Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Halloween crafts

My little girl dressed as a pumpkin
There is no denying that for a crafter like me who focuses most of her efforts on creating things to adorn the house and garden the winter months are heaven. Plenty of long nights to work on new ideas and so many excuses to raid the craft drawer mean that while many dread the end of summer I always feel creatively rejuvenated.
Halloween is big in our house. I’ve always loved it and my own mum is legendary for throwing amazing Halloween parties, which have became more elaborate with every  passing year. Preparations start weeks before the 31st and I have many happy memories on decorating the living room with fake cobwebs and plastic bat’s.

Happy Halloween
I’m a great believer in the therapeutic properties of  crafts and since becoming a parent I’ve been amazed at how centering crafts are for children. Now let me state for the record ours is a normal household, my little girl probably watches far too much TV  and still has an uneasy relationship with any vegetables outside the potato family but since she could toddle we have been doing craft projects together and the times we spend sticking glitter on cards, making butterfly mobiles or creating crochet chicks for a nature table are always great fun.
Undertaking crafts with your child forces you both to be fully present in each other’s company. The TV is off, the twitter feed ignored and  for  a blissful hour or so you just sit mindlessly chit chatting about the world your five year old inhabits.
Halloween is the perfect time to start crafting with your little one. All children love the spookiness of dressing up as ghosts and witches, trick or treating and the inevitable dancing to the Monster Mash so their imaginations are already on high alert.
With a little planning you can keep them entertained all week in the lead up to hallows eve. Carving pumpkins and turnips is brilliantly messy (pulling out the slimy innards is  a task my little girl and her friends particularly relish) and with some adult supervision they can carve amazing scary faces. You can buy carving kits really inexpensively (I got mine from the pound shop last year) or simply draw  on your own designs and cut out.
We always carve quite  a few pumpkins at the same time and I then send my little girl off to get into her witch/pumpkin/devil costume, light the candles inside our carved squashes and then turn the lights off for a big reveal. It  always marks the beginning of Halloween and has become something of  a tradition.
Other regular crafts I’ve enjoyed with the family include making pompom spiders to dangle from doorways, cutting out paper chain skeletons and making witches brooms out of twigs and the inside of a roll of Clingfilm.
The Betty Family's Halloween Card
We always send  a family Halloween card and coming up with ideas for our costumes tends to dominate conversation around the dinner table for weeks on end.
Halloween is also a great excuse to do some baking with your kids. A batch of fairy cakes takes minutes to chuck together and you can spends ages decorating them in blood red, goblin green and witch black icing and if you are throwing a party cutting out sandwiches into spooky shapes with themed cookie cutters is one way to guarantee they eat something other than eyeball shaped sweeties.
Happy Halloween. Wishing you a creepy crafty time.

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