October Traditions

October is a month that starts to get a little busy with activities. This month we had a birthday and a baptism in our family, which made it extra special. Some of the annual fall activities this month included:

General Conference Weekend

The Bat Fest

A visit to the Pumpkin Patch

Ward Fall Festival/Trunk or Treat

Pumpking carving

Boo at the Zoo

Trick or Treating in the neighborhood

This year I was asked to come up with a game to play at our Ward Fall Festival. We went for ghost bowling: gather 10 soda bottles (raid your neighbors recycling bins if necessary), spray paint them white, draw a ghost face with a sharpie, then set up and bowl with a basketball with with a pumpkin face added on for fun.

Each year on Halloween we enjoy a bit of a spooky menu: wrapped mummies (hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll strips and baked) and brains (jello formed in a brain mold). This year for the school class parties I sent these cute witch brooms (string cheese and pretzels). Unfortunately, the healthy snack couldn’t compete with all the cupcakes and cookies and treats that were offered, and most of the snack made its way back home.

And as usual, we read our favorite Halloween books to put us in the mood for spooky, pumpkin fun!

In Sum: 327 (or in other words, a post about Halloween candy and counting)

Our children ended up with a massive pile of candy after our Halloween activities this year. Really.*

One quiet afternoon I decided to have a little fun with our candy (and sneak in some learning at the same time). I dumped out our bowls of candy on the living room floor and asked the kids to sort and organize it. I got them started by saying “Here is a tootsie pop. Do we have any other tootsie pops? Let’s put them in a pile together.” They caught on quickly and jumped right in. Even the two-year old was happily picking up candy and saying “same…same!”

Once the sorting was done, we took a look at our piles and I asked them to estimate, or take a guess at which pile had the most candy. Then we started counting. Each child took turns picking a pile to count and we recorded the totals. We worked our way through the chocolate pile, the Tootsie Pops, the Nerds, the Laffy Taffy, etc. We were all correct in our estimation that we had the most chocolate–77 pieces! Hooray.

After all that counting and sorting, it was definitely time to eat a piece!

Then I suggested that we go the next step and figure out how many pieces of candy we had all together. I pulled out the dry erase boards for my almost-8-year-old and she started adding everything up.

Meanwhile my five year old and I pulled out the calculator and started adding up our totals–she punched in all of the numbers.

The grand total at the end came to 327 pieces of candy! Yikes, that is a lot of candy. And that is even after almost two weeks of eating a few pieces of candy a day, and sharing a bunch with our family who visited for a few days. I wonder how much we had to start with ??!!!

We made a few real-world applications and realized that if the 5 of us in our family each ate one piece of candy a day, it will last us for 65 days. But it is more likely that we will eat two pieces, in which case it will last for 32 days, or about a month.

I know I am a bit of nerd, but it was really fun to find some real life counting and math practice that worked for all three of my children! Thanks for the inspiration, Teach Mama! Check out her post for more ideas and great ways to play with candy.

*The long story: We attended our ward Trunk or Treat party the weekend prior, and then the children headed out with Dad on Halloween to knock the neighborhood. This is our first year in a neighborhood with houses and families and children (as opposed to just townhomes and mainly college students) so we weren’t exactly sure how much candy to plan for. Well…turns out that our street is not a popular place to trick or treat. At nearly every door they knocked they were handed an extra large handful of candy because the home owners were thrilled to finally have some children to give candy too. And while I eagerly waited at home with my own candy bowl primed and ready to go, I only had 4 children knock at my door. All of that combines to make one large supply of candy!!

Our Halloween Reading List

There is still plenty of time to get in some fun Halloween themed reading with your little ones. Here are the books on our shelf this year:

Peek-a-Boooo! by Marie Cimarusti: A cute lift the flap book. My two and a half year old loves this book

AlphaOops! H is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis. This is a fabulous alphabet book, and our favorite find of the year.

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuna Kohara: I love this story about a problem solving little witch

Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson

Dem Bones by Bob Barner

Halloween Day by Anne Rockwell

Plumply Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler:  we read this book whenever someone in our home has the hiccups!

