Author: Kristen De Deyn Kirk
Fall can be just as fun as summer - if you just look around and make the most of all that there is to doin Hampton Roads and at home, too. Here's a collection of some of your best bets during this better-than-sweltering-heat season:.
1. Fearful or friendly
You'll find a little bit of both at Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream; choose which suits your child (age might not be the determining factor!). Special "scary zones, terrifying shows and gruesome creatures" make Halloween complete - along with nearly all of what Busch Gardens usually has to offer. Fall passes start at $69.99, but you can ask a friend with a season pass to get you an online discount. As of mid-September, pass holders received a $15 discount for friends. Friday-Sunday, until Oct. 28. www.buschgardens.com.
2. Pretty in pink
We know, you think of orange not pink when it comes to Halloween. But over at Woods Orchards Farm in Hampton, they make Halloween extra sweet with pink pumpkins to raise awareness about breast cancer. They also have white pumpkins and, of course, orange ones available for sale by the pound, and they offer hay rides on Saturday and Sunday for $1. www.woodsorchards.com
3. Development by DVD
According to About.com, tweens and teens can fulfill their need for living on the edge in a safe way with a scary movie (or by riding on a scary ride or hopping on a haunted hayride), and they can also build their self-esteem, feeling like they've faced their fears and accomplished something. Read more at http://tweenparenting.about.com/od/ physicalemotionalgrowth/a/Why-Children-Like-Being-Scared.htm?nl=1. And check out http://tweenparenting.about.com/od/familyhome/a/HalloweenMovies.htm for scary movie suggestions for tweens, including Coraline, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Escape to Witch Mountain.
4. All aboard
Get your ticket to fun for this year's Ghost Train at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake, as long as your definition of fun includes a bit of fright, but we promise it'll be completely family-friendly. Wear your costume and enjoy a half-hour ride Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 25-27. 421-7151.
5. Cool crafts
Perfect for the younger kiddos in Chesapeake is White's Nursery Fall Festival Oct. 13th and 14 th. Roam through the pumpkin patch and the cornstalks and hop on the wagon for a hayride. Best of all, create a remembrance of this autumn at one of the craft tables. www.whitesnursery.com.
6. Friday night frights - and more
Hunt Club Farm is back with what the kids I know say is a truly scary adventure. Brave the haunted hayride, the Village of the Dead and the Field of Screams, if you dare, for $25 on a Friday or Saturday, and for $23 on a Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday. The Virginian-Pilot often publishes discounts. www.huntclubfarms.com
7. "Pepper'o'latern" with "worms"
Toss cooked spaghetti in sauce and place it in peppers carved to look like scary jack o'laterns. Let thestrands come out of the top and the eyes for the full creepy effect.http://www.meganscookin.com/halloween-stuffed-peppers
8. Spider lollipops
Grab a bag of Dum Dum lollipops, cut up some black garbage bags into four-inch by one-inch strips and wrap the strips around the top of the lollipops, securing each with three black pipe cleaners wrapped around and bent to look like spider legs. Go ahead and use four if you must to get the real number of legs - but you might find yourself fighting for space. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/spooky-creepy-lollies-129899.
9. The "Eyes" have it
There are a million wreath ideas out there for every holiday. One of my favorite is an eyeball wreath. Buy a wreath form, wrap in black fabric, pin or glue on black leaves, and finish off with eyeballs - either store bought ones or ones you make out of ping pong balls and red and blue markers (for the irises and bloodshot lines, off course. http://blog.booturtle.com/2010/10/halloween-eyeball-wreath.html
10. Candy corn bottles
Choose several different-shaped bottles and clean and remove any stickers. Spray paint each white and allow to dry. Continue by spraying the centers orange and the bottoms yellow, allowing each to dry in between applications. An extra coat of each gives it a richer look. Display together for a yummy collection. http://swelldesigner.blogspot.com/2011/09/candy-corn-bottle-vases.html
11. Hand it to you kids
Remember the exact size of your children's hands this Halloween by making a handprint bat. Trace both hands on black construction paper, cut out and glue together with the palms overlapping and the thumbs facing up. Glue on small googly eyes where the thumbs meet. http://pebblesinmypocket.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-8-handprint-bats.html
12. Skeleton bones
Make edible mini bones with your children - all you need is stick pretzels, mini marshmallows and white chocolate. Place a marshmallow on each end of the pretzel and dip in melted chocolate. Allow to cool and enjoy! http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/funny-bones-1024764/
13. Say "I do" to ghosts
Turn tissue paper wedding bells (available at most party stores) into ghosts by simply adding black eyes. Want to get real fancy? Add a layer of tulle over that. Take a look at http://www.countryliving.com/crafts/projects/do-it-yourself-halloween-de....
14. Bat straws
Cut five-inch pieces of black ribbon, knot around a straw (loosely!), glue on small eyes in the center and write each guest's name on one "wing" with a silver marker. Then sip away.
15. Pin the pumpkin
Every parent knows that kids like to throw stuff - and there's nothing wrong with that as long as you're OK with what gets broken. Let that be the case with a set of darts and orange balloons, each filled with confetti and candy, all arranged to look like a gigantic, nearly 4-foot by 5-foot pumpkin. Details at http:// www.marthastewart.com/269871/halloween-games-pop-goes-the-pumpkin
16. Fall at the mall
Maybe you're used to prices scaring you at the mall, but that won't be the case at Chesapeake Square Mall. Instead, Spooky Acres Haunted House will do the job. Tickets are an affordable $10 each, available for a house "visit"Oct. 5 and 6, Oct. 12 and 13th, Oct. 19 and 20, Oct. 26 - Oct. 31 from 6:30 p.m. 10 p.m. Cash Only. www.facebook.com/ChesapeakeSquare.
17. Mummy in the tummy
Make yummy, low-fat cupcakes and decorate them like mummies by simply crisscrossing vanilla frosting across the top and adding two matching M&M close together for eyes. http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/10/low-fat-chocolate-mummy-cupcakes.html....
18. Boo to you
Start your day with ghosty pancakes, easy to do with upside down chocolate chips for eyes and a mouth. http://www.gourmetmomonthego.com/2008/10/ghostly-pancakes.html.
19. Pumpkin spider
Lay three pumpkins on their sides in a long line, insert four long sticks into both sides of the center pumpkin, and use construction paper for the eyes.
20. Pay up
Tempted to eat all of your kids' candy? Follow one of my friend's lead and pay your kids $5 to hide the candy from you. It will work, she promises me.
Source: Tidewater Parent Magazine