Archive for September, 2010

September 30th, 2010

Twilight Character Spoof Costume Ideas

Whenever there is a wildly popular movie, you can bet there will be a spoof waiting in the wings somewhere. There is one about to be released for Twilight called “Vampires Suck.” If you want to dress like the Twilight characters this Halloween, but from a funnier side, you just need to think of the sublimely ridiculous and run with it.

The Twilight Saga films are based on the series of novels by Stephanie Meyer. The first film in the series was Twilight, released in 2008 followed by New Moon in late-2009. The summer of 2010 brought the third installment, titled Eclipse.

The Twilight movies are a series of romance/fantasy/thrillers based on vampire Edward Cullen and his human love, Bella Swan. To add to the mix, Bella is torn between the sultry vampire and her friend, Jacob Black, who morphs into a werewolf.

Twilight Trickster Chld Costume

Twilight Vampire Powder

There is so much that you can do with these Twilight characters, especially the Cullen family. Think back to the traditional vampire lore: sleep in coffins, pale as death, sunlight burns their skin, and drinking the blood of unsuspecting virgins.

Makeup and Costume – Boys

Here’s where you will make a dramatic contrast. Instead of dabbing a little powder on, go with the deathly white look like traditional vampires. Don’t forget the blood red lips and black rings around the eyes. For the red eye thing that the Cullen’s seem to have, you can play that up with colored contact lenses. Your friends will get a kick out of that.

What about the hair? Now, for Edward, an exaggerated do will look something like Elvis having a bad hair day. Let that cliff-like coif stand high off your head. In fact, you can use an Elvis wig.

How about Jacob? Well, as you know, when he comes of age, he can shape-shift into a wolf. Play on that. Make your face up like a werewolf. Don’t go all wolf with a mask. It’s much more creative to go only slightly wolf-like, and much more eerie.

Use makeup glue and affix prickly dark hairs to your face like sideburns. Don’t forget the eyebrows and the chin. A prosthetic nose or face makeup can transform your human nose into a canine sniffer. A Wolverine wig would be the icing on the cake that is Jacob Black.

Makeup and Costume – Girls
Vampires often have telltale red rings under their eyes like they’ve been awake for a thousand years. Exaggerate that red makeup and add long false eyelashes.  As far as the hair, go with wild blond wigs or spiky brunette ones if you want to spoof Rosalie or Alice. For the costume, think Elvira or Cyndi Lauper at her wildest.

To spoof Bella, give her a lot of makeup. Go over the top. If you’ve seen the spoofed trailer of New Moon, Bella looks more like Daisy Duke and Buffy the Vampire Slayer than a conflicted teenage girl. You can go with either one of those. Dress her in a black leather biker’s outfit with spiked heels. Or, on the other end, she can look like a farm girl with cowboy hat, plaid shirt and short shorts.

Making fun of popular Halloween characters is always good for a laugh. Go outrageous and let the fun begin!

Have a spooky great time!

Visit us at Operation Letters to Santa for almost 1000 pages of Holiday Activities, Christmas Carols, Christmas Sheet Music, Holiday recipes, Free gifts and downloads and so much more!

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September 29th, 2010

Low Cost Ideas For A DIY Haunted House
Even adults like to venture into a haunted house at Halloween time. But, why would you want to pay $20, $30, or more to go out and see someone else’s haunted house when you can create one of your own?

It seems like everything has been done before right? Well, maybe not. Most haunted houses have the same goal – to scare the stuffing out of you. Your haunted house can have a different objective: creepy, disgusting, and fun. Halloween can be scary with a nice bit of gross factor, too.

Getting Started at Home

Look around your home. What do you already own that can be used?  Ask the whole family to come up with ideas.  Let’s take a look at a few:

  • Old sheets – Cut them up and wrap them around big styrofoam balls (you can buy them at any craft store). Hang them from the trees in your front yard. For a more dramatic effect, glue glow-in-the-dark eyes and mouths on them.
  • Silhouettes – You can buy these, but if you have old fabric or construction paper at home do them yourself. There are also online stencils you can use to create black cat, pumpkin, witch and monster silhouettes for your windows.
  • Yarn – White, black, and orange yarn can be used to create gigantic spider webs for the yard and the corners of your rooms. Stretch out a few cotton balls across the webs to resemble wrapped prey.
  • Fruit – Peel apples, pears, or even potatoes. Carve deep spooky faces into them. Place them onto a cookie sheet in the oven so that they can dry and shrink. Now, you have just created ghastly shrunken heads you can strategically place around the house.

Heading to the Store

After you have scavenged the house and the attic for items, it’s time to head to the store. Dollar stores and thrift shops usually have awesome accessories: skeletons, spiders, witches brooms and hats, decorative cups, and other appropriately spooky things.

