Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I am a danger to myself and others at this time of year. I walk into Michael's craft store, Target, Dollar Tree, or past the racks of magazines at the grocery store, and I feel myself beginning to get worked into a frenzy. It's craft season! It's Halloween! Preheat the oven! Find my scissors! Where's the construction paper? I'm more excited about the $6 bottle of sprinkles I bought this week than the new purple sweater I got on sale. Yippee!
Do you know how many hours I have spent in the last month on marthastewart.com? Neither does Hubby, so don't tell him. I just can't get enough of Halloween cupcakes, fall wreaths, jack-o-lanterns, and more. Last year, as I was busily turning pine cones into owl ornaments (Martha used pine-coned shaped boxes, but I use real pinecones from my yard, thank you very much), Sophia asked, "Mom, why do you have to make everything you see?" Oh, if she only knew how many things I want to make and don't.
Halloween is a great time for even the non-crafty to enjoy being creative, because it's almost all about making things for kids, and the kids aren't picky. Jeff and I have actually made it our mission to get our craft-wary friends' hands dirty every year by hosting a pumpkin carving party. And here, reaching the dozens of people who may or may not read this, I hope to inspire you to do one homemade thing this year. Here's a list of options:
1. Host a pumpkin carving party! Put out newspaper, grab some spoons and some old knives and invite your neighbors. Everyone will feel insecure, laugh, and get into it. Give prizes in silly categories like "Most abstract" and "best pumpkin with three eyes." If you want to get the men excited, bring out a power drill and watch the pumpkin pulp fly. Don't cover your backyard with straw, however. We tried it one year and I think there still might be some straw out there somewhere.
2. Let the kids design their own jack-o-lantern. We give Sophia a Sharpie marker and let her go to town. Then Hubby does his best to carve whatever shapes she's drawn. It looked awesome, if slightly abstract, and she was so proud.
3. Make, don't buy, a Halloween costume. The best ones are always silly conglomerations from the dress up box, if you ask me. I hate all the made-in-China superhero stuff. One year, Sophia was a cowgirl wearing my brother's suede vest from the 1970s, a pair of hand-me-down boots, and a Knott's Berry Farm hat. Livie wore a peasant blouse my friend sent me from Ukraine and a pair of outgrown jeans I cut the bottoms off of, and a pirate hat. She was hilarious.
4. Be flexible. I like to buy a big, hot costume for the kids, take their picture in it, and then take it back to Old Navy, because, seriously, the kids always refuse to wear it on Halloween when it's usually 90 degrees here in Southern California. I always have a back up option in the dress up box for those occasions. Last year, Livie wore her Babystyle peacock costume for the whole month of October, and wouldn't put it on on the 31st. Since Sophia was Tinkerbell, I pulled out a pink leotard and wings, and Livie was a pink fairy. It was one of my favorite years.
5. Make caramel apples. They are the easiest thing in the world to do, but possibly the most delicious. The hardest part is unwrapping the caramels, but make the kids help you. They make great teacher gifts for your school Halloween party. There are recipes on-line, and on the caramel package.
6. Make tissue paper ghosts. Ball up a paper towel, wrap it in a Kleenex, tie a string around it, draw on eyes and hang it from the ceiling. Don't hang it from a ceiling fan and try to make it fly though. Trust me.
7. Dress up! One year I was a 1950s housewife with red lipstick, a pink apron and pearls. I've also been a cowgirl and a cat. I went to a Girl Scout Party on Monday as a witch (I was the only mommy dressed up, which was embarrassing, and I got some cat calls from passing cars, but so what?). This year, I have a blond wig and I think I'm going to be Martha Stewart. My wig is pretty ratty so Hubby says I'll look like a Martha who's just been on a weekend bender. With all that gal accomplishes, I wouldn't be surprised if that really is what she does when the season's over.
If you're not interested in creativity, we can still be friends. But if you're just a little intimidated by it, read on tomorrow for why failure can be fun.