Kids big and little love the one night of the year when it’s OK to dress up, play tricks and gather far too many sweet treats for their own good. We’ve come up with a few Halloween how tos, to make sure your party goes with a howwwwwl!
Carve A Laughing Jack-o’-Lantern
1. Buy a pumpkin from your local supermarket or farm shop.
2. Draw a circle around the stem on the top where you want the lid to go.
3. Cut out the lid, make sure you use a sharp knife and angle it inwards so the lid will lift off easily.
4. Use a long-handled spoon or ladle to clean out the inside of the pumpkin.
5. Wipe the inside and leave to dry.
6. Draw your chosen pattern onto the skin with a washable marker – it’s possible to buy ready to cut stencils if you’re not all that confident of your artistic abilities.
7. Either cut out the shape freehand or, take the experts’ advice, and use a sharp pin or screwdriver to poke holes all the way round the shape and then push it through using your knife to even up the edges.
8. Pop a tea light inside, replace the lid and, hey presto, one pumpkin lantern.
9. If you want to hang the lamp rather than standing it on the porch, pierce a hole on either side of the design a few centimetres down from the lid and thread through thin wire.
Create Creepy Costumes
1. Take a couple of old white sheets – if you don’t have any at home check out charity shops or discount stores.
2. Cut slits around 5-7cm along one edge (they don’t have to be perfect) and then tear along the length of the fabric.
3. To get the aged effect, take a bucket of boiling water, add a few teabags and soak the material for about half an hour. Remove from the water and leave to dry.
4. Get an old white, long-sleeved T-shirt, or tutle neck if possible, and, starting from the bottom, stitch the strips around the shirt. Again, they don’t have to be perfect, make sure you go for uneven and leave ends hanging. You can do this with a sewing machine if you have one but running tacking stitch is fine if you don’t.
5. Cut along the length of the sleeves and attach layers so you don’t have to stitch around. Once you’ve done a few layers and are happy with the look, turn the shirt inside out and sew the sleeves back up.
6. Take white leggings or pyjama bottoms, cut the inside seams and do the same, sewing on strips until you’re happy with the appearance and then stitch the legs back up. You can tie strips together for an authentic look.
7. For hands and feet, add more strips onto socks and gloves.
8. Cover face and head with left over material strips – as little or as much covering as you like – and then add a bit of green face paint, after all mummies are pretty old, so their complexions are probably not great.
Dress up your costume with more green and grey or black face paint, but don’t go over the top.
Cute little witch:
1. To make a tutu, take a piece of 2cm wide elastic long enough to go round the waist and cover with wide black ribbon. Buy black tulle or netting and cut into strips around 50-60cm wide, varying the lengths to give a jagged edge. Roll the tulle and cut into 6-7cm sections, cutting a diagonal at each end to emphasise the jaggedness.
2. Hold two or three strips together and fold in half, wrap the loop around the elastic waistband and pull the ends through to attach the strips. Repeat all the way round until the band is completely covered. Remember to vary the lengths.
3. To make the witch’s hat take two pieces of black foam or stiff card. Roll one piece to form a cone. Try it on the child’s head for size and, once you have a fit, mark the edges to cut off excess. Glue or staple the edges together. To make the brim, on the second piece of card, trace a circle round a dinner plate then trace a second ring around the hat hole, make the circle slightly smaller than the hole and cut. Slide the brim over the top of the cone so that it sits at the edge. Add a strip of tulle at the join for decoration.
4. Dress your little one (or yourself) in a black long-sleeved T-shirt and leggings with some scruffy long, stripy socks for added effect. Add the tutu, hat, face paint, wand, broomstick and anything else you can think of.
Serve Up Scary Snacks
You can either stand these on a place or use lolly sticks. If using sticks cut the bananas in half and push a lolly stick into the middle of each banana. For a healthy option, simply add faces with chocolate chips.
If you’re going for a more grown-up option, melt white chocolate in a bowl, around 200g for four whole bananas. Coat the bananas in chocolate. Layer desiccated coconut in a shallow dish, roll the bananas in it to roughly coat. Lay on a sheet of baking paper and use chocolate chips to form eyes nose and mouth. Freeze for around five hours.
Witches’ Fingers Cookies
Take a tube of shop-bought cookie dough to save time. Split the dough in half. Put one piece into a bowl and knead in a little flour. Take small balls and roll into sausage shapes about as long as your finger. Pinch above and below the middle of the roll to form a knuckle and make three shallow scores across this area. Do the same with the second half of the dough but add a little green food colouring for a little extra atmosphere. Add sliced almonds as fingernails and bake for 10 minutes at around 180 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. You can use jam or bright red coloured icing to give a bloody touch around the nails and at the stump. (For a savoury option, use pizza dough and sprinkle with cheese and tomato ketchup.)
Hair-raising Mini Pizzas
Use ready-made puff pastry, cut into finger-food sized circles. Top with tomato paste, cheese and anything else you fancy. Bake in the oven and then add halved black olives or slices of pastrami. Slice thin slivers of olive or sausage and position as legs to form spooky spiders. To save even more time you can do this with a cooked, fairly plain, shop-bought pizza, just add spiders on top.