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Don’t go into the pumpkin patch – Part 2

The gross stuff. Yep, I couldn’t keep him under wraps. And I’m a sucker for his dimples. So he got another pumpkin just for himself.

This is before he got his mitts on it.

His tools for mischief

The Sharpie, knife and spoon for working; and the hatchet for killing.

And the end result is this wonderful addition to the back yard behind some bushes. Umm, I mean right there in the front yard on the sidewalk, scaring little kids as they walk up to our house on Halloween this year.

Cut behind the hatchet is a slot for the gore still inside the pumpkin to be pushed out the side, so the pumpkin is bleeding its brains out from the wound. Clever.

Well, at least it’s not this, right?  That’s something, isn’t it?

Don’t go into the pumpkin patch…

Yes, another don’t do ___ with my husband post. This time it’s about poor innocent pumpkins and sweet Halloween children. The girls have waited a few days to paint and decorate their pumpkins. Jim helped them yesterday while I went to an appointment to be fingerprinted as a school volunteer.

He calls me on the phone and says “Anna come home right AWAY!”
I think panic, crisis, the end of days, he set the house on fire again (yes, he did it once already this year), or worse. “Whats the matter?”
“The girls won’t let me make scary pumpkins. I need you to go to the store and pick me up 3 pumpkins so I can have a massacre in front of our house.”
I hung up.

What did he do for our 2010 Halloween pumpkin decorations when left alone with the girls?


He helped Granuaile carve out this pretty face she drew. She didn’t want the guts removed because it was too much work.


He made Eilis clean it out herself. Something she wanted to do, and then not want to do after 5 minutes. But he kept her doing all the work and in the end she made a wonderful jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Congrats Eilis!


This is Jim’s pumpkin for me. It’s cute, sits on our steps, and just looks sweet.

The Ghost of John lyrics

Long white bones with the rest all gone
(Have you seen the ghost of John?)
Long white bones with the rest all gone)
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?

Have you seen the ghost of John?
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?)
Long white bones with the rest all gone
Have you seen the ghost of John?)
Long white bones with the rest all gone)
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?

Don’t forget to hold a flashlight under your chin and turn the lights on, or sing it outside at night on the front steps around your Halloween mums and pumpkins. Your children will remember it for their entire lives.

2010 Halloween decorating tips Part 2

A relatively sane mom would just say that if the outside is decorated, that’s all that matters.  That’s all anyone is going to see anyway, right?

Yes, well, you’re not talking to anyone reasonably sane.  I have three daughters – it takes a toll on your mental faculties.

Here are a few inexpensive and easy ways to spruce up the inside of your house for Halloween.  Look at it this way – the decorations hide the dust and the dirty windows!

Tip #6. Turn the little ones loose with tape!

Notice the couch in front of the bay window, just the right size for little climbers.  My beauty girls are always climbing up in this window box anyway, so they might as well have something to do!  I picked up a bunch of paper decorations at the party store for under $1 each, and let the kids tape them up.  They were excited to contribute to the decorating, and if the sun bleaches them out, I don’t mind tossing them and replacing them.  Notice this guy on the floor, trampled and unhung. Well at cheap prices, its bound to happen. Remember to give the kids things they can handle, but if you haven’t spent a fortune on decorations when they handle it too rough (and they will) no one gets yelled at.

Tip #7. Fall broom scented with oils

I love cinnamon brooms, and if you are the creative sort, you can decorate the brooms (available at local craft stores and some supermarkets – I got mine at Wegmans) with ribbon, fall leaves, and pine cones.  Or, if you’re too busy to be creative, just place the broom in a corner of the room and let the spicy smell of fall permeate the room.  It smells better if the broom gets some sun on it during the day.

Now as wonderful as they make your house smell wonderful from Spetember to January. After Christmas don’t throw them away. At the end of the season, put them in a plastic bag with some cinnamon scented oil and then another plastic bag and seal it up tight.  It will be there for you again next fall.

One note, this picture requires you to clean those wonderful hardwood floors. See Tip #1 above for more details on how to make that happen.

Tip #8. Table decorations

Nothing says Halloween like treats.  Fill some glass jars with some autumn color wrapped chocolates and candy corn.  They look nice clustered on the table with some decorations, and they can help keep the kids (and the husband) out of the candy that you bought for the trick or treaters.

