By Laurie Schacht - Toy Insider Mom
Halloween is the biggest day of pretend play for kids young and old. It's a time of ghosts and goblins, and pumpkins and treats. And best of all, it's a great time for imaginative fun.
There are some great costumes to buy, but also some great ones to make. One college daughter of mine is working her wardrobe to become a cowboy witch and the other is getting white overalls with friends, paint, paintbrush and a cap. They are spilling paint on themselves and going as painters. Of course, my third daughter requested I send her a costume!
My husband and I have bought, rented and have done the "make it yourself" versions over the years. My favorite was when he was a waiter and I was a table. We took a big piece of cardboard…really big. We glued all the plates and silverware/champagne flutes in place (all plastic), a long paper black tablecloth hanging all around and with a hole in the middle for my head. I was the centerpiece…with flowers in my hair. My husband had a tux, a white towel on his arm…and though it was bulky, we were a hit!
And it's not just the costumes. There are games for the entire family, and activities that everyone can do, from decorating pumpkins to decorating cupcakes. Here are some great ideas for enjoying Halloween as a family!
Building Sets, collectibles, and activities makes Halloween a fun holiday for all.
Little People® Pumpkin Party and the Trick or Treat Surprise by Fisher Price are great for our little ones. Both give kids two sides of play and both have lights, sounds and spooktacular action surprises! Open the barn door for spooky Halloween sounds. Fun tricks, treats and surprises are just waiting to be found! Barn shutters open and close for peek-a-boo play with more animal and Halloween sounds on the way: press the straw door mat, or press the apples in the bobbing apple water trough! Ages: 1+. MSRP: $35 for the Pumpkin Party and $30 for the Trick or Treat Surprise.
SUPER MARIO: Ghost House™ Set is a buildable course inspired by Super Mario 3D Land. The set includes new jump disk and launcher and Buildable Boomerang Mario, Spinning Boo figures, Big Boo figure and es appearing and sliding platforms, coins plus a Star Medal and a pop-up goal flag. Building is great for kids (and parents) and kids 8 and older will build and play. The MSRP is $64.99.
Play-Doh: Halloween Craft Fun by Silver Dolphin Books are filled with projects. Children will help Groovy Ghost bring the Halloween party to life. With the turn of every page and step-by-step guides to molding spooky PLAY-DOH sculpts, kids will use Halloween colored Play-Doh to make jack-o'-lanterns, ghosts, witches, spiders, candies, and other ghoulish goodies. Book and activities combine reading, written and verbal directions, and hands-on projects. Great for ages 3+ for $14.95.
Animal Masquerade Pumpkin Faces by Martha Stewart Crafts is a great way to decorate a pumpkin without the struggle of carving it! Give your pumpkin a fun and festive face without ever picking up a knife. Perfect for decorators of all ages, kit includes a variety of noses, eyes, mouths, masks, and more. MSRP: $4.39
Once Upon a Zombie Dolls by WowWee are made up of the classic Fairytale Princesses that we've all grown up with. But now, they are all zombie's…beautiful cool looking zombies with stunning outfits. Each Zombie Princess doll (Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, and The Little Mermaid) is highly detailed and fully articulated, featuring beautifully rooted hair and mesmerizing glass eyes. The doll stand and a brush is included. For children (and collectors) ages 6+ for $19.99 each.
The DISNEY INFINITY Figure Jack Skellington reigns as The Pumpkin King of Disney Infinity. This is Jack Skellington from Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas," and just in time for Halloween, fans can play as Jack Skellington and be the "Scare Master," throw explosive jack-o-lanterns at other characters and build their very own "Halloween Town" in the Toy Box mode. Ages; 10+ MSRP: $13.99
This is the Eye-Brawl Skylanders Giants from Activision. Throughout history, there have been many epic battles, though none more bizarre than the legendary brawl between the headless giant and the infamous flying eyeball. It all started with a staring contest, but with the headless giant having no eyes and the flying eyeball unable to blink, it soon escalated into an all out war as the two rivals fought fiercely throughout the land of the undead for over a hundred years! With neither opponent backing down, the two combatants were eventually struck with the realization that if they were to combine their formidable powers, they would be a force to be reckoned with. By teaming up, the infamous flying eyeball and the headless giant became known as Eye-Brawl - one of the most powerful Skylanders ever known! Perfect for Halloween! Made for kids ages 3+ for $7.49.
Games that all will enjoy!
Monopoly: The Walking Dead Survival Edition by USAopoly is a game where players enter a world where quick wits, guts and ingenuity mean the difference between life and death. Buy, sell, trade and backstab to survive a world of the dead? Includes six custom tokens: Bucket of body parts, Katana, Rick's hat, Telephone, R.V., and Lucille. For 2-6 players. Ages 13+ MSRP: $39.95
Spot It! Halloween by Blue Orange Games is a fast-paced and addictive card game. It features 55 circular cards in a collectible tin that travels easily. There are dozens of spooky symbols such as Jack-o-lanterns, cobwebs, ghouls, and zombies and five different matching games to play. It's for 2 to 8 players for kids 7+. The retail on this game is $12.99.
Monster Fluxxs is a great card game for Halloween parties! It features all the scary things we love: zombies, vampires, skeletons, an angry mob of villagers, and even Big Foot! Great for ages 8+ and the retail is $9.99.
And some of my favorite costumes for this season
Crayola Costume, now everyone can be their favorite color, and everyone can wear a costume. Young, old, girls boys…Prices range from $24.99 - $34.99.
Smurf: Another family choice, dress up your little one (or your big one) in this Smurf-tastic suit! The Baby Smurf Costume features a velvety soft blue and white romper with open-ended sleeves and white footies. The soft white hat has the iconic curl at the top for an authentic Smurf look. Retails for $18.99 to $36.99.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back and they are hot! Be your favorite Hero in a half-shell. Costumes features includes jumpsuit with molded chest and shoe covers, belt, mask, elbow and knee pads. From toddlers to adult sizes…great for the whole family! These run from $49 to $69.
Doc McStuffins is the favorite doc in town that fixes all of the broken toys. Little girls can dress as the popular Disney Jr character Doc McStuffins! The costume includes a dress with an attached doctor's coat, polka dot leggings and an adorable headband. For ages 4+ this is $19.99.
The favorite part of DM2 is the Minions…everyone loves them, and now there are plenty of ways for the whole family to be them. There are costumes for toddlers to adults and the prices are from $23.99 to $69.99.
Monster High Skelita Calaveras will let girls can have a ghoulishly girly Halloween with this costume. This costume transforms kids into their favorite Dia de los Muertos diva from TV series Monster High. Includes shirt, skirt, belt, glovelets, tights, and an eye mask. Price is $19.99.
Whether the exciting new Star Trek movie has made you a fan or you've been watching Classic Star Trek, Next Generation, Voyager, DS9, or Enterprise for years - you'll want to beam up to your next costume party in this Starship Enterprise officer outfit. It includes a bright red or blue, form-fitting long-sleeved mini dress with a black collar, shiny gold wrist bands, and a replica Star Trek emblem pin. From $49.99 to $54.99.
Monster U/Sully is an adorable costume for children and adults from Monster's University. This is Sully and the dress has a detachable tail and petticoat, one pair of leg warmers and one pair of glovettes and headpiece. There is also Mike toddler and deluxe adult costumes…great for the entire family. Prices from $24.99 to $59.99.