10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman

Moonlight the Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming

Check out last year’s reading and activity list here.

Fall and Halloween activities I plan to do

Halloween and fall activities have been popping up all over online for a few weeks now. To help me keep track of the projects I actually want to attempt this year, I am sharing my potential to-do list with you here. Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more great ideas (since I mostly just pin things there and rarely get around to blogging anymore!) Of course, we are also reading lot’s of books–but I’ll save that post for another day.

Happy October!

Acorn pumpkins from Family Fun

Haunted House math activity (or letters?) from No Time for Flashcards

Autumn leaf garland from Activity Corner

Leaf cut out artwork from Rockabye Butterfly

 Tissue leaf tree from Rockabye Butterfly

Pretzel stick trees from Tippytoe Crafts

Fall fingerpaint tree from Rockabye Butterfly

Paperplate ghosts from Clean and Scentsible

Egg carton bats and leaf ghosts from Happy Clippings

Pumpkin Bowling from Be Different Act Normal

Thumbprint spiders from Meet the Dubiens

Play Monster memory from No Time for Flashcards

Coffee filter trees from The Iowa Farmers Wife 

Books and Fun for October

October is a great month, full of fall time fun: leaves and pumpkins and Halloween (as well as a birthday for our family!). At our house we enjoy reading books to celebrate the season. Here is a sampling of what we are reading this month:

Dem Bones by Bob Barner: great book that shares interesting “bone facts”, paired with a familiar folk tune.

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler: silly and fun

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White: hmmm, this book makes me want to eat pumpkin pie!

10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman: a great counting book on a Halloween theme

Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz: a fun lift-the-flap book for the little ones.

So…what’s on our activity line-up for the month? Our traditional trip to the pumpkin patch, a ward Trunk-or-Treat party, Boo at the Zoo, carving pumpkins,  and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. But I’m sure we’ll have time for a few fun projects:

This year these adorable thumbprint spiders have caught my eye.

Thanks to Teach Mama, our lunchboxes will contain a laugh in the form of Halloween lunchbox notes.

Teach Mama also shared a lot great ideas for classroom parties, which can also be used at home. I like the Ghost Bingo Game.

Not Just Cute has a great index of preschool activities for fall (and pumpkins!).

I love these footprint ghosts. I saw this image on pinterest, but I unfortunately can’t find the original source to give credit.

Thanks to the Ant Bug, we’ve got a great start on our Halloween decorations. She spent most of last Saturday working on this poster, and I think she included everything pertinent to Halloween: a haunted mansion, spiders and webs, a witch on her broom, bats, a ghost, and a full moon. I love her creativity!

Be sure to check out my past Halloween posts for lots of great activity ideas to celebrate Halloween.

A Pumpkin Party Weekend (2010)

Halloween Recipes (2010)

Glowing Faces in a Jar (and other Halloween Fun) (2010)

Halloween Craft Fun (2009)

Ghosts in the House (2008)

A Pumpkin Party Weekend

After a fun trip to the pumpkin patch last week, we’re planning a family fun night to carve our pumpkin. But with a little time to spare on a long weekend I decided to invite my girls to a Pumpkin Party Weekend. We’ll be working on activities inspired by the following great ideas I’ve found in my Google Reader this week.

5 Little Pumpkins from The Activity Mom
Newspaper Ghosts from Serving Pink Lemonade
Bean Skeletons and Macaroni Spider Webs from The Activity Mom (but I think we will try outlining our spider webs with string)
My friend Emily brought some adorable Hot Dog Mummies to the Sweet Bee’s preschool party. This is what we’ll be having for dinner on Halloween night, along with the Spooky Jello-Jigglers, and some Halloween themed pasta if I can find it at the store (thanks Courtney for the idea).

I don’t think we’ll get to it this year, but some time I would like to try the Frozen Banana Ghost Treats from No Time for Flashcards.

What are your favorite pumpkin activities?