Halloween Parent Hacks and last minute links

Congratulations to Izzy's Mom who won the Great Green Giveaway. She'll receive free tickets to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a copy of the BBG Gardening with Children book and a Tree in a Box.

It's not over yet, folks. Halloween is tomorrow and there's still time to check out some of the coolest and most fun Halloween ideas and resources I've found around the web.

Blue Man Creativity Center, Reggio Emilia and Preschool Parenting Talk

You know the main thing I worry my kids are missing out on in their education in New York? It's not so much math, social studies or reading. It's Creativity. I don't mean art. I mean just random, wacky NYC Creativity. This post is about a really cool new preschool, a hot educational philosophy, and a preschool parenting talk that are all aimed at putting more of that big C type of creativity back into childhood.

Best Environmental Sites for Parents and Kids

Due to technical difficulties, yesterday's post did not go out to subscribers. If you would like to read yesterday's post about Zipcar, click here.

I've put together a list of some great sites that promote environmentalism. Some are kid sites with games, activities and projects to get kids involved in the environment. Some are cool sites to help parents become more environmental with information and must-have products. Check 'em out.

Zipcar lets you drive to the greener side of the street

If you watch An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's environmental exposГѓВ©, it is quite likely that you followed the exact pattern of behavior we did immediately after watching the film. For, in the final credits, there is a URL for a website which allows you to measure your personal household carbon footprint. If you do that you can not only see how much carbon you are adding to the earth every year, but what are the biggest behaviors which create the most carbon in your life. I was surprised to see that eating beef is a big one. I never really though about the environmental impact of eating beef. But the one that really got me thinking was our car. We had an old hand-me-down Volvo station wagon which was quite handy for toting stuff around town and the occasional trip to grandma's. By the next morning after watching An Inconvenient Truth our car was listed on Craigslist. We're not usually that reactionary or decisive, but this was an easy decision because we knew we had a great alternative to owning a car in NYC. Zipcar is this really cool service that lets you share cars with other drivers. You can basically rent one of several models by the hour. I'll tell you why I like it better than owning a car:

Be on TV and/or enter The Great Green Giveaway

Hot off the press! I just got this email from Kate over at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. They are looking for lots of parents and kids to come out tomorrow, Thursday October 25th to be on Good Morning New York to promote their Ghouls and Ghords Halloween event. It sounds like a lot of fun. Giant puppets, Audra Rox and everyone who shows up gets free tickets to return to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden another time. It's never too early to start your child''s television career! Here's the info and then check out our Great Green Giveaway below. Just leave a comment on this post and you'll be automatically entered.

Where to find safe, Green toys in 2007-Chinese Year of the Recall

Safer Toy Guide 2007

A couple weeks ago The New York Times followed NYC parent blog demigods, Liz Gumbinner and Greg Allen, on toy shopping expeditions and interviewed them about the whole China-toy-recall-apalooza.

In the article, Greg Allen who writes daddytypes.com says,

“I think people are kind of stunned because they don’t know what to do. You can’t just cut out every made-in-China toy. It’s just not realistic.�?

Liz Gumbinner, on the other hand, was not one of those stunned parents who didn't know what to do. She knew exactly what to do. Liz writes on a blog called Cool Mom Picks where a couple of savvy, stylin' moms post every day about the best stuff out there for babies and parents.

Green Parenting Week: Environmental Living with Kids in NYC

Environmentalism has become so mainstream that Alanis Morissette is going to have to make a comeback just so she can add a new verse to her hit song Ironic. "It's like using environmentalism to get people to buy more crap...oh who would have thought it figgered..."

I was born with a biodegradable soy-based spoon in my mouth, so I've been living green in New York for many decades. (Actually, we all live green here since living in an urban environment makes much less impact on the planet than most suburban and rural living.)

This week I'll be sharing some of the ways I've found to make NYC life with kids even greener without having to suffer. I've already written about my water bottle solution. I've been loving our aluminum water bottles. Today I'd like to mention a tradition that my friends and I have taken to: the swap.

Halloween Links

We're finishing up Halloween week with some links to other great sites and Halloween info - crafts, projects and more NYC Halloween stuff for kids.

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

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


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