Here are some more ideas for your DIY masterpiece:

  • Spooky lab – Fill mason jars with water and food coloring to make them dark. Float plastic eyeballs, skeletons, plastic animals, plastic severed hands, and other gross items in them and set them on a counter. To lend a spooky appearance, place a tub of dry ice in the room for a foggy atmosphere. Be sure to get plenty though because it doesn’t last long.
  • Strobe light – Use dark colors like red, black, and orange to give off a frightening aura to your rooms. How about creepy crawlies suspended from the ceiling with clear twine? When the strobe light hits, listen for the screams.
  • Ambiance – You’ll want all the feeling of Halloween, so you’ll need a few items to set the mood.  How about food coloring and corn syrup to create blood, glow-in-the-dark paint for mirrors and windows, and CDs of scary sounds and music.

With only a few dollars spent, you can outfit each room of your home to scare even the bravest guests.  Use your imagination and turn your home into an eerie haunted house.

Have a spooky great time!

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

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September 27th, 2010

Top Halloween Party Games For Kids

Personalize your Halloween Party at ShindigZ.comHalloween is just around the corner! Kids like to have fun, and what could be more fun than a Halloween party? If you want to have an entertaining Halloween party without too much sweat and toil, make sure that there are plenty of activities for your child and their friends to enjoy. Here are a few games you might want to include on your list of activities to hear roars of laughter from your kids:

Bobbing for Apples – This was great when you were a kid, and is still a favorite. Find a large metal wash tub and fill it with cold water. Add crisp, pretty apples. Each kid takes a turn bobbing his or her face into the wash tub, hoping to bite into, and bring up, an apple.

Pumpkin Carving – Kids love competition. Provide each child with a small pumpkin and a safe carving kit. Pick themes or let their imaginations drive their creations.  Give prizes for different categories (scariest, prettiest, most unusual) and be sure everyone gets a prize of some sort. Operation Letters to Santa’s Halloween section has plenty of Halloween Stationery and Halloween Certificates that you can print from your computer and personalize with your own name!

Mask Mania – Use construction paper or pre-made mask shapes. Provide paint and plenty of embellishments so each child can create a fanciful mask. Offer prizes for several categories, ensuring that each child walks away with some sort of recognition.

Haunted Hayride – If you have the space and the equipment, this is a very fun party. Hitch a trailer to a truck. Fill the trailer with hay bales for the kids to sit on and carry them through the field while someone tells ghost stories. See who can tell the scariest story. This is also a great idea for small, scattered neighborhoods where walking between them may be a little dangerous because of the roads. It allows the parents and the children to all be together in one group and is a lot of fun for everybody!

Trivia Games – What’s your favorite scary movie? Come up with challenging questions about everyone’s favorite movie and see who can get the most answered correctly, for prizes, of course.

Scavenger Hunt – Use your own backyard or even your house, basement, or garage to set up the hunt. Divide kids into teams and provide ghastly clues to each piece of the puzzle that leads to  the largest treasure.

Haunted House – Halloween is all about being scared, right? Create a haunted house in your backyard, garage, or basement in the form of a maze. You get to laugh at all the screams you hear as they make their way from spooky beginning to frightening end.

Dance-a-Thon – Let’s see who can dance the longest to a non-stop reverie of new and old haunted Halloween songs. Even see who can perform the classic dances like “Monster Mash” like a pro. Those who dance the longest win a prize.

Who says that Halloween has to be all about trick-or-treating? You can host a party for your kids and have a spooky great time.

Visit us at Operation Letters to Santa for almost 1000 pages of Holiday Activities, Christmas Carols, Christmas Sheet Music, Holiday recipes, Free gifts and downloads and so much more!

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September 26th, 2010

10 Tips for Getting Your Toddler Ready for Preschool

10 Tips For Getting Your Toddler Ready For Pre-School from Operation SantaPreschool is a big step in your toddler’s life. Whether your child is used to being at home with you all day, or he’s already used to a daycare environment, the shift to a new routine and new surroundings can be a challenging one. However, with a few small steps and some advance planning, the step into school life can be a positive experience for both of you.

