When I was going through past posts for my Letter B Theme post last week I saw my frozen banana treats tutorial and got an idea to make them into ghosts for a healthy-ish Halloween treat. They were super easy to make. Please note that the jelly beans especially when frozen can be a choking hazard , please take off and let thaw before serving it to a child.
- Gather your materials ( or rather ingredients). You will need bananas ( 3 medium cut in half), 3/4 lb of white chocolate chips, table spoon of butter, 6 popsicle sticks, microwavable bowl, baking dish and 12 black jelly beans. Also you will need wax paper for the dish, I was out and my baby was sleeping so I used non stick spray and it worked but wax paper would be better.
- Start by cutting the bananas in 2 .
- Push a popsicle stick into the bananas.
- Pour your chips into a microwavable bowl, add the butter and melt. What worked for me was to do 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir, 20 seconds and stir. Watch it carefully it burns easily.
- Dip and cover the bananas with the white chocolate.
- Place in the pan ( on wax paper or non stick spray), and add the jelly beans for eyes.
- Freeze .2 hours was perfect for us, bananas weren’t rock hard.
- Serve. Don’t forget about the jelly beans, pop them off and let thaw before eating.
Sometimes when I make a craft I get inspired but I am not sure where from. I made this ghost craft and couldn’t remember where the inspiration came from until I was reading I Can Teach My Child and remembered this project. You can see the similarities! So yes my inspiration comes from all over . This is a parent and tot craft , there are many steps that are tricky for little ones. But my son loves the final product, he runs into the foyer looks at the ghosts and screams ” I am frightened, ahhh!” then burst out in giggles daily. So I would say it’s a hit. I will be packing these up and taking them out every year with my Easy Halloween Wreath .
- Gather your materials. You will need clear contact paper, black construction paper, white tissue paper or party streamers ( or any white paper) , Scissors ( kid and adult), and black sticky back foam.
- Start by drawing a ghost and cutting out many frames. I used the insides for fun fast activities and let my son color them with chalk .
- Have your child cut the tissue paper – if you use a streamer I find it’s easier for beginning cutters to handle and cut independently. Tissue paper is flimsy. My son still only cut a few – another tip, make sure kid scissors are clean ours had something sticky on them and weren’t cutting well, by the time I cleaned them he was over it. Learn from my oops.
- Place the frames on the contact paper so the sticky side is up.
- Add the paper into the frames.
- While they do that make eyes out of sticky back foam.
- Cover with another piece of contact paper, press firmly.
- Cut the ghosts out.
- Add the eyes
- Pop on a mirror, window, door… wherever you need a few adorable ghosts!
Dem Bones by Bob Barner is sort of two books in one. The superficial layer uses the words of the ever popular old time spiritual with fun Halloween inspired skeleton illustrations. There is also a second layer that has longer text for older children that goes into the anatomy of the bones the song sings about. Great way to keep a Halloween theme strong while teaching about the human body!
Monster Math by Anne Miranda is a math lesson turned into a fun and entertaining storybook. You can simply read the book or you can have your little mathematician help you guess how many new monsters arrive and leave on each page. The illustrations are adorable and even if the math skills are above your toddler or preschoolers heads they will still enjoy the book.
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman is a staple in most preschool classrooms. It’s a cute story about a witch who is desperate for pumpkin pie but her giant pumpkin is too big for her to pick up! Luckily she enlists the help of a ghost, vampire, mummy and bat and with a little teamwork they save the night! The rhyming text is almost like a song and kids love it! It’s possibly my son’s favorite Halloween book and I love that it’s the smallest creature who uses it’s brain not brawn to solve the problem.
I love the simplicity of this Halloween Craft. Many parents comment that they could never do a craft with treats without their child loosing focus and eating up the whole bowl. I have done many of these kids activities over the years with my son and other children and never had that problem. The tick is that you have to allow some to be eaten but make deals. With my son he had to put 10, then 15, then 20 marshmallows on the ghost before he was allowed to eat just one single marshmallow. When the ghost was completed he had another. 4 in total, not bad. If you simply can not use treats try cotton balls or packing peanuts instead. Another bonus is that your child is using fine motor skills the whole time, something essential to literacy!
- Gather your materials. You will need some glue, mini marshmallows, and black construction paper.
- Start by making an outline of a ghost in glue on your paper. I tried, no begged my son to do this step but he didn’t want to. He wants things to be perfect and well – we are working on doing things himself and not needing things to be so particular. I’ll keep you posted!
- Next start adding the mini marshmallows. I love the system we use with a treat after counting, because he loves to count and has fun doing it. Even if you are using a non edible item give your child numbers to use as mini goals when adding on items like this. You can even make predictions about how many it will take to complete the ghost.
- Add glue for the eyes. I was pleased when he wanted to do this, and even more so when he added 3 eyes !
- Add the marshmallows , three if you want!
- Let dry. The marshmallows will dry but not mold.
