Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

Yummy Hot Dog Mummies

October 23, 2009


This was the easiest part of our Halloween feast and the kids devoured them. 

You’ll only need hot dogs (I like to buy preservative-free hot dogs when I can,) and refrigerated breadstick dough.  Pillsbury recommends an 11oz can for 12 hot dogs.  We couldn’t find breadstick dough, so I had the kids cut refrigerated cresent roll dough into strips and it worked pretty well.  You’ll also want to have ketchup and mustard on hand if your kids are dippers.

Just pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Unroll the dough and separate it into strips.  Show your child how to cut each strip in half  lengthwise and then in half  crosswise to create four long strips.  You should end up with around 48 pieces of dough.


Have your child wrap four or so pieces of dough around each hot dog, stretching the dough to look like mummy bandages.  They can make a hole between the bandages at one end where the face might be, if they want to.  Our mummies were far from perfect, but the kids didn’t care.  They had fun cutting and wrapping the dough.

Bake your mummies for 13 to 17 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.  Your kids can use mustard to draw faces on their mummies before they eat them.  My kids also thought it was really funny to call the ketchup “blood.”  Thanks again for the great ideas, Pillsbury!  Bon Appetite!


Marshmallow Monsters

October 21, 2009


This project  is very easy and so much fun.  The kids absolutely loved it and the results were cute and creative.

All you need are marshmallows, pretzel rods, a can of white frosting, food coloring (optional) and candy to decorate with.  We used sprinkles, candy corn and M&Ms, but it would also be fun to cut up licorice. to use as hair or whiskers.  Regular and mini chocolate chips would be great too.  The Pillsbury magazine suggested making capes from fruit rolls.


First, carefully push the pretzel rods into the flat side of the marshmallows so they won’t fall off.  Then, melt the frosting until soft in the microwave (20 or 30 seconds should do it.)  Divide the frosting into two or three cups and help your child color it green or orange or purple with a few drops of food coloring.  Kids love to stir.  Now, have your child dip each marshmallow into the frosting and help them smooth it with a knife.   Let them decorate the marshmallows to create cats and witches and aliens.  It’s fun to see what great things they can come up with on their own.

Stand the completed “monsters” up in water glasses or jars to display. 


Friday I’ll post how to make “Yummy Hot Dog Mummies” and the feast will be complete!

Creepy Meatball Caterpillars

October 19, 2009


The kids loved making this creative, kid-friendly finger food for our Halloween lunch.  Best of all, they could easily do most of it all by themselves.  All I did was put the caterpillars in the oven and move them onto serving trays.   Thanks again for the idea, Pillsbury!

All you need to make your meatball caterpillar is a can of Pillsbury Golden Layers refrigerated flaky original biscuits (I accidentally bought the extra big ones, which worked just fine,) and a bag of frozen pre-cooked turkey meatballs, which have been thawed ahead of time.  Shoestring potatoes or chow mein noodles make cute legs for your caterpillar, but we forgot to put legs on ours.  You will also want to slice up pickles, carrots, olives, peppers and anything else you can think of for your kids to use as decorations.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Cover two cookie sheets with foil and spray them with cooking spray so your caterpillars won’t stick.  I forgot to spray mine, but was able to get the meatballs off.


Have your child separate the dough into individual biscuits, and then separate each biscuit into two layers.  We found that the biscuits pulled apart easily.  You should now have around 20 pieces of dough.  Show your child how to wrap a biscuit around each meatball and line the wrapped meatballs up on the cookie sheet in a curved line, touching to form a caterpillar shape.  You will be able to make two caterpillars of around 10 meatballs each.


Now it’s time to decorate!  Let your child place veggies and herbs on each meatball (or every other one to leave some plain for picky eaters.)  Some of the decorations may fall off during cooking, but my kids didn’t seem to care.  Put the shoestring potato legs on at this point, if you have them.  Bake your creations for 13 to 16 minutes, or until the bread looks done.


Move your caterpillar onto a serving tray, if you want to.  It will probably come apart, but just reassemble it on the tray.  Serve with ketchup and mustard, or marinara sauce.  We served baby dill pickles with our lunch and called them goblin fingers.  The kids loved it. 

Coming soon:  Marshmallow Monsters and Yummy Hot Dog Mummies.

Halloween Feast: Gobble-up Ghosts

October 16, 2009


Yesterday, my kids and a few friends spent the morning making a creepy, delicious Halloween feast.   They had at least as much fun making the food as they did eating it.  I’m going to post the recipes in a series of blogs over the next week.  All of the ideas are from a Pillsbury Halloween magazine.  Thanks  for the great ideas Pillsbury!


These Gobble-up Ghosts were fun to make and taste as good as they look. 

You’ll need pretzel sticks, some fruit roll-ups, a package or two of white vanilla baking chips or almond bark and some mini chocolate chips.

