Category Archives: Halloween

Easy Last Minute Halloween Costumes


Easy Halloween Costumes: Cat, Scarecrow, Nerd

This year the Cool Family opted for some extremely cheap, simple, and easy no-sew Halloween costumes.

Easy Halloween Costumes: Black Cat, Scarecrow

Thankfully Adaline insisted on being a Black Cat this year. I was going to go the leotard route but figured it was pointless to spend the extra money, especially if she would end up being too cold. She wore a black long sleeved shirt and black pants that she already had. We got a cat kit for $5 at Target which included the ears, tail, and bowtie (it also came with a weird nose, but it looked awkward). A little eyeliner nose and whiskers and we’re done!

Easy Scarecrow Halloween Costume

Jon wanted to be a scarecrow. The costume was simple: overalls and flannel shirt. Jeans would work as well especially if the shirt is a little longer and you could cinch the waist with some rope. For the straw “cuffs” I just tied some yard into a circle and then tied yarn around it and put it on his wrists and shoes. For the hat/hair I stuck pieces of yarn to duct tap and then safety pinned the strip of duct tape to the hat. Simple! I was going to put a scarecrow nose and stitched mouth on him, but he wouldn’t let me 😦

Scarecrow Cuties: Mom and Son Comparison

When I was 2 years old I was also a scarecrow for Halloween. That’s me on the left. Do you think Jon and I look alike at all?

Nerd Halloween Costume

I decided to go as a nerd because I only needed a few accessories to complete the costume: nerd glasses, suspenders, and a bowtie. I will tell you that I’m not happy with my accessories at all. We went to Party City because it was closer and these were the only options. I think the glasses are too “trendy”, the bowtie is too “cocktail waitress”, and it was all pricier than I would’ve liked. After I’d already bought the stuff I found cheaper and more appropriate accessories at a Halloween store at the mall. So I’m disappointed.

Nerd glasses, suspenders, bowtie: Party City 2014
Nerd knee socks: Target 2014 (I already had these, because they’re awesome)
Hair Pom Poms: Gymboree 2010 (They’re Adaline’s, I thought they worked perfectly)

Potterhead (Harry Potter Nerd) Halloween Costume

Because I wasn’t entirely thrilled with my nerd costume (I hated the bowtie in particular), I decided to change it up and go specifically as a Harry Potter Nerd or a Potterhead, if you will. I already had the awesome Gryffindor t-shirt and scarf, and the round Harry Potter glasses. Yes, I already had those, just for every day use. Because, shut up.

Harry Potter Glasses: Amazon
Gryffindor T-shirt: Wal-Mart 2014
Gryffindor Scarf: Universal Islands of Adventure 2011
Nerd glasses, suspenders: Party City 2014
Nerd knee socks: Target 2014
Hair Pom Poms: Gymboree 2010

Potterhead (Harry Potter Nerd) Halloween Costume

It ended up being chilly so I wore a gold cardigan that I already had that matched perfectly and in the end I decided to wear the nerd glasses instead of the Harry Pottery glasses. Fascinating stuff, right?

Gryffindor T-shirt: Wal-Mart 2014
Gryffindor Scarf: Universal Islands of Adventure 2011
Gold Cardigan: Target 2013
Nerd glasses, suspenders: Party City 2014
Nerd knee socks: Target 2014 (I already had these, because they’re awesome)
Hair Pom Poms: Gymboree 2010 (They’re Adaline’s, I thought they worked perfectly)

Last year Adaline and Jon went as an Artist and Masterpiece.
Click for costume details.

Artist and Masterpiece Sibling Halloween Costumes

What did your kids dress as for Halloween this year?
What’s your favorite go-to last minute costume?
Let me know in the comments!


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Visit my other blog: JennRian.com. It’s pointless, sarcastic, and mildly amusing.

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Healthy Halloween Snacks


Easy Healthy Halloween Snacks

We were in charge of bringing classroom snacks for the Kindergarten Halloween party. Homemade treats were not allowed (which is just as well since I don’t cook or bake). I really get tired of all of the junk my kids accumulate from October to January during the holidays, so I really didn’t want to give the kids loads of sugar. Instead I prepared healthy snacks (fruit and cheese) with a fun “Halloween” twist…and they got organic lollipops as well. Yep, I’m one of those super fun parents :P.
(Don’t worry, they also got store bought cookies filled with sugar and artificial junk and bags of artificially colored Cheetos 😦 That was my husband’s doing. He’s everyone’s favorite.)

