Posts Tagged ‘halloween parties’

September 19th, 2012

Halloween Owl Beanbag Toss Buckets

Halloween Beanbag Toss Bucket for Halloween PartiesPlanning a Halloween party for a classroom or at home? This fun and easy craft from Better Homes and Gardens offers hours of fun from beginning the craft to playing the game.

What You’ll Need

  • Clean, empty 1-gallon paint cans (available at crafts stores)
  • Assorted scrapbooking papers, fabric ribbon, and trims
  • Solid and textured wool felt (brown and yellow)
  • Orange paper
  • Mod Podge decoupage medium
  • Glue gun and hotmelt adhesives
  • Fabric glue
  • 1-inch circle paper punch
  • Circle paper punches or circle stencils
  • Googly eyes in two different sizes
  • Number stencils

How to Make It

Note: To attach various materials to the can: Use decoupage medium to adhere paper, use a glue gun and hotmelt adhesive to secure ribbon, and use fabric glue to attach fabric pieces.

  1. Download free owl pattern. Click here.
  2. Cut two pieces of scrapbooking paper to wrap around the can. Before attaching the paper, draw around the handle of the can and punch or cut half-circles in the scrapbooking paper on each side for the handle.
  3. Adhere the paper around the can, aligning the half-circles with the handle. Glue fabric ribbons and trims around the top and bottom of the can.
  4. For the owl shape, trace the body and tail pattern onto brown felt. Cut and hot-glue ribbon along the outline of the tail; attach tail under the edge of body. From yellow felt, cut two wings; from orange paper, cut one belly. From felt or paper, cut or punch circle eye pieces. Assemble the owl, and glue different-size googly eyes on the eye pieces. From yellow and white felt, cut two irregular triangles for the beak; glue together. Glue the wings and belly to the owl body first, then layer on the eyes and beak. Cut a number from two colors of paper, making one larger than the other. Layer them together and attach to the owl tail.
  5. Glue the owl to the bucket, letting the tail hang below the bottom edge.
  6. Make five different buckets and number them 1 through 5.
  7. Line up the buckets and have players stand a short distance away on a designated line to toss the beanbags in the buckets. If a beanbag makes it into a bucket, the player receives the amount of points indicated on the owl’s tail.

Don’t forget to visit Santa’s new family friendly video site to find all of your favorite holiday videos and music!

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October 25th, 2011

Halloween Mummy Dogs

Halloween Hotdog Mummy WrapsHalloween is right around the corner and this is a great Halloween party recipe for kids and adults alike. Wrap up your favorite brand of hot dogs in true Halloween mummy fashion! These are cute and very fun to make and serve.



  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls OR 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
  • 2 1/2 slices American cheese, quartered (2.5 oz)
  • 10 hot dogs
  • Cooking spray
  • Mustard or ketchup as desired

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut into 4 rectangles.
  3. With knife or kitchen scissors, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough. Slice cheese slices into quarters (1/2 slice cheese, cut in half).
  4. Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like “bandages,” stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate “bandages” so hot dog shows through for “face.” On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down); spray dough lightly with cooking spray.
  5. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard, draw features on “face.”
Try a mini version with cocktail sausages.
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October 18th, 2010

Choose A Halloween Party Theme

SpiritHalloween.comBefore you know it, it will be October 31st. Where will you be and what will you be doing on that date? If you are planning a Halloween party, here are some great ideas to keep your party eerie, frightening, and fun.

Start with Spooky 

Halloween is the one time of year when it is permitted to scare the ‘be-jeebers’ out of everybody. Nothing is off limits; the spookier, the better. Fine tune your scare tactics and bring your most ghoulish dreams to reality with a spooky Halloween party.

Pick a Theme 

You may want your party to revolve around something hideous and creepy, but there are so many variations on that idea. Here are some themes you can use for the different age groups:

Youth Theme Party Ideas 

  • Scary Monster Theme
  • Bad Guy Theme
  • Favorite Movie or Television Character
  • Jack-o-lantern Costume Theme
  • Princess Costume Theme

With kids, the possibilities are endless because they have so many interests, not the least of which is dressing up… for everything!

