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Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Halloween is shaping up to be a chilly one in much of the country! Here are some tips for keeping your costumed kids warm and safe as they go trick-or-treating.
Layer them up.
The year’s most popular costumes, Elsa
and Anna of Frozen
, lend themselves to this. The girls are from Norway, after all! Put some leggings under a dress and add gloves. If your daughter balks at wearing her regular winter mittens, stores like Party City have Frozen gloves
that work perfectly.
Boys can benefit from long underwear (or, in a pinch, long pajamas) under their costumes. Ninjas
are a popular boy outfit this year and have the added bonus of a warm headwrap; you might be able to convince him, too, that real ninjas wear gloves (to avoid leaving fingerprints!).
Insist on sensible footwear.
There is a risk of blisters or twisted ankles if kids are crossing lawns, racing down sidewalks, and climbing steps in heels, boots, or other impractical shoes. But no one looks at their feet! It’s the neck up that people notice when they open their door to hand out treats. Be sure kids are in sneakers or other comfy footwear.
Pin things up. Be sure that Elsa’s gown isn’t going to trip her; same with your ninja’s belt. Make sure your child can move around without worrying about headgear, too. If your child is wearing a pirate or witch’s hat, considering pinning it on.
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Be the bodyguard. As the parent, it’s your job to wield a flashlight and keep your child visible. Checking to be sure the way is clear, and forbid kids from crossing the street without you (even if they’re handing out fullsize candy bars over there!).
Watch as we detail more Halloween safety tips with Al Roker on The Weather Channel!
Friday, October 24th, 2014
I confess that while I love to cook and bake I’m not the craftiest of moms. But somehow when Halloween rolls around I’m inspired to create spooky creatures out of cookies, marshmallows, candy, and chocolate. I still want it to be easy, though, since my crafting skills (and patience) leave a lot to be desired.
I suspect Christi Farr Johnstone had moms like me in mind when she wrote her new book Smart Cookie: Transform Store-Bought Cookies Into Amazing Treats. All of her goodies look amazing, but seem completely doable thanks to the fact that we’re starting with store-bought components. And, while I’m a bake-from-scratch kind of girl most of the year, on holidays I can get into the store-bought fun of it all especially when the result will be something that delights my daughter.
Christi kindly shared the recipe for one of Smart Cookie’s signature Halloween goodies. With only four ingredients and an active time of mere minutes these are my kind of treat.
Along Came a Spider
Black licorice laces (about 16 feet long)
12 chocolate sandwich cookies
1 cup white candy coating
24 candy eyeballs
- Cut the licorice into 48 strips, each approximately 4 inches in length.
- Gently twist open the chocolate sandwich cookies.
- Place four licorice strips onto the side of the sandwich cookie with the filling, and press gently into the filling.
- Prepare the candy coating according to package directions. Working one cookie at a time, spoon approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons of the candy coating on top of the licorice strips and cookie filling. Place the top back on the sandwich cookie.
- With a spoon, place a small amount of candy coating on top of the sandwich cookies where the spider eyes will be placed. Immediately place two candy eyeballs onto the candy coating. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Allow to dry for at least 2 hours.
Makes 12 cookies
Reprinted with permission from Smart Cookie © 2014 Christi Farr Johnstone, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group
Get more recipes for fun Halloween treats.
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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
Roll up your little ones’ sleeves because we’ve rounded up some of our favorite make-at-home treats that are spooky and scrumptious.
Brand Castle Crispy Rice Pumpkin Kit
Make your pumpkin and eat it too! It only took us 35 minutes from set up to clean up to create six individual treats, and kids will love decorating their pumpkins with the green and black icing provided in the kit.
Available for purchase in-store only at Walmart and select Christmas Tree Shops.
Crypt Keeper Crescents
This delicious recipe is no longer under wraps. All you need is Nutella, bananas and Pillsbury Crescent dough to make this sweet twist on pigs in a blanket.
