Halloween Countdown Day 20: Spot Ghosts at Sunset

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As long as it won’t spook your child too much, here’s a fun way to build the suspense as we approach All Hallow’s Eve: Head outside as the sun is setting and look for ghosts and goblins in the clouds!

The clouds make beautiful shapes against a sunset, so chances are you’ll spot something spooky as soon as you have your imagination caps on.

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Travis was determined to find a witch, too, and very importantly told me it was witches we would see in the sky, not ghosts.

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Tonight we had a thumbnail moon. After he failed to spot a witch, Travis decided we’ll need to try again on the full moon, which just happens to be on Halloween! And aren’t those treetops starting to look like… witch’s brooms?

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This was a fun spooky spin on looking for shapes in the clouds.

Spider Sticky Wall

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We had our roll of contact paper out this morning, so I thought it would be fun to make a sticky wall for Veronika. And what better theme for an October sticky wall than spiders of course!

For this activity, tape a large piece of contact paper to the wall, sticky side out.

I cut circles from brightly colored construction paper for the spider bodies and then trimmed pipe cleaners into smaller pieces for legs. I wanted each spider to have multi-colored legs so they were silly, not scary.

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Veronika loved playing with the pipe cleaners while I prepped all our materials! Then we starting hanging up bodies. She immediately latched on to what we were doing, and loved giving each spider its legs.

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Although I briefly mentioned that real spiders have eight legs, we weren’t really concerned about scientific accuracy today. As a two-year-old, she simply began adding legs wherever she wanted. Also, our pipe cleaners kept falling down (they don’t stick well to the contact paper unless you press really hard on them), which made for lots of spiders who were constantly losing limbs.

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But that was half the fun! Veronika thought it was so funny when the legs fell, and she narrated her play to herself as she worked. “Let’s give this guy yellow legs. Pink fell down! He needs a green leg!” and on and on for about 20 minutes.

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Between their bright fuzzy legs and their happy smiles, it’s safe to say we had the cutest spiders in town.

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Pumpkin Craft for Toddlers

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This pretty suncatcher craft was a nice alternative to playing with real pumpkins!

To start, I taped a large piece of contact paper on to our craft table, sticky side up, and then set out a tray filled with squares of cut tissue paper. We had squares in red, orange, and yellow.

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Veronika immediately loved pressing the tissue paper onto the sticky surface and seeing that they got left behind when she lifted her hand away.

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I helped a little so that we could completely fill in a roughly circular area.

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Cover with a second sheet of contact paper, sticky side down, then trim into a pumpkin shape.

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For a stem, I simply taped on a rectangle of green construction paper. Hang in a window or doorway and watch the sun play tricks through the colors.

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You’ll get a neat double dose of orange, first from anywhere your toddler has actually attached orange tissue paper, and second from any place that yellow and red overlap!

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Frosted Cauliflower

Frosted Cauliflower

The kids enjoyed a recent recipe for whole-roasted cauliflower so much that we tried a second version today!


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheddar
  1. Trim the stem and leaves from the cauliflower and place in an 8×8-inch baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mustard, and agave nectar. Spread over the cauliflower head… just like you’re frosting a cake!
  3. Sprinkle with the cheddar, then cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes, until tender.

Waffle Rover

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What’s better than a little Mars Rover your kids can steer around the house? One they can eat, of course!

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This cute recipe comes together in mere moments. Toast two waffles and then trim the edges so you have 2 squares instead of 2 circles. Reserve one of the cut pieces and trim into a small rectangle (this will later be the rover’s head).

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Spread one waffle square with any sweet sticky spread. We tried one version with chocolate-hazelnut butter and a second with sunflower seed butter. Place the second waffle square on top. Spread additional sticky spread along two sides of the square and attach banana slices as wheels.

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To build the head of the rover, thread 2 blueberries onto a toothpick, followed by the small waffle rectangle and a final blueberry.

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We found that our rover head stood up better if we used two toothpicks instead of one.

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Chances are your rovers won’t have long to explore before they’re gobbled up!

Pocket Matching

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I had a few old scraps of fabric floating around our craft bin that were begging to be put to good use. So I put together this quick project for Veronika!

To start, cut a pocket shape from at least 3 different fabric swatches. (Note: you could also use gift wrap if you don’t have fabric).

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Arrange them on a piece of poster board and cover with contact paper. Carefully use a craft knife to make a slit at the top of each fabric swatch so that you now have pockets.

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To make “handkerchiefs” for each pocket, I cut two rectangles from each fabric pattern. Place these on squares of poster board as well and cover with contact paper. You’ll notice I needed a little extra tape to secure the fabric on the edges since my contact paper peeled off, which sort of spoiled the effect. Luckily, Veronika didn’t mind!