Tip #9 Indian Corn

I only buy this because my dad always bought it.  He loved the stuff.  And it is a simple, festive way to celebrate the harvest season.  You can hang them on a door, use them as a centerpiece (tied with ribbon, which I have but haven’t had time to add), or put them at the end of a banister.  That’s probably where mine is going this year.

If you are going to hang the corn outside, use that Tabasco or cayenne pepper on it – the birds will think you’re laying out a buffet!

Tip #10. Save everything.

And I do mean everything including those window clings, left over napkins and plates, and those ghost cookie cutters you used to cut up their sandwhiches every day. Put it all in a giant orange 30 gallon tub and save it for next year. Make a fun game of opening the tubs, and let the kids be suprised all over again at what you have kept from year to year when they are they to open the lids.

Happy Halloween!

2010 Halloween decorating tips

It’s almost Halloween, and as if my house isn’t scary and cobwebby enough on a regular basis, it’s time to deck the place out.  But who the heck has the time?  Here are some quick and easy Fall 2010 and Halloween decorating tips for Moms like me – you know, the ones whose kids have badgered you that you’re the only house left in creation without decorations up and could you please, pretty please put something scary out so people will come for trick or treat?

Tip #1. Have your husband do all the work.  Yeah, that’s not gonna work.  Let’s move on, shall we?

Tip #2. Mums

That’s right, have a pack of British women come and do it!  No?  Okay, then just hit up your garden center, super market, or local WalMart and get pots of mums.  You don’t even have to go to the trouble of un-potting them and planting them in the ground.  They come in a plethora of gorgeous fall colors, and on their own, they will add a festive autumn look to the front of your house.  I saw many nurseries and grocery stores in my area selling them for $3 each – you can make your house pop for under $20!

Tip #3. Pumpkins

Unlike last year, when the weather did some serious damage to the pumpkin crop, driving up the price of these spectacular fall decorations, pumpkins this year are plentiful, which means prices are down!  I prefer to leave mine whole, because that way, they do double duty as Thanksgiving decor.  If you have a squirrel problem, like we do, you can keep your pumpkins intact by spraying them with a mixture of water and Tabasco sauce, or sprinkle some cayenne pepper on them.  Moth balls around them work as well, but they do detract a bit from your fall landscape.

Tip #4. Kids outside with crayons markers and a pumpkin

This is a before shot, I will post the update after they have their ways with these two unsuspecting pumpkins of the torture, creativity and torment that awaits them.  Even though I like my pumpkins plain, kids do not.  Use paints, markers, or even felt strips and glue to allow your kids to decorate the pumpkins.  Enlist the help of an able bodied grown up if you want to go all the way with that spookily carved Jack-O-Lantern.  You’ll also find other things you can use to decorate your pumpkins – like these Mr. Potato Head pieces I found at Target last year.

I also do not recommend that you enlist the help of my husband, who tends to be a bit too macabre when carving his pumpkins.

Tip #5. Cob webs

Easy to spread out, and a pain to pick up later.  But this is something the kids can do to help out and feel like they’ve decorated, plus it gives the house a spooky but not too scary look.  Let the husband who didn’t help you put the decorations up or those British Mums clean up after Halloween is over.

And in Part 2 I give you some very helpful inside decorating tips #6 thru #10 http:www.beautygirlsmom.com/2010-halloween-decorating-tips-part-2

Is Eastern State Penitentiary to scary for kids?

In a word, yes.  In a few words, are you freakin’ crazy?  This is a Dad asking this question, right?  No self respecting, child loving mother would even ponder the thought.

To begin with, the place is pretty scary looking even in the daylight.  When it’s not Halloween. Even for grown ups.

Then there’s that other thing, you know the one where they say the place is haunted.  You knew that, right?  You’ve seen it on Ghost Hunters.  Twice.  Apparently there were so many ghosts, they had to visit twice to see them all.  It’s a scary place.  Even for grown ups.

An apparition captured on film at Eastern State Penitentiary

So when you add to this already frightening combination the fact that Terror Behind the Walls is rated as the number one haunted house in America, you can assume one thing.  This place is scary.  Even for grown ups.

