Last-minute pumpkin help
If you, like me, are desperately planning a fall party for your child's classroom this week -- or just a Halloween party for the kids at home -- here are a couple of websites that might be useful.
The University of Illinois Extension website has a page called Pumpkins and More, with lots of pumpkin info and helpful links. You can learn about pumpkin history or fun facts, get some tasty pumpkin recipes or learn how to carve the perfect pumpkin.
Party-planners can check the Halloween Links, with links to fun clip-art, coloring pages, Halloween treats like Spiderweb brownies and Coffin Sandwiches.
That page also links to HGTV's Halloween website, with lots more holiday crafts, games and ideas. One I might try: Halloween ghost-bowling, using 2-litre soda bottles painted white and a small orange basketball. (I would do this activity outdoors, preferably.)
I also found a site called reasontoparty.com, with lots of "fall harvest and autumn party ideas," for schools that aren't allowed to do Halloween parties per se. Some of my favorites:
- Pumpkin Rolling Contest: Divide children into two teams. Have the first child in each line roll a pumpkin from the start line to a turnaround line 20 feet away, and then back to the next person on their team. The first team to have everyone play wins!
- Bean Bag Toss: Draw a large pumpkin and glue onto a cardboard box. Cut out mouth and have children toss beanbags into its mouth.
- Ring The Pumpkin: Line up three large pumpkins with stems, to form a ring toss. Use embroidery hoops or make hoops with rope and duct tape. Mark a throwing line on the floor and take turns trying to ring a pumpkin stem. Or you can have them try to ring an entire large pumpkin with a hula hoop.
- Musical Bales: Play musical chairs with bales of straw instead of chairs. A scarecrow in the center makes a fun decoration for this game.
Photo: Ice cream balls floating in a pool of red jello with a candy in the center gives you Floating Eyeballs for your Halloween party. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)