Happy Halloween!

img_7057I’m not going to lie – I will be glad when Halloween is finished. It’s an insanely busy time of year for us – we have workshop after workshop followed by a haunted house. Wishing Halloween over just brings Christmas faster and I know, that on Tuesday morning when I wake up, Christmas will have barfed inside every store window. I kind of like the idea of a small break between the two – I feel like the Americans get this with having Thanksgiving in November, but us Canadians we just dive right into the holiday spirit. I’m ready for hibernation from the holidays for just a wee bit. Guess I’m out of luck, given that I run a “seasonal” business! On that note, Happy Halloween!!!! Hope it’s a fun, safe evening for all!

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Tips for hosting a Halloween Parties!

img_6965Maybe, you’ve decided to host a last minute Halloween Party – cause either you like a challenge or you’re just plain crazy. On the topic of last minute decision making, if you’ve forgotten it’s Halloween altogether, check out our collaborative post on Rebel Mama for quick and easy costume ideas! We’ve hosted quite a few halloween events this past month, with our biggest yet to come, here are our tips:

  • Have a plan – or a schedule and keep on top of it, bored children pumped fill of sugar are a terrible combination.
  • pick a couple halloween games the kids can play (Anna Luther from myLifeandKids has soooooo many great ones)
  • have an easy (non-messy) craft, the dollar store sells great halloween foamies (which come with stickers) so no need to worry about glue. You could pre-cut orange pumpkins and have the kids decorate them. If you’re throwing a party for older kids and don’t mind a little mess – check out HGTV for a whole gallery of ideas.
  • Cookie decorating is a great activity for halloween but does come along with lots of mess – so use your discretion. For little hands, I recommend keeping the icing in bowls and giving them spatulas to spread it with. For medium size hands, you can fill squeeze bottles with icing and for the bigger hands go all out with icing bags.
  • Don’t go crazy, keep it simple (as long as you’ve got candy most kids are happy with that).

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Halloween Sweet Table (part two)

IMG_5200So, Halloween has come and gone (hard to believe) and now I’ve finally gotten a moment to sit down and complete the steps for the sweet table. Working in steps really makes the whole task much less daunting. See our previous post about freezing iced cookies. For the week leading up to the big day, I worked on the little details. Making the chalkboard signs, buying the display items, etc.

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Another great trick is to pick sweets that can be stored for several days in advance, I picked meringue ghosts and made them 3 days before the big day, I got a great recipe from joy of baking.

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All that I had left to do the day before was draw the faces on my little clementines and ice my cupcakes. The party was on actual Halloween, so on Friday morning I took all my sweets out of the freezer and let them sit out at room temperature all day. I iced my cupcakes Friday night and they were still fresh and yummy on Saturday.

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One more step that I found really helpful was to set everything up at our centre and photograph it. That meant when I got to the location, I wasn’t fiddling with last minute decisions about where things would go. The key to having a stress free job is to divide your steps and don’t leave everything till the last minute.

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Halloween Sweet Table!

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We’ve been hired to create a sweet table for a Halloween birthday party, we thought some of you may be interested in the step-by-step process of creating a sweet table. We did a post similar to this a while back but didn’t focus on the steps for baking  . The first step is pick your theme/colour combo and then plan your desserts/baked goods around both. It’s easy for us since the theme was already picked and we went with black and white as colours. Remember the key to a sweet table is levels! We will put our cookies on flat dishes in the front and then have a few cupcake towers and use boxes to elevate some of our other desserts. The other key thing to do is plan ahead and use your freezer!!!

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We have made all the sugar cookies and iced them and are now storing them in the freezer for one week. The trick to proper storage, is to use air tight containers and parchment paper between each cookie. Let them defrost at room temperature for several hours (keeping them in the container) do not defrost in the fridge, the condensation can ruin your cookies. We’ve also made our cupcakes which we will freeze till next week and then ice them the night before. Over the next week we’ll purchase a few candies and details for the table. This means that the day before the party, we’re not trying to do a million things, maybe just a thousand (haha). The day before the party, we’ll ice our cupcakes and make meringue ghost pops, stay tuned for the rest of the pics!

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Haunted Gingerbread House

   

 
In preparation for our upcoming haunted gingerbread workshop, I thought I would make my very own. I’ve made plenty of holiday gingerbread houses but never a haunted one! It was lots of fun and easy to make. Plus, there’s tons of Halloween candies out already so easy to get supplies. If you would like to join our workshop, check out our website for more details. 

 

Happy Halloween!

Everyone seems to love Halloween, from little children to big grown-ups. This past Sunday we had our annual Haunted House and it was a hit! We tried to serve as many healthy snacks as we could, which included Clementine Jack-O-Lanterns and bran muffin cupcakes. We were left with only crumbs at the end, so I’m guessing our Halloween Sweet Table was a hit! Here are some pics from the big day!