The fright takes place in five separate haunted attractions on the 11 acre grounds of the prison.  There are live actors in terrifying situations there to make sure you scream, cover your eyes, and in some cases, require the use of the clean underwear your mother has always told you should be in your glove box.  This haunted house is not for the weak.  Tackle some small, local Halloween haunted houses before you decide to give Eastern State a try.  Even if you’re a grown up.

I will tell you, though, that the proceeds of Terror Behind the Walls all goes to the not-for-profit Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, which aims to preserve the very rich history of the prison.  That makes it even more enticing to go.  Except I’m a chicken.

So yes.  Eastern State Penitentiary – at least the Terror Behind the Walls is too scary for kids.  And even for grown ups.

But there are tours specifically geared toward children, and I highly recommend that you do one.  The history, the legends, and the stories will captivate your child.  The recommended age for the tours is 12 and older.  It is still a little bit scary.

Even for grown ups.

Visit www.easternstate.org for more information on Terror Behind the Walls and the other tours available at Eastern State Penitentiary.

Mother Daughter Halloween Costumes

Every Dad’s dream this Halloween is to have their wife and daughters all dressed alike for a memorable Halloween portrait.  Of course, with Dads being men, we know that they are rarely in their right mind, and the idea of putting women of all different ages, shapes and sizes in the same outfit pretty much qualifies that Dad for some sort of therapy.

But there I was anyway, picking out matching Halloween costumes for me and the girls.  It wasn’t pretty.  Oh, the girls were pretty – they always are.  They looked adorable all dressed up as sailors.  I could not muster adorable.  I did muster disgruntled.

For those of you that saw me at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and recognize that I was not wearing my disgruntled sailor outfit, this photo should be an indication as to why I was not.

Next Halloween, I’m making Jim dress like the girls.  Start sending your ideas in now.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 101

One of my favorite events of all time at Walt Disney World is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  The party, which takes place on select nights from September through November 1st, takes place at the Magic Kingdom.  You have to purchase a separate ticket for the event, but I always think it’s well worth the price.

So is it worth it for your family?

Here’s how it works for us.

The day of the party, we spend a leisurely morning having breakfast, lounging at the pool, or doing some souvenir shopping.  There is no wake up call, no time to be out and about.  If you are buying multi-day park passes, this saves you a day.

In years past, your party ticket allowed you to enter the theme park at 4:00 in the afternoon – even though the party doesn’t technically begin until 7:00.  This is not an advertised benefit, and it could be revoked at any time, but for my family, it has always meant going in, having a nice dinner, browsing some shops, and being ready for the fun of the party right when it begins.  You go through specific turnstiles, and you will be given a wristband and trick or treat bag – no need to bring one from home!

Once the party begins, you will usually find that due to the limited number of tickets that are sold for this event, many of the attractions are walk ons.  This is an incredible time saver!  If you go into the theme park at 7:00, by the time midnight rolls around, you could probably  have done all of the attractions you would have wanted to do, and avoided the day time crowds.  As a bonus, you may even have time to hit up a couple of the trick or treat stations.

And here’s a tip about the trick or treat stations – while the lines at the stations move very quickly, you will find towards the end of the evening, there are virtually no lines at all.  You could do all of the attractions you want to do, then go trick or treating, and still come away with a pretty good haul of candy!

There are two parades that take place during the party.  The early parade is the bigger draw, because for some families with young children (or those that spent all day in a theme park and are exhausted), they know they won’t make it to the second parade.  My favorite viewing spot for the second parade?  At the very start of Main Street, on the side by the firehouse.  I am almost always standing down there by myself, and the headless horseman and I are almost BFFs!

The fireworks for the party are not necessarily meant to be seen from in front of Cinderella Castle, so if you happen to be in Liberty Square, you’re still golden in terms of fireworks viewing.

And take it from a mom with experience – your kids won’t know if you wait until they go to sleep and swipe all of the Clark bars!  And if you eat them all before the kids wake up the next morning, you’re doing yourself a favor.  Now they won’t melt on the trip home!

I think the party is a terrific value over the cost of a theme park pass.  We get at least as much – if not more – done during the party than we do in a day at the park, and it comes sprinkled with pixie dust in the form of Smartees and Laffy Taffy!

This is a must do for us every year.