Archive for July 2008


9 Lessons to Teach Your Kids Before Halloween Night

We’re in the dog days of summer, but with plenty of evening activities happening outdoors around town, this is also a perfect opportunity to teach children about safety in preparation for Halloween night. A favorite holiday for adults and kids alike, Halloween is that special time where revelers can dress up as their favorite character and collect goodies from around the neighborhood. However, it must be remembered that Halloween can be a very dangerous night for child pedestrians. Children are often so excited to be out on the streets with friends collecting sweets and gifts that they forget the important rules of trick-or-treating. As a parent, you should know how to keep your kids safe while having fun on and around Halloween. Teaching them a pointer or two each day while you have their undivided attention will benefit everyone as Halloween night approaches.

Here are nine lessons to teach your kids before Halloween night:

1. Talk to your kids about the basic rules of traffic, especially when they are crossing the street. Remind them to always stop at every corner. They should only cross streets at intersections and crosswalks. Tell them to always look left and right before crossing the street and continue looking both ways while crossing. They shouldn’t dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

2. Tell your kids to walk and not to run while trick or treating. This will prevent the children from tripping on their or a friend’s costume. They should walk on sidewalks and not on the road.

3. If your kids are 12 years and older, when they usually prefer not to be accompanied by adults, remind them to go with a group that you are familiar with. Phone calls between parents of the group will help keep everyone informed of the kids’ location while they are out having fun.

4. Instruct your kids to go only to familiar areas and take a route that you have helped map out with them. Be sure to set a time for them to return home so no one is left worrying about when they will get back.

5. Avoid houses that are difficult to access, especially ones where they don’t know the people living there. Barking dogs are also an indication that the property might not be safe. If they come across any houses such as these, they should just move on to the next one.

6. Teach them to be always polite and say “trick or treat” and “thank you” after they have received the goodies. Tell them to patiently wait in a line if other kids are there before them. They should never push just to get in front.

7. Have them carry and use a flashlight while out on the streets. Tell them to go trick-or-treating only at homes with an illuminated porch or outside lights. Instruct them to just stand outside the door and never go inside. If the people inside a house insist on them going inside, they should leave and report back to you what happened.

8. Older kids can bring cell phones, so tell them to immediately call you if they see any suspicious people or vehicles. They should also find crossing guards or other parents with children to assist them if there is a problem.

9. Teach your kids to never accept candy, rides, or anything from people they don’t know. They should not eat the goodies they have collected. They should wait until they have gone back home, and after you have inspected all the candy for them.

Halloween night is fun and exciting for everyone but children’s safety is the primary concern. Keep the lessons listed above in mind and have your children learn them. They’ll help to keep your kids safe and you’ll feel confident that they will go return home without a scratch—only with big smiles and bundles of goodies.

6 Tips to Keep Your Costume in Great Shape

Attending costume parties for holidays such as Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and other celebrations can be a strain on whatever disguise you decide to wear. Kids in particular are very excited about the whole process and this enthusiasm often results in necessary repairs to the outfits. However, steps can be taken so that the costumes are safe to wear more than just once. Kids costumes obviously cannot be a fire hazard nor an obstruction while moving around, and should be resilient enough to withstand normal wear and tear over the course of the night. Accordingly, adult costumes should also remain intact even after a lot of dancing and activities during the party.

Here are 6 tricks to keep your costume in one piece before, during, and after your event:

1. Prior to wearing, make sure that buttons, clasps and zippers are working and sewn well on your costumes. If any of these become dislodged and you don’t have time to sew them back on, keep a no-sew fabric glue at hand for temporary stitches. The no-sew glue is also useful for keeping hems on skirts or pants in place if you don’t have time to sew them to the right size.

2. Should a thread on your costume become loose and you fear that it will unravel parts of your clothes, use hairspray over the thread to keep it in place. If the costume requires you to wear pantyhose but you accidentally get a run on it, once again hairspray will help prevent it from continuing to run.

3. If your clothes are too loose or some stitches are removed, don’t be afraid to rely on the trusty and dependable safety pin. Safety pins can definitely keep your clothes intact and can even be used to add highlights or designs to costumes such as a mummy or Baby New Year.

4. Wearing a sexy costume? Avoid showing too much skin or letting the clothes slide down your shoulders by using double adhesive or double-sided tape. Specially made double-sided tape for clothes is available to keep your outfit intact without ruining the fabric.

