How to Halloween Like a Girl by Missy

Recently I’ve seen several articles and memes about the inappropriate nature of little girls’ Halloween costumes.  The focus is on the fact that young girls’ costumes are often the “sexy” version of boys’ costumes.  While on the one hand it genuinely bothers me that some big faceless corporation would make such a thing, on the other hand I have to ask, how do you “Halloween like a girl” without being inappropriate? 

I am thankful that my little ladies, currently aged 9 and 6, have not asked to dress up as something sexy.  Over the years, they’ve dressed up as princesses and cheerleaders, but they’ve also dressed as fearless superheroes (Batgirl and Wonder Woman), bad-ass rebellion leaders (Princess Leia and Rey), and the cleverest witches of their age (Hermione and Ginny).  In fact, our whole family got in on the act of the superhero-themed year.  I dressed up as Wonder Woman, as well, and my husband was our “Daniel in Distress” (yeah, his name is actually Dan).  He bought an old suit at Goodwill, tore it up, drove over it with the car, and added fake blood.  The three of us girls were saving him. 

My husband and I want our kids to dress like kids.  We want to keep them young as long as possible.  We don’t want to hurry them to their teenage years.  And we definitely don’t want to rush them through such a fun and innocent time in their lives.  We’ve been fortunate that Halloween-ing like a girl at our house has focused on being awesome, not sexy.  So again, I ask, how do you Halloween like a girl and keep it appropriate? 

As parents, we need to dress our kids like kids, not mini adults.  Particularly girls!  They don’t need low-cut tops or bare midriffs or short skirts.  Your little one will be an amazing police officer or astronaut or witch, particularly if she is fully-clothed.  Plus, considering that Halloween is at the end of October, when it’s typically cold and often rainy, being fully-clothed is probably better. 

We also need to encourage our kids’ imaginations.  Why settle on a cheaply-made, potentially inappropriate store-bought costume, when your daughter could be a tennis player from Saturn or a unicorn herder or one of the seven dwarfs!  Make it happen!  And just because a costume’s package has a boy on the cover, don’t let your daughter think the clothes inside are just for boys.  Remind her that in real life a firefighter’s uniform is the same, whether it is being worn by a man or a woman.

Thankfully, I didn’t see any little girls this Halloween or last year wearing child-sized “sexy cop” or “sexy soldier” costumes.  While I would love to say maybe it’s all been made up by those anonymous meme creators, I know that’s not quite right.  The issue does stem from a place of truth, and as parents, we need to fight against it.  We need to teach our daughters (and sons) that “Halloween-ing like a girl” involves dressing up as someone we admire or something we aspire to be, something funny or clever.  Sexiness has nothing to do with it.

Old-Fashioned Christmas Garland by Carly

This year we are having a lot of fun decorating our new home for the holidays. New spaces to hang our beloved treasures and tons of opportunity to create new things! Our family wanted to try our hand at old-fashioned popcorn & cranberry garland with dried orange slices. Here are some tips we read beforehand & some we learned along the way:

SUPPLIES NEEDED

• 2-3 bags of plain white microwave popcorn (no butter, extra flavor or salt). You could also pan fry kernels or use a popcorn machine but use very little oil. Air pop popcorn would work well too.

• 2LB. of fresh cranberries

• 4LB. bag of oranges

• Needle & thread (thicker thread works well). We used a size 2 crewel needle.

DIRECTIONS

1. Pop your corn, the more stale the better so you could even pop it a day before you intend to string it.

2. Pre-heat your oven to 200°. Slice your oranges into 1/4″ – 1/2″ slices. Lay them on top of paper towels, then cover with towels and lightly press out the excess juice. Lay them directly on to your racks and bake for 3-4hrs. Turn them over every hour or so.

3. When the oranges are to your desired dryness remove them from the oven and place on them cooling racks. You could also use blood oranges, grapefruits or any citrus fruit for a variety of shapes and colors.

4. You are ready to start assembling! Thread your needle through any length of your sewing thread up to about 5ft. Anything longer gets hard to keep untaggled as you string. Tie a few good size knots at the end. You want to start each strand with a cranberry to avoid slipping.