The Perfectly Horrible Halloween by Nancy Poydar is a book I think most adults can relate to and kids should read and learn from. In the book a little boy is excited about the costume contest in class, he is sure he will win, but there is one problem, he forgot his costume on the bus! I like how resourceful he is making a new costume with what he has and how the author realistically captures both the excitement of the day and horror when he realizes he forgot the costume on the bus. I know I forgot my bad, my lunch and a laundry list of other things on the bus when I was a kid and this book launched my son and I into a talk about loosing things and coping. Another good book from an author I have recently discovered and am greatly enjoying.
10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman is one of my favorite Halloween books and has been read many many time already this month . The premise is simple, a group of trick or treaters are pegged off one by one as they are scared by some Halloween creature. Readers count down from 10 – 0 and enjoy the bright detailed illustrations as they do. I particularly like the cute costumes and the final page which has another countdown with candy – always fun to count candy right?
Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson is a sweet and really well done book. The story follows a little mouse who is easily afraid of the many things on Halloween night , but one by one discovers that things like falling leaves, jack-o-lanterns and trick or treaters aren’t so scary after all. I love the repetition in this book and the illustrations by Bucket Erdogan epitomize the fall spookiness that Halloween nights are filled with. Thumbs up from my son and I .
Puffy Paint Ghost
This is not a neat craft, have wet paper towels ready- put on an old shirt and have fun. We have made this puffy paint a few times and I absolutely adore how it dries. It really dries puffy- although it takes a while to dry fully so put it somewhere high until it’s done. I love doing art with this because it combines crafting with a great sensory experience. The glue and shaving cream make a really great squishy texture, just be warned, it flings really really easily, I found some all the way across the room this afternoon!
- Gather your materials. You will need some shaving cream , white glue, some black paper, googly eyes, and a paper grocery bag or other large thick paper.
- Start by drawing an outline of ghost on the paper bag. Set aside.
- Mix together 3/4 cup of shaving cream with 1/4 cup of white glue.
- Add your gloopy mix to the paper ghost!
- Explore some more.
- While your child is exploring cut out a mouth, we did a zig zag per my son’s request, make any kind of mouth you want!
- Add the mouth right on top
- Add the googly eyes.
- Let dry , depending on how thick your puffy paint is it may take hours.
- Cut out when dry!
For more check out my FamilyEducation.com blog. All week long we are doing ghost crafts!
A Halloween Happeningby Adrienne Adams is a curious book about a group of witches that are putting together a special party for the children on Halloween. The text is long but my son sat through the whole thing asking questions about the witches and the giant tower of pumpkins they built for the party. The book makes efforts to explain that witches aren’t bad, just different. I said that this book is curious because much of it had me scratching my head , the main event of the party are bat glider rides the witches take each child on. I wanted to think this was okay but all I could think was ” Don’t get in cars ( or gliders) with strangers!”.
Wobble, the witch cat by Mary Calhoun is a vintage story that is charming and much loved by my son. Wobble is a cat who belongs to Maggie a kind old witch , but Wobble hates riding on Maggie’s slippery broom. The other cats tease him and with Halloween coming up he decides to get rid of Maggie’s broom. When Maggie can’t find her magic broom, all she finds is a vacuum cleaner, but will it fly? My son loves vacuum cleaners and thought it was hilarious that a witch would try to fly on one. I liked the idea that witches sweep the sky so that the children can be safe under the stars on Halloween night.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro was a huge hit! It’s a reworking of the classic song ” There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” only this one swallows a whole bunch of Halloween creatures, like a goblin, ghost and of course a bat. She continues to swallow bigger and bigger things much to my son’s amazement! He was giggling through the whole book and the end when the old lay belches he laughed hysterically. It was predictable but I have to admit was a really fun , silly read.
I wanted to start the slew of Halloween crafts with something easy and fun for a wide range of ages. I always try to have crafts that can be changed ever so slightly to fit all ages in the family. My son loved this ! For older children I would have used glow in the dark paint and have them fill the ghost body in carefully with white crayon before gluing on the eyes. Then the craft would have been cool in the dark as well!
- Gather your materials. You will need black paper, white paint, a dish, a ghost cookie cutter, glue and googly eyes. I had the orange paper to make a back to frame it but the ghosts ended up too close to the edge and I didn’t want to cut them.
- Pour the paint in the dish and dip your cookie cutter in.
- Print. Don’t worry if some are wiggly- I think they make it look like the ghosts are flying.
- Add glue for the eyes
- Add the eyes.
- Dip your child’s finger ( or your finger because and I quote” No mama you do it, I share my art project with you, your turn!” ) in the paint.
- Press on to make the ghosts mouths.
- Let dry.
I am looking for some tried and true Halloween books. Of all the schools I taught at only the last allowed any holiday reading and my favorites have already been featured. I want to hear about your children’s favorites. Please send in the title , a very short description/review and your blog url and I will fit them into the Halloween crafts that will be coming up in the next month.
Send them in : email@example.com
In case you missed them here are my favorite Halloween Books!