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Posts Tagged ‘Handmade Halloween’

Best Not-So-Scary Halloween Themes for Small Children

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

by Corey

When I was five, my family went to a “haunted house.” It was supposed to be kid-friendly.

But just steps into the experience, I was so freaked out that my parents convinced a group of witches and ghouls to drop their act and show me that they were real (live) people. Nonetheless, I refused to go any further through.

That was the last time I set foot in a haunted house.

The occasion was supposed to be fun, but for me, it was just awful. I was too young and the acting was too real.

For many kids, the typical “spooky” themes of Halloween can be frightening: the un-dead costumes, the haunted decor, the creaky music, if you are looking for table runners for your Halloween then at CV Linens you will find the best cheap table runner. But there’s no need to limit the fun when there’s so many great alternatives that kids of all ages can enjoy.

Here are 3 not-so-spooky themes for your Halloween celebration:


Credit: Oh The Lovely Things


Forget ghosts and goblins and think “Harvest” – perhaps a pumpkin or apple theme. For either, decorate the room with harvest items you have grown, picked or purchased (look for organic and locally grown). Stamp names on mini-pumpkins for place-cards. Turn apples into candle holders (keep out of the reach of children). Play pass-the-pumpkin or dunk-for-apples (or hang apples from strings and see who can get a bite). Turn last year’s saved plastic Easter eggs into little jack-o-lanters. Stuff with healthy goodies. Have a Halloween egg hunt. Roast pumpkin seeds or make pumpkin cookies. Make mini-caramel apples (using all natural/organic caramel). Make (upcycled) pumpkin or apple crafts. Press apples for cider. Send kids home with a packet of pumpkin or apple seeds.


Credit: Fiksd


Owls are a great nod to the season, without being too spooky. Send a paperless Owl e-invitation. Line the front walk-way with paper-bag luminaries with owl cut-outs, or owl-carved jack-o-lanterns. Decorate the house like a forest. Cover walls with recycled craft paper and paint trees. Make smaller “limbs” from crumpled paper bags. Download Owl calls and forest sounds and play during the party. Make a paper mache owl pinata and fill with healthy goodies. Invite an owl expert to attend. Play pin the owl on the tree. Paint owl faces using natural face paints. Make owl pompoms and send home as the gift.


Credit: Green Baby Guide


Creepy crawlies can be – well, creepy – but they don’t have to be. Make giant spider webs with strips of old sheets or cheesecloth. Flatten large cardboard boxes and paint with chalkboard paint (black). Use chalk to draw on spider webs. Let the kids add spiders with colored chalk. Cut spiders out of recycled paper (like snow flakes). Make spiders from old bike tire tubes and hang on a Halloween tree. Serve buggy fare made from fruits, veggies and whole grain crackers. Play Bug, Bug, Spider instead of Duck, Duck, Goose.

Or forgo the “theme” all together and simply use colors to create a festive Halloween ambiance without the fear-factor.

Try black, green and purple for a twist on the usual orange and black. Serve foods in these color schemes, too.

Green Halloween® is a nationwide non-profit initiative started by mother-daughter team Corey Colwell-Lipson and Lynn Colwell. In 2010, Green Halloween became a program of EcoMom® Alliance and has events in cities across the U.S.

Craft: How to Make a Halloween Tree

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

By Lynn

Last winter, with my husband’s help–OK, OK, all I did was supervise, i.e. tell him what to do–we made a dowel Christmas tree. At the time I thought we could use it for any holiday, but of course, I forgot about most of them until last weekend when we were celebrating my two granddaughters’ birthdays.

I brought out the tree and a mass of pre-used items including:

  • bottle caps
  • silver foil
  • pipe cleaners
  • paper
  • “jewels”
  • wooden beads
  • wire
  • paperclips
  • bolts

..and lots of other odds and ends.

I set everything on the table and the kids (and a few grownups), had a ball making ornaments for the tree.

Here’s the overall result:

And here are just a few of the ornaments:


Everyone had a ball! Even our grandson who isn’t usually into art projects, spent at least an hour hunched over his work and came up with, among other items, the skeleton above.

If you have a Halloween party coming up and you’re thinking about activities, consider something like this. You don’t have to make the tree. Just get a branch, put it in a bucket filled with rocks and start decorating!

Corey did a segment on the news here in Seattle, that included the Halloween tree. And I’m already thinking about repeating this activity for Thanksgiving!

If you have made something similar, we’d love to see pictures!

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of  Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.

Craft: Easy Halloween Countdown Calendar Banner

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

By Lynn

I love countdown calendars like the one that has become a Christmas tradition in our family, because they allow the excitement before any holiday or celebration to build and also can help families create a bit of together time in the midst of busy lives.

For Halloween this year, I decided to combine a count down calendar with a banner/bunting, for a unique, interactive decoration.