These healthy Halloween snacks were ridiculously easy to make. Seriously, I can’t express to you enough how quick and simple this was! I made 16 of each and it only took about half an hour to complete. I know, right?! All you need is a black Sharpie Marker!

Healthy Halloween Snacks: String Cheese Ghosts

These String Cheese Ghosts were the easiest to do. I just drew little ghostly faces on the back of a cheesestick and was finished in only minutes! Effortless!

Healthy Halloween Snacks: Jack-o-Lantern Oranges

Using a Sharpie marker I drew Jack-O-Lantern faces onto oranges. Okay, okay…so they were Halos or Cuties which are technically Mandarin Clementines. But I’m still going to call them “oranges” anyway because this is my blog and I’m a rebel that laughs in the face of accurately classifying fruits by their proper species and binomial name. Suck it, science!

Healthy Halloween Snacks: Banana Pirates

I’ve seen these Banana Pirates around cyber space for years now. They’re not particularly “Halloween-y” but I still thought they were cute and fun. Halloween is a time you can dress up and be whatever you want…so can your banana! Maybe if I wasn’t so lazy I could’ve come up with a different more appropriately themed “character”, but this will have to do.

Healthy Halloween Snacks

What are your kids’ favorite healthy Halloween themed treats?
What other creative character can you turn a banana into?
Do you call Clementines “oranges” too?
Let me know in the comments!

Need last minute Halloween Costumes for siblings?
Check out these adorable and easy Artist and Masterpiece costumes!

Artist and Masterpiece Sibling Halloween Costumes


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Visit my other blog: JennRian.com. It’s pointless, sarcastic, and mildly amusing.

Artist and Masterpiece Sibling Costumes


Artist and Masterpiece Sibling Halloween Costumes

I am lazy. I don’t sew and I refuse to spend $30 on a child’s costume that is ugly and will fall apart. My 4 year old daughter kept changing her mind about her costume from ghost to kitty to my personal favorite, “I just want to be a regular little girl”. My daughter loves, loves, LOVES to draw and paint and so I suggested that she be an artist. She loved the idea. She loved the idea even more when I said that her little brother could be her work of art and that she could (pretend to) paint him. So simple and easy!

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The costume was a huge hit! We got a lot of compliments on how cute and creative the concept was. It was mostly laziness rather than creativity, but hey, I’ll take it!

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ARTIST/PAINTER COSTUME
-Art Smock / Art Apron / Old button down shirt
-Beret
-Artist’s Palette
-Paint Brush
-Paint smudges on face and smock
-Pencil mustache (optional)

My daughter already had this art smock from Ikea. I wanted to have paint splatters all over her, but that smock wipes up so nicely that nothing will really dry on it 😦 I found the beret on Amazon and I had a Swagbucks giftcard, so it was free! I got the artist’s palette and paint brushes at Michael’s. We have paintbrushes at home but I wanted something a little bigger. There was a less expensive plain white palette but I let Adaline choose which one to get. She chose the watercolor palette which was fine because she would definitely use the watercolors and now I didn’t have to add paint to the white palette for her costume.
If you don’t have an art smock you can use an old white button down shirt as a smock. Be sure to smear it with lots of paint…artists are never clean! If you don’t have a palette and don’t want to buy one you can always make one by cutting the shape into cardboard or cardstock and coloring in the paint. That was more work than I wanted to do (remember the keyword today is “lazy“), so the $4 I spent on the palette was worth it to me.
I also think it would be cute to draw a curly mustache on your artist, but my daughter was having none of that!

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MASTERPIECE/WORK OF ART COSTUME
-Long-sleeved white shirt (a few sizes bigger)
-Painted Canvas
-Picture Frame (optional)
-Hot Glue Gun (to glue the canvas to the shirt)

My original idea for the masterpiece was to use larger canvases and have my son wear them hanging over his shoulders sandwich board style. He’s 20 months old and falls over for no reason at all sometimes, so when I saw the smaller 9×12 canvas panels I got the idea to hot glue it directly to his shirt instead. I also thought it would be really cute to glue a frame from the dollar store around the canvas, but I didn’t think that sounded too comfortable or safe for my little boy. Instead I just added the little sign that said “Masterpiece” so that I didn’t have to keep explaining the costume to people. It worked brilliantly and we got a lot of compliments 🙂

It’s important to note that I got my son’s shirt a little larger (he wears 18-24m and this shirt is a 3T) because you need the extra room once the canvas is glued to the shirt. If the shirt were any smaller I wouldn’t have been able to fit it over his head.

