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5 Spooktacular Ideas For Celebrating Halloween in the Classroom

 Halloween is going to be here before we know it!  Here is Ruth, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad with some spooky ideas for celebrating Halloween in the classroom!

celebrating halloween

5 Spooktacular Ideas For Celebrating Halloween in the Classroom

Halloween comes around once a year, and there are a lot of ways to make it special without adding lots of sugar and hyper kids into the mix. Many of you are already planning out ways to help your child’s classroom celebrate this year. Here are a few ideas that are great for the classroom!

#1 Do-It-Yourself Games & Activities 

DIY games are a great way to celebrate parties at school. Most of the time they are cheap and use items that you can find at home such as ghost bowling.

Items: bowling pins or empty water bottles, crepe or toilet paper, googly eyes or black paper and a small ball. The kids can even help prepare the activity. For directions and other DIY party games check out this link from Good Housekeeping.

#2 Skip the Sweets 

Non-candy Halloween treats are a delicious and healthy idea for the classroom party. There are a lot of fun and healthy alternatives that can be made at home and sent in without giving every child a sugar buzz. Mini mummy pizzas, ghost bananas and spider crackers are just a few ideas to get you started. Listotic.com has 64 ideas to choose from.

#3 Get a Little Crafty 

Crafts are usually a winner with kids. They love things that are hands on and it’s also the best way to teach young ones new skills. Parents.com has some fun ideas for party crafts that kids can create at school as well as some other fun ideas for costumes and decorations. These ideas are simple to create and there are video tutorials for some of them as well!

#4 Don’t Be Too Scared to Keep it Fit 

Make it a fit Halloween by adding in some themed movement activities. You can do a Halloween dance party, do story yoga, spider parachute toss, zombie tag or a variety of other exercises that will be fun to get them up and moving. These activities are geared toward PE teachers but they would work well out on the playground too! GopherSport.com has some great ideas for Halloween!

#5 Every Good Ghoul and Goblin Loves to Read 

Get those kids reading with Halloween themed books and songs.  Fortunately, there are books out there for all ages at the school library or book fair. You can do buddy reading or a group story time. You can make it more fun with puppets, finger plays, or let kids act it out and tell the story to each other. The more participation that is included, the more fun it will be for everyone. Here are some fun book ideas for younger elementary kids from StorytimeKatie.com.

I hope you find some of these ideas useful for this year’s Halloween party!

From iFamily to Yours,


3 Great Ideas for Teacher Gifts this Holiday Season

Good Morning, Kansas City! I know December can be a hectic time of checking off to-do lists and scrambling to find gifts for all of those important people in our life. As you look for presents, don’t forget to appreciate some of the most important people — teachers. And luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great ideas for gifts for these amazing people. Take a look…

3 Great Ideas for Teacher Gifts this Holiday Season

3 Great Ideas for Teacher Gifts this Holiday Season


I am going to start this article off with somewhat of a controversial comment. I believe with everything in my being that the hardest working person this holiday season is not Santa Claus or the lovely itty bitty 17 year old smacking her gum and judging me at Target for buying the pint of Chubby Hubby ice cream. In fact, the hardest working person is my four year olds’ preschool teacher.

Besides everything that she does with school she also finds time to attend every one of her kids’ recitals, sports events, birthday parties, and comes in with a smile on her face every day. This only makes me think of how great our teachers are, and how dedicated they are to their jobs of making our little geniuses into the people we know they are going to be. It’s because of this reason I feel they need to be rewarded throughout the year but especially around the holidays. Hopefully the below list will give you some inspiration for your own child’s teacher. And if you have younger kids or even if you homeschool; reward yourself this year, because you all are the most important people in the world!


#1 Pinterest is Your Best Friend

I have said this before: Pinterest is your friend-your best friend that knows what type of things you like and even sends you little reminders of all the people following you and how popular your pin was on DIY gifts in jars! Let that friend help you give inspiration for what to gift our teachers, and then put your own spin on it. Personalize with a picture of your child (what else are you going to do with those wallets from the school picture packet). The internet has tons of great little printables, in which most are free or at the very least you can rebuild in PowerPoint and print out on your own. If you look up DIY teacher gifts there are great ideas for painting wood shapes and adding the teacher’s name. They could work for desk decorations or even as hall passes, which for some reason are always needed when one gets left in the bathroom!


#2 You Can’t Go Wrong With Gift Cards

I think we can all agree that gift cards are always wanted. I used to think that gift cards were impersonal. But now that I am older and can’t make a gift list to save my life they are really a lifesaver! So I think we can also agree that if we want gift cards, our fantastic teachers will as well. I think one to a nice restaurant or movie would be a great start and something they could enjoy over the break. Most teachers don’t get a whole lot of time to themselves and usually have 30+ little ones hanging all over them so manicures and pedicures are wasted money; but if you get them a gift card for maybe a gel polish that will last through a tornado let alone a fruitcake fueled kid it would help! I hate to even write this because it is just a travesty; many of our teachers have to buy their own decorations and learning tools for their classrooms. Every teacher friend that I spoke to jumped at this opportunity to get gift cards to Lakeshore Learning, Wal-Mart, Target or even Amazon so they can purchase things for the New Year.


