Halloween Costume Watch 2014: Bank Robber

Whew! The Pea's bank robber costume came right down to the wire: I came downstairs today at 7AM and found her furiously making black masks.  I told her there was no way she would be able to make it to school on time without my help at this point, so why didn't she ask for help sooner.  She said she didn't want to stress me out.  Like cutting out felt masks when I'm supposed to be doing a million other things isn't stressful!  Sigh. Kids. I do appreciate her thoughtfulness, though.

The Pea is certainly spreading her wings.  This year, she and her bank robber posse are trick or treating by themselves, without an adult.  The idea freaked me out at first -- four thirteen year-olds, on the craziest night of the year, all by themselves!!  But I consulted my Facebook posse and almost all of them said it would be okay.  And when I think about it, they're right.  The Pea and her friends are good kids, very responsible, not flighty at all.  As long as we set the appropriate boundaries (location and time wise), and ask them to check in every now and then (thank God for mobile phones!), everything will be fine.  I know they'll be fine.  I'm just not sure about me!  But I'm going to be like Elsa and LET IT GO......

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Don't Drink and Fly (or Drive) on Halloween!

Halloween safety

Yesterday I posted about the things you need to take with you when you're trick-or-treating with your kids.  One of the most important items is a flashlight, because when it's dark and you have kids running around looking for candy, the last thing they're thinking about is road safety.  We need flashlights to make sure drivers see us.... but we also need drivers to realize that they need to take even more care than usual.  They have to remember that there will be little kids in dark robes crossing the street, darting in and out between parked cars in their excitement.  The last thing they need is a driver who shouldn't be out on the road... in other words a driver that has been drinking.

Halloween Costume Watch 2014: Minnie Mouse

Minnie Mouse Halloween costume

Minnie Mouse is such an easy and fun character that I don't know why it took me so long to dress up as her for Halloween.  She was an easy choice for this year, because I already had my hands full helping 3Po and Jammy with their costumes, and I've had this costume assembled since April!  I made the skirt and collar at the Disney Social Media Moms fun run, so I was good to go.  I just swapped my running shorts for leggings, my tech tshirt for a sleeved cotton tee, and my Minnie ears cap for a Minnie ears headband. Easy peasy!

How to make an Arabian Nights costume

1001 Arabian Nights / Aladdin costume

Every year the PTA at our elementary school hosts a fancy dress fundraiser. It's always held on the third weekend of October, so parents like to come in a costume that matches the party theme.  This year's theme was 1001 Arabian nights, so we had a lot of Arab sheiks, sultans, genies, and belly dancers.

There's a huge variety of costumes for this theme available for sale.  Most of the women's costumes are pretty skimpy, though; they're totally inappropriate for a school social event, even an adults-only one!  And many of them require more of a $$ investment than I'm willing to make for just one night. I found it cheaper and more fun to put a costume together myself by purchasing individual costume items.

Halloween Costume Watch 2014: Clash of Clans Barbarian King

Clash of Clans Barbarian King costume

Jammy had a lot of trouble figuring out what costume he wanted to wear this Halloween. His brother 3Po already had an awesome Chinese dragon head, and Jammy is extremely competitive by nature, so he wanted something with a significant "Wow" factor.  He and his friends are crazy about the Clash of Clans game, so I suggested dressing up as a member of the clan: the barbarian king.

Must-have items to take with you while Trick-or-Treating

Halloween trick-or-treating

Costumes? Check. Trick or treat bag? Check.  House keys? Check.  Phone? Check.  You may think you're all ready to go out trick or treating, but consider this: you're going out walking, in the dark, with a group of excited kids who are likely to consume large amounts of candy and get even more hyperactive.  Unless you want the evening to dissolve into tears and tantrums (or an early abandonment of your trick-or-treat plans), you'll want to bring a lot more than that.

This is our 14th year of taking a child trick-or-treating on Halloween night, and over the years, I've amassed a must-have list of items to have with me.  Here's my list of items to pack in your Halloween night purse to make trick-or-treating less stressful and more fun:

Halloween Costumewatch 2014: Chinese Dragon

I don't mind spending on Halloween costumes -- it's my favorite holiday, after all -- I try to encourage the kids to alternate between buying a costume one year, and then making or assembling it the next. I've been kind of lax in enforcing it with the boys, so this year I redoubled my efforts to get them to make their own costumes, and save a few bucks in the process.  As it turned out, I think I spent more on raw materials for this year's costumes than if I had just bought costumes from a store.... but we did have a great time making the costumes, and they ended with kickass costumes that will blow those generic store-bought costumes out of the water!

Wordless Wednesday: Nuts

nuts pistachios

Today, October 22, is National Nut Day!  No, not the crazy people kind of nuts, the yummy, nutritious snack kind of nuts.  To celebrate, I'm posting a photo of one of my favorite kinds of nuts -- pistachios -- as well as a link to my recipe for Nutty Howloween Cookies_.  Enjoy!

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Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

I've just realized that this blog is over 8 years old and has absolutely no mention of the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival.  This is a serious omission, because the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival is our favorite festival in the entire region (I did write about why I love the HMB Pumpkin Festival over on Silicon Valley Mamas a couple of years ago).  We've attended the festival every year for almost a decade, and despite the crowds and traffic, we can't wait for the next festival to arrive.

Halloween Boo Bag Printables

We've halfway to Halloween night, but around here the spooky fun begins long before October 31. There are just way too many Halloween crafts and activities and parties to enjoy -- and we put in way too much effort on our Halloween costumes to show them off on just one night -- so we like to celebrate Halloween all month long!

How to make a Chinese Dragon Mask for your American Girl Doll

This year, 3Po decided he wants to be a Chinese Dragon for Halloween.  I put my creative hat on and helped him search for tutorials for make-your-own Chinese Dragon costumes. I found a great YouTube tutorial for a parade dragon and came up with a pattern based on their dragon head. I decided to make a small-scale prototype to see whether it would be feasible for us to make it without all the industrial equipment on the video.  By this time, I had spent so much time on the project, I decided to turn the prototype into an American Girl doll craft!  After all, dolls need Halloween costumes too, right?