Guest Author - Cynthia Parker
Maybe you don’t go all out for the Halloween experience. Maybe you just want a fun-filled, inexpensive evening with the kids on Halloween. You can “celebrate” with your children without crediting Halloween for the fun with a few simple tricks they will easily enjoy.
If you live where you can have a bonfire, light one up and have a weenie roast! Have the kids find their own weenie roasting sticks, but make sure they know to bring them to you to remove the bark before adding their weenie. Roast weenies and marshmallows over the fire, along with their favorite juice, and perhaps tell ghost stories. If you get really brave, you can share stories of your own Halloween or prankster experiences!
If you don’t live where a bonfire is appropriate, you can turn off the lights and set a flashlight in the middle of a circle of kids and proceed to tell ghost stories there. It is for sure that your kids will have just as much fun! (Most kids love to be scared!) Hot dogs are still a cheap and easy meal and marshmallows can be “roasted” in the microwave provided there is adult supervision and you don’t “roast” them more than 20 seconds. (After that they tend to explode and make a gooey, ectoplasmic mess!)
Other fun treats you can have the kids help with are old-fashioned popcorn balls and caramel apples. The recipes below are easy to make, are kid-friendly (with adult supervision), and do not take a lot of patience on the part of the kids before they can enjoy the treats! (Be sure that child participation sections are age appropriate for your particular groups of children!)
Old-fashioned Popcorn Balls
2 cups white sugar
1 ½ cups water
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn
1 teaspoon distilled vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1. (Adult task!) Butter the sides of a large saucepan. In the saucepan, combine the sugar, water, salt, corn syrup and vinegar. Cook over medium heat to the hard ball stage (250 degrees F; 120 degrees C). Stir in the vanilla and slowly pour the hot mixture over the popped popcorn, stirring just to mix well.
2. (Child participation) Butter hands lightly and shape into balls. Mixture will be hot so be careful. Place balls on waxed paper to cool. (Children can use waxed papers as a liner between hands and popcorn mixture to deflect a little heat and to keep too much “sticky” from getting on the hands.
Easy Caramel Apples
6 apples (a crisp apple like a Granny Smith or a Gala works best!)
1 14-ounce package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons milk
1. (Child participation) Remove the stem from each apple and press a craft stick into the top. Butter a baking sheet.
2. (Adult task!) Place caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave 2 minutes, stirring once. Allow to cool briefly.
3. (Child participation) Roll each apple quickly in caramel sauce until well coated. Place on prepared baking sheet to set.
Whether you are into the Halloween haunting or not, a simple evening of fun is easy to find with these activities and treats! Enjoy!!