#3 Add a Little Flair to a “Normal” Gift

As this article comes to a close, I realize that I, along with all of you, also have teachers to buy for as well! We actually have five when it comes to all the lead teachers and aides that we need to buy for so we usually resort to the old standby of a Bath and Body Works candle which was on Black Friday special and a candy bar. So this year I am going to take note from what I did for neighbor gifts from last year and gift Red Box gift cards. These were very well received and it would be great for teachers too! You can indicate how much you want the “cards” for (they are actually just codes that you provide the recipient) I then attached the sheet of paper to some hot chocolate and popcorn packets and a movie night was born!

Along this same line, there are tons of other memberships that can be gifted as well. Did you know that you can gift an Amazon Prime membership? What would be better than a year of free 2-day shipping on almost anything, free music and movies right to your device. A membership is right around a $100 so this may be something to talk to your fellow classroom moms and go in on this with several families.(Or you may have some really bad behavior that you need to remedy with a really great gift—I don’t judge!) You can also buy a gift card to Netflix; again free movies and shows what could go wrong? And if they already have a Netflix membership it can just be applied to their regular monthly bill!

Hopefully these ideas help a little bit. I know the feeling, you want to buy the perfect gift for everyone but you may not know where to start, especially with the people that you really don’t know on a personal basis outside of the classroom setting. Like I mentioned gift cards for school supplies is always appreciated and top of list of almost every teacher I spoke to. When that fails there is an absolutely darling printable that I laugh at every time I read it, it says “Our child might be the reason you drink so enjoy this bottle on us!” You never know, wine might be just the ticket that gets you that special place in his/her heart for conferences next year!


From iFamily to Yours,










3 Great Ideas for Teacher Gifts this Holiday Season

4 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season

Happy Saturday, Kansas City! We here at iFamilyKC are pet lovers (Hence, iPetsKC), and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, wrote a great blog for iPKC recently with some great tips to keep our pets safe this holiday season. Take a look!

 4 Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season

4 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season


The Holidays are here and though they can be a time of merriment and love, it can also be a dangerous time of year for your pets. Here are some tips to keep your furry loved ones safe this year.



Food is a huge part of the holidays. Between baking gifts, hosting parties and receiving edible gifts from others- this a yummy time of year. And all these treats can be as tempting for your pets as it is for us. Be sure you keep any harmful foods out of reach. Below is a list of foods poisonous to dogs and cats. Signs that your pet may have eaten something they shouldn’t have include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking, depression, lethargy, coordination issues, or tremors. If your pet is acting funny and you think they’ve ingested something dangerous, Blue Pearl is a 24/7 emergency vet hospital with several locations around Kansas City.


Foods not suitable for pets: Alcohol, avocado, chocolate (baking and dark chocolate are the most dangerous), caffeine, citrus, coconut, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, dairy, nuts, onions, garlics and chives, raw meat, raw bones or raw eggs, salt, xylitol and yeast dough.



Researching holiday decorations and pet safety is like a terrifying downward spiral into Murphy’s land where beautiful, sparkly and festive ornamentation became menacing monsters skulking in plain sight waiting to attack your beloved fur babies when your back is turned. I will try to give a thorough overview without you feeling like a construction paper tree taped to the wall is your only option.


Trees, tinsel, giftwrap, poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, and salt dough ornaments. These are the big hazards. Christmas trees- Try to keep your pets out of them. If you have a live tree, be sure to vacuum up any needles that fall so that no one eats them. Keep light cords tucked away. Tinsel- If you still use tinsel, keep it high. It is bad if ingested. This goes for that tinsel like string popular for giftwrap too. From personal experience I can tell you, if your cat swallows some, DO NOT pull it out! It can cut and damage their throats and intestines. Cut it close to their mouth if they haven’t had much and again, call Blue Pearl. Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are all poisonous to animals so be sure to put them where your pets cannot get to them. Finally, salt is very bad for dogs. Be sure to keep those handmade salt dough ornaments way high on the tree, or elsewhere because they can be fatal if ingested.



Whether you are hosting guests or you are the guest, you may want to consider boarding your pets. It is a busy time of year, and with people coming and going from your house, it can be easy for a pet to get out. Or, if your dog gets anxious with lots of people around or with a lot of noise, like mine does, sometimes it is easier on them to stay the night at a doggy hotel. If you will not be able to get home to them, due to drinking (please don’t drive) consider boarding, or asking a neighbor to check in.



