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October 2000


by krstl kitten

It’s party time!!! Kids of all ages love a reason to party, and there’s no party like a Halloween party! From invitations to decorating to food and games, this is one theme that can involve the whole family. This month’s column will give you some ideas to use. Or use them as a springboard to make your own fun!

Invisible Invitations

Kick off your party plans with ghostly "invisible" invitations. They are easy to make, and your guests will love decoding the secret message. All you need to make the invitations are sheets of white paper, scissors, a pen and a slim white birthday candle. Have your kids cut the paper into ghost shapes. (It helps the younger ones if you first cut out a cardboard template they can trace and follow.) Then use the end of the candle to write out the party details—who, what, where and when. At the bottom of the invitations, use the pen and write, "To see the secret message, brush food coloring over this card." Put a ghost and a small paintbrush into each envelope and mail them out.

Haunting the House

Make your guests quail, quiver and quake by dimming the lights and replacing the white bulbs with orange and black ones. Play a torture tape with screams and moans, or try to find tapes of eerie organ music. Your library may have a few. Buy large rolls of cotton at a craft store, pull them apart into webs and hang them in corners and on the ceiling, putting a plastic spider in each web. Hang a plastic skeleton in a closet or inside the bathroom, and leave the door open just a crack. No bones about it, this one's always good for a scare. For older crowds, a cauldron of bubbling dry ice looks great.

Feed the Ghouls

Hot mulled cider
12 cups cider
1 1/2 teaspoons whole allspice
2 tablespoon whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Gently heat until sugar dissolves. Keep hot over low heat. Serve piping hot. Note: For adult party, add applejack or calavados.

Pumpkin seeds
Dig out pumpkins seeds, reserve pumpkins for part of a game. Clean the seeds and soak for two hours in lightly salted water (1 tablespoon per 2 cups of water). Pat the seeds dry and spread them on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake in an oven at 200 degrees for 1/2 to 1 hour, or until they look crispy and a light brown. Salt to taste. Let the seeds cool down

Vampire Fangs in Blood
8 large Red Delicious apples
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 10-ounce jar strawberry or cherry sauce
Wash, peel and core the apples. Then cut each apple into 8 pieces. Dip the cut apples into the lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. To prepare the fangs, cut the apple slices into long, narrow triangles, making pointy tooth-like shapes. Re-dip them in the lemon juice and lightly sprinkle them with sugar. Arrange the fangs on a serving platter with the strawberry dipping sauce in the middle. Make sure you splatter some of the "blood" over the fangs. Makes 10 servings

Bug Juice
2 10-ounce packages frozen strawberries, defrosted
1 6-ounce can lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 quart ginger ale
2 cups raisins
6 gummy worms
Mix the strawberries and lemonade concentrate in a blender until smooth and thick. Gradually add ginger ale. Transfer the beverage to a punch bowl. Stir in any remaining ginger ale and the raisins. Place the gummy worms on the rim of the bowl for a swampy effect. Makes 10 servings.

Game time!!

Pumpkin puzzles
Take the shells of the medium size pumpkins you cleaned for the seed and carve them, then cut them into puzzle pieces. Divide the party guests into groups or teams. Give each group the pieces to their pumpkin, along with some toothpicks. The first group to reassemble their pumpkin is the winner.

Witch Hunt
First design a witch on a piece of paper as a template (do not make it too big). Trace it onto black construction paper. Cut out 50 or more black witches and then hide them all over your party area. For the party have everyone either individually or in pairs go in search of the witches. Turns off the lights! Make sure everyone or couple has a flashlight. The person or couple returning with the most witches wins

One player is secretly designated the "murderer". This can be done by drawing lots; each player draws a piece of paper from a hat. They are all marked "victim" except for one marked "murderer". Prepare only enough for the number of players. Alternatively, the host can secretly tap one player to be the "murderer".

All players must sit in a circle and be able to see each participant's face easily. The murderer tries to "kill" the other players by winking at them. If a player is winked at, he or she must die (as dramatically as possible, of course, encourage theatrics!)

A warning to the murderer: wink discreetly. A player who witnesses the crime (and is not yet killed off) can become a "witness". This player shouts "Witness!" and names the killer. If the witness is right, he or she is a winner, and a new round starts. If the witness is wrong, however, that person also dies. A player who has a hunch about the killer, may shout "Detective!" and guess the murderer's identity. Beware! A wrong hunch results in that player also dying. The murderer wins if all but one "victim" is killed off. Note: "Victims" are forbidden to wink!

Scavenger Hunt
This is a great game for the older kids in your life. Depending on the area you live in, you can ask them to get some pretty crazy things. A few examples are candy corn, a handful of orange silly string, a broom, anything with Casper the friendly ghost on it, a ghoulish doorknocker, and the exact spelling of Angela Lansbury’s character in the movie “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”. Be creative!

What is that?
A favorite, this game involves a large tub of water, blindfolds, and as many gross things as you can find. This may be played as individuals or teams. For team play,
blindfold the whole team and put them in a row. The first on the team reaches into the tub and pulls out the first thing to touch his hand. The first player has 5 seconds to name what is in his hand. If he cannot, he passes to the next player in line. This continues until they guess what is in their hands. Points are awarded for the least amount of seconds it takes to guess. Suggestions for items to be put into the water include raw ground meat, peeled grapes, a terrycloth slipper, and a plastic spoon. Be wary of objects that can poke or cut, they aren’t a good idea for this game.