Teenage Theme Party Ideas 

  • Vampire Party
  • Favorite Undead Character
  • Favorite Ghoulish Mask
  • Twilight
  • Psychedelic

Using the same basic concept for teens as for younger children, you just think of popular television and movie characters and stories and pick a theme. For teenagers, just step it up a notch and give them more bizarre options. Throw out some ideas and let your teen run with it.

Adult Theme Party Ideas

  • So Sexy Monster Theme
  • Murder Mystery Night
  • Re-visit the 60s, 70s, 80s,or 90s
  • Nightie Night Pajama Party

If you are throwing an all-adult party, be sure to plan for a long night. Make it fun and worth the extra effort it takes to plan and execute a costume to fit the theme.  Find a babysitter whose willing to stay into the wee hours so you and your guests can howl at the moon. Couple parties as well as all-girl or guys night parties are especially fun for Halloween. Create some fun with this night away from the stress of work and family responsibilities.

The Planning 

As with any party, the first step is the planning. If Halloween falls on a weekend, great. Otherwise, choose a non-workday and non-school day that’s close to Halloween for the best result. If you pick a day too far before or after Halloween, you will lose the festive feeling. Unlike Christmas, the ‘season’ for Halloween is short.

Halloween falls on the same day every year, so we all know it’s coming, and when!  Sometimes the success of a party boils down to who gets their invitations out first. You will need to send out invitations before the social calendars fill up. Hash out the particulars of your party and let everyone know about the theme so they can get their costumes together.  Once the invitations are out, get the decorations and food planned and ready.  And, don’t forget your own costume!

Pick a theme for your Halloween party this year to make it even more spectacular.  Make the theme scary if you like, or just make it fun.  It doesn’t matter just as long as everyone’s having a good time!

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas 

Each year, people spend hundreds of dollars getting tricked out and trussed up for the spookiest night of the year. We’re talking about Halloween, of course. But, at what cost? You want to keep more money in your pocket, and we want to help you do just that.  Here are some easy Halloween costume ideas that are great for kids and adults alike, and that won’t put your budget at risk.

Kids and Teens Costumes 

When you think “easy” you think readily accessible materials, quick, and very little cost. Never fear, brave parents. You can create great costumes with materials you already have at home.  Very often these costumes are from ideas provided by your kids.

For the younger set, you may very likely need two costumes. Why two costumes? Kids like to dress up for their class Halloween party as well as trick-or-treating. Most kids like having a different costume for each party. After all, part of the fun of the Halloween costume is the surprise, or even shock. Those elements can be lost if the costume is worn twice.

To get started on a costume, look in the kids’ closets. If your kids are like most kids, they have a collection of play clothes including princess dresses, tiaras, cowboy hats, lassos, themed pajamas, and all sorts of accessories. The closets and dress-up bins are treasure troves.

Here’s an example for a young girl who wants to be a princess. If she has ever been to a Disney store or a Disney theme park, she may already have at least one princess dress. Start with that dress as the basis for your costume. Fancy it up with a tiara, a magic wand, and a pair of old shoes sprayed with glitter paint. What you don’t have can be found at the dollar store or in your closet. Try some simple face painting makeup to give her a resemblance of her favorite storybook royalty.

As an example for a teen who wants to be an old time rock and roll star, you may want to raid your own closet. Grab some old T-shirts and tear off the sleeves. Then find old jeans you can cut up and shred a bit. An old wig is fun, too, especially if the costume is more of a ‘heavy metal’ style rocker. Have your teen look through your old albums to get ideas, then go ahead and drag out that big box of old clothes and dig in.

Adult Costumes 

Here is where the process gets easier still. You don’t have to go to a costume shop to rent or buy a witch’s outfit or Dracula costume. It’s time to hit the closet again.

Let’s start with the guys. Do you like gumshoe detectives; Spade, Marlow, Columbo? If you have a long trench coat, all you need is a wrinkled shirt, slacks, a hat, and a fake cigarette. Is surfer dude more your speed? Grab the board, put on your wetsuit and slick that hair up. A pair of silky pajamas and a silky scarf tied around your neck and you are the world’s most famous playboy.