As the temperature goes down, it gets dangerous for pets to spend too much time outside. Make sure you don’t leave your dog or their only source of water outdoors. If you don’t have a heated bowl it can freeze. Leaving your pets, even in the garage is not a good option. Please make a plan for your pets when figuring out your holiday activities.


Pets are a special part of the family and with a little planning they can have a happy and safe holiday season with you and the rest of your family. We at iPetsKC wish you and your pets a very happy holiday!







4 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season // iFamilyKC




This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana

Thanksgiving is a great time to catch a flick, and Disney holiday fashion, they’ve released their new animated movie, Moana. So, after eating all that turkey, and catching a few Zzzz’s, why not head to the theater and enjoy this family movie. Check out Holli’s review and insider look of the new film below. Happy Thanksgiving!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana



This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana


Release Date: November 23, 2016
Run Time: 103 min
Rating: PG
Director: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson



Thanksgiving is, for me, a time not only to appreciate life’s incredible blessings but also a time for reflection. One of my favorite childhood memories, and a tradition that I carry on with my own daughter, is experiencing the new Disney movie that comes out around Thanksgiving each year (like “The Santa Claus” in 1994 and “101 Dalmations” in 1996). This year, Charlotte and I had the chances to celebrate early at the advanced screening of Disney’s latest movie “Moana” and we were not disappointed.

“Moana” follows the story of a special little girl who feels called to the sea. As she grows and learns about her community, she feels compelled to do something different from what is expected of her from everyone she knows. Her father, the Chief, has long rooted beliefs that the sea is not a safe or friendly place for their people and that fear drives him to forbid Moana (and her tribe) from passing the reef located just off of their island.

Even when their food supply begins to diminish, his overwhelming fear of the unknown keeps him from venturing away from home. Moana, however, was chosen by the sea for an unforgettable journey that will restore her island and her people’s long rooted history with the ocean. Along the way, she encounters struggles and situations that force her out of her comfort zone and into the woman she was meant to be.

What I loved most about this movie is the message that it sends to little girls across the world – To be who you are and to not be afraid of the challenges that you might face along your journey. Disney has done it again and moviegoers can expect to fall in love with the stunning animation, fun characters, and incredible sound track throughout the feature film.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the digital short before the movie – It’s a good one!

From iFamily to Yours,



This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied

Good Morning, Kansas City!! Now, I know it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and most of you are probably running around trying to tie up as many loose ends before the holiday, but if you find some down time this holiday weekend, Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt have a new movie out. Allied is out in theaters today, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, was able to get a sneak peek and tells us the highs and lows of the film below. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied


This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied


Release Date: November 23, 2016
Run Time: 124 min
Rating: R
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Brad Pitt


Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard headline in a new spy movie titled Allied out on the 23rd. They play two spies who meet on a mission in Morocco and fall in love. The basic premise of the movie is that they marry and have a child after which one learns the other may be a double agent.

I’m not going to lie; I went into the film with Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the back of my mind. Although both films have Pitt and center on married spies, there the similarities end. Allied is set in the 1940’s and the allies are working together to bring down Hitler. The costumes, sets and locations are magnificent. The scenes on the rooftops in Morocco are some of my favorites. I was lucky enough to travel to Morocco several years ago and I felt they really captured the magical beauty of the country. The clothing and cars had me nostalgic for the 1940’s- until the bombings knocked some sense into me. Robert Zemeckis directs and creates a visually stunning story. I think this one will be nominated for some awards this winter.


I like Brad Pitt, I feel for the stress he’s going through in his personal life, but I didn’t feel like this was his best movie. It may be just me though. I felt like he was a bit stiff. ‘Did he get botox?’ ‘Was he stressed about life?’ ‘Is he just a spy and they don’t show much emotion?’ These were all thoughts I had while watching. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I just didn’t feel like he gave it his all. ‘Am I really criticizing Brad Pitt?? Why does criticizing Brad Pitt make me break out in a sweat?’ The questions continue. He did produce a very emotional scene at the end of the movie. Maybe the stoicism was to make it more impactful.


Marion Cotillard was great. Both she and her character were enigmatic and charismatic. She also gave a very moving performance. I think most of the cast was terrific. Again, this was a movie that demanded a lot visually from its cast and I think they hit it out of park. The movie has quite a bit of action in it, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it an action movie. It definitely had an artistic quality to it. If you are looking for your typical spy movie this isn’t it. My husband didn’t care for the film. I think the very things I enjoyed about it (visually interesting, emotionally charged) didn’t register with him. So I guess keep that in mind. If you are wanting to see an action film, there’s probably a better option out over the holiday weekend. That considered, I guess I’d rate it a 3 out of 5. I would watch it again, but apparently it would have to be without my husband.