Get the recipe via Our Best Bites.
Photo courtesy of Pillsbury.com.
Harry & David Caramel Apple Kit
A splurge item at $34.95, this is a DIY-kit that’s just as much fun to look at as it is to make. Locked inside magical-looking spellbook box are fresh, in-season apples from the Pacific Northwest, ready-to-melt caramels and also cashews and mini chocolate candies that your little ones can use to make their treat one of a kind.
Order your kit online here.
Chex Mix Recipes: Deviled Chex Mix and Iced Pumpkin Chex Mix
One is sweet and the other is salty. Offer kids the Deviled mix – just in case they get tired of devouring all of that sugary candy. And satisfy sweet teeth even more with the Iced Pumpkin, which includes real pumpkin to get an authentic flavor.
Get the Deviled recipe here and the Iced Pumpkin one here, via Chex.com.
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Haunted Cookie Cups
When you use Nestlé’s premade cookie dough this treat is a snap to make – just bake and decorate. Warning: These little ghosts may just fly off your countertops!
Try out this recipe below:
- 1 package (16.5 oz.) Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough
- 1 container (8 oz.) frozen light whipped topping
- 1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
- 48 (about 1 teaspoon) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
- 24 (about 1 tablespoon) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 24 mini-muffin cups. Place one square of cookie dough into each cup.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. With tip of butter knife, remove cookie cups from muffin pan. Arrange on serving platter.
- Fill plastic bag with whipped topping; seal. Cut ½-inch from corner of bag. Squeeze bag lightly to pipe whipped topping on top of cookie cup to form ghost shape. Position two mini morsels as eyes and one regular size morsel as a mouth on each ghost. Serve immediately or store refrigerated for up to 2 hours.
Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
For every obscure Halloween costume that you spot, there will be dozens of witches and pumpkins—and this year, Elsas—ringing your doorbell. We asked Chasing Fireflies for the most popular costume trends this season, and here are their top five:
1. Frozen Can’t let go (ha!) of the popular movie? Dress your little Elsa, Anna, or Olaf in one of these costumes! Oh, and here’s more Elsa. And more Elsa. And, not kidding, even adult Elsa.
2. Ninjas and warriors, for girls and boys Both genders will get a kick out of these elaborate getups–whether they’re scary, glittery, silky, or studded.
3. Glamour and movie stars She’ll be ready for a walk down the red carpet when she dons a glam dress. Her toughest decision will be choosing between silver and pink!
4. Food Trick-or-treat! These candy-themed fairy and princess looks are certainly appropriate for the occasion. And this all reminds us of our own Parents candy rapper costumes!
5. Baby animals These pig and chick costumes are too cute. Plus, check out our ideas for homemade costumes!
Get in the spirit! Your child will enjoy this paper pumpkin craft:
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Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Halloween is around the corner, which means it’s time to think about costumes. When I was growing up, I mainly went the homemade route: I dressed as a firefighter several years in a row by donning my raincoat and boots and carrying a piece of the backyard hose! When I was in elementary school, my mom created a crayon-box costume using two inflatable crayons I’d won at a fair. She cut holes in a cardboard box and wrote the number 3 on the front (to include me and the two inflatable crayons). It was a hit in the school parade, and my younger sister wore it herself years later!
Here are some costumes from years past that the editors at Parents and American Baby loved; maybe you’ll be inspired!
