Halloween! And the Marsh Woman is brewing…

Woop, woop!  It’s Friday and – for the kids and the young at heart – also Halloween!  The weather in Copenhagen is perfect for a spooky night: our clocks went back on Sunday so it’s twilight by 5pm, there’s a real chill in the air and it’s not really raining but just damp. Yesterday morning we had hard frost but the most beautiful sunshine.  I went running in the park with a friend at 8am and – boom – we both exlaimed, “Mosekonen brygger!” 🙂

“Mosekonen” means “the Woman of the Marsh”.  And when there’s a ground mist like this, the Danes say that the Woman of the Marsh is brewing!  Poetic, non?

When I first moved to Copenhagen 16 years ago, Halloween wasn’t really a big deal. Very few people had lit, carved pumpkins outside their doors.  There were just two or three costumes you could choose from at Fætter BR (the Danish toyshop chain).  I always had a huge bowl of sweets ready…but no-one ever rang the bell! 😕

Nowadays it’s common for kids to go door to door asking “Gys eller Guf?” (Trick or Treat?).  And many will bake cakes or treats to take into school.  Here’s the batch my DD12 (dear daughter, aged 12) made for her Manga drawing class.

And it’s not just the kids who are getting into Halloween here.  Even the makeup ladies in our local MATAS (Danish chemist shop/drugstore chain) had ‘scary’ black and white Halloween painted faces this morning…  Hee hee, made a nice change from the ubiquitous ‘orange’ faces!  I’m being kept busy too…  My DS14 (dear son, aged 14) has his entire class (28 – count’ em – boys and girls!) coming here for a party tonight.  Yikes!  Or should that be Eeeeeek?

Let’s just hope we have enough crisps, cakes and sweets to stop them from turning into…right little monsters! 😈

Have a fabulous and frightful Friday!

Diane 🙂


Halloween – boo! Not boo hoo!

I’m getting our Halloween things ready today and tomorrow because I don’t want to be running around on Monday afternoon when it’s pitch dark (yes, folks, our clocks go back on Sunday night).   Been there.  Done that.  Got the Zombie t-shirt.  So here’s my checklist so I don’t turn into an unravelled mummie a frazzled mummy.  We want ‘Boo!’  Not ‘boo hoo!’  ;D

  • Make the final arrangements of where the kids are going/what time/who is going with them. DS always meets up with his classmates.  DD and her friends will probably be with me.
  • Monday’s night’s dinner will be very easy – I’ve put panini (grilled sandwiches) and soup on this week’s menu plan
  • Find three torches (I keep them in one spot – go me!) and make sure they have fresh batteries in.
  • Check through the outfits the kids will be wearing together with the kids (as sometimes they chop and change their minds…) and put my clothes (thermal underwear, fleece jumper, ski socks, hat, warm gloves, winter boots, etc) in a pile, ready to put on before we go out Monday (I hate standing around getting cold)
  • Do a bit more Halloween decorating outside our house.
  • Make up a few skeleton hands (see below)
  • Fill up our own plastic pumpkin with (wrapped) sweets, in case anyone should ring on our door 😀
Skeleton hands…a quick and simple last-minute treat!

On Monday evening I’ll fill up a thermos full of chai, so that we can have a hot drink as we walk around.

And – before we leave – we’ll agree to do, say, 30 houses or 1 hour’s worth of guising.

Voilà!  Have I missed anything?

And if you need any easy ideas for decorating, here’s a link to some crafts I posted last year

Ghost lollies

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! 🙂


Crafty Tuesday – time for a round up!

