Last Minute Halloween Ideas

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

I don’t know about you, but things for me this past week have not gone exactly according to plan.  Instead of spending the last few days working on Halloween details, I’ve found myself in bed unable to do much of anything except hope to feel better.

Not only has this meant that life hasn’t been a whole lot of fun, it means that our Halloween this year is going to look a little different than in years’ past.  And, you know what?  That is perfectly okay.

My Mom came by for a few hours one day to help with the kids and my husband, Christopher, has been a good sport and dove right in to help me finish up things like the treat bags and the kids’ costumes. Thanks to the two of them, things are in pretty good shape around here (and we’ll call all the spider webs, dust, and my messy house Halloween decorations, okay?)

Still, I don’t want to let one of our favorite holidays go by without at least a little celebration, so I spent some time last night rounding up a few very simple ideas that won’t require much effort or resources, yet will still add some magic to the day.

In case anyone else is finding themselves in the same boat this Halloween, here is my list of simple, last minute ideas:

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Discovering Local Music Talent and A Giveaway from The Plaza Family Band!

The following is by contributor Jennifer Brown.

Sometimes the best things in life can be found right outside of our own front doors:  tonight’s special at the locally owned restaurant, the neighborhood’s annual Fall Festival, locally grown and prepared apple butter.

This month I want to share some music with you by a band I found right outside of my (virtual) front door in my hometown of Charlotte, NC.

This giveaway has ended.  Thank you!

The Plaza Family Band is comprised of some talented musicians whose love for children and quality children’s music shows in their release of not one but two albums as a fundraiser project for a local area preschool program.

If you’re a parent of a preschooler there are just some kid songs you can’t escape like:  “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Five Little Monkeys” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”  And so often those tend to be the ones we want to escape.  So, when I first heard “Playground Hootenanny” (album #1) I was so excited with the quality and parent friendliness of the music that I immediately went back for more with “Wee Jamboree” (album #2).  Our whole family could jam with a smile and I immediately knew this band shouldn’t be local anymore.

Insert drum roll…

So, this month I am thrilled to introduce to you The Plaza Family Band with an interview with Mike Strauss, one of the band’s founders.  I wanted to take this unique opportunity to give you all a little look into the world of a local grassroots music production and perhaps inspire you to support their efforts and the efforts of others like them in your communities.

You can also find them on Amazon and their official website.  Don’t forget to check out the details of our giveaway at the end of the interview.

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A Simple Halloween Tradition: The Sugar Plum Fairy

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! I love costumes and pumpkin carving and decorating everything in orange and black with lots and lots of happy stripes.

At our house the focus is on the silly and not the frightening.  Over the years, my kids have come to really love and look forward to this holiday, too.

While Halloween is one of the few times a year that we do allow candy at our house, we don’t want our kids to go overboard with excessive consumption of it either.  One great solution that limits the amount of candy, but holds the magic of the holiday,  is a visit from the Sugar Plum Fairy.

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Getting Down and Dirty: Connecting With the Season

The following was written by contributor Robin Zipporah.

These are narcissus bulbs, just waiting for a dry day to be buried in our flower bed.

They were a gift from another family, dug out of their garden in early summer, when the dad was thinning his flower beds and the world was vibrant with blossoms and thrumming with bees and humming birds and sparkling with radiant sun.

As I type this, it’s been raining for days here in Maryland. Right now, the air is damp and dusk is racing us home each night. Our friends’ summer garden, where we thanked them for excess bulbs and snacked on blueberries straight from the bushes, feels terribly distant.

When my second child was two last year, she was made absolutely distraught by autumn’s arrival and Mother Nature’s decision to close up shop like just another community pool or boardwalk ice cream stand. She didn’t like the disappearance of the fireflies, then of the long evenings, then of sun warm enough to play without a jacket, and with the onset of winter, that final disappearing act: all the world’s color left us.

She was too young to remember that spring always follows winter and color and blossoms and grass and sunshine and sprinklers and ice pops all would emerge again, like a bejeweled butterfly after a long cocoon’s sleep. She didn’t understand, and all of our reassurances could be based only on faith, not evidence.

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Reader Question: Gentle Ways to End Toddler Pacifier Use

The following was written by editor Kara Fleck.

Recently I received a question from a reader looking for some help.

Maria asks, “My 3yo uses a pacifier at nap and nighttime, and occasionally when she’s feeling extra-vulnerable. It never comes downstairs from the bedroom, though.  For dental reasons, she needs to stop. I want to respect her ability to come to this in her own time and way, but I fear she will not do so on her own.

I am looking for readers to share personal experiences of how they helped older toddlers stop pacifier use.  Thanks.”

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