We’ve really enjoyed getting into the Halloween spirit this year, we’re particularly excited about going trick or treating for the first time!! My little one is dressing up as a monster (or a shark, we’re still undecided) and will be walking the Halloween streets for the first time! I’m slightly nervous about the temper tantrums that may ensue regarding the eating of candy, but I’m bracing myself for them.

Happy Halloween everyone, wishing you a safe and fun evening!

<img src="halloween-candy-table.jpg" alt="Halloween Candy Table" />

Halloween Sweet Table

<img src="drawing-on-pumpkins.jpg" alt="Drawing on Pumpkins" />

Drawing on Pumpkins

<img src="halloween-cupcakes.jpg" alt="Halloween Cupcakes" />

Shhhh, we’re bran muffins dressed up as cupcakes

<img src="pumpkin-patch.jpg" alt="Pumpkin Patch" />

Pumpkin Patch

<img src="haunted-pirate-cave.jpg" alt="Haunted Pirate Cave" />

Haunted Pirate Cave

<img src="clementine-jack-o-lanterns.jpg" alt="Clementine Jack O Lanterns" />

Clementine Jack-O-Lanterns

 

Halloween Treats

Our Annual Haunted House is just around the corner and we’re getting ready by making all our own treats for the event. We are trying to stay on the healthier side of things but it’s not so easy at Halloween. We made organic gingerbread dough for our Skeletons and used a very small amount of brown sugar in the recipe. I did find a recipe after the fact that had no sugar in it, so if anyone has a chance to try it please let me know!

Mini Gingerbread Skeletons

Mini Gingerbread Skeletons

Gingerbread Skeletons

Gingerbread Skeletons

For the Ghost Pops you could definitely use sugar free Lollipops. We’re also going be decorating bran muffins to look like yummy cupcakes! One of our healthier snacks will be the return of Clementine Jack-O-Lanterns.

Ghost Pops

pumpkin clementines

Jack-O-Lantern Clementines

A quick and easy DIY project to help decorate your treat table are Mason Jar Mummies. This took me all of ten minutes and most of that time was waiting for the glue gun to get hot enough. I simply wrapped the jar in gauze (which I purchased from the dollar store) and then glued on some black construction paper with the hot glue. I added some googly eyes and voila! The Mummy looks really spooky once you add a candle and dim the lights.

Mason Jar Mummy

Mason Jar Mummy

Mason Jar Mummy

Mason Jar Mummy

Happy Halloween!

ImageThis past weekend we hosted our annual haunted house. It was lots of fun! Almost all of our props were made on site, if you have any questions about how please do not hesitate to contact us. We also made our jack-o-lantern clementines and ghost pops, email us for instructions.

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Haunted House Props! DIY

Our annual haunted house is just around the corner and we’re very busy getting ready for it! This year we’ve made a lot of changes to our haunted house which means we needed to create a whole new set of props and sets. We’re going to have a fortune teller, which obviously means we need a fortune teller booth! We bought the “children market stand” from Ikea and transformed it into a glitzy fortune teller booth. This was a straight forward DIY with a lot of painting, gluing and adding sparkles.

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Next on our list was to make some more eerie ghosts for our haunted cave (new this year)! We bought paper mache masks from Michaels. We then painted them white, both the outside and inside of the mask. Once the mask were dry we draped cheese cloth over the mask and then just put a thin layer of podgy  over the cheese cloth (just on the surface of the mask).

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Our last project for this week was making  books. We want to hang the books in our haunted classroom and make them appear as though they are floating. So, yes we could have saved ourselves all the trouble of making the books and used real ones however, they would be too heavy to hang from the ceiling on fishing string. So we put in the extra hours.

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Materials

Cardboard

Black Paint

Hot Glue

Book Covers (can be taken from the internet and printed)

Mod Podge

Exacto Knife

Directions

1) Using an exacto knife cut out a piece of cardboard for your book. The trick is to find a piece that is the length of your book when it is lying open. You can bend the cardboard in the middle to make the spine of the book.

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2) Measure out 3 pieces of cardboard, two pieces are the length of the top and bottom of the book and one is the length of the height of the book. Paint them white or yellow and let them dry. Once dry, using a black pen, draw lines on the pieces (to look like the pages).

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3) Using hot glue, glue your pieces into place.

4) Paint the entire book one colour

5) Print out a  cover for your book and use Podgy to glue it onto the cover of the book.

We also chose to make some of our books open. We used two different methods for this. The first method was with styrofoam and the second we used cardboard. We just played around with this to get the look we were after however, we welcome any suggestions or ideas on how to make open books. Stay tuned for more photos and projects!

Halloween Cookie Decorating Workshop!

IMG_0879Join us on Sunday, October 20th for our popular Halloween Cookie Decorating Workshop. We’ll be making delicious sugar cookies and royal icing and learning how to use various tips to decorate our cookies.

When: October 20th

Time: 3:00 – 5:00pm

Cost: $30 per registrant, $10 for children under the age of 5

Note: Children under the age of 5 need to be accompanied by an adult.

Email us to register for the workshop: info@seasonsfamilycentre.com