I hate to break it to you, but Halloween is tomorrow so if you haven’t done anything for the holiday yet…well…it’s too late.
In all fairness, it’s not too late for EVERYTHING but it’s probably too late to totally deck the front yard in graveyard glory or to carve an archway of craft pumpkins for trick or treaters to pass through or to host a glittery witches’ fest for your fourth grader’s entire class. You know, all the stuff Pinterest tells us that we moms should be doing for Halloween. For the record, I also did not do any of those things and my kids didn’t even notice.
The good news is that even if October ran you over at 80 mph and smacked you in the face with tomorrow’s festivities, there are a still a couple of things you can do to celebrate the season without resorting to joining the crowds at every Halloween-themed attraction in your city. Here’s a roundup of fun, easy, educational, and (most importantly) fairly low effort ways to have Halloween fun by tomorrow:
(1) Decorate wax paper pumpkins
I would bet good money that you already have wax paper, black construction paper, and extra orange crayons in your house somewhere. This craft is easy and a good one for all ages since even preschoolers can use crayon sharpeners. (If you don’t have a sharpener, older kids can shave naked crayons with safety scissors.) This is a good stand in if you never made it to carving pumpkins OR if your kid wants to have 20-30 of something to hand out to his/her class tomorrow. See the full instructions here.
(2) Wrap like an Egyptian
This is what we’ll be doing tonight! The myths of Halloween make it a good time to learn about the burial rituals of Ancient Egypt. Pull out the kid-friendly history books and talk about how Egyptians wrapped their dead in cloth and buried them with many of their favorite things. If you don’t have any books on hand, the video above is a little slow but it’s appropriate for grade school students. (Depending on the age of the kids, you can also include how the organs went through jars and how they pulled the brains through the nose by putting a special hook up there and scrambling them.) Then, have the kids gather a few things they’d like to be buried with (limit it to five to see what they come up with) and sacrifice a roll of toilet paper or two so they can have fun getting wrapped up.
(3) Make a clementine pumpkin patch
Draw pumpkin faces on a whole bag of clementines with a black marker. Done. This is another stand-in for pumpkin carving and another way for your kids to have something fun to hand out to their friends tomorrow. Fair warning – this works best if you use Sharpie markers because the washable ones make something of a mess so this isn’t the best craft for preschoolers unless you really trust their skills with a permanent marker. (Read: the Morgan family will NOT be doing this tonight.)
(4) Decorate Halloween cookies with Skittles paint
This food craft involves using a cookie mix and store-bought icing so you could really stop there and just go with “buy mix and make cookies” BUT if you want to turn it into a whole craft that is a little like a science experiment and a little like an art project, this one is interesting. Fair warning, you need at least an hour to get the paint ready so this isn’t exactly something you can throw together last minute but if you have the time tonight (particularly if you have the time today to prep it) it’s a really big hit with the kids. See the instructions here. (Also, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies if you don’t feel like painting but you want to stay on theme.)
(5) See how spooky space can be
If all else fails, you have no time, and your enthusiasm for yet another sugar-laden snack has run thin, try this one. Turn the lights off, throw some pillows/blankets on the floor, and create your own star show indoors by wrapping foil over flashlights and poking holes with the tip of a pencil. (Extra credit if you make authentic constellations.) Then turn on NASA’s spooky space sounds playlist and talk about what you’re hearing. They’re creepy but not too scary for littles.
Happy Halloween and good luck with the rest of your October! Stay safe out there!!