5. Velcro is another way to keep your costume well-fitted and intact under strenuous situations. It can also be glued on if sewing is not an option.

6. Hair pins, clips or nets can help you keep headdresses, tiaras, crowns, and any headgear that goes with your costume in place.

Wearing a costume successfully requires keeping it in place and intact even after hours of dancing, walking, or participating in games and activities. Try a few of these tips and your costume will stand the test of time for years to come.

Keep it Simple: 14 One-Piece Costume Ideas

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to get stressed over finding an elaborate outfit for Halloween or a theme party, then a one-piece costume is probably the best choice. A one-piece costume can be something as easy as a hair piece, wig, mask, or shirt, if you pick the right one. All you need to do is decide what you want to wear while also adhering to the theme of the party, if there is one. Another alternative is to make your own one-piece costume.

Here are some one-piece costume ideas to consider for your next Halloween or theme party:

1. Black Hooded Robe – A Halloween classic, you can go as a witch or warlock, Voldemort or a Death Eater from the Harry Potter series, a demon, or the ever popular grim reaper.

2. Kimono – Perfect for a geisha or Japanese warrior.

3. Laboratory Coat – It’s Alive! For scientist or doctor costumes.

4. White or Black Choir Robe/Gown – Hallelujah! Sing the praises as a church choir member, priest, or angel.

5. Overalls – Become a mechanic or farmhand without breaking a sweat.

6. Hospital Gown –If you want to open some eyes around the party, leave the back flap open!

7. Sports Mascot Suit – Root on your favorite team! These are usually one piece costumes.

8. Straight Jacket – Good for either an escaped mental patient or Harry Houdini look.

9. Masks – Take your pick and transform into anything from a US President, monster, animal or cartoon character.

10. Toga – Go Greek as an ancient warrior or John Belushi’s character from Animal House.

11. Superhero – Up, up and away! These can often be found as a one-piece.

12. Black Leather Jacket – Toughen up as a 1950s greaser or motorcycle rider.

13. Mardi Gras Mask – Let the good times roll! Just add bead necklaces for a little extra fun.

14. Gorilla Suit – Without a head/mask, you’re a science experiment gone awry.

Remember, a costume is what you make of it. Any of these one-piece outfits are great choices for Halloween or your next theme party. Of course, adding an accessory or two may help to improve the costume but as this list goes to show, sometimes less is more.

8 Ways to Improve Your Costume Using Makeup

It’s no secret; some costumes are a definite “blah” without makeup. Experienced costumers know that makeup is highly effective in accentuating the character that you’re trying to play. In fact, dressing in a somewhat plain wardrobe but wearing high-quality makeup might be all you need to stand out and impress in a fantasy guise. For those concerned about their costume budget, homemade makeup recipes are a great way to save some money if you have a little extra time. Most importantly, the makeup you wear must be safe and easy to apply.

Here are eight tips for costume makeup that will help you prepare for Halloween, Mardi Gras, or an upcoming costume party:

1. Looking Old – Costume makeup can make you look decades older, whether you plan to be a grandma, grandpa, or other aging character. This effect is usually created by applying the base makeup all over your face and neck first. You can then make a crumpled expression to show the natural wrinkles on your face by first applying lighter makeup (lighter than your skin tone). Afterwards, relax your face and fill in the creases using brown eyeliner pencil. Sunken cheeks can be created using dark makeup on your cheek hollows. Put the same kind of makeup on your hands to complete your aged look.

2. Fake Blood and Bruises – Fake blood can be made at home using water, red, blue & yellow food coloring, and white corn syrup. These ingredients must then be mixed together until it is thick enough to slide down any part of your body. However, avoid getting this on any of your good clothes since it will stain. For bruises, use deep blue eye shadow, black or dark gray eye shadow, and glittery green powder eye shadow. These should be applied by blotting then smudging to complete the bruised look.

3. Fake Warts and Scabs – Fake warts or moles can be created using whole peppercorns, corn syrup or eyelash glue, hair bristles, and non-toxic water colors or paint. Glue the peppercorns to your face and avoid placing them on or near your eyes using the corn syrup or eyelash glue. Hold it in place as it dries then glue the hair and color them. Fake scabs can be created using cornmeal, corn syrup, red or brown makeup, and gelatin. Apply a thin coat of corn syrup over your skin in whatever shape you want your scab to look like, and gently cover it with a thick layer of cornmeal. Let it dry then use the makeup to color it. Cover the “scab” with the gelatin to set and seal it in place.