5. Grab only the hardest cranberries to thread as the riper ones will bleed all over your pretty white popcorn.

6. Thread your starter cranberry and then have at it! Go for a balanced pattern (cranberries x3, popcorn x3, orange slice, repeat) or random fun (berry, popcorn x4, orange slices x2, berry). The possibilities are endless and the results are always beautiful so it doesn’t really matter.

NOTE: If littles are helping, a reminder that needles are sharp and can poke is a good idea!

7. Finish your pattern and tie a few good knots to end it.

8. Optional: you can spray your garland with spray acrylic to preserve. You can find matte or if you prefer a glossy finish.

9. Hang wherever you see fit with pride!

How to Have Halloweek In Your Home by Carly

Birthdays and holidays in our home are a big deal. And I feel like the word big is probably underselling it a little. My kids were born with a mother who strongly believes that celebrating anything should be done in grand, unforgettable ways. Their mother is also slightly obsessed with Halloween. Has been forever. I love the colors and crisp mornings. I love visiting farms and sipping cider. I can’t ever have enough pumpkins, gourds (of all kinds) or cornstalks. Luckily, I married someone who fully embraces this obsession and brings down the 783 bins from the attic full of decorations each fall (thank you love!).

I can’t even tell you where the idea from Halloweek came from. My own mom used to say the Happy Pumpkin (similar to Santa) visited and left little presents randomly on days leading up to Halloween. I remember my parents making it special for us kids more than one day each year. Most likely the idea of Halloweek was an excuse to officially extend my favorite holiday from one night into seven. We started it a year or two after Liam was born and it’s been a hit every year. Halloweek is all about being intentional with our family time. It’s about having fun together. Below are steps for you to try Halloweek with your family:

  1. Come up with a plan. I sit down with a notepad a few weeks before and draw out the week of Halloween. I think of things we already have going on in our schedule (i.e. swim lessons, preschool carnivals, etc.) and write those in first. I also make a note of really long days and make sure for that evening we do something simple. The days that are left blank, I either reach out to friends to see if they would like to meet up somewhere fun for a playdate (like NW Trek) or I hit up Pinterest for something fun to do at home.
    Here are some of the search words I like to use: halloween craft ideas for kids, halloween science experiments for kids, halloween cooking for kids). I make sure every year that there is a least one night devoted to: Science, Cooking and Art. When I find something I like, I write it down for that day. Get others involved to help with the planning. One night might be devoted to spooky games but my husband may plan the games we actually do.

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  2. Shop. Use your planned week to create a list of needs.Try to find items you have at home first. Do I always have 19 cans of corn starch in the cupboard? Yep. Great, science night is taken care of and I’m decluttering one (of many) full cabinets. Win, win. For the items you don’t have, get them and have them ready for that night.
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  3. Display your Halloweek adventures. I love to make a countdown and hang it where each day a kid can pull off that day and we can read together what the activity is for that night. I will buy gift tags, write the day number on one side and the activity on the other. Then I hang them somewhere visible to everyone. You could do this on a chalkboard or bulletin board. Anywhere really. This gets everyone in the family excited about Halloweek but also serves a reminder of what each day’s plan is. Because extra reminders are always appreciated.Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 6.50.11 AM.png
  4. Enjoy & have fun! This is the MOST IMPORTANT PIECE to Halloweek – keep it all simple!! I can’t stress that enough. It does not have to be insanely elaborate to make it fun. For example, I like to have one night of making fun Halloween inspired food. Because one, it gets the kids involved in the kitchen and two, they are more inclined to try new foods because its in the shape of a pumpkin. Another win, win. On a night of festive culinary fun, maybe we make a pizza that has olive spiders on it and call it good. Don’t feel you have to go overboard to make it a night of fun.
    The idea of stretching out your favorite celebration is not limited to just Halloween either. With our very busy days, really the goal was to make sure we enjoyed more time together doing something that we loved, with the people that we love. Happy planning your family’s fun!Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 7.50.49 AM