From iFamily to Yours,




Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box

Happy Monday, Kansas City! I’m about to boggle your minds — Thanksgiving is NEXT week! Can you even believe it? 2016 is flying by and there has been so much to be thankful for. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, has a few ideas of how to store those “blessings,” including an awesome Blessings Box she made with her own family. Check it out…

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box


Several years ago I received an amazing gift from a dear friend of mine. She made me a beautiful “Blessings Box” for me to store my blessings in.

The idea was for me to write down my blessings every night and store them in the box.

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box

Then whenever I felt down I could pull them out and read them out loud. This was to serve as a reminder of my blessings. It was such a thoughtful gift. I still use this box four years later.

One day as I was writing down several of my blessings my son asked what I was doing.

Next thing I knew he joined in. We had so much fun writing down things we were blessed/ thankful for. My son then turned into a weekly event. Once a week we would write down things we loved about eachother. We also included things we were grateful for about one another. We did not show one another what we wrote. We stuck them in an envelope then placed them into our “Blessings Box”. Then on Sunday evening we would read them to each other. This was such a beautiful refresher for the both of us. There are many times in life where we forget to tell each other what we love the most about them. It was such a beautiful blessing to have them in writing as well.

I highly encourage you this November to sit down as a family and create a “Blessings box” or a “Blessings jar”. Who doesn’t love hearing what people love about them?

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Create a Blessings Box


Family Blessing Jar


No special paper needed. Any scrap will do! We then go around the table and one by one open the slips of paper, seeing the blessings of our lives laid before us. As we read from the past year we are always reminded of the ways God has taken the good and bad times and turned them into family memories, a tangible picture of God’s love for us.

I cannot begin to tell you how we look forward to this time. As our family ages and changes we welcome new members and treasure those to come in future years. Our culture of family traditions didn’t start overnight but are the culmination of years living life together.

Where do you start? Take one day at a time and try these tips for instilling gratitude in your children.

  1. Start young. Even small children can be taught to say thank you to God through their prayers, songs and words.
  2. Point out to your children the many ways you are thankful to God for His provision, His love and your family.
  3. Model a thankful heart. Tell your children and spouse thank you for the gift of their lives each day.
  4. Encourage your children to say thank you and “catch” each other doing acts of service.
  5. As the children get older, have them look up scriptures on thanksgiving and write the verses out. Use them in art projects or special presents for friends and family members.


Today I am Thankful Jar


I decided to make inspire my whole family to participate in this challenge to look for the good things and finding things to be grateful for every day. I had a nice glass jar already on hand and simply wrote on it with a black Sharpie Marker. In case we decide to use the jar for something else, the Sharpie will easily come off with some rubbing alcohol. But, I did not trust my handwriting. Instead of trying to write with freehand on the jar, I printed off what I wanted to write on the jar with a couple different handwriting fonts, put it inside the jar and simply traced it. I put the jar on the kitchen counter with a stack of pre-cut paper strips and a marker to make it easy.

It is wonderful to watch the little pile of notes slowly grow inside. I noticed I often pause during the day when I feel grateful for something – a kind word from brother to brother- and write it down. It has made sometimes stressful episodes more bearable throughout the day. I reflect more on what I am thankful for instead of what annoys me.  I also asked my family to write down at least 1 thing they are grateful for every day. We intend to read the notes on Thanksgiving Day.


If you would like to read more blogs or posts from Leah please follow me at http://www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul


From iFamily to Yours,









7 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy Besides Eat It

Good Morning, Kansas City! Can you even believe we’re two days into November already?! As we look back on the craziness that was Halloween, we probably have a lot of leftover candy to figure out what to do with. And while the kiddos would probably love that we let them devour each and every piece — us parents know better. So, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky has some great ideas of what to do with all the leftover loot. Check it out!

7 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy Besides Eat It

7 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy

{Besides Eat It}


One year after trick-or-treating, when I was six, my friend and I were left unsupervised in the next room and we ate EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. of our Halloween candy. (My mom had four kids, I now have three that I can barely keep track off, so no judgments here.) One guess how that night ended. Ugh. So while eating all of the Halloween candy is definitely an option, I don’t recommend it. Instead, set a limit with your kids, decide how much to keep, let them pick out their favorites and then get rid of the leftovers by doing one or more of these fun ideas:



Bake with it

From Candy Corn Biscotti to Candy Bar Croissants, there are all kinds of recipes out there featuring leftover Halloween candy as the main ingredient. Personally, I’m adding Twix & Banana Muffins to my next brunch menu.



Bank it

Cha-ching! Your kids can earn $1/lb. (up to $5) for turning in their candy at Prairie Pediatric Dentistry (15230 W. 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66219) to support Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to our troops. All participants will enter to win a $50 Power Play gift card. You gotta hurry on this deal because it’s only good through Nov. 2, 7:30am-4:30pm. For more info, call 913-586-0770.


Gift it

Have a niece or nephew with a birthday coming up? Buy them a piñata and fill it with all your leftover candy. You’ll be the hit of their party. Or tape candy all over the next few birthday presents you give to up the fun factor for the birthday boy or girl.