Tuesday again…which usually means it’s time for another 15 minute craft here on the blog. Today I’m giving you a run down of what we’ve done so far. Maybe you’ll find an activity to keep the kids amused while you do the last of the Christmas wrapping. Maybe you need a homemade teacher or hostess gift? Have a look, set your timer for 15 minutes and get going! 😉

BOTTLE APRONS

CANDY CANE CRAZY

FESTIVE PLANTS

GARLANDS

HALLOWEEN 1 (Skeleton Hands and Ghost Cupcakes)

HALLOWEEN 2 (Ghost Lollies and Pumpkin Stones)

HALLOWEEN 3 (Spiders Webs and Snuggly Spiders)

HALLOWEEN 4 (Flying Ghosts)

HEARTS

NAPPY CAKE

(HAND AND FOOT) REINDEER

(DECORATE WITH) SERVIETTES

SHAKY CARDS

SILLY SNOWMEN (AND SNOWLADIES)

THINGUMYJIGS

Have fun! 🙂


Crafty Tuesday – Halloween 4

Here we are again…another Halloween craft that shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to complete. Unless, of course, your kids want to sit at the table for longer than that! 😉 We used stuff that we’ve got lying around or can be bought at the supermarket.

We’re still on our ghost theme because that’s what my two have decided they want to dress up as for guising this year. Need to go and check and see if I have any old white sheets that are ready for decluttering…

FLYING GHOSTS

You’ll need:

  • plastic or paper cups
  • sticky tape
  • kitchenroll/white cloth or white paper
  • string/thread or ribbon
  • pen or paint
  • plasticine (to help when making holes)

Take your paper cup and make a small hole in the bottom. The safest way is to take a lump of plasticine, put your cup on top and push through using a pair of scissors or screwdriver (or chopstick, if it’s a papercup).

Turn the cup upside down. Cut a long piece of string. Take one or two sheets of kitchen roll and place those on top of the cup. If you’re using two sheets, make sure the corners don’t match for the best effect. Push the string through the kitchen roll and through the hole in the cup. Fix inside with a piece of sticky tape.

Draw on a couple of eyes and your ghost is ready for takeoff 😉

DS9 also wanted to share his very own Halloween idea with you…a 3-D picture. Cut out spooky shapes and colour them in. Fold small pieces of paper like a concertina/fan and use these to stick your shapes on to your background paper.

Happy Halloween!


Crafty Tuesday – Halloween 3

I’m in (hopefully) sunny Scotland right now, visiting my Mum and Dad. But didn’t want you to miss out on Crafty Tuesday…so here’s one I prepared earlier! 😉

Today we’re doing more decorations that can be done by the kids and that don’t take more than the magic Flylady 15 minutes! Any arachnaphobics out there? Hope not.

And if you’re not lucky enough to have endless supplies of free chestnuts falling from the trees where you live, you could also use styrofoam balls – just make sure to paint/spray them first.

SPIDERS WEBS

These can be hung in windows or outside your door. This is something the kids always make at nursery and school in Denmark. And as we’re surrounded by chestnut trees, the kids come home every day with their pockets full of them.

You’ll need:

  • chestnuts/conkers or styrofoam balls
  • cocktail sticks or matches
  • a small implement for making holes (like a screwdriver)
  • wool

Make about 8 holes round the outside of the chestnut. Push in the cocktail sticks or matches – it should look like a wheel. Take a long piece of wool and weave it in and out of the ‘spokes’ of the wheel. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Did I mention this project was great for kids? 😉

Keep winding around and around. Remember to leave a long piece of wool when you are finished, so that you can hang it up. You can use different yarns for different effects. DD7 liked the orange wool because it was so soft, I liked the black wool because it looked more scary…

SNUGGLY SPIDERS

You’ll need:

  • chestnuts/conkers or styrofoam balls

  • pipecleaners

  • a small implement for making holes (like a screwdriver)

  • something to make eyes (for example, stick-on googly eyes, small round white stickers, glitter glue)

Make four holes on each side of the chestnut. We used 2 pipecleaners for each spider. Cut each pipecleaner into 4 equal lengths, so you’ll end up with 8 in all. Stick them into the holes you’ve made and voilà, your spider has legs! Stick on some eyes. Use what you’ve got to hand. We just used a couple of dabs of glitter glue.

