I love Halloween! It’s actually one of my favourite celebrations of the year. (I’m originally from Canada). Yes, I know some (my husband) criticise Halloween as being an imported, commercialised celebration that’s overly fixated on junk food and begging from strangers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to celebrate this spooky holiday which actually has its origins in pagan harvest festivals without spending too much and without the major sugar highs.

Whether you host a Halloween party at your place or organise a trick or treating route visiting friends, family and favourite neighbours, there’s loads of fun to be had. And there’s also local Halloween events if you don’t feel like organising your own.

Halloween Costumes

First things first, let’s talk about Halloween costumes. Don’t rush out to spend loads of money on cheap, plastic costumes. With some imagination and some basics from home, play box or a dollar store, it’s easy to make costumes.

Here are ten easy costumes to make for kids and parents.

  1. Pirate – A striped t-shirt, bandanna, and leggings. Make a black eye patch from some construction paper and an aluminum foil sword and you’re set.
  2. Cowboy – A denim shirt, cowboy hat and a gun.
  3. Witch – Black clothing, a witches hat and a cackling laugh.
  4. Doctor – A pair of scrubs or a white coat with a toy stethoscope or doctors bag.
  5. Princess – A fancy dress and a tiara.
  6. Construction worker – Jeans, t-shirt or singlet, a tool belt and a hard hat.
  7. Fairy – Leotard or leggings, and a tutu and a pair of fairy wings.
  8. Mummy – White clothes underneath and strips of old white sheets to wrap around body and head.
  9. Bunny Rabbit – White clothes, cotton wool tail, paper ears and some drawn on whiskers.
  10. Superhero – Leggings, long sleeve t-shirts and a cape.

And of course there’s loads more ideas on Pinterest.

Halloween Food

Yes, there can be lots of sugary treats available around Halloween but encourage kids to enjoy a few sweets and then switch to some healthy options. Here’s some healthy options that I found on Pinterest and slightly adapted to use things in my fridge and pantry.

Banana Yoghurt Ghosts – so easy to make. Just take a banana, dip in yoghurt and stick on some chocolate eyes. (These disappeared quick in my house. I had to quickly take a photo before the ghosts drifted off into someone’s tummy).

Jack-O’Lantern Oranges – Don’t waste your time or money trying to carve a large pumpkin. I was shocked one year to see how much Woolies was charging for an orange pumpkin. Rip off! Using oranges are so much easier. Buy a whole bag of oranges and try carving different expressions into their faces. For younger kids, let them use foam stickies or googly eyes to make fun faces. When you’re finished playing, just cut up the oranges to eat!

If you feel like something a bit more sweeter, make and decorate Halloween cookies.

Halloween Craft & Games

This year, celebrate Halloween with your friends by hosting a kids party at home with scary party games and fun activities.

Mardi from local company Party Ideas in a Box stocks some great spooky products. She shares her ideas for games and activities that kids will love at Halloween or actually anytime they are in the mood to be scared.

Pass the Hand – this is the same as the hot potato game. Pass the bloody hand and when the music stops, you are out! This hand is so realistically gory, it’s creepy.

Eyeball and Spoon Race- this is the most sought after game, as the balls are super bouncy and best of all, they glow in the dark!

Try DIY Facepainting to create any spooky face you like. There’s plenty of inspiration on Pinterest. Another easy thing to do is to print off Halloween printables for kids to colour or paint.

For more inspiration on Halloween craft, games and costumes, check out the Halloween board on my Pinterest page for loads of ideas.

Local 2017 Halloween Events

There are some fun family Halloween events happening for 2017 around the area. I’ll add more as I find about them.

Saturday 28 October

Celebrate Halloween in Cardiff with trick or treating at Cardiff Library on Saturday 28 October from 9am to 12pm. Come dressed up for the event, take a photo at their photo booth, and join in the fun of Halloween. To find out more call Cardiff Library on 4921 0775.

Also in Cardiff is the Halloween at Cardiff event on Saturday 28 October from 9am to 2pm in Main Road. Enjoy a free fun filled family event with face painting, Oakvale Farm animal nursery, Variety Bash cars, food, markets and Trick or Treating.