Switch it

Get a Switch Witch (or create your own) and convince your kids to leave their candy for the witch to take while they sleep in exchange for a surprise gift when they wake up—like an electric toothbrush! (Is that mean?)


Donate it

Bag your candy in smaller Ziplock bags and find a food pantry, Ronald McDonald House, homeless shelter and/or and nursing home near you to drop them off. Make it extra meaningful and have your children write letters to stick inside the bags with the candy.


Experiment with it

Science Experiments with candy? If someone had introduced me to this as a child I just might have become a chemist. There’s still hope for your kids. Check out these fun experiments here, here and here.


Save it

The holidays are just around the corner so save some of the candy to use in your holiday countdown, stockings, St. Nick shoes, etc. All this leftover candy is also a great excuse to throw a Gingerbread house-building party. On second thought, that sounds like a lot of work. Never mind. Maybe just eat all the candy now instead.



Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,


 7 Things to Do With Leftover Candy!

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Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner

Hellllllooooo, Kansas City! October 31st is literally days away, and with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday, it can be hard to figure out what to eat on Halloween night. While our kiddos, I’m sure, would love to stuff themselves to the brim with sugary goodness, we know we should actually get something “real” in their bellies too! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great options for easy (and yummy) Halloween dinner. Take a look…

Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner



Planning a Simple & Scary Good Halloween Dinner



Many of us look at Halloween as one of those holidays that it is perfectly normal to order a pizza before loading up on all that candy at the end of the night. And I know telling you to plan a Halloween dinner sounds just like a horror movie—kids too excited to eat because they want to go trick or treating, you working all day and then making a four course feast like it was any other night, husband just wanting to watch Monday Night Football in peace—no thank you! But before you reach for the phone (or the app) let’s throw some ideas around that will be easy to do and plan, guaranteed to get everyone together—table is optional!

If Halloween night is anything like it is in my house it means running in the door, changing clothes and doing last minute touch ups on the costumes or face make-up because those fall parties at school are brutal! How can a Cinderella dress lose so much tulle and it just happened that four butterflies fell off?! I mean they are just sitting in a classroom and maybe walking down the hall! Dinner, back to dinner! So there isn’t a lot of time to braise the meat and whip up some homemade mashed potatoes. The night before, which luckily this year is a Sunday so ideally we would have time to do this, do all your prep.


Sandwich Bar

Think about a sandwich bar—it’s quick and in most cases on the go. Buy all the lunchmeat and cheese your family likes and have it laying out on a tray or plate so you can grab it from the fridge. Lay out the bread as well; sometimes you can find bread in different colors for the seasons which would be a fun twist! If the kids are just too excited about getting out, grab a baggie and make a sandwich to go because you know about six houses in they are going to start asking to dip into the candy early!


Chili Bar

Another quick and easy “bar” food is chili. Some kids aren’t fans– like mine– but for them I always make sure to have a package of hot dogs cooking as well. That they will always eat, especially if you cut one end of the cooked hot dog into quarters, it will fold up making a friendly ghost to get them in the Halloween spirit! Chili is one of those brilliant things that can simmer in the crockpot all day, help yourself to a bowl before trick or treating, have it simmer a little more and then help yourself to another bowl when you get back! Plus it’s a wonderful pairing to a 3 Musketeers!


Decorate Your Own Pizza

I have always wanted to try, but never have, the decorate your own pizza dinner. For this little gem however, you will need one member of the household (preferably over the age of 18) to volunteer to hand out candy and man the stove while everyone else goes out trick or treating. First, gather everything needed to create the perfect personal pizza. No fighting over what toppings because everyone gets their own mini pizza to decorate. By the way, store bought crusts are perfectly acceptable here and try and bring in the Halloween theme– make it a pumpkin or a Frankenstein face or a moon with halved black olives for bats! Create your Halloween masterpiece, cook while TOT (trick or treating), and enjoy when you get home.

Let’s face it, the best laid plans usually get a plan B which includes me stopping at McDonald’s, rushing home to fix the costume (seriously though—how?!) eating quickly, getting out the door for trick or treating, coming home and putting their chocolate covered faces to bed while husband and I raid the candy bags for our favorite candy bar! You know what? That is a perfectly scary good Halloween meal as well! And I won’t tell anyone!


What are some of your go-to recipes for Halloween dinner? Share in the comments!



From iFamily to Yours,




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How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

Heya, Kansas City! Halloween is less than 2 weeks away, can you believe it? Well, if you’ve been insanely busy and haven’t had a chance to plan that Halloween party you’ve been dying to throw — our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has some great tips to help you throw it together. Take a look!

How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family

How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family


I don’t know about you, but October has been crazy busy for us! Halloween will be here before you know it. My daughter has been planning a Halloween get-together for her friends. She is four- so not all ideas are realistic, and I know I won’t be able to work on this until the day before. Here are some ideas to help a time-challenged family whip up a party.

