 g) brownie mix
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) prepared vanilla icing
  • 4 or 5 drops green food colouring
  • 12 (10 g) Nestlé CRUNCH Treat Size Bars
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chocolate sprinkles
  • 24 small candy eyeballs
  • 12 (8 g) Nestlé MACKINTOSH TOFFEE pieces, halved crosswise
  • 2 oz (60 g) chocolate, melted

Directions:

  1. Prepare and bake brownie mix according to package directions in 9-inch (23 cm) square pan lined with parchment paper. Let cool completely and lift brownies out of pan onto cutting board; remove parchment paper.
  2. Cut brownies into 12 equal bars. Tint icing with food colouring; frost tops of bars. Insert a CRUNCH bar horizontally in top third of each brownie bar. Arrange a few chocolate sprinkles just under the CRUNCH bar to resemble Frankenstein’s hair. Gently press two candy eyeballs onto brownie.
  3. Using re-sealable plastic bag, create mouth with melted chocolate. Using back of teaspoon, create holes on each side of the brownie. Insert a TOFFEE half in each hole.

Makes 12 Frankenstein brownie bars.

Tip: Brownies will stay in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts – Per 1 brownie bar

Calories 380
Fat 16g
Cholesterol 20mg
Sodium 140mg
Carbohydrate 56g
Fibre 2g
Sugars 41g
Protein 3g

Stay Spooky, Stay Safe

This year, Halloween might seem a little different. Nestle created the Red Pumpkin Project – a Canada-wide community effort reminding families, friends, and Frankensteins to stay safe while having fun, whether you’re trick-or-treating or staying at home!

Wear or display a red pumpkin this Halloween to encourage your community to stay safe. For more information on the Red Pumpkin Project, click here.

Happy Halloween!

5 Family Spring Break Ideas Right in Your Backyard

If a tropical vacation isn’t in the cards for spring break this year, finding fun in your own backyard can be easy and exciting. Embracing the seasonal transition can inspire lots of simple household activities from vegetable garden prep, to closet organizing, to local outdoor adventures like biking, picnics, and foraging in nature. Here are five ideas for a fun family spring break right in your own backyard.

Plan Your Summer Garden

Family Spring Break Ideas

It might not be planting time yet, but there’s still a chance for kids to dig in the dirt and get their hands dirty. Science even supports the idea that letting kids play in the dirt has positive benefits from calming their nerves to improving their microbiome.

Make an activity out of browsing a seed catalogue, creating a collage of your vegetable wish-list, and setting up a starter tray in your home. It’s as simple as buying a small bag of potting soil and a few pouches of seeds. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers make great starters. You can even buy a starter pot-maker to make little pots out of recycled newspaper.

Get more tips on starting your garden.

“Travel” Through the Library

Who says travel only happens on planes, trains, and automobiles? Take a trip to your local library and invite the kids to choose a book on a foreign country.

Use that as a jumping off point for a theme day. You could make a meal of dishes from the region (involving the kids in the cooking, of course), learn a few expressions to say to each other throughout the day, spend an afternoon tracing outlines of the country map and colouring them in. Added bonus — your kids get a geography lesson while they’re pretend-travelling to other countries.

Get Outside

Family Spring Break Ideas

It might still be too cold for a long afternoon picnic, but you can make the most of clear days by having a morning or afternoon tea time in the park. Pack a special snack and a waterproof mat for the occasion, and enjoy the fresh air with simple outdoor games like frisbee, tag, or kite-flying.

You could even collect fallen leaves, pinecones, and rocks, for painting and crafting with later. Don’t forget to invite some friends!

Get on Wheels

Spring Break is the perfect time to get the bikes tuned up, make sure helmets still fit, and start building up little ones’ stamina for those long summer bike rides.

Find a map of local trails and highlight which ones are nearby and kid-friendly. Plan short regular outings when the days are dry and the kids have lots of energy to burn.

“Konmari” Your Kids’ Closets

Family Spring Break Ideas

Spring doesn’t reserve its sprouting for flowers! Most children seem to grow an inch or two by the time spring break rolls around. In keeping with Marie Kondo’s “konmari” organizing craze, why not get the kids involved in their own wardrobe?

Take an hour or two to go through their closets with them and see what still fits from last summer. You could even create a mini-fashion show as a rainy day activity. Sort through what’s outgrown, make a list of what’s needed, and teach the kids how to fold and stack their own clothes. You’ll not only be scratching things off your to-do list, but giving them the satisfaction of shiny clean rooms! 

Get more tips on decluttering and home organization.

However you spend your spring break, we wish you a fun time with your family!

15+ Easy, Cheap and Fun Indoor Activities for Kids

With the cold weather upon us, we know that extended indoor time can be a challenge. So here’s 15 ideas for entertaining the little ones within your four walls.We offer these ideas for entertaining the little ones within your four walls.