Try these 10 tips to get your toddler ready for preschool:

  1. Work on potty training. Many preschools require you to bring your child already potty trained. The earlier you plan on starting preschool, the more important it is to begin potty training early.
  2. Start with a shorter day or shorter week. Many preschool programs allow your child to attend shorter school sessions. Consider a program that only meets two or three days per week initially. You can also opt for half-day sessions at some preschools.
  3. Bring your toddler to play groups. If your child has many experiences in playgroups with other kids, he will be used to interacting with other children. Offer opportunities for your child to become as comfortable as possible in social situations.
  4. Work on discipline early. Establish a consistent discipline routine with your toddler. Get your child used to consistent consequences for misbehavior, and try to make those consequences similar to the ones he’ll face in preschool.
  5. Give your toddler art supplies. Get your toddler used to using art supplies like paper, crayons, and chalk. Many preschool days feature a time of arts and crafts, and you can ease your child’s transition to school life by introducing art to him early.
  6. Read to your toddler every day. When you read to your child every day, you help them to think and learn about the world around him. Pick new books to read every once in awhile, but keep returning to your toddler’s favorites also. If you encourage them to read while they’re young, they’ll be excited about learning for a lifetime.
  7. Start naming letters and numbers. Introduce your child to letters and numbers whenever you have the opportunity. Numbers and letters are often taught in preschool, but your everyday routine offers many opportunities to introduce these concepts in a fun, engaging way.
  8. Identify colors and shapes. The same goes for naming colors and shapes. It’s a good idea to just point these things out to your child as you go about exploring life. Ask your child about different colors and shapes when you see them.
  9. Take your toddler to all checkups. Regular checkups are important for ensuring that your child is healthy. Your child may require certain immunizations in order to enter school. During your visits, your child’s doctor will verify that his physical development is on track.
  10. Let him go. It’s tough to watch your little baby grow up right in front of your eyes. Getting ready to start school can be a big change in your toddler’s life, but it’s a big change in yours as well. Prepare yourself emotionally for the big day, and remember that preschool is simply the beginning of a new, exciting stage in both of your lives.

Preschool brings with it a set of challenges that you may have never faced before. As you adjust to the new routines together, remember that anything new brings special opportunities and experiences. Embrace those experiences together, and make the most of this new season of life.

Visit us at Operation Letters to Santa for almost 1000 pages of Holiday Activities, Christmas Carols, Christmas Sheet Music, Holiday recipes, Free gifts and downloads and so much more!

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September 25th, 2010

Fun and Frugal Family Outings

Family Outing The time we spend with our families is priceless. But most popular family activities are quite expensive. Even a simple night at the movies can put a serious dent in the budget by the time you buy tickets, popcorn and drinks for everyone.

Fortunately, there are cheaper alternatives to expensive family outings. They provide the opportunity to have just as much fun at a fraction of the cost. Some are even free.

Movies and Music

Kids are often itching to see the newest releases at the movie theater. Doing so even once a month, however, can get pricey. One alternative in some areas is the drive-in. Admission is usually much cheaper than it is at a regular theater, and some let you bring your own drinks and snacks. Drive-ins usually show fairly new releases, so the kids can say they saw something that’s not out on video yet.

Some theaters offer reduced-price matinees during the day. Some even have free kid-oriented movies on weekend days. These options offer the theater experience without the outrageous cost.

Kids often want to go to concerts, but tickets to see the most famous bands are far from cheap. Check your local paper for free concerts in the park. Many areas have them during the warm months. Young children can enjoy the music without the huge crowds and deafening sound systems, and older children might gain an appreciation for less well-known bands.

The Great Outdoors

Nature offers a wealth of possibilities for family outings. Camping is a wonderful activity for families, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as pitching a tent in the back yard, or you can spring for a camper and rent space at a campground. Bring the grill and some hamburgers or hot dogs, or catch some fish to fry.

Parks are great for day trips. Those with playground equipment can keep youngsters entertained for hours on end. Hiking trails offer opportunities for exercise and exploration. Most parks have picnic facilities, so you can pack a lunch instead of eating out.

Other Family Outing Ideas

Here are some more inexpensive family activities to consider:

  • Play miniature golf. Admission is usually quite reasonable, and it provides the opportunity for relaxed yet engaging family competition.
  • Visit a petting zoo. These small zoos do not have the exotic animals you see at larger ones, but kids can feed and pet the animals.
  • Go to a museum. Some offer cheap or free admission, while others cost more. But the larger and more expensive ones often sell season passes, so if you live close by, you can visit numerous times for one low price.
  • Go boating. If you’re fortunate enough to live near a body of water, boating is fun and relaxing. Canoe and paddleboat rentals are inexpensive, and when you’re done boating there are usually other cheap or free activities in the area.
  • Attend events at a nearby college. These may include plays, concerts, dance recitals and movie showings. Prices are low, and student discounts usually apply to kids, too.

Having fun as a family doesn’t require a six-figure income. If you look around you, you can find lots of free or cheap activities that parents and kids can enjoy just about anywhere.

Visit us at Operation Letters to Santa for almost 1000 pages of Holiday Activities, Christmas Carols, Christmas Sheet Music, Holiday recipes, Free gifts and downloads and so much more!

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September 23rd, 2010

Back-to-School: Prepping Your Kids for the Change

Every child loves summer vacation. They’re free from schoolwork. They can wake up as late as they want to. And, they are free to hang out with their friends on weekdays. Besides the holidays, Summer vacation is truly the most exciting part of every child’s year.