Have guests make their own treats

This works especially well for children, but adults can get in on the fun too. Not only does this save you time, it doubles as a fun activity! Examples include popcorn witch hands, spider Oreos, caramel apples, monster cookies and of course s’mores.


How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family


Classic games are classic for a reason

There are a lot of low-cost last minute games that are a ton of fun. Think of generations past for some inspiration. Bobbing for apples, toilet paper mummies, flashlight tag and even good old ghost stories. My kids LOVE bingo. You can find some free Halloween themed bingo cards to print off and use candy corn for markers. Nearly any age can play along.


How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family


Let someone else cook

I love cooking. There are so many themed food options on Pinterest, you could spend days digging through them all. It can get easy to get overwhelmed though and you may not have time to buy candy eyes, or pull apart 30 string cheeses. However, there are lots of spooky options out there to just pick up! Papa Murphy has an adorable “Frightfully Fun Jack-O-Lantern” and lets be honest, even if you get the sour cream spider web exactly right- most kids will turn up their noses anyway.


Swap Costumes

Costumes are a lot of fun. But if you’re tight on time, thrift store searching may not be an option. And if you are tight on money, costume stores may not be one either. Ask a friend if you can borrow or trade theirs from last year. This goes for kids too. There’s even a National Costume Swap Day (the second Saturday of October) and your fellow mom or friend may be just as relieved as you to not have to figure something new out.


Decorate using things you have


How to Host a Halloween Party as a Busy Family


Usually, I love to decorate for Halloween. In fact I have totes upon totes dedicated to Halloween décor. This year though, we just moved and we are in the middle of a lot of renovations. Putting anymore clutter out seems like utter madness to me. Luckily, there are a few easy alternatives. First- pumpkins. A few on the porch are good enough for me. My kids were bored- so I sent them to pick up sticks in the yard. We used some twine to tie some little ones to the end of a big one. Voilà! A witch’s broom! All that themed art work your kids bring home- hang it up! They will be happy to contribute. And lastly, free pintables. There are food labels, spooky sayings, book covers and fun pictures galore online all to print for free. Tape on the food labels to things you already have and swap out some of your framed photos (sorry last year’s school picture) for a spooky saying.


I hope these ideas help you have a howling good time at your Halloween festivities! If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please comment below.


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18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen

There’s nothing like seeing time fly before your eyes quite like holidays with your kids. One minute you’re searching for ladybug costumes and the next you’re sending them off to haunted houses and parties. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, knows this feeling all too well and has some great tips for celebrating Halloween with the tween or teen in your life! Check it out.

18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen


18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen


Can you believe that it is already October? My goodness where has the time gone? Speaking of wondering where the time has gone… I can’t believe that same little boy that I once dressed up as an elephant is now fourteen. Man, I miss dressing him up and going on our trick or treating adventures together. I also really miss going to his classroom parties!

However, just because he is grown up doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating together! There is still so much to do. We now enjoy going over to our friend’s house on Halloween and having a bonfire. We all get to sit together and see all the trick or treaters in action. My son actually really enjoys seeing the little kids all dressed up, and I enjoy seeing him exchange interactions with them as well. I have to admit it is my favorite part of Halloween as well. Who doesn’t melt at seeing a mini princess or a handsome little pirate? I know I sure do!

Now that he is older we can do so many things we couldn’t do when he was younger. So, as sad as it may be that he is getting older… it is pretty exciting too!

Here are some of the activities we have gone to together or are planning on going to this October!


Outings In and Around the Metro


#1 Hospital of Horrors


18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen


Despite not actually being a haunted house, The Glore Psychiatric Museum is as frightening an attraction you’ll visit regardless of the time of year. A former psychiatric hospital known as State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, the St. Joseph destination offers visitors a glimpse into the real-life horrors that went on at the clinic, including an exhibit featuring hundreds of objects one patient swallowed during her stay. Unnerving mannequins are prevalent as well, illustrating the near-barbaric procedures many patients were subjected to, making for one creepy visit. Address:

3406 Frederick Ave.

St. Joseph, MO 64506


#2 Macabre Cinema Haunted House


18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen


Many can handle the scares set up in a horror film, but far fewer are brave enough to stand up to the frights in real life. Macabre Cinema does just that, putting travelers into spooky scenes from classic and contemporary horror movies. To add to the authenticity, portions of actual movie sets are included in the four-story West Bottoms haunted hotspot, including from both The Mummy and Hellraiser. Some of film’s most memorable characters are sure to be spotted in this nightmare-fueling adventure.

Address: Macabre Cinema: 1222 W 12th St.