Giant Box Art

Have a big cardboard box taking up space in the house? Before you toss it into the recycling bin, take a handful of crayons or markers and drop them inside, add one toddler (or two if you have another on hand) and watch it come to life. We all know toddlers love to write on walls, and these walls are fair game. Older kids can join in the fun too with more elaborate creations on the outside–pirate ship, princess castle, space shuttle, airplane–the possibilities are endless! Speaking of endless, there are loads of fun and simple activities to do with cardboard boxes.

 

Escape the Volcano

This fantastic game is inspired by The Floor Is Lava, but it’s a little more involved. The planning is worth it, though, because it gets your kids moving and thinking with colour matching, exercise, riddles, and more.

 

Sponge Finger Painting

If your kids love finger painting but you hate the mess, keep it under control with sponges. Makeup sponges work great for keeping the paint in one place, and clean up is easy if you keep them on a plate or plastic tray.

 

Baking

indoor activities - baking

Baking is a great rainy-day activity for kids of any age. Not only do they get yummy treats at the end, but they learn a little about chemistry and where their food actually comes from. No worries if you’re not an expert baker yourself – try these super-simple recipes from Delish.com that anyone can master. Don’t forget to stock up on baking tools and supplies!

Yoga

Yes, your little ones can do yoga! There are lots of great DVDs to help your toddlers and kids get started with yoga, but our favourite videos are from Cosmic Kids. In each free YouTube video, likeable host Jamie walks little yogis through a new adventure, including favourites like Moana, Star Wars, Frozen, and other fun stories, while learning the basics of flexibility, balance, strength, and mindfulness. Move the coffee table, grab your mat, and get ready for some fun. Bonus–you can sneak in your own workout right next to the kids!

 

Indoor Picnic

If grilled cheese and baby carrots are getting a bit boring, inject some fun into lunch and have an indoor picnic! Pack portable containers into a basket, clear some space, put down a blanket or tablecloth, and voilà! For extra fun, add some “outdoor” details like homemade grass, flowers, trees (aka tall potted plants), etc. Don’t forget to invite the stuffed animals! You can also continue the fun into the night with an indoor campout. Especially fun for a sleep over!

 

Spy Laser Obstacle Course

A ball of yarn or string is all you need for this secret mission. Find a narrow passageway like a hallway or stair case, and wrap the string at different angles back and forth at kid-height (painter’s tape works well too, if you’ve only got walls to deal with). Little kids will have a blast trying to climb through the configuration, and you can take the challenge up a notch for older kids with spy backstories, timed races, secret maps, special treasure missions, or a spy movie shoot. More ideas and instructions at mykidsadventures.com.

Make Your Own Book

If you’ve read the 478th book to your kids, why not get them to make their own books? There are many tutorials online about homemade book projects, but we found a great place to start with this simple one, which is good for beginner crafters, or for a sweet gift for someone. All you’ll need is a few sheets of paper, scissors, and crayons or markers. You could also add magazine cut-outs to practice pre-schooler scissor skills.

Cotton Swab Blow Darts

Don’t be alarmed by the name! This game is as safe as it gets. For this one, you’ll only need some cotton swabs, bowls or small bins (even old yogurt containers would work!), number stickers or tape, and some drinking straws. You’ll foster some healthy competition with everyone in the family with this lively game. Full instructions at thatswhatchesaid.net.

Sticky Spider Web 

Painter’s tape, light, throw-able objects, and a doorway is all you need for this active game. Have fun looking for things around the house that will stick in the web, like balled up newspaper, balloons, small toys, etc, or make it a competition by adding points or a timer.

Masking Tape Race Track

A no-brainer if you’ve got a tub full of toy cars or trains. Make it colourful and fancy with washi tape like the one above, but regular old painter’s tape works well too (and is just as fun on carpet and furniture!). You can keep it contained in the kids’ room, or take it all over the house for an epic race. You can even add a souped-up garage or train station, like this one:

indoor activities - gas station

Want more ideas for fun and learning with just a roll of tape? Check out more ideas at Hands On As We Grow.

Minute to Win It

If you’ve got a house full of kids, Minute to Win It games are a surefire hit. Bring the popular game show into your living room with rip-roaring races like “Junk in the Trunk,” “Cookie Face,” or “Pong Tac Toe.” The entire family, neighbours, cousins and the mail carrier are all going to want to join in this one. More ideas for MTWI games at happinessishomemade.net.

Sewing Station

This indoor activity is perfect for 4-6 year olds to practice fine motor skills. You will need to pick up a few supplies, but it’s a creative and colourful project that your pre-schooler can be proud of. Full instructions at kleas.typepad.com.

 

I’m Bored Jar 

If you’ve reached your creativity limit, an I’m Bored Jar will be your best friend. Simply put, it’s a container filled with things for kids to do. Some people fill it with fun stuff, others mix in chores kids can help with around the house. You can get creative with the design using tokens, popsicle sticks or laminated cards, if that’s your cup of tea, or you can just write the activities on slips of paper and put them in a jar. Every time you hear a small person in your house utter the phrase “Mooooooom/Daaaaaad, I’m BOOOORED!”, you can bring them the jar and let it do its work. More ideas for jar design and activities at wellnessmama.com.

 

What’s your favourite activity for beating kids’ cabin fever? Let us know in the comments!