Every summer vacation, though, must come to an end. You can avoid an abrupt ending and a house full of cranky children if you start the back-to-school preparation process a few weeks before class starts.

Utilize the tips below to minimize the sting of going back to school on your children.

1. Adjust their sleep schedule. Wean your kids into a school-ready sleeping schedule by making them fall asleep an hour earlier each week. Continue cutting back their bedtime until their sleeping patterns match those they’ll maintain throughout the school year. 

2. Assign homework. It’s true that kids dislike homework. But it’s important to keep their minds sharp.

On the Internet, you can find many places that offer free downloadable worksheets for children of all ages to complete outside of school. Websites like, ABC Teach, and Lesson Planet  provide a wide variety of options.

Keep it lighthearted. Try to assign fun homework assignments and be lenient in deadlines. After all, it is summer vacation and your kids deserve to spend some of their time relaxing. One assignment per subject that is due at the end of the week is plenty.

3. Tighten curfews. If you’re like most parents, you likely extend your children’s curfews throughout the summer. A few weeks before classes begin, be stricter about the time your children need to be home and which days they can go out with their friends.

Consider allowing your children to keep their summer curfew active on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday through Thursday, implement a “school-ready” curfew. This will mentally prepare your children for the new set of rules that will be in effect during the school year.

4. Make the change exciting. To your children, August is just the beginning of another boring school year. However, as a parent, you can’t help but marvel at the speed your babies are maturing! Help them see what you see by reminding them of all of the opportunities that will soon be available to them in the new school year.

Be firm about your decisions when preparing your kids for the change of going back to school. Most children are resistant when you first begin to implement these changes. However, after about a week or so, most children begin to accept the new routines.

Remember to take your children’s feelings and desires into account when designing your routine for getting ready to return to school. Kids have unique needs, and it’s important to let them know that their opinions are valuable. Be willing to give in a little and you’ll often receive a great deal of cooperation in return.

By implementing these changes, you’ll prepare your children well for going back to school. When school begins, it will be less of a shock to your children and the transition to a new daily routine will be an easier one for all.

Visit us at Operation Letters to Santa for almost 1000 pages of Holiday Activities, Christmas Carols, Christmas Sheet Music, Holiday recipes, Free gifts and downloads and so much more!

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September 21st, 2010

8 Tips to Help your Children Transition from Summertime to School Time

Back to School family funSummer is a time that most kids look forward to. Free from the burden of school, kids love the free time and fun activities of summer. When it’s all over and it’s time to return to school, however, you can ease the transition by taking an active role in helping your children cope with the life change that’s about to take place.

Try these eight tips to help your children transition from the leisurely days of summer to the challenges of an upcoming school year:

  • Talk about it. Keep an open dialogue with your children. If they have certain anxieties or reservations about attending school, help them ease their fears by giving them the opportunity to talk about it.
    • Help your children adopt a different perspective by pointing out the positives about school. School allows them to discover and develop new strengths. And they’ll be able to see their friends every day!
  • Establish a school routine early. If you’ve lost your routine over the summer, try to get back on track as early as possible. If you go into the school year with a routine, you can avoid many difficult days and stressful situations.
  • Throw a party. The end of summer can be a happy time. Celebrate the beginning of the school year by throwing a party or barbeque. This way, your children won’t dread school. Instead, they might look forward to the party and the school year.
  • Continue hobbies. It’s important to remind your children that they’ll still have free time after school and on weekends. If they played most of the day during the summer, they’ll still have plenty of playtimes after school lets out. The hobbies that they enjoyed during the summer can continue on through the school year.
  • Continue learning over the summer. One way to make the new beginning easier on your children is to limit their completely free time over the summer months. You can continue their education by providing educational activities and outings.
  • Pick out first day outfits. Your children will be nervous and excited on the first day of school. They may even want to spend more time on their appearance. You can help them look forward to the first day of school by picking out special outfits to wear. Help them dress for success by helping them choose the perfect outfit.
  • Shop for school supplies. Another activity that may get your kids excited about school is shopping for school supplies. Children sometimes have a specific list of items they’ll need. Let your child choose their own pens, paper and folders in their favorite colors.
  • Take a trip to school. Often, fear of the new experiences to come can swallow a child’s enthusiasm for the new school year. If your child is attending a new school, bring him to school a day before the first official day of class. That way, he’ll know what to expect and feel more relaxed on the big day.

The new school year can be an exciting time for all. Stress always goes along with new situations. But if you put these tips into practice, your children will be better prepared and may even look forward to the first day of school.

Visit us at Operation Letters to Santa for almost 1000 pages of Holiday Activities, Christmas Carols, Christmas Sheet Music, Holiday recipes, Free gifts and downloads and so much more!

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