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Five half-term and Halloween hacks for the terrifyingly busy

half-term and Halloween activities for kidsIt’s half-term so of course the weather is miserable. There’s only so much shopping and hair-cuts you can do as entertainment. For the Boy Wonder, going ‘into town’ doesn’t cut it at all, even with hot chocolate as a bribe. Thank goodness for Halloween which provides some sort of focus for these drizzly days. Of course, you can spend a lot of money on laughing skulls but here are five relatively inexpensive ideas to prevent your school holiday turning into a zombie.

1. Buy pumpkins and get carving. The little beauties pictured cost £1.50 each at my local Morrisons. I armed the children (and their friends) with ice-cream scoops and kitchen knives and they spent the whole afternoon happily strewing the kitchen with orange organic matter. Younger kids would have to be helped or supervised but it’s still fun.

2. Soup up the pumpkin leftovers. All that cut-out carving can be made into lunch or supper. Pumpkin can be a little tasteless so mix with chorizo or curry powder and blitz with a blender stick for a tempting soup, see a recipe here. With time and energy, you could also harvest the seeds.

3. Throw a murder mystery party. Does anyone remember these games which were popular in the 1990s? Serve your soup at a dinner and get the guests to work out whodunnit. It’s a scream. I found a 1930s-themed game in the attic I’d bought in Selfridges in the sale for £4 a whole 20 years ago. But you can buy them on Amazon today for less than £20. The cheapest I saw was £10.99. Most of them are reusable and can be recycled into teenager activities (parties or other, thanks to KC for that idea).

4. Make your own outfits. You’ll need a costume for your party or to go trick-or-treating. The supermarkets all have cheap solutions but you could encourage the children to make their own. You might want to sew or draw spiders on to a t-shirt or use glow-in-the-dark paint. Plain witches’ hats can be customised with ribbons or felt shapes. Here’s a video for making spiders out of black pipecleaners.

5. Find a real ghost. There are lots of fake spooks and Halloween trails but what about trying to see the genuine article? Google for haunted houses in your local area and check out a few with your ectoplasm detector. Visitors to Hampton Court Palace, near Kingston-on-Thames, for example have seen at least three of Henry VIII’s wives while nearby Ham House in Richmond is said to be the most haunted house in Surrey. Your Boy Wonder(s) might be more interested in Brooklands Racetrack, where driver Percy Lambert died in a crash in 1913. His ghost has been seen pacing the track and racing in his car, sometimes accompanied by the sound of the engine…

Is your party going to get out of control? See here for the SMM guide to home insurance.




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Wednesday, 24 April 2019