And, of course, you all know what it’s like when kids get carried away doing crafts? DD7 went off on a completely different tangent and came up with this…

See you next week for more crafty fun 🙂


Crafty Tuesday – Halloween 2

Another two fast and furious Halloween ideas for you, both of which the kids can make on their own 🙂

GHOST LOLLIES

Good to give out to guisers (‘Trick or Treaters’) who ring your doorbell. Maybe together with one of the SKELETON HANDS I posted last week?

You’ll need:

  • lollipops
  • some scraps of white cloth/paper/tissue paper/kitchen roll/paper towels or even paper tissues
  • sellotape or white thread
  • black pen or paint

Take a square of white cloth or white tissue/paper. We ended up using kitchen roll – it has a really nice drape to it! Just want to say a quick ‘thanks’ to my running mate, Vibeke, who put the idea of kitchen roll into my head. It all started out with a misunderstanding about the Danish word for ’tissue paper’ versus ’tissues’ you use to blow your nose… 😉

Wrap it around the top of the lollipop, drape it like a ghost and secure with sellotape or thread. We used thread – looks good but a bit finicky to tie. Draw two black dots for the ghost’s eyes. Done! We also used some silver glitterglue on the eyes of one of the ghosts…and I have some fluorescent paint in my craft box that we might use next time.

PUMPKIN STONES

A great little decoration. And a good alternative to carving pumpkins for really small kids (or impatient grown-ups).

You’ll need:

  • stones
  • orange paint
  • black felt pen or black paint/small paintbrush
  • varnish (optional)

Paint your stone orange. For extra brownie points, let the kids mix up their own orange colour 😉

Using a pen (or a brush with black paint) draw on a face – scary, happy, goofy or ..? Get some inspiration from the net – just google “jack-o-lantern face” – or click here for ideas from Martha Stewart. Let dry. You can varnish them (the spray type is best) if you want to keep them until next year.

Small stones are great for table decorations and paperweights. Large stones (or several small ones) are good for putting outside your front door. We made some last year – didn’t varnish them – and they have survived rain and frost no problem.

More Halloween ideas next Tuesday! 🙂


Crafty Tuesday – Halloween 1

Halloween is a fairly new tradition in Denmark but it’s getting bigger (read => commercial) all the time. But my kids certainly enjoy all the spooky crafts that they do at the afterschool club and, of course, Halloween night when they go out ‘guising’.

Here are a couple of food ideas to get the Halloween pumpkin rolling. Both are simple enough for kids to do on their own. We’ve made these several times to take into nursery and school and they’re always a huge hit.

First, the politically-correct, healthy option…

SKELETON HANDS

You need:

  • box of disposable plastic gloves
  • popcorn (ready-popped if you’re pushed for time, and who isn’t?)
  • sellotape, ribbon or wool
  • raisins or small sweets (optional)

Fill the plastic glove with popcorn. If you want the ‘hand’ to have fingernails, you can put a few raisins or sweets into the bottom of the fingers of the glove first. But be warned, it is fiddly and time consuming – especially if making for a large class… You have been warned! 😉

Tie the top of the glove with sellotape, ribbon or wool. We used orange and black ribbon in keeping with the Halloween colours.

And now for the not so healthy – but very cute – option…

GHOST CUPCAKES

You’ll need:

  • cupcakes (I use Nigella Lawson’s blender recipe – easy peasy and deee-licious)
  • marshmallows
  • ready-to-roll white icing (not available in Denmark, so my Mum brings it over from Scotland for me)
  • food colouring (black is best) and a cocktail stick/toothpick

Roll out the icing between two sheets of baking paper (or an unused bin bag, cut open) until it is really thin. Cut out large circles using a glass or a bowl.

Top each cupcake with a marshmallow and ‘drape’ the icing over so it looks like a ghost.

Dip the cocktail stick in the (black) food colouring and make two dots for eyes and a slightly bigger one for a mouth that says “Woooooooo!” on your ghost.

There you go! More Halloween crafts next Tuesday – see youse! 🙂