The canvas panels I used were a set of 5 from Michael’s. You can get single canvases as well, but they didn’t have any at Michael’s and I knew that my daughter would use all of them.

Instead of using a canvas you could use card stock, card board, poster board, a pillowcase, just about anything that you can paint/draw on and then attach to or hang from a shirt. You can even just draw/paint directly onto the shirt itself. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Adaline actually painted the canvas herself. After it dried I hot glued the canvas onto a long sleeved tee.
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Here’s the list of actual items that I used:
(None of these are affiliate links)
SMOCK: Ikea MÅLA Long sleeve apron, green $3.99
PALETTE: Michael’s Creatology Watercolor Palette $3.99
PAINT BRUSH: Michael’s Creatology Brushes (Set of 3) $1.99
BERET: Classic Black Wool Beret Cap $5.91 Sold by Accessory World on Amazon.com
TEE: Garanimals Long Sleeve Basic Tee $3.88
CANVAS: Michael’s Artist’s Loft 9×12 Canvas Panel Value Pack (5 pack) $7.99

Did your kids dress up for Halloween this year?
What is your favorite “lazy” Halloween costume?
Let me know in the comments!

This post is linked to: Skip To My Lou: Made by You Monday / Clumsy Crafter: Costume Link Up / Kids Activities Blog: It’s Playtime / SITS Saturday Sharefest / The Mom Creative: Halloween Costumes Link Up

*If you’d like a laugh (or nightmares) read about 1984 Creepy Costumes on my other blog.

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Read my personal blog www.imakemyselfthequeen.com.

How to Make Shadow Puppets (Links)


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If you’d like to learn to make shadow puppets with your hands, shadow puppets with paper, or a shadow puppet theater…try one of the many links below. Shadow puppets are a great activity for Groundhog Day or Halloween and kids love them!

Click here for more Groundhog Day ideas

If you need to get your room completely dark during the day, check out my review for the awesome room darkening shades Blackout EZ Window Covers!
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Hand Shadow Puppets*Shadow-Puppets.com
The most difficult hand puppet subject may be accomplished after only a few minutes.

*Fun with Shadows for Home Entertainers (Jan, 1930) @ Modern Mechanix
This feature explains how anyone can cast the shadows of sixteen different figures, an accomplishment which will provide many full evenings of entertainment for either children or adults.
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*How to Make Shadow Puppets @ About.com/familycrafts
Teach your kids to have fun without their toys by bringing shadows to life. See how to make a dog, swan, and bunny rabbit with nothing but your hands, light, and a little imagination.

*Shadowy Days @ Little Page Turners
I stretched a sheet between two chairs, placed a naked lamp on the ground, and voila! We had ourselves a shadow puppet stage.
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*Hand Shadows @ Apples 4 the Teacher
What a delightful way to expand on the concept of the Groundhog’s shadow – teach children how to make their own shadow characters! These can be made in front of an overhead projector or behind a hanging sheet with a light source.
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*Showy Shadow Puppets @ Disney Family.com
Animal Hand Shadow Tips: Puppy Face, Spider, Goose, Elephant Head
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Paper Shadow Puppets*Kid Craft: Make a Groundhog Shadow Puppet
by Modern Parents Messy Kids @ Momtastic
Here’s a fun kid craft that’s part art project, part puppet show
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*Shadow Puppets for Kids @ Drawing Mom
Video
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*Winter Shadow Puppets @ Little Wonders Days
They played with making the shadows bigger, smaller, and disappear altogether by moving their flashlight or the puppet.
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*Shadow Shapes Craft @ Crayola.com
Regardless of whether the ground hog sees his shadow or not on February 2, kids can create their own Shadow Shapes—and make them all year ’round.

*Shadow Puppets @ Spoonful.com (formerly FamilyFun)
Your kids can cast a shadowy show of their own with just a few of these simplified paper puppets and a tabletop stage.
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*Shadow Puppets (Free Printable) @ MarthaStewart.com
This craft is easy and fun plus it’s a great way to entertain young children! (Free printable polar bear or muskox puppet template.)

