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A homely Halloween - ideas for half-term

As we near the close of our tweens’ first half-term of schooling with Covid-19, we all need to congratulate ourselves, our families and each other for managing our lives in these difficult times. Here in the UK, families throughout the country will be embarking on a half-term far from normality with a range of different restrictions.

Halloween too will be like no other with trick or treating off limits; so here at twixt we have put our collective, socially distant heads together to come up with some Halloween related activities that our tweens can do and who knows, if they go down well maybe they can become part of your family’s annual tradition.

1. Pumpkin Picking

Many farms around the country are still running their annual pick-a-pumpkin days throughout half-term complete with Covid-safety measures. It’s a great opportunity to get everyone outside for a few hours and enables them to select exactly the right pumpkin for whatever creative carving plan they have for when you get back home. Remember to check if you have to book ahead. Click here for a list of farms taking part throughout the UK.

2. Brownie Bats

We've trawled the internet for fun Halloween bakes and love this idea. Simply bake your favourite brownie recipe and then turn each square into bats with Oreo-halves for wings and ready-made iced eyes. If your tween is feeling even more adventurous, have a go at Pumpkin Brownies (yes, they are a thing and they even sound healthy) and if successful could be repeated in November for Thanksgiving. Try out this simple recipe.

3. Halloween Window Art

This works especially well if a few families from the same road, block or village all join in. Arm the kids with a big packet of orange tissue paper and plenty of black card and using the card to cut out silhouettes of Halloweenish things, and the tissue paper to cover it all, it will look really effective when it's dark and lit up from inside. If there are several of these on display near you, taking a walk around to see them all can be an alternative to actual trick or treating.

4. Spooky Mocktails

Set up a “bar” in the kitchen with a range of juices, food colouring and bits of fruit/olives etc. for garnish. You can then let your tweens create and mix their own mocktails with a spooky twist. Click here for inspiration.

5. Spa Afternoon

I tried this one afternoon during lockdown earlier in the year and both my daughter and son really enjoyed it. Get everyone to don fluffy dressing gowns and slippers and then organise a couple of “treatment rooms”. Maybe one in the bath with exotic smelling bubbles zenning out to a mindfulness track and one in a bedroom getting an essential oils massage while playing a spa music compilation on Spotify. Prepare small, healthy snacks such as fruit, cucumber, mini crackers and then perhaps paint each other’s nails. Not very Halloween so far I know, so follow up with a spooky film, or even better take it in turns to make up or read some ghost stories in the dark. Here are our top 5 spooky film and book suggestions:

The Addams Family (1991) (PG)

Coco (PG)

Coraline (PG)

Spirited Away (PG)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (12A)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight: More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep by Jack Prelutsky

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

The Travelling Bag and Other Ghostly Stories by Susan Hill (for older readers)

Clare Burlingham is a freelance writer and will be spending Halloween at home with her two children mainly eating Brownie Bats.

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