There’s something I just love about Halloween.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the day evokes the same kinds of emotions as Christmas. Halloween always captured my imagination when I was growing up; raiding my mother’s make-up box leftovers, crunching scratchy cheap costumes between my fingers, and the excitement of returning home and opening up a bag of mystery sweets to see what was within.
It was never disappointing; it couldn’t be. You dressed up, carved a pumpkin, and ate sweets. Simple. There was a wonderful camaraderie between the neighbours, as you traipsed from house to house to shout TRICK OR TREEEEAT as loud as possible.
Apart from the time when were told to **** off or else. But I’ll gloss over that bit.
One year, we were invited into one of our neighbour’s house to join in with their celebrations. At the time I was shy and unsure; we didn’t know them well. But they were kind and encouraging, and had spent a great amount of effort in decorating their house with fake cobwebs and black paper bats. At their insistence, I tried apple bobbing for the first (and last) time; I wasn’t particularly good. But they didn’t care, it was all part of the fun.
I think this is at the heart of why I love Halloween so much. The kindness of relative strangers to an overexcited young girl with a wonky witch hat. The memory has always stuck with me, and for all the right reasons.
We don’t get many trick-or-treaters where we live, but I still like to celebrate. We go to the pumpkin patch to choose a pumpkin, decorate the house with our hand-crafted decorations, and pick some sweets up from the supermarket just in case this year is the year the trick-or-treaters arrive.
The boys are far too young for trick-or-treating or watching scary movies, so we’re celebrating with Halloween crafts, ghost-shaped biscuits and Halloween-themed games:
I’ve always loved paper chains, even if they are a bit retro nowadays. This design is chunky and perfect for small hands; Small Human enjoyed waving them around as he traipsed the completed chain through the house. He also thought they were snake, at first. It was almost too cute to correct.
How to: Print, and cut along the grey lines so you have four strips of Halloween-themed paper (you may want to print several copies). Fold the first piece into a circle, with the pattern facing outwards. Stick together. Loops the second piece of paper through the first, again with the pattern facing outwards. Stick and repeat.
Small Human loves drawing and colouring, so I couldn’t not make him some Halloween-themed colouring-in sheets. His favourite thing to do is to request that I draw various people and objects before scribbling furiously over them with glee. So at least with this, he can vent his frustrations on something other than a badly-drawn stick figure of yours truly.
How to: Print, colour and enjoy. Simple!
Small Human got the hang of playing pairs a few months ago, and he’s pretty damn good at it. He doesn’t always take turns, but he loves matching the cards together — and that fuzzy feeling when your child does something new is so addictive I knew I had to make a Halloween version.
How to: Print (ideally with card) and cut around the boxes to make twelve different pairs. To play, mix and turn over. Take it in turns to try and match each pair. If you reveal a pair, keep hold of it and take another turn. The winner is the person with the most matched pairs at the end of the game.
Paper Spider Webs
As a big fan of paper snowflakes, I decided to apply the logic to spider webs at Halloween. Although actually, Small Human is such a big fan of spider webs this probably won’t just be an activity restricted to October. We’ll also be making these in bright colours to add some rainbow to our Halloween celebrations.
How to: Fold upwards horizontally, and then vertically around the snowflake design. Cut around the grey pattern. Unfold to reveal a (rather delicate) spider web.
Using these Halloween print-outs? I’d love to see your creations! Tag me on Instagram @athriftyfox