*How to Make a Shadow Puppet (Free Printable) @ Frolic Blog
The template for an octopus, a shark, a wolf eel and a ship.
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*Halloween Shadow Makers (Free Printable) @ Mini Eco
The best thing is that they are very easy to make – all you need is some black paper, a craft knife, sticky tape and some wooden sticks.
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*Shocking Silhouettes (Free Printables) @ Martha Stewart
As day turns to night, call on candles to cast an eerie glow throughout your home. When fierce silhouettes are propped above them, spectacular shadows dance across the walls.
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*Shadow Puppets @ While Wearing Heels
The possibilities for making your own shadow puppets are endless and the cost involved is next to nothing.
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*Shadow Puppets and Their Presentation
@ MagicalMoonshine.org
In shadow puppetry you are limited only by your imagination! Go make some fun puppets!

*Shadow Puppets @ Martha Stewart
More elaborate shapes require some supplementary materials, such as our templates for a shark, sea horse, angelfish, tuna, crab, and mermaid.
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*How to Make Shadow Puppet @ The Organic Lemon
They are easy to make, affordable and provide hours of entertainment for little ones!
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*Glow-in-the-Dark Star Shadow Puppets
by willowday @ The Crafty Crow
The shadow puppet can be used for: 1) a window shadow puppet 2) a flashlight shadow puppet (Something for summer nights in tents) and 3) a glow-in-the-dark toy or decoration.
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*Make a Shadow Puppet Play @ Acorn Pies (also found here)
”For the theater, you could stretch a white sheet across a doorway, glue vellum to a wooden canvas stretcher, or like me, tape one-ply white paper to an old metal frame from the attic.”
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*Shadow Puppets (Free Template) @ Education
Make the most of some ordinary household supplies to create this fun puppet craft that hails from Indonesia.
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*Shadow Puppet Cutouts @ hvanrossum.com
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*Shadow Puppets (free printable) @ National Wildlife Federation
Dolphin, fish, starfish, octopus, squirrel, rabbit, turtle, butterfly
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*Easy Shadow Puppet Show @ Rhythm of the Home
”We stretched a sheet over two chairs in our living room. We attached the sheet to the chairs using clothespins, and stretched it all tight by using the weight of the chairs themselves.”
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*Make Bedtime (even more) Theatrical with Shadow Puppets
@ Canadian Family
”We just lay down with our puppets close to the wall and shone a flashlight right on them.”
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*Make Shadow Puppets @ Squidoo
Illustrated step by step directions how you can make your own shadow puppets, set up your stage, and put on a shadow puppet play.
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*Kid Craft: Shadow Puppets @ Gardening without Skills
We got two barstools and stretched out a piece of freezer paper in between the stools and taped it in place. We put a halogen desk lamp behind the stools and turned off the lights in the room.
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*Shadow Puppets @ Nuture Store
Puppets are a wonderful way for children to work out real-life relationships and develop their language – and so much fun to make!
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Shadow Puppet Theaters
Make a Shadow Puppet Theater

*Cereal Box Shadow Theater @ Mini-Eco
This cereal box shadow theater makes a great project for an older child. It’s really simple to make, and can be made from household scraps.
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*Shadow Puppet Theater Tutorial @ Givers Log
Supplies: Freezer paper, Elmer’s Glue, Masking tape, permanent fabric paint (like textile paint or acrylic), sponge brayer for applying paint, Fabric that will let a little light through, Tulle (optional)
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*DIY Shadow Puppet Theater @ Givers Log
”Tie a piece of string between two chairs and clothespin your theatre to the string. All you need is a flashlight and a puppeteer or two and you’re ready for a performance.”
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*Little Light Theatre @ Home Adventurer
”At home we simply transformed our little entrance hall into the theatre; using a floor lamp for illumination, and a small table covered with a large sheet of baking parchment* as a screen.”
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*Table Top Shadow Puppet Theater
@ Spoonful.com (formerly FamilyFun)
Your kids can cast a shadowy show of their own with just a few of these simplified paper puppets and a tabletop stage.