Dog “Last year, I gave a dog costume to my 1-year-old granddaughter to wear. She loved it and even posed for a picture pretending to eat from a dog bowl!” –Lisa Marum, Copy Chief
’50s Girl ”Growing up with an older sister and dancing at a young age, my mom rarely had to buy me a costume. When I was in third grade, my sister and I created a ’50′s costume with a poodle skirt. My sister bought plain white tennis shoes and used a black sharpie to make them look like saddle shoes.” –Shelby Toompas, Lifestyle Assistant
Jasmine “I was obsessed with Disney, so there were a few years in a row where I went as different princesses. Lots of other girls were going as Disney characters too, but my mom made the outfits unique by sewing them at home instead of buying a pre-made dress at the store. My absolute favorite was Jasmine. My mom created an elaborate costume, and of course, I already owned all of the accessories to complete the look. But the real star was my sister—my mom had run out of time to make her a fancy costume like mine, so she quickly threw together a blanket and supplies lying around the house to make her Abu, Aladdin’s monkey.” –Chrisanne Grise, Editorial Assistant
And more Jasmine: ”I dressed up as Jasmine from ages 3 to 5. It was a store-bought costume—long black wig and all—that had a fake skin-colored “belly” so that I wouldn’t have to wear a real crop-top! She was definitely my favorite of the Disney Princesses since I felt she had the most sass. (And I secretly always wanted a pet tiger.)” –Brooke Bunce, Lifestyle Assistant
Rainbow Fish “My favorite Halloween costume of all time was actually from college. I went as classic children’s book character, Rainbow Fish, and wore a sparkly dress topped with removable scales. I simply unpinned the safety pinned scales from my costume and shared them with everyone at the party. It was a big hit!” –Alexandra Johnson, Assistant Photo Editor
Cinderella ”At the risk of sounding cliché, my favorite costume was Cinderella. I wore the costume almost every day for a year—even to see the Stanley Cup! My mom had to take it off while I was sleeping in order to wash it, so it wasn’t as if wearing it on Halloween was anything special!” –Gaby Levy, Photo Assistant
Martian ”My mother made a martian costume for me one year, complete with green grease paint on my face. The teacher and my classmates were supposed to guess who was wearing the costume—and they weren’t able to!” –Lisa Marum, Copy Chief
Rambo “I remember loving the Rambo trailer, but I was much to young to see it. To this day, I still don’t know what the movie was about. I don’t know if I had the whole costume, or maybe just the headband? But I’m pretty sure I wore it for most of the fall that year. How great is my unibrow, cheeks, and floral stretch pants?” –Michele Martuscello, Associate Photo Editor
Dark Helmet When I was in seventh grade, I wanted to be “Dark Helmet” from Spaceballs. My mother pulled it off perfectly. For the helmet, she took a balloon and fashioned a paper-mache helmet. Then, she spray-painted it black and put on a layer of clear coat for extra shine. To fit it on my head, she took an old helmet lining and hot-glued it into the interior of the helmet. The other bits of the costume were custom-made–the tie was made out of oaktag, the cape was an old wizard cape, and the rest were simple clothes. It was a ridiculous costume. But wow, did it impress everyone—adults included!” –John O’Sullivan, Senior Production Manager
Jem ”My favorite childhood Halloween costume was the year I dressed up as Jem from the Saturday morning cartoon. Even though I was only 5 years old, I was obsessed with becoming a rocker one day. I specifically remember picking out the star-shaped clip-on earring I wore to complete the costume—Jem used her star earring to change into her fabulous rocker version of herself!” –Kristen O’Hara, Photo Editor
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Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Your fall bucket list (we’ve seen ‘em floating around Pinterest) likely includes a trip to the pumpkin patch, costume shopping, and trick-or-treating (or at least passing out candy with Baby!). However, there are several less obvious to-dos that can be just as fun! Consult our list, then start checking off those boxes. Happy Autumn!
Master the football breastfeeding position Odds are, you plan on catching at least a game or two this season. When you aren’t yelling, “Touchdown!” try out this breastfeeding technique–no tackling necessary.
Cook a seasonal meal for Baby Squash doesn’t just add decorative flair to your kitchen counter, it can also make for a yummy puree! Whip up our recipe and treat your little one to a fall delicacy. Pumpkin puree is also an option!
Browse autumn baby names Whether you’re expecting or just want to imagine your little one’s life as an Octavia or a Juniper, check out these fall-themed monikers.
Think Thanksgiving It’s never too early to start planning your menu! These holiday recipes for Baby’s first celebration incorporate your favorite foods.
