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Halloween Costumes and Crafts for Families: Ideas for Family Costumes, Homemade Treats, and Spooky Decorations

It’s time to get started, especially if you’re going to make some of the costumes, candy, and decorations from scratch and you should. Kids can learn to put a hem in, cut-out paper ghosts, and measure cupfuls of sugar. They’ll be using math, improving their hand-eye coordination, and having such a great time they won’t realize they’re learning.

Creative Family Costumes

Since it is an election year the stores will be full of political costumes and, for many people, nothing is scarier than a family of politicians. Some ideas: Everyone in Hawaiian luau costumes with grass skirts in honor of Barack Obama’s home state? Or all the aunts in Hillary Clinton rainbow-colored pant suits? Or the baby in a Cindy McCain wig? Halloween is the one time of year when it’s important to be completely irreverent – and to overdose on candy.

Once the family’s decided on a theme – politicians, zombies, bumblebees, wizards, witches, pumpkins – then look for costumes. Easy patterns, including a cute family of penguins can be found at Simplicity.com. If you don’t sew, there are loads of ready-made, group costumes at Halloween Express, Target, Wal-Mart, and CVS. A closet raid at Grandma’s might reveal 70s-style tracksuits, muu’muus and who knows what other gems. Be creative and open-minded and the costumes will come.

Easy Treats Kids Can Make

If the kids are old enough, have them look through recipes online and choose their favorite to try, like white chocolate turtles. With the kids’ ingenuity the same recipe could be used to make penguins, pumpkins, or small John McCains – in keeping with the family’s Halloween theme.

With parental assistance a group of even the youngest kids can become a Halloween candy assembly line: forming popcorn balls, mushing Rice Krispy treats into “zombies.” Perfection is not the goal, having a great time as a family is. Plus, the once-a-year, late October sugar high.

Homemade Halloween Decorations

Give young kids construction paper and blunt-edged scissors and watch spooky shapes appear. Older kids would like nothing more than to toilet paper the trees out front for a Southern gothic look, the paper hanging down like Spanish moss.

Other projects involve more math and hand-eye coordination than simply throwing a roll of toilet paper up, up and hoping for the best. How about milk-jug luminaries? Tiny Jack-o-lantern candy containers made by folding paper? For more ghoulish crafts check out Halloween section at Parents.com.

A family-centered Halloween will be a holiday to remember and something to look forward to again next year. Remember to take lots of photos: of the group costumes, of the treats that everyone helped to make, and of those little toilet paper ghosts that covered the trees in the front yard.

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