Have your child line a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper.  Then, have them unroll the fruit snacks and cut them into pieces around 1 inch long.  Show them how to cut a 3/4 inch fringe on the long side of the strip.  Then, have them stretch and wrap the uncut end of the fruit roll-up around the end of a pretzel stick to form a broom.  Have them space the brooms out on the waxed paper.


Melt the white chocolate according to the directions (I like to use the microwave so I don’t burn it) and help your child drop the melted chocolate onto the pretzels to look like ghosts.  Remind them that they look better if they’re NOT perfect.  Ghosts are blobs, after all.  Then, have them put mini chocolate chips on the ghosts to form faces.  Be sure to do this before the white chocolate hardens.


Let them cool and harden and peel them from the paper.  Voila!   Try to share them with your kids, even if you want to gobble them all up yourself.  I know I couldn’t resist them.

Coming soon:  Creepy Meatball Caterpillars, Yummy Hot Dog Mummies and Marshmallow Monsters

Halloween Lanterns

October 22, 2008


“Where are my zizzors?” is a common refrain at my house.  My two (almost three) year old loves few things more than cutting any piece of paper she can find into a million little pieces.

With a little help, she was able to do this project and put her cutting talents to use.  It’s geared toward older kids, but she had a great time cutting and gluing and is very proud of what she made.  All you need is construction paper, tape, glue and “zizzors.”

Simply fold your construction paper in half and draw parallel lines from the fold to within a few inches of the edge.  Have your child cut along these lines.  Unfold the paper and make it into a long “roll” with the fold bulging out, so it looks like a lantern.  Tape either end.  Then have your child cut out eyes, a nose and a mouth for their lanterns and glue them on.  It is also fun to cut a strip of paper to tape on as a handle for the lantern. 


You can make jack-o-lanterns, green witches, ghosts, goblins or anything else your kids dream up.  They look cute sitting on a table or hanging from the ceiling.  You can throw them in the recycling after Halloween or save them for next year’s decorations!

Creepy Compost Creatures

October 4, 2008


Uneaten, brown bananas are a source of guilt for me.  I always plan to make banana bread, but rarely do and the spotty bananas go straight into my organic recycling bin. 

A few weeks ago, I pulled out some toothpicks, raisins, mini-marshmallows, cloves and bay leaves and let my kids create creatures using bananas and apples as bodies.  They loved the project and I loved seeing the results.

Your creatures will not last long before you have to throw them in the compost, but this is a project that is all about the creative process!  Grapes would be fun to use as well and there are lots of interesting, spiky, funky fruits available at the grocery store these days.  To prolong their “creatures'” existence, have your kids draw them or take a picture of what they created!

This would be a great Halloween project!  Friends of mine have even done it on a larger scale, decorating pumpkins with greens and other vegetables, anchoring them with toothpicks and wooden skewers.  It’s a great excuse to visit your local farmer’s market!

Mad Scientist’s Green Slime

September 27, 2008

With Halloween just around the corner, what could be more fun than creating your own green slime to play with?  You can synthesize your own slime using only Elmer’s glue (the non-washable kind), Borax (found in the laundry detergent section of most stores), green food coloring and water.  It would be a great activity for a Halloween party!

It’s fun to find an old white, button up shirt for your child to use as his or her “lab coat”.  Not only will it make them feel like a scientist, but it will protect their clothes.  You could try to find some old goggles in your garage for your child to wear for fun too!  In a bowl, have your child mix together about 1/3 cup glue and 1/3 cup water with a spoon or Popsicle stick.  These measurements don’t have to be exact.  Add a few drops of green food coloring and mix well. 

To make the Borax solution, add around a cup of water to a jar.  To the water, add about a Tablespoon of Borax.  Have your child shake the jar to dissolve as much of the Borax as possible.  You are making what is called a saturated solution, so it may not all dissolve!  Don’t worry, it will work just fine.

Have your child add about a teaspoon at a time of the Borax solution to the glue/water mix.  After each addition, have them stir the mixture together.  You should see long strings begin to form and stick together.  Keep adding Borax until the mixture doesn’t feel gluey any more.  It will form sort of a shiny playdough-like substance.  If you add too much Borax solution, it will feel wet.  You should be able to just knead it a little to absorb the extra water!  The slime is not toxic, but Borax is soap, so don’t let your kids eat it!

I am a biologist and not a chemist, but here is the science, as I understand it. 

Mixing Elmer’s glue with water forms a substance called a polymer, which is a long chain of molecules.  (A molecule is the smallest amount of a specific chemical substance that can exist alone, like H2O, a single water molecule).  The polymer formed by water and glue is called polyvinyl acetate. 

The Borax solution (sodium tetraborate) is a cross-linking substance that makes the polymer chains stick together.  As more and more chains stick together, they can’t move around and the goo gets thicker and thicker.  Eventually, all the chains are bound together and no more Borax solution can be incorporated.

You can store the slime in plastic bags.  If you want to make a larger batch, just remember to mix equal amounts of glue and water and add as much Borax solution as needed.  Have fun!