Kansas City, MO 64101

Price: $27 per ticket and discounts available for multi-house tickets
Hours: Opens Sept. 23 through Nov. 5. Evenings 8 p.m. and closes when we call cut to this 4D experience. (Friday/Saturday through Oct. 8, Thursday-Saturday beginning Oct. 13 plus Sunday Oct. 23 and 30. Also, open Halloween, Monday, October 31.) Saturdays in October opens at 7:30.

Macabre Cinema Haunted House takes you from the screen to SCREAM. See the action of classic and contemporary horror scenes through a haunted 1930’s movie theatre with 4 floors of thrill and an option to take a daring dash down the 4 story bat pole. Actual movie sets from The Mummy and Hellraiser movies are part of the attraction.


#3 A Fearful Fall Tradition

18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen

Worlds of Fun becomes Worlds of Fright with Halloween Haunt, the Midwest’s largest Halloween event and one of KC’s most fearful fall traditions. Every Friday and Saturday night during the month of October, the family-friendly park transforms into one of the scariest destinations in town as the otherworldly Overlord awakens his army of ghouls each evening. Featuring 13 extreme haunts, more than 500 monsters, spooky shows and chilling thrill rides, the Haunt promises Halloween terror for everyone 14 years old and up.

Address: 4545 Worlds of Fun Ave.

Kansas City, MO 64161-9302


#4 Midland Railway

18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen

Train Robberies! October 15 & 16, 2016. Trains depart every hour each day, starting at 10am and last train departs at 4pm.

$10.00 per person. Get your tickets online!


#5 Ghost Tours


18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen


The John Wornall House is often regarded as one of the most haunted locations in Kansas City. Join us for one of our popular Ghost Tours to find out why! Take a one-hour tour of the house and hear about some of the spookiest sightings in the house, learn about the gruesome Civil War history that gave the house its haunted reputation and end the evening with a special presentation from the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.

Friday, October 21
Tours leave at 6:30, 6:45, 7:15, 7:45, and 8:15.
[7:00, 7:30, 8:00 & 8:30 PM SOLD OUT]

Saturday, October 22
Tours leave at 6:30, 6:45, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, and 7:45.
[8:00, 8:15, & 8:30 PM SOLD OUT]

Friday, October 28
Tours leave at 6:30, 6:45, 7:15, 7:45, 8:00, and 8…:30.
[7:00, 7:30 & 8:15 PM SOLD OUT]

Saturday, October 29
Tours leave at 6:45, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, and 8:00.
[6:30, 7:00, 8:15 & 8:30 PM SOLD OUT]

$15 per person. Tours leave every 15 minutes and last approximately one hour. Arrive early to enjoy a snack and hot beverage in the carriage house before your tour. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Advance ticket purchase strongly recommended – walk-ins will be accepted as space permits, but many tour times will sell out!


#6 GLOW Jack-o-Lantern Festival


18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen


This event takes place on October 14th and 15th from 6-10 p.m. Visitor Center activities will open at 4 p.m.

GLOW Jack-O-Lantern Festival is a spellbinding Halloween experience at Powell Gardens. More than 700 hand-carved Jack-O-Lanterns will light a one-mile trail through the Gardens. Enjoy incredible jack-o-lantern scenes along the way. This year’s path is new and improved!
Festival admission:
$12/adults, $10/seniors, $5/kids 5-12, free/kids under 5 and Gold-level or above members. Click the ticket link or call Linda at 816-697-2600 x209 now to reserve your tickets! You can also purchase tickets at the gatehouse when you arrive.

NOTE: Each day, Visitor Center activities begin at 4 p.m., hayrides begin at 5 p.m. ($3), and the jack-o-lantern trail opens at 6 p.m.
Before or after you walk the trail, enjoy these activities:

Visitor Center – The building will be transformed into a Halloween wonderland! Enjoy pumpkin painting, popcorn, food in the cafe or at the grill, beer and wine at the bar, temporary tattoos, and voting for your favorite jumbo jack-o-lantern!

Harvest Hayrides – Enjoy a rustic, 20-minute hayride! This is a fun way to experience a bit of country wilderness in the dark! Tickets $3/person (kids 2 and under = free).

Festival Stop – At the midpoint on the trail walk, take a break at the bonfire and enjoy food and drinks from 5 vendors, as well as beer and wine at the bar! Also check out a live pumpkin carving demonstration and an exhibition of work by master carver Rudy Garcia! NOTE: Please bring cash, as some food vendors might not accept credit cards.


#7 The Lenexa Chili Challenge
Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
6 – 10 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Old Town Lenexa
Santa Fe Trail Drive & Pflumm Road, Lenexa, Kan.

Free Admission

Free samples on Saturday (while supplies last)


#8 Haunted Corn Maze

18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen

Come on out in your favorite Halloween costume to Sylvia Bailey Farm Park. You can roam through the Haunted Maze and take a hay ride. Other activities will be available as well, like pumpkin bowling, Hay Mountain climbing, camp fires, the kids favorite Corn Box and more! Concessions will be available throughout the evening. $5.00/person and 3 and under are free.