*How to Build a Simple Shadow Puppet Theater
@ Inner Child Fun
Shadow puppet theater was made from an empty cardboard box with the bottom cut out, and replaced with two sheets of white tissue paper held in place with packaging tape.
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*Shadow Puppet Theater @ Make Monthly
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*DIY Shadow Puppet Theatre @ Salsa Pie
Here’s an easy way you can turn a cardboard box and some freezer paper into a shadow puppet theatre!
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*Shadow Puppets Cereal Box Theatre @ Red Ted Art
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*Shadow Puppet Theatre @ Kirsten Rickert
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*Shadow Puppet Theater @ Squidoo
Making a shadow puppet theater is an inexpensive family time activity that will build memories. All you need is a cardboard box (a cereal box works very well), scissors, tape, thin white paper or wax paper, and either straws, craft sticks, or skewers.
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RELATED POSTS:
Fun Ideas for Groundhog Day / Groundhog Day Goodies / ”I Love You” Shadow Groundhog Day / Valentine’s Day Tradition
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Product Review: Blackout EZ Window Covers
The easy way to darken a room!
Product Review Blackout EZ Window Covers


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Fall Front Porch 2010


This year we haven’t even bothered to put up our fall wreath. We were off our game in October. Last year we bought so many pumpkins I felt the need to decorate the front porch.


If the naked stairs caught your eye it’s because these photos were taken last year before the great porch/stair painting disaster of 2011

Our first family jack-o-lantern. After this he met a sad fate indeed.

All of our many pumpkins on display. The big one on the right was green when we bought it which we thought was so cool, but then it turned orange and now I’m sad 😦

I saw this idea on another blog and thought it was so cute. Hubby drilled all of the holes into the mini pumpkins. Unfortunately it doesn’t show up too good in the pictures.

I make him pose for pictures like this and he hates it.

Related Posts:
*Trick-or-Treat 2011 (Includes video)
*Pumpkin Carving 2011 (Includes video)
*Volant Autumn Pumpkin Festival 2011 (Includes video)
*Pumpkin Carving 2010
*The Festival of Festivals 2010

*The Spring House 2010
*The Apple Castle 2010
*Fall Family Fun 2009
*Ghosts of Halloween Past: My Childhood Halloweens
*How to make a Kleenex Box Halloween Costume
*Halloween Parade: Fall Fashion

Coolest Family on the Block is committed to helping you find creative ways to have fun and make memories with your family all year-long. Don’t miss an idea, tip, or trick…subscribe and have updates sent directly to your email!

Pumpkin Carving and Decorating 2011


Last Friday my hubby had the day off from work and we were really hoping to head out to a pumpkin patch, but it was pretty cold and we figured it wasn’t a great idea. He took Adaline out to the store where they picked out a big pumpkin, smaller pumpkin, and a bag full of gourds that Adaline calls “little pumpkins”.

Adaline poses with her pumpkin before the pumpkin fun begins.

I’m not really sure what’s going on here. Apparently she finds my face fascinating…I’m sure you all do 😉

Since Adaline’s still a little too young for carving, and I don’t have any cookie cutters, paint, or glitter, I decided to let her decorate her pumpkin using markers. This was her first marker-related experience and she thoroughly enjoyed it, although she was a little irritated that the colors didn’t look right sometimes (because of the orange pumpkin many colors just looked black).

(Email and feed readers click here or go to the blog to view the video.)

Adaline gets some blue marker on her thumb, which upsets her. No problem, it’s nothing a little mommy spit won’t fix.

The proud artist with her completed masterpiece.


Now it’s daddy’s turn to carve the big pumpkin. Adaline busies herself with crayons and asking me to repeatedly draw triangles on the newspaper.

Weird and gross. Back off, ladies, he’s mine 😉

Last year hubby and I traded off with the pumpkin scooping and carving, but this year I let the man handle it all by himself. Pumpkin guts are super gross.

Here’s Cool Daddy’s finished masterpiece. It’s an owl, just in case you weren’t sure 😉

Related Posts:
*Trick-or-Treat 2011
*Pumpkin Carving 2010
*The Festival of Festivals 2010

*The Spring House 2010
*The Apple Castle 2010
*Fall Family Fun 2009
*Ghosts of Halloween Past: My Childhood Halloweens
*How to make a Kleenex Box Halloween Costume
*Halloween Parade: Fall Fashion

Coolest Family on the Block is committed to helping you find creative ways to have fun and make memories with your family all year-long. Don’t miss an idea, tip, or trick…subscribe and have updates sent directly to your email!

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