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Now, I set down the poster board and laid the rectangles next to her. Because it stood out the most, I first asked her to find the polka dot fabric. Could she put it in the polka dot pocket? Yes!

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As soon as she had the idea, she matched up white flowers to white flowers and blue flowers to blue flowers.

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She absolutely adored these little “handkerchiefs” and opened up the pockets to find them and repeat several times.

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When I wasn’t directly guiding her, she mix and matched patterns of course. But she seemed aware of this, too. “They don’t match!” she chirped up at one point, putting the polka dot rectangle into one of the floral-print pockets.

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This activity is great both to engage directly with your toddler and to leave him or her to it solo as a busy activity.

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Pumpkins with Mustaches

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It was time to get silly with some of the pumpkins we brought home from the farm stand!

You can start with pale or white pumpkins for this project, saving yourself the step of painting. But since painting is half the fun, we used orange pumpkins and first pulled out the white paint.

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Veronika loved slathering it all over two pumpkins. I recommend at least two coats of paint if you don’t want any orange peeking through, and would have done a third coat had there been time.

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Once the paint dried, we glued on mustache templates that I found online. Travis got to pick which shapes we’d use! You could also draw them with marker, but the 3-D effect is so fun.

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Silly and unexpected pumpkins like these are sure to delight those who see them on your doorstep.

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Halloween Countdown Day 19: No Mess Pumpkin Art

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Here’s a quick seasonal spin for a toddler to paint in a zip-top bag. This time, instead of plain paper inside the bag, I inserted a template of a pumpkin.

You can squirt in orange paint, but where’s the fun in that? Add a little blob of red and a little blob of yellow and it will become a lesson on color mixing, too! Now simply seal tightly and hand across.

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Veronika was so surprised when she touched the red paint and realized her hand wasn’t messy.

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Same thing with the yellow!

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Now she was doubly intrigued. She either used the flat of her palm for squishing the paint, or sometimes scratched at it, too.

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As soon as our red and yellow started to mix, I pointed out that she was making orange. In retrospect, I should have added more yellow, as the red was definitely dominant. But we achieved a neat tri-color effect on the pumpkin.

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Note: Your piece of paper will be so saturated with paint that likely it will tear if you try and remove it from the bag. So this project isn’t a keeper, but it is fun in the moment!

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Melted Crayon Pumpkins

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After melting crayons to make planets, Travis wanted more melt-y fun this morning. So we thought we could decorate pumpkins this way!

Our pack of crayons had multiple hues in the red, orange, and yellow family, so I took all those from the box and soaked them briefly in water. This will help the wrappers slip right off. Snap each crayon in half.

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At first we tried arranging them around the stem of our medium-sized pumpkins, but realized they were going to slide off, as they was not enough surface area to rest on.

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So then we thought to do the project on our biggest pumpkin, even though the original intent was to save this one for carving. Now, although the crayons could balance, they flew off as soon as we turned the hair dryer on!

Thinking quickly, we backtracked to our medium pumpkins (phew, the big guy can safely await carving day), but this time I used a dab of hot glue to secure each crayon near the stem.

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Success! Now we could turn the hair dryer to high heat without the crayons flying off. It’ll take a few moments of patience, but sure enough, they’ll begin to ooze and melt.

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This was fantastic fun, all the more so because the goriness of melting crayons just feels downright Halloween-y. It takes longer than I would have thought, but Travis insisted on watching every dripping, melting moment.

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He loved when rivulets of wax would drip down but cool almost instantly (in much the same way that icicles form), leaving neat strings of wax behind.

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These were fun to snap off, too!

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Keep going until all your crayons are completely melted.

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One note of caution: the melted wax will fly further than you think, due to the force of air coming out of the hair dryer. So be sure to cover your surface area completely with wax paper or newspaper.

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The end result is a beautiful way to decorate your pumpkins with no carving knife!

Halloween Countdown Day 18: Have a Devilish Breakfast

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Today’s activity in our countdown to Halloween was simple as could be. Serve up a devilish breakfast and you’ll have notched off another day on the calendar before the kids even get dressed!

What counts as a devilish breakfast? Anything pumpkin-flavored would fit the bill. To wit, we dined on homemade Pumpkin Waffles.

The kids even wanted to eat in costume! Just make sure your brood is careful of sticky syrup if you do the same. To make breakfast even spookier, kids can create faces on the waffles with pieces of fruit.

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What other spooky breakfasts can you think of? Please share in the comments!