Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Joseph Misita, left, howls as he tries to scare his a classmate with his handprint ghost creation. Cathedral kindergartner Liza Gregg adds a greeting above the ghost she created by cutting out her handprint and adding a few spooky touches with black crayon. Cathedral kindergartens have been creating a wide variety of Halloween crafts including spiders, at top, and bats, below.

Scare up some fun: Make your Halloween howl with a few crafts

Published 12:01am Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween is not just for costumes and trick-or-treating.

In fact, there are plenty of activities parents can do with their children this week to get ready for the fall holiday.

Cathedral School kindergarten teacher Joan David says Halloween crafts can be fun and educational for children.

David’s students made a few Halloween crafts at school last week that she said parents could easily make with their children at home.

Crafts

To make spooky spiders to hang in your house, have your child paint a paper plate black and glue or staple strips of black construction paper on the side for legs.

“In class, we taught them that the spider has eight legs, so it’s not an insect, so it was fun for them, but they also learned something,” David said.

David’s class also made scarecrows with the students’ faces on them. The students cut out and colored a pattern that had pants and a shirt then glued the pieces on construction paper. The students then placed a picture of their face on the scarecrow and glued yellow yarn on as straw hair.

Doing crafts improves very important skills for young children, David said.

“It’s important that they listen and follow directions, and the crafts also improve their fine motor skills,” she said. “And, of course, they have fun and enjoy it.

Making crafts at home also promotes family time, Vidalia Lower Elementary first-grade teacher Amanda Wilson said.

“No. 1, you’re getting to spend more time with your children,” Wilson said.

“And if it’s something different that’s not normal for the family, (the children) are going to be excited, and their interest level is going to go up.”

Crafts also work the right side, the creative part, of the brain.

“And they get to do something that doesn’t have to be perfect, it can just be theirs,” she said. “I always tell my kids that there are no mistakes in art.”

Wilson’s students made silly jack-o’-lanterns in class for Halloween by painting a paper plate orange and then cutting out and creating silly faces out of construction paper.

All of your children’s handmade crafts can double as decorations, but you can also make additional Halloween decorations out of things you might already have at home.

Turn single-serving milk bottles into a string of ghost lights by painting black ghostly faces on the bottles, punching two holes at the top of the bottle then using ribbon or wire to attach the bottles to a set of string lights. Put one ghost over each light.

Treats

And Halloween would not be the official candy and junk food holiday without a few treats.

To make Monster Munch, or white chocolate covered popcorn with candy corn, peanuts and peanut butter candies, pick up the follow ingredients:

-One one-pound package almond bark

-Two bags of microwave popcorn

-One cup of candy corn

-One and a half-cup of dry roasted salted peanuts

-One cup of Reese’s Pieces

Pop popcorn and place in a large bowl, then pour the peanuts, candy corn and Reese’s Pieces on top.

Break up almond bark and melt it according to package directions. Pour over popcorn mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Spread the Monster Munch out onto waxed paper, parchment or foil, let it sit until completely dry and then break up into clumps.

Kids don’t always get to help out with holiday cooking for big holidays, local cook Christina Hall said, but helping out with Halloween treats is fun and simple.

Ghost cookies, Hall said, are a perfect treat that kids can help make.

To make the cookies, Hall said dip Nutter Butter cookies in almond bark and lay the cookies on wax paper to dry. Before the cookies are completely dry, use M&M Minis to create eyes.

“These are fun because I always liked to let my kids take part in making them,” Hall said. “My kids are grown now, but these cookies are one thing kids can always do to help out with cooking. I think it makes their part of the holiday experience so much better.”