Category Archives: Events

Halloween Food Ideas

Halloween is great fun with costumes and parties galore. And, of course, food is a big part of that. Kids obviously get Halloween candy. But what about the adults? Here are some ideas for Halloween food and catering.

Do It Yourself

If you have the time and skill then you can produce spectacular dishes with the help of Halloween jelly moulds, cookie cutters, etc.

Don’t forget to add lurid edible food colouring! Black, red and bright green work well.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without presents; Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without pumpkins. Pumpkin pie is a classic, personally I like some nice spicy pumpkin soup to warm me up on a chilly evening. There are loads of pumpkin recipes for you to experiment with.

Unexpected Candy

Those sugary insects don’t just have to be for the kids. They can be used with adult meals as well. If you’re hosting a full dinner then you could garnish the pudding with a few body parts.

You can also use Halloween candy in unexpected places. How would your guests react to biting into a sandwich and discovering a spider (or half a spider…)? Or maybe mix a few rats and frogs in with the bowls of snacks!

Drinks

No party is complete without drinks, whether alcoholic or not. For the adults you can use special Halloween themed cocktail recipes. If you’d rather avoid the alcohol then any juice drink can be made more interesting by adding Halloween themed ice.

Accessories

As well as the food itself you can also buy a wide variety of Halloween themed accessories to add to the atmosphere – for example
plastic picks, napkins, paper plates etc. Just make sure your guests know what is edible and what isn’t!

Dumb Supper

If you have the time to prepare and a receptive guest list then the ultimate in Halloween dining is the ‘dumb supper’. This is an ancient tradition that involves a meal eaten in silence at midnight. For more information on this see Dumb Supper @ Festivology.


Christmas Decorating Ideas

If you’re like me then somehow Christmas catches you by surprise every year. I always say “next year I’ll get everything done in advance”, but I never do. So here are some ideas for easy, last minute Christmas decorating:

Seasonal Foliage

Holly, berries and pine cones all give a seasonal feel and can be found for free – just make sure you have permission to gather them. For a jollier look you can use red or metallic indoor spray paint on them. Or if you don’t live where this sort of thing grows can always buy artificial holly instead.

Candles

One upon a time candles were just for providing light. Now they’re items of decor in their own right. Not only can you buy candles that look cheerful and Christmasy, you can buy ones that smell Christmasy. Mulled wine is the one I like best, I find it very evocative of the Christmas spirit as well as pleasant in its own right. Always take all safety precautions when using candles.

Seasonal Appliques

I prefer to use the word “applique” or “decal” rather than “sticker” because I’m talking about the sort you can remove easily. You can buy packs of Christmas themed stick ‘n’ peel decals at very affordable prices and some can even be stored for use next year. Another advantage is that they’re simple enough for kids to use, letting them feel part of the holiday decorating. Just make sure you really do get ones that will come off easily! As always, remember to check out the reviews before you buy.

Ribbons and Bows

Almost anything can be made to look seasonal if it’s wrapped up like a gift! Different people like different colours, but red and gold are a classic combination for Christmas. Try using some Christmasy ribbons and bows on cushions, chair backs, doors, etc. Crafters can probably think of more advanced uses and ways to incorporate a seasonal feel into other projects. Be careful not to place ribbons or bows on electrical equipment or anything else that could be a fire risk.

Mini Trees

Not everyone has the space – or the desire – for a full blown Xmas tree, natural or artificial. However a miniature Christmas tree or two placed on a strategic shelf or tabletop can be extremely effective addition to the decor. Some come pre-decorated or even prelit.

Cards

There are many more ways to display your Christmas cards than simple putting them on shelves – there are a variety of greeting card holders available to buy, from plain to intricately decorated. If you’re especially creative then you could combine your favourite to form a display or even a hanging mobile. Or you could just string them together with twine and hang them at appropriate points.

And there’s no need to restrict yourself to the cards you’ve received this year. If you get a particularly attractive card you can keep it for next year. As well as extra decoration, this provides a growing string of memories.

Don’t forget about the cards you’ve bought yourself to send. I always buy far too many. So rather than let them go to waste I use them for decoration as well.

Dolls’ Houses

Why should the full size house be the only one to be decorated for Christmas? If you or a child has a dollhouse or other miniature building it can be great fun to decorate that as well. Almost anything you can get for a full size house can also be bought in miniature, from sacks of toys to Christmas trees. Make sure you double check the size to make sure that whatever you buy fits the scale of the doll house.

Whatever decorations you choose, please be very careful. Keep anything flammable away from danger spots and take special care to make sure that children and animals can’t get caught up or otherwise hurt themselves.

Twin Day Ideas

Twin Day isn’t a holiday or an official celebration. Rather it’s a special day held by many schools and other institutions whenever they feel like it. The details vary, so exactly what is twin day?

In some places twin day is taken literally – it is for pairs of twins, either identical or fraternal. In other places and at other times the idea is more flexible: children pair up with their best friend or someone who shares their interests and become “twins for a day”. Either way each member of each pair does something special for the day to mark them out as twins.

Whatever you decide to do for twin day, make sure that it’s within the rules!

Avoiding Problems

If you’re planning a twin day, be very careful to make sure that noone’s left out and that there are no arguments over who gets to be a popular child’s twin. You don’t anyone to feel ostracised or betrayed. One possibility is to extend the word “twin” to mean “two or more” for the day, so a group of three or four can get together if necessary. It might even be fun to try and get the whole class as one big “twin” set (“vigintiquinquelets”?).

The best way of avoiding trouble and tears is probably to put all the names into a hat and draw pairs out at random.

Clothing

Looking the same is the classic idea for twin day. At it’s simplest this can simply mean dressing alike – if not identical clothes then similar styles and/or colours. You can take this further (if the school or office allows it) by wearing similar fancy dress costumes , either buy a pair of inexpensive costumes or make your own. Maybe dig out the stuff from last Halloween!

Accessories

Accessories such as hats and scarves can also be coordinated. Something simple yet effective is for both twins to wear an identical or similarly themed bandana.

It might be fun to buy some pairs of inexpensive costume jewellery – the bigger and gaudier the better! Or how about a matching pair of temporary tattoos?

There’s also makeup, perhaps something outrageous and colourful for the girls. And the same for the boys!

And don’t forget hair. Matching novelty wigs can be great fun. There are also false beards and moustaches – especially funny on girls!

Names

Identical twins often find people get confused and mix them up. Why not do this deliberately? Even – perhaps especially! – if you’re not really twins! Decide that for the day you will answer to you “twin”‘s name not your own. Obviously there are exceptions, such as when a teacher or other responsible adult who isn’t in on the game is speaking to you.

Speech

Moods of speech can really make people seem like twins. Know what I mean dude? That’s scrumptiously awesome! Maybe you could use the catchphrases of a favourite cartoon character – what’s up, Doc?

Contrasts

We normally think of twins as being the same, but for more sophisticated children opposites can also work well. The idea of an “evil twin” is an established trope. If your children are like the ones I know they’ll probably both want to be the “evil” one, so they might have to take turns.

Other options include characters who always come in pairs, such as Batman and The Joker or Tom and Jerry.

Whatever you decide to do for twin day, stay safe and remember: it’s meant to be fun!