We haven’t left you out, girls. What about your favorite little black dress? Add some spider webbed gloves, stilettos, a long black wig, red lipstick and fangs, and you are the sexy vamp ready for a night of bloodletting. You can also raid his closet and work wonders with one of his old suits. Grab a martini glass and you are the perfect Madison Avenue advertising executive.

Looking your best on Halloween doesn’t have to mean a trip to the costume store to buy an expensive get up. Start with what you have right in your home and accessorize to the hilt. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a costume, you can shop at home and look like a million bucks.

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October 11th, 2010

Top Halloween Party Games For Adults

It isn’t just the kids who want to have fun on Halloween. Even though adults don’t trick-or-treat anymore, they can still throw a mean bash and invite all their friends.

Free ground shipping on orders over $100!Here are some ideas for great grownup party games:

Truth or Dare – This game can take on all sorts of nuances and innuendo. It all depends on the group you’re throwing the party for. Write up a pile of questions and dares ahead of time, throw them in a bowl, and let the games begin.

Charades – Everyone loves a good game of guessing. Use Halloween themes for the game topics. Pick teams such as guys against gals, ghouls against goblins, or even dead against undead.

Name that Ghostly Tune – See which team can name the most Halloween classics from snippets played for them. For a real brain teaser, ask them to name the artist as well.

Karaoke – This game always brings out the laughter and fun. Sing your heart out to your favorite monster jam and ask everyone else to join in. Let judges decide who has the best rendition and offer a prize.

Who’s Who – This game involves the costume you choose.  For example, the invitation may state that you should come as your favorite scary character.  At a chosen time during the party, everyone will go into character, giving everyone else time to guess who they are and write it down. Keep the characters as obscure as possible to keep the guessing going.

Mystery Whodunit – The invitation for this type of party should stress an RSVP. Upon arrival, each guest gets a piece of paper detailing who they are to play in the mystery as well as instructions for their character. The host is the detective who helps solve the crime. Choose someone in your family who agrees ahead of time to play the murder victim. At the prescribed time, each person goes into character.  When the lights go out, the murder occurs. When you turn the lights back on, there are clues to find out whodunit.

Fear Factor – Blindfold those who dare take the challenge and have them touch a series of things and try to guess what they are. It can be a bowl of cold spaghetti worms, gelatin brains, peeled grape eyeballs, or anything else that makes your guests get all creepy crawly inside.

Halloween is the one holiday we get to pull out all the stops and anything goes.  Make your party as spooky and eerie as you like. Pick a fun and freaky party theme and start planning today!

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October 3rd, 2010

Halloween Twilight Character Ideas

Twilight has joined the ranks of famous movie characters and has spawned costume ideas that will be quite hot this Halloween. To be cool at your favorite party this year, who will you be?

A Bit of Background About the Characters

So, here’s what everyone is raving about. A big city girl named Bella Swann moves away from her mom and in with her dad in the tiny, tiny backwater that is Forks, Washington. In the first movie, just from the scenery, you can tell this is going to be both gothic and strangely romantic.

To continue; Bella meets the sun-challenged Edward Cullen. His blazing eyes and porcelain skin suck her in right away (no pun intended). She is enamored with him even more when he saves her life from a runaway truck. It is here that our detective beauty embarks on a journey to find out who Edward really is – a vampire.

Jacob Black is the tanned, dark-haired friend of Bella Swan and also a member of the Quileute tribe on the local Indian reservation. Jacob likes Bella very much, and has an intense distrust of the Cullen’s (especially Edward) that she can’t understand.

Now that you have a quick synopsis, let’s discuss the look.

Costume Couture for Gals

For the gals, this is a no-brainer. Even though there are some gals in the Cullen household who could turn a guy’s head (Alice and Rosalie) – and not just to bite them – most girls want to play the love interest of the deeply mysterious Edward. That would be Bella Swann.

To pull off this look, you don’t need much. These are actually some of the easiest characters to portray without spending loads of cash. If you are a natural brunette, you are one step ahead of the others. If not, invest in a good long brunette wig.

