Holidays

Best Classic Halloween Books and Spooky Stories

To little kids, Halloween is pretty abstract. To bigger kids, it's just awesome. Either way, reading some great Halloween stories is a fun way to extend the fun and excitement of Halloween. I've collected my all-time favorite Halloween books, a bunch of classics and a couple of brand-new classics. All sure to either make Halloween even spookier or a little less so. Judith Viorst is probably best known for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but her other books are just as great. That includes My Mama Says There Aren't Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Demons, Monsters, Fiend. I love this book because it deals with the very real issue kids have over just how much they can trust their parents when it comes to things like whether monsters exist or not. {C}

5 Magical Halloween Events for NYC Families

I can't believe how many Halloween events there are in this city. There is cool-sounding stuff to do for Halloween with kids in every corner of the city from now until the 31st. Little neighborhood events can be the best ones, so definitely keep an eye out for what's going on in your hood (and let us know).

I've picked out just five events that each take a different spin on celebrating the holiday, aren't too commercialized, and hopefully bring that Halloween magic that will give you and your family great Halloween memories.

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Just as the sun is setting, children launch their lit Jack o' Lanterns out into the Harlem Meer and watch as the flotilla of jack o' Lanterns float across the water. Starting at 4PM there will also be mask-making workshop, lawn games, a costume parade, and costume contest. FREE. When: Saturday, October 28th, 4-7PM

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Ghouls and Ghords
At Ghouls and Gourds kids learn about plants as they engage in freakishly fun activities. In addition to the great big costume parade, carnivorous plant feedings with BBG's very own "Morticia Adams," giant ten-foot-tall puppets, a flying flea circus, mysterious music, and other eerie oddities. Music from Maracatu NY and the rockin' tunes of Audra Rox. Sounds cool.
When: Sunday, October 28 from noon to 6.

Scared Silly: Halloween in Prospect Park
A weekend of Halloween family fun in Prospect Park. There'll be the Haunted Carousel, Scary Stories from the past and period Halloween crafts at Lefferts Historic House, Creepy Crawly Critter Fest at the Audubon Center, Boo at the Zoo, and the Halloween Haunted Walk (Saturday only) and carnival. All free except for carousel and Zoo admission. When: October 27 – 28

Halloweekend
Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall will be the site of a weekend full of family fun and events, but the highlight is sure to be the award-winning giant puppets of Ralph Lee. These puppets are just amazing and there's nothing like seeing them up close. It's sure to be some Halloween magic you and your children will remember for years to come. When: October 27-28

Di­a de los Muertos
Not eactly Halloween, but I thought it would be interesting to add a slightly different cultural perspective on this Holiday. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the Mexican version of our All Saints Day or Halloween. At this Family festival, families are invited to explore the ancient roots and contemporary DГѓВ­a de los Muertos customs through bilingual educator-led altar discussions, artist-led workshops, storytelling, live music and dance performances, and food workshops that teach about ofrendas (offerings) and the traditional foods involved in the celebration. Free, but registration required. When: Saturday, November 3, 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Free Swap for Kids Halloween Costumes

I want to thank everyone who has already taken the Mommy Poppins Reader Survey. I'm getting all kinds of great feedback and over the next couple of months we'll be starting to institute lots of them. There's going to be a lot of fun and exciting changes and I'm really looking forward to it.

In fact, one piece of feedback lead to this idea already: One of the things that people were interested in was classifieds. Seeing as it's October now and Halloween is on it's way, I thought we'd start out with a Halloween Costume Swap Board.

It will be a fun, easy way to get rid of old costumes or discover new ones. I'm hoping this will be really fun and lots of people will participate. The Mommy Poppins Halloween Costume Swap will be a great way for this community to come together and find great costumes for our kids this Halloween.

The Dangerous Book for Boys, a Safe Bet for Father's Day

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden is like a brain scan of a twelve year old boy 30 years ago. It's filled with fun and educational information like The Greatest Paper Airplane in the World, The Five Knots Every Boy Should Know, Slingshots, Making a Bow and Arrow, Timers and Tripwires, Famous Battles-Including Lexington and Concord, The Alamo, and Gettysburg, Spies-Codes and Ciphers, Navajo Code Talkers' Dictionary, Stickball, Fossils, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and Skimming Stones; the stuff every kid used to know and now it seems like none do.

If you live in the city, you may be wishing your child had a backyard so you could take advantage of this kind of fun. But, I believe that this stuff is just as doable in the city, and maybe even more important for city kids. Just about any of the activities in the book are just as doable in NYC as anywhere. Go skim stones in central park, fishing in the Harlem Meer, or stickball in the schoolyard. Kids used to own the streets of NYC. Maybe it's about time they took them back.

Encouraging kids to get back outside playing traditional games, The Dangerous Book for Boys is finding itself part of a wider resurgence to restore the innocence of childhood and child play. In these days of earlier and more frequent high-stakes testing, over-scheduled childhoods some parents are starting to push back. Several groups have been formed to promote the slowing down of childhood. New York Voices for Childhood is a group of parents and educators that have joined together to lobby the schools to make old-fashioned play part of the curriculum. I don't know if it's appropriate or ironic that they don't have a website, but if you are interested in joining or finding out more you can find their contact information here.

Family Activity: Create Your Own Holiday

How often do you wish you could just slow down and spend a quiet day together with your family? How about creating your own family holiday? You can do anything you want. It could be around a theme, you can exchange gifts, or just hang out together for a day with no distractions.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Holidays