Halloween and the end of the year celebrations in general can feel like a bit of a headache. Children can quickly overdose on sugar, and parents can easily get overwhelmed with the multitude of sweets and crafts and costumes to make. But let’s not get too scary, we’re here to help with some of our favourite ideas to help keep it all fun and easy. While we’re not big fans of the white stuff (sugar!) in this household, a little every now and then can’t really hurt, especially during festivities.
Easy Halloween crafts
Pumpkin sweets holder
This is a perfect craft if you want to introduce your children to pumpkin carving and if you’re not a pro at carving yourself (those faces can be surprisingly tricky to get right). Start with a small pumpkin and carve a simple word for example, like “boo!” or “scary”.
You will need:
- Old newspaper to collect the seeds
- Small pumpkin
- Large spoon
- Sharp knife
Lay the newspaper on a flat surface. Slice the top off the pumpkin and scoop the flesh out with the spoon (as much as you can of it!). Spell out words such as “Boo” or “Trick or treat” or you can even try your hand at carving a simple face with two eyes, a nose and a mouth, carving out the flesh to leave clear holes. Once ready, fill the pumpkins with sweets.
Pumpkin seeds are apparently very rich in nutrients and minerals such as magnesium. You can roast them by spreading them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes to dry them out. You can also mix the seeds with some olive oil, salt and maybe some spices if you wish.
You will need:
- A pair of scissors
- 1 piece of orange felt
- Orange fabric dimensional paint
- 1 piece of black felt
- PVA glue
- 50 cm green or black rattail cord
- Purple thread
Using your scissors carefully (especially for the little ones) cut 2 equally sized pumpkin shapes from the orange felt. Nothing too complicated, just a rounded shape with a stem. Paint some orange lines on one of the pumpkin shapes and leave to dry. This will be the front of your pumpkin bag. Take the black felt and cut out 3 triangles for the pumpkin eyes and nose and a half-moon shape with two small triangles cut into it for the pumpkin’s mouth. Arrange these on the pumpkin shape and glue them in place.
Tie a knot in each end of your rattail cord – this will become the handle for your pumpkin bag.
Use a running stitch to join both sides of the pumpkin bag with your purple thread and stitch the cord securely at each side. Leave an opening at the top of the pumpkin bag for those treats!
Personnalised Witch hat
You can buy ready-made witches hats pretty much everywhere these days, but it’s great fun to exercise your children’s imagination by decorating them.
You will need:
Using the scissors cut star and moon shapes from the foam then remove the back and attach them to your witch hat! Presto! You have your own personalised witch hat!
Delicious Halloween sweets
You will need:
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 150 g light muscovado sugar
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 medium egg
- 250 g plain flour
- Small amount of sugarpaste in orange, black, green and white
- Halloween assorted cookie cutters
- Baking trays lined with baking paper
Heat the oven to 160 / gas mark 3. Mix together the butter, sugar, mixed spice and a pinch of salt, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg, then beat in the flour until the mixture binds together to form a dough. If the dough is very soft, wrap it in a plastic bag and chill until it’s firm enough to roll out.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface to about 3 mm thick. Using the halloween cookie cutters, cut out shapes from the dough. Lay the shapes on lined baking trays. Bake the biscuits one tray at a time, in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cookies start to turn golden at the edges. Remove from the oven.
While they’re cooking, knead the sugarpaste to soften it, then roll it out on a work surface dusted with icing sugar. Using the halloween cutters, cut out the same shape as the biscuits. Place them on the hot cookies so that the heat sticks the sugarpaste on. You can add extra details with contrasting colours of sugarpaste. These can be stored for up to a week (but are best consumed fresh – which is great news for the kids!)
This is a very easy one that your children will love.
You will need:
- A few Braeburn apples – around 8 or as many as you wish
- 500 g Demerara sugar
- 75 g unsalted butter
- 225 g golden syrup
- 2tsp white vinegar
Wash and dry the apples. Insert a wooden stick or fork through each core. Heat the sugar, butter, golden syrup, vinegar and 150 ml of water in a pan, stirring until the sugar dissolves then let it boil until the mixture becomes toffee. To check this, drop a little of the mixture into a glass of cold water – if it instantly hardens, you’ve got toffee.
Dip each apple in the toffee and twist. Let any excess drip off and leave to cool on a sheet of greaseproof paper.
You will need:
- 150 g egg whites
- 300 g caster sugar
- 50 g dark chocolate melted
- Large piping bag
- 1.5 cm plain piping tube
- Small disposable pipping bag
- Backing trays lined with baking paper
Heat the oven to 120 C / gas mark 1/2. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Slowly add about half the caster sugar, a spoonful at the time, whisking well after each addition, then whisk in the remaining sugar. Spoon the mixture into the large piping bag fitted with the plain piping tube. Pipe ghost shapes onto the baking trays. Bake the meringues for 1-1 1/2 hours or until they have dried out. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool in there.
Fill the disposable piping bag with the melted chocolate, cut off the end of the bag to create a small hole and pipe faces on to the meringues. Leave the chocolate to set before serving. These can keep for up to two weeks but they might not last that long!!
For mumified cake pops you will need:
- 300 g shop-bought chocolate sponge cake
- 150 g milk chocolate
- 300 g white chocolate
- Black writing icing (or any colour you fancy)
Place the cake in a large bowl and break it up into small pieces. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave on low until smooth. Add the melted chocolate to the cake pieces and mix together until combined. Roll the mixture into small golf-ball-size balls in your hands and place on a palate. Push a lollipop stick halfway through each cake ball and freeze for 20 mins.
Melt 200 g of the white chocolate in the microwave on low and once smooth remove the cake pops from the freezer. Dip each cake ball in the melted chocolate and return to the plate to set. Melt the remaining 100 g of white chocolate and spoon into a piping bag. Run the piping bag over the cake pops in a zig zag formation to make look like bandages. Place two poppy seeds or use the black writing icing to make eyes and allow to set once more before serving.
You can also make cake pops with various decorations such as skulls, pumpkins or spider webs.
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