Bella’s dress is simple: peasant shirts, boot cut jeans, garden variety blue kicks, and a jean jacket. Where you will stand out is the accessories: bracelets, rings, dark headband, and pale pink lipstick.

Costume Couture for Guys 

So are you for Team Edward or Team Jacob? Playing upon your natural coloring may decide for you. For instance, a deep tan will naturally give you a head start on Team Jacob. If you are fair skinned, then Team Edward would be your natural choice.

Now guys, you will have to put on a little makeup if you want to have that undead look. Sweep the hair upward with styling gel and have those eyebrows arched. To shock and appeal to the ladies, brush a bit of sparkling body glitter just above your neckline to give them a hint of your vampire side.

As for clothes, you might already have them in your wardrobe: solid white or blue shirt, skinny but manly jeans, black Nike’s, long jacket, and cuff bracelet.

Jacob is buff, so guys, start doing your crunches now. You can be Jacob in Twilight with the long silky dark hair or in Eclipse with a short sexy slightly spiked coif.

As far as wardrobe, you can go with a pair of jeans. Jacob is often seen without a shirt, but October may not be the month to go shirtless, so try out a black muscle shirt for the look.

Who will you be?  Let your inner Bella, Edward, or Jacob shine through with a bit of over-the-top clothing, hair, and makeup to inspire your best “fright night” ever.

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October 2nd, 2010

Healthy Halloween Treats Kids Will Love

Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean you have to forget your family’s health. There are more nutritious ways to enjoy the night. By all means let your kids hit the neighborhood and gather a bag of goodies, but temper that with a few nutritious treats of your own. If you are planning a Halloween party for the kids, put out a mix of healthy treats alongside the not-so-healthy favorites.

Here are a few ideas for healthy ghostly treats for your kids:

Trail Mix – This is a mix of snack foods that kids will love. Pick raisins, nuts, cereals, and any other dry foods your kids like to eat. Mix it all together and place it front-and-center so they can grab a handful as they run from one game to the next.


  • 1 cup combination diced dried fruit, such as prunes, apricots, pears and apples
  • 1/2 cup raisins and/or dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts (or honey-roasted peanuts, chopped walnuts or unsalted almonds)


Mix all together and then place in air-tight container for storage. Makes 4 cups.

Halloween Veggie SkeletonCelery and carrot skeleton – Cut thin strips of celery and carrots and arrange them to create a skeleton body on the plate. Form a low-fat cheese ball creation for the skull, carve out the eye sockets and fill with raisins. Stick the cheese knife right into the skull for more eerie fun.

Pumpkin seeds – When you carve up the pumpkins don’t forget to save the seeds. Roasted and salted pumpkin seeds are a good after-carving snack. Let kids lay them flat on a baking sheet and watch them roast in a 400 degree oven.  Click here for some fun and easy pumpkin seed recipes.

Muffins – Finger foods like muffins can be sweet tasting like cupcakes but more nutritious. Try pumpkin muffins, zucchini muffins, or banana muffins for great taste and less sugar. Decorate the muffins just like you would cupcakes.

Chocolate spoons – Make your own chocolate treats using dark chocolate. It is healthier than milk chocolate because it contains more cocoa solids. Melt dark chocolate onto black and orange plastic spoons. Freeze them until the chocolate sets. Wrap them in cellophane and place them on the party table. The kids can lick them as a treat or swish them around in a cup of hot chocolate for extra flavor.


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • Black and orange Halloween plastic spoons


  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt semisweet chocolate pieces in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and stir until smooth. Dip spoons into chocolate. Put spoons onto wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate hardens.
  2. Melt milk chocolate pieces in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and stir until smooth. Place chocolate into plastic bag and cut off a corner. Drizzle melted chocolate over spoons. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens.
  3. Wrap each spoon separately and store in a cool dry place.

Caramel apples – Slice the apples for easier eating. Put the slices in individual bowls and drizzle the caramel over the top. You can sprinkle the apples with chopped nuts if you wish. A little caramel goes a long way, and it keeps the calories and sugar at a minimum.

What will your kids eat this Halloween? It doesn’t just have to be candy. Give them candy in moderation, but let the bulk of the snacks you create be of a healthier variety.

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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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