Lane 4 Aquatics Lambton Pool is holding a Halloween event on Saturday 28 October from 7 – 10pm. Join them for a fun filled night to celebrate Halloween at the Lambton Swimming Pool. It is a family friendly event, aimed at families and children. There’s lots of fun including the Inflatable of Doom (pool inflatable), Tower of Terror (dive towers) and Serpent Slide (waterslide). There will be live music and a range of games and prizes. Come dressed with your best costume as there’s prizes for best dressed and scariest costumes. $10 for individuals or $30 for families. Tickets at the door. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a responsible person over the age of 16.

Sunday 29 October

In Maitland, there will be a Halloween Disco Party on Sunday 29 October at the Maitland Park Bowling Club from 1pm to 2:30pm. There will be a kids disco and best costume prizes. $10 tickets available to purchase at the club and includes a packet of lollies and a drink. Strictly limited numbers. All children require adult supervision. Parents/carers enter free. Music and entertainment by Chris Fraser’s Majestic Music.

Join the Bunnings Wallsend team for a Halloween in-store trick or treat from 11:30am to 12:30pm. Dress up in your costumes for a fun time.

Tuesday 31 October

Newcastle Region Library presents a Zombie Halloween for kids aged 8 – 12 at New Lambton Library on Tuesday 31 October from 5:30pm to 6:45pm. Kids can transform their face with makeup into a scary zombie and create a zombie profile on an iPad. There’s also scary stories. The session is free but bookings are essential.

Come along and share Halloween with the Spooky Team at Maitland Bunnings. There will be games, challenges, treats and fun. Prizes will be given away for the best dressed and a ‘spooky art session’ will kick the night off creating a fun way to collect your treats. Please RSVP to maitlandao@bunnings.com.au or 0249391400 or book online.

The Sanctuary Neighbours Committee is hosting a Kids Halloween Disco Party on Tuesday 31 October from 6pm to 8pm at Sanctuary Community Centre in Fletcher. The event run s from 6pm to 8pm and includes prizes for best dressed and best dancing! Entry is $2 per child with email enquiries to sanctuary.neighbours@outlook.com.au.


Halloween Books

For a spooky read on Halloween, here are some page turners.

Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure by Eva Katzler

There’s a monster on the loose, and Florentine and Pig are determined to catch it! And what will they need for their monster-catching expedition? 
Binoculars? Torch? Super-scrummy supper? CHECK!

Sounds Spooky by Christopher Cheng  and illustrated by Sarah Davis

Filled with onomatopoeia this book with a delightfully spooky twist will have young readers listening for those spooky sounds and chanting, ‘What’s that noise that I can hear? I’m not scared!’

The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon by Aaron Blabey

Life is cursed for the townsfolk of Twee.  The ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon haunts their every waking hour and they’ve had enough!  But then one day, the brave and practical young Herbert Kettle has the most extraordinary idea . . .

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler

The witch and her cat fly happily over forests, rivers and mountains on their broomstick until a stormy wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow and wand. They are retrieved by a dog, a bird and a frog, and each animal asks for a ride on the broom. They climb on, one after the next, until the broom is so heavy that it snaps in two! What will happen next as they tumble into a bog and meet a greedy dragon?

What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen by Nick Sharratt

The witch has hidden a trick and a treat in her magical kitchen cupboards! Which one you find depends on how you open the doors. Whether it’s frogspawn or popcorn, lollipops or rabbit plops, there are hilarious rhymes to discover inside in this innovative new novelty book from Nick Sharratt. Age 0+

Mr Tickle and the Scary Halloween by Roger Hargreaves

Ever since Little Miss Scary moved to town, Halloween had become really scary. Scare your pants off scary! But Mr. Tickle has a plan to make this year different – a ticklishly, tricky plan! Watch out little Miss Scary, there’s someone behind you!

Halloween in Christmas Hills by Karen Tayleur and illustrated by Heath McKenzie

This is a very Aussie Halloween book.When Miles Cameron was allowed to go trick or treating for the first time, everyone warned him to stay away from Stingy Jacks house. If only he had listened. Halloween is here to stay! And this book taps into the growing interest Aussie kids have in this holiday. ‘Halloween in Christmas Hills’ reminds people that this holiday is actually Celtic in origin not American. Age 5+

Cats on the Run by Ged Gilmore

Although not strictly a Halloween book, it does contain magic and foul-smelling witches who have abducted the two feline heroes of this story, Will Tuck and Ginger. This chapter book is a funny read for kids aged 8 to 12 or any adults who want a good laugh. My daughter and I have been reading chapters together each night and I think I’m enjoying it more than she is.

However you celebrate, have a ghoulish good time on Halloween!!!!