4. Vampire – The vampire look is easy to accomplish. All you need is to cover your face with white makeup then outline your eyebrows, and fill them with black makeup. Draw several lines on your face using red and brown makeup, and outline your eyes. Apply fake blood at the edges of your mouth to complete this look.

5. Clown – To create a clown’s face, cover your entire face and neck (optional) with white makeup then make a big smile using red lipstick. Add additional highlights or characteristics to your clown look.

6. Witch – To create this look, cover your face with green or white makeup and follow the procedure on the “old” look mentioned on tip number 1 and the fake warts on tip number 3 in this article.

7. Fake Burns and Flesh Wounds – Use ground makeup, charcoal, petroleum jelly, and tissue paper to create fake burns. On the other hand, fake flesh wounds can be made using petroleum jelly, red food coloring, baking cocoa powder, and tissue.

8. Fake Intestines and Other Internal Organs –For fake intestines, use a pair of panty hose or stockings filled with cotton or cloth. Twist at randomly, stitch them up and soak in fake blood. Hang them from a torn bloodied shirt.

Using a bit of effort and imagination, as well as some household items, makeup can quickly transform your costume from blah to bravo. Do you have some tips for homemade makeup you’d like to share with our readers? Join in the discussion by posting a reply below!

10 Theme Party Ideas for Kids & Adults

Throwing a social party for friends or arranging a loved one’s birthday celebration always has the potential to become a rather stressful endeavor. Preparing a kids party is perhaps even more challenging and can be downright mind-boggling when you don’t have all your creative juices flowing. If you find yourself running low on fantastic ideas, here are 10 suggestions on themes for your next party:

1. Hannah Montana Party – With millions of children adoring the Disney singing sensation, every kid will have a blast celebrating their birthday with this theme. You can even dress up your daughter as Hannah or Lilly and have a videoke singing contest / performance with their favorite songs from the show!

2. Pirate Party – Ever since Johnny Depp played Captain Jack Sparrow in the blockbuster film series Pirates of the Caribbean, attending costume parties dressed as a swashbuckling salty dog has returned to style. Why not indulge in the pirate’s life a bit further? A treasure hunt is certain to spice things up; just use your imagination on the items guests will have to find

3. Car Racing Party – Young boys (and some girls too) love to dress up like race car drivers and the pit crew. You can even have activities using remote controlled cars to make the party more exciting. Why not host your party on the day of a televised NASCAR or funny car race to get adults into the spirit too?

4. Superhero Party – It’s no secret that children and adults love going to parties dressed up as superheroes. The sky’s the limit with so many superhero options to choose from. Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and Wolverine are all great looks, or you can also have the whole Justice League, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, the Avengers, or X-Men join the party if you’re looking for a group outfit.

5. Western Party – Cowboys and Indians are long-standing classics when in search of that perfect costume idea. A few accessories like lassos and teepee tents will provide the right decoration to your party location. If it’s within budget, you can even have a horse or a pony that everyone can ride.

6. Mardi Gras Party – On the occasion of a party for adults, a Mardi Gras theme would fit the bill for a lot of fun. New Orleans costumes or masks should be required, along with lots of beads and dancing throughout the night.

7. Prince or Princess Party – Children will gladly dress up as their favorite prince or princess whether fictional or otherwise. Young girls in particular will be thrilled as they pretend to be Princess Jasmine, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid Ariel, Snow White, and Belle, to name a few. As for the guys, they can be Prince Charming, Aladdin, or even a kissable frog. The possibilities are endless

8. Crayola Party – Use brightly colored decorations at your party location as well as on the food you will be serving. Of course, the activities will involve coloring pictures with crayons. Costumes should be strictly colorful with no monochromes allowed.

9. Hollywood Party – Dress up as a favorite celebrity and prepare a red carpet affair for your guests. Don’t forget to have everyone take their pictures in one area of the party as they enter to properly replicate the red carpet experience. Invite hosts Joan and Melissa Rivers or Ryan Seacrest if they’re available that night.

10. Luau Party – Who could possibly get tired of luaus? This festive party can be held any time of the year. Mix some tropical fruit drinks, listen to Hawaiian music, and eat tropically-themed food. Don’t forget the grass skirts and leis.

Go ahead and put these ten terrific themes to use. You’re guaranteed hours of fun wherever the party may be!