#9 Ghost Hunting 101

My son, his father, and I attended a Haunted Trolley ride in Atchison Kansas about 8 years ago. We had so much fun. We would totally go back. I included several activities they have going on in October. However, they have way too many activities to list. Hop on their website and see what all they have to offer. You could make a whole day of ghostly activities to do as a family. If you are super brave you could even stay the night in Atchison’s Scariest haunted house. Below I have featured two of their actitivites.

Learn the basics of ghost hunting on a budget with this dynamic brother and sister investigating team. Keli Adams of Adams Family Paranormal is an avid Ghost hunter and Paranormal Enthusiast, who has been investigating for over 25 years. Her little brother Rob has been investigating different phenomenon for over 11 years. Together they will explain the beginning tools of the trade to begin investigating on your own! You will receive information on the different types of ghosts/energies, the correct protocol for conducting a valid investigation and also the basics of analyzing data. There have been pictures and data that have been captured from the famous historical Theatre Atchison building!

Check in 10 min before event.

Tickets: $35 per person


#10 Sallie’s Haunted House Self-Guided Daytime Tours

For those afraid of things that go bump in the night, the faint-of-heart, schools or clubs, the Sallie House is open for daytime tours by reservation only. Take a self-guided tour of Atchison’s most famous haunted home.

This self-guided tour allows visitors to explore at their own pace. Take 20 minutes. Take an hour. It’s up to you. Pull out your cameras and try to catch some paranormal events on film or on video! But don’t miss this chance to explore the most haunted of them all! Arrive any time during designated tour time. You can pick up your ticket at the Santa Fe Depot anytime the day of your tour but you must have a ticket to enter the house.

Tickets: $10


Things to do at Home

I was going to go get our mail and saw that two of our neighbors had decorated their front doors. I thought this was too cute! It looks like they just took plain table clothes and used items to create their own door cover. I have also included a link to find additional ideas and instructions on how to make your own. The two pictures below are of my actual neighbors doors.


18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen

#11 Host Your Own Halloween Party

Here are a few links for inspiration on how host your own Halloween party! What a cute idea.

Celebrate Halloween as a Teenager

Throwing a Halloween Party in 5 Easy Steps!


#12 Host a game of Glow-in-the-Dark Capture The Flag

As the evenings are getting cooler, it’s the perfect time for a heart-thumping, sweat-dripping night game of CAPTURE THE FLAG. Glow stick-style.

18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen


Here’s how to play

  1. Gather a big group of friends who aren’t afraid of the dark and like to chase each other.  Divide up into 2 teams.
  2. Review how to play capture the flag. See instructions here: https://www.thegamegal.com/2010/10/28/capture-the-flag/
  3. Get your glow-on. You will need 2 glow sticks of different colors – these will be the flags. Each player will need 2 glow bracelets, one for each wrist, the same colors as the flags. Half of your group will wear one color for their team. The other half will wear the second color.
  4. Don’t activate your sticks until just before you are ready to play.

Here are a few tips:

– Players can’t hide their glow bracelets under any clothing.

– If a flag (glow stick) that has been stolen is dropped it must be returned to the original area

– Agree on specific jail rules. For example, if a player touches the jail, everyone is freed and gets a free walk back but they have to go back to their side before they can try to steal the flag. The person freeing the prisoners can still get tagged at any point

– You can also play this rousing game indoors using a gym or basketball court. Select two corners of the room for jail and put the flags (glow sticks) there on either end. Activate your sticks and turn off the lights!


#13 Host a Murder Mystery Party “Clue” Style

18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen

I just love this idea. Teens can still dress up by hitting up a Thrift store and finding outfits to where that fit their part. Check out Pinterest or the link below for menu ideas, scripts, and costume ideas for the party.


#14 Halloween Mystery Boxes

18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Tween or Teen


I loved this idea. My son would really enjoy this too. My thought is I will make several that he will not know what is in them and he can do the same for me. I will then blind fold him and have him touch them/ guess what they are.


#15 Make Halloween decorations for the house together

Here’s an easy way to spruce up your home and get the older ones involved.


#16 Host a Bring Your Own Pumpkin (BYOP) Party

Have each guest bring their own pumpkin and you supply paint and carving tools. Then host a contest of “most creative pumpkin”, “most unique pumpkin”, and “most festive pumpkin”, etc. Let the kiddos watch a Halloween themed movie.  Make some popcorn and throw in some candy corn… you got yourself a party!


#17 Make Caramel Apples together


#18 Look up ghost stories online together or create your own


Whatever it is you choose to do… just embrace the fact that you are doing something together. These memories will last forever .Your kids will never forget that you cared enough to take the time to invest in them!

What are some ways you celebrate Halloween with your older kiddos? Give us your ideas in the comments!

From iFamily to Yours,







18 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Teen or Tween



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