Capture her handprint Follow the instructions for this Baby-Handprint napkin, then add a seasonal touch by turning it into a classic turkey!
Football position tips and tricks
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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Whether you love Elf on the Shelf or just cringe at the thought, there’s no doubt that the jolly elf’s popularity is not waning anytime soon. Now joining the other variations of Elf on the Shelf (like the cheeky Dwarf in the Drawer and Hanukkah’s Mensch on the Bench) is a Halloween version called The Switch Witch.
The Switch Witch is a mythological witch (shhh, keep this a secret!) who visits children while they sleep to switch Halloween candy with prizes. Think of the Switch Witch as a Tooth Fairy who only visits on Halloween to protect trick-or-treaters from candy overload and cavities, while also ensuring healthy choices.
“Switchcrafted: The Story of the Switch Witches of Halloween” is a new book-and-doll set (a black trick-or-treat bag is also included) that shares the story of the Switch Witches and their need for different types of candy to fuel broomsticks, homes, and baths. And similar to Santa, a Switch Witch watches over kids during the month of October to note those who are naughty and nice. Of course, nice kids get their candy exchanged for a toy (though keeping the candy doesn’t seem like such a raw deal, either). And in case you’re wondering, “Switchrafted” is the brainchild of three women and moms, Audrey Kinsman, Pam Hatcher, and Milena Kirkova.
If your kids can’t get enough of Elf on the Shelf, or if you just want a slightly non-traditional version of it, the Switch Witch (which kids can also personalize with a name) is a fun way to welcome the fall season and buoy everyone’s spirit. Since Halloween is right around the corner, pick up the “Switchcrafted” set and read the book at the start of the month. Then place your Switch Witch doll in different places around the house to watch over the kids!
Get in the Halloween spirit by downloading these free Halloween printables!
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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Whether you want to flaunt your bump this Halloween or would prefer to hold onto your exciting secret a little bit longer, these ideas will see you through the costume party season.
Put that bump on display:
That go-to Disney Princess costume can wait! You finally have a bump to show off and are eager to incorporate it into your Halloween getup. Take a look at these options. Still undecided? Check out these other pregnant Halloween costumes!
No matter how old you get, Halloween is always about the candy. Dressing up as a gumball machine is not only sweet, it allows you to make the most of that belly! Picture an adult-sized version of this costume from Pinterest. Clever and functional!
Love the outdoors? Dress up as Mother Earth by wearing a mix of greens and blues, and then pin a printout of the globe to your bump. Get it?! It’s also a great budget-friendly idea.
Britney fan? Go “Baby One More Time” on your friends by dressing up in a Spears-inspired school girl outfit that’s pretty punny. Make sure to flaunt that belly! This is perfect for moms undergoing their second or third pregnancy.
Put that bump away:
Maybe you haven’t spilled the beans yet, or maybe you just want to go through one day of your life without someone asking you when you’re due (hey, Halloween is all about pretending to be someone else!). These costumes are for you.
You’re tired all the time and baggy clothes have never felt so good. So why not incorporate this getup into a costume? Save yourself from hours of primping and don a “bed head” look. All you need is a pair of cute pajama pants, a robe (an oversized option will help conceal a growing belly), and some bunny slippers. Twist some plastic curlers in your hair, and you’re good to go. If you’re feeling extra spirited, swap out your purse for a pillow case.
Go Risky Business this Halloween. Borrow an oversized white oxford shirt from your guy, slip on a pair of sunglasses (and maybe some spandex if the button down isn’t quite long enough to wear in public!) and channel your inner Tom Cruise all while concealing that bump.
You can’t go wrong with a classic pumpkin costume! Channel your five-year-old self and cover your bod, as seen below. Hard to tell what’s underneath! If you do decide to make the big reveal, these pumpkin-painted pregnancy bellies are pretty clever!
Trick or treat? Try making this witch-themed cupcake!
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