I made 31 paper pockets, each with a number between one and 31 (for the days leading up to Halloween). Each can contain a “love note,” an idea for a family activity or a small healthy treat or treasure. All are attached to a length of ribbon with clothespins. String the ribbon like a banner in a child’s or family room.

Each evening, gather the family, pull the slip of paper from the dated pocket and unclip the pocket from the ribbon. Store everything to be brought out next year on October 1.

In making the banner, I wanted to use only what I had on hand. So while I’ll give directions for the calendar banner below, know that you don’t have to do it the way I did. I’ll even point out alternatives to some of what I used. Hopefully there will be no need to hit any stores to complete your own masterpiece!


16 pieces of black heavy weight 8.5×11 paper cut into 31 pieces 4″x8.5″  I was fortunate in that a friend of mine had stopped scrapbooking and gave me lots of paper including an unopened package of black cardstock which is what I used. Of course you can choose other colors or designs from what you have on hand.

Pumpkin and cat stamps (Again, choose or make stamps with a Halloween theme.)

1 piece each, orange and yellow heavy weight paper

Black stamp pad (or paint)

Stapler (Or use tape or a glue gun.)

Small embroidery type scissors

Pop dots (Or something that will make the pumpkins and cats stand 1/2 inch off the paper. I had some of these dots, but when I ran out, I used small pieces of cardboard as spacers.)

31 spring type clothes pins (I have these and use them regularly. I don’t care whether they’re decorated or not so I just used what I had on hand. If you don’t have any, you could punch a hole in the pockets and add a ribbon or string to hang or maybe you have some clip type curtain rings or bent paper clips.)

Burnt orange paint

1/2″ wide paint brush

Variety of orange and black ribbon

Number stickers from 1 to 31. (I had an odd assortment of number stickers so I used those. You could also write the number with a white pen, cut them from magazines and newspapers or stamp with white paint.)

Other stickers and ephemera like sparkly gemstones, buttons, feathers etc.


How to:

1. Fold one piece of cut paper into a cylinder with a diameter of about 1.5″-2″ .

2. Staple once inside where paper overlaps, then on the outside, press down on the bottom of the cylinder and staple twice. (If you prefer something neater you could use double stick tape or glue inside. Personally I like the look of the staples.) Make 30 more cylinders. (By the way, you also could use toilet paper roles and paint them as was done on this wonderful countdown calendar from Maya Made which was an inspiration as I made this one. Unfortunately for me, the TP we buy sticks to the tube making it difficult to impossible to remove it and interfering with the painting idea.)

4. To make the pumpkins and cats, decide how many you want of each, then stamp on yellow and orange paper and cut out with embroidery scissors making sure to leave a little bit of the paper at the edge as you cut. If you cut without that edge, when you glue them to the black paper, you won’t see the whole shape.

5. Attach pumpkins and cats to pockets using pop dots.

6. Stick numbers on the pockets and add other stickers and ephemera as desired.

7. Paint one side of clothespins with burnt orange paint. Let dry.

8. On some clothespins, tie bows. On others, glue ribbon the length of the pin over the paint. You also can add rhinestones, buttons or anything else that fits with your theme.

9. Lay out the 31 pockets side by side and stretch a piece of ribbon or string the length of all the pockets adding about 12″ at each end.

10. Tie each end of the ribbon to 2 post or nails, then attach the pockets in order.


If you make a similar calendar banner please share it with us.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of  Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.



25 Ways to Go Green This Halloween

Friday, September 16th, 2011


Halloween is meant to be enjoyed, but somewhere in between “planning” and “cleanup,” many parents find themselves feeling overwhelmed. It might seem that attempting to consider the Earth while planning a great ghoulish party is just too much work and way too expensive. Some fear it might even zap the fun right out of the day. But creating an eco-savvy Halloween doesn’t have to be scary, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg when you follow these pointers:

  1. Consider your costumes. The truth is many store-bought costumes and accessories contain toxic chemicals that not only are a potential hazard to your child, but also to the environment and the people who helped to make them. Choose fabrics such as cotton, wool and silk or make costumes yourself from materials you know to be safe.
  2. Go au natural. When decorating your home for Halloween, skip the plastic black cats and paper skeleton streamers made in China. Instead, use décor inspired by Mother Earth by choosing fallen leaves, gourds or pumpkins, and 100% beeswax candles.
  3. Trim your trick-or-treats. Hand out less ________ (fill in the blank). Preferably your goodies of choice are healthy and/or Earth-friendly, but even if they’re not, handing out just one (rather than the conventional handful) of something is better for kids, better for the planet and better for your bank account.
  4. Apply the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) to all of your holiday choices: costumes, décor, goodies, etc. Of the 3 R’s, reducing is the best for the Earth, our wallets and, in regard to food, our waistlines. Rent, borrow, swap, make or acquire used, when possible, to avoid buying new, especially disposables.
  5. Choose eek-o-décor. Say ‘no’ to disposables and instead, re-use or re-purpose items you already own. Look also for items from nature and don’t forget to decorate with food (consumable décor). If you must use disposables, look for products that are compostable and then be sure to compost them. Or, choose recycled, reusable and recyclable items like Preserve products. Too bad they don’t come in Halloween colors… yet.
  6. Go kid powered. Give your child a shakable or hand crank flashlight to light his way.
  7. Love LEDs. Use decorative Halloween LED and/ or solar lights for trees, outside of your home, and for lighting the path for trick-or-treaters. They come in every shape, theme and color imaginable!
  8. Bag it, green style. Instead of buying, make your child’s goodie bag from a pillow case or anything else you already own that goes with the theme of the costume. Or, purchase a keepsake, reusable Green Halloween® trick-or-treat ChicoBag. (Designed each year by kids! Enter the design contest here. 10% of the sales support the Green Halloween initiative.)
  9. Get creative. Turn costume making into a creative and fun experience for your child. Hunt through the house, at neighborhood garage sales, or a thrift store for costume-worthy items. Enjoy the process and the product! Another idea: host a costume exchange as part of National Costume Swap Day (second Saturday in October).
  10. Switcheroo. Instead of allowing your child to eat all the candy he collects, ask him to select a limited, pre-agreed upon amount and then leave the rest out for the Halloween Fairy/ Witch/ Great Pumpkin, who will, while your child is sleeping that night, swap the candy for goodies such as books, games or “pumpkin points” redeemable for outings.
  11. Green the YUM. Make the party meal using foods that are mostly orange, black and green. Create spooky names for the food, if you can. Shop locally (support local farmers) and choose organic, whenever possible.
  12. Recycle the unexpected. Compost all leftovers, jack-o-lanterns, natural décor and unconsumed candy – remove wrappers unless they’re compostable. In some places of the country, you can add compostables to your yard waste bin.
  13. Celebrate others. Host your Halloween party at a retirement home, children’s hospital, organic farm or similar.
  14. Say ‘no’ to toxic chemicals. Make your own face paints. Here’s the recipe. Or purchase mineral-based, lead-free paints.
  15. Choose eco sweets. If buying candy, choose organic – you’ll be surprised at how affordable some brands are! If buying chocolate, look for triple certified: organic, shade grown, Fair Trade.
  16. Think outside the {conventional} candy box. Instead of giving out conventional candy: give away healthy and/or Earth friendly treats and treasures.
  17. Make décor to DIY for. Make your own Halloween décor by visiting craft sites and swapping conventional materials for eco-supplies. For example, if you are going to make some paper ghosts for your window, be sure the paper is reused, recycled or tree-free.
  18. Invite sustainably. Use e-invitations or make your own from reused, recycled or tree-free sources. Kids will love Mr. Ellie Pooh’s Elephant dung paper! It comes in gorgeous fall colors (all scent-free!). The orange cardstock is perfect for Halloween invites, place cards and more. Supporting Mr. Ellie Pooh means supporting the Elephants in Sri Lanka, who are losing their lives because without profit associated with them, they are seen as liabilities to local farmers.
  19. Reclaim wrappers. Collect candy and bar wrappers and turn them into picture framed, purses, jewelry and more. Tweens and teens especially love this activity. Contact for a collection box.
  20. Trick-or-treat for good. When tweens and teens are too old to trick or treat, but still enjoy the traditions, encourage them to take a look at how they can turn trick or treating into an activity that benefits others such as: Reverse Trick-or-Treating, trick-or-treating for cell phones, or of course, UNICEF’s program.
  21. Start small and build your confidence. Start simply by having (and using) a recycle bin at your party or by going bottled water-free. You can green up each of your next celebrations a little bit at a time until celebrating green-style becomes old hat.
  22. Plan ahead to avoid costly impulse buying. You’re less likely to invade the local super party store at the eleventh-hour when you make food, gift, décor and activity decisions in advance.
  23. Get the family involved. Ask your kids to come up with three ways to give Halloween a green makeover. Write all of the viable ideas down on paper, toss them in a bowl and select three to try this year.
  24. Don’t drive to trick or treat. Encourage your neighbors to go green and then go door-to-door near you. It’s good for you and the planet and builds community.
  25. Learn more. For more great tips and tricks sign up for the e-newsletters from and And don’t forget to buy a copy of Celebrate Green! It features ideas, recipes, crafts, gift suggestions and more.
Green Halloween® is a nationwide non-profit initiative started by mother-daughter team Corey Colwell-Lipson and Lynn Colwell. In 2010, Green Halloween became a program of EcoMom® Alliance and has events in cities across the U.S.

Green Halloween in Viva La Moda magazine

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


Indie artists rock! Their creativity, initiative and individual approach excites us and so do their products. That’s why we’re delighted to be contributors to the fab online magazine, Viva La Moda.

In this month’s issue, we’ve selected some of the sweetest Halloween gifts imaginable, all handmade and most from

Take a look. We think these items will hook you on handmade (if you’re not already).