Halloween Mantel (v. 2011)

My kids have been on fall break and we went on a 10 day vacation to Florida, so I’m late with my Halloween decorations this year, but you know what they say!

As usual, I challenged myself to use what I already had on hand. The only purchases I made were the pumpkins.

halloween mantel v2011

The candle holders are a part of almost every season’s mantel. I replaced the candles with little pumpkins and just simply (lazily?) sat the candles next to the holders and I think it worked.

halloween mantel v2011 left

The spooky wire tree is a clearance purchase from Pottery Barn many years ago. It originally held little orange votive holders, but a few broke in storage so I’ve used it with silk fall leaves instead and arranged the few remaining orange votive holders on the mantel. The iron bats are also a Pottery Barn clearance find.

The skull came from a light-up, spooky sounding lantern we bought at Target a few years ago. The kids played with it until it fell apart, and rather than tossing the whole thing into the garbage, I saved the pieces to try to reuse in my decor this year. The skull worked into the mantel perfectly, I think!

Do you guys have a serious addiction to Pinterest like I do? I found the idea for painting b-o-o on little pumpkins on Pinterest. These particular little pumpkins came in a kit, six of them, a set of paints and a paint brush. I bought the kit, let my 3 oldest kids each paint a pumpkin (displayed on a shelf over my buffet) and I used the extra 3 for myself.

halloween mantel v2011 right

The iron spiders are yet another Pottery Barn clearance find. I love hitting their after-holiday sales!

And last, but not least, the broom! I love my witch’s broom! I don’t even remember where I bought it, it’s been years. I usually set it in a corner somewhere, but I have a wild 2 year old in the house this year and I worried the broom wouldn’t survive the next couple of weeks if left within her reach. My solution was to hang it right on the mantel in place of garland!

halloween mantel v2011 fullI’m already thinking about the next mantel… Thanksgiving!

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Boredom Buster #1 – Pumpkin Pal

My 3rd grader attends a year-around school and therefore tends to have longer than average school breaks throughout the year.  These breaks are sometimes challenging, and I’ve found the best bet for survival is a list of Boredom Busters.

A week or two before break begins, I sit down at the computer and research. I look for local activities, craft ideas, science experiments and just anything fun we can do at home. I type them all up into a word doc and when the “I’m bored!” or “There’s nothing fun to do!” complaints start, I’m prepared!

Today is Week 1, Day 3 of fall break here, and I had to pull out my list and get them busy with their first Boredom Buster – Pumpkin Pals! I found the idea over at LessonPlansPage.com. I liked this because it’s fall themed and because though it’s listed for grades 3 through 6, I knew I could simplify it enough so that my 4 year old could also participate.

Prep: I made a few notes to myself about how they could develop their Pumpkin Pals… names, ages, personality traits. I collected craft supplies in a basket, and I cut pumpkin shapes out of orange construction paper.

To start, I gave them paper and pencils and had them start jotting down who their Pumpkin Pals are.

developing the Pumpkin Pal

writing details

I did the handwriting for my 4 year old while she dictated, and then I asked her to draw where her Pumpkin Pal lives.

drawing the pumpkin patch

Next, I gave them their pumpkin shapes, and following the instructions on the lesson plans site, I suggested the pumpkin be their Pal’s head and for them to use their imaginations with the rest.

craft supplies

My 8 year old did great with this, he’s a big fan of free style craft time. He went to work at creating a Star Wars Clone Trooper pumpkin. My 4 year old struggled a little with making some of the supplies work the way she wanted, so she had some Mommy help.

making pumpkin pals

This little project took around 45 minutes from the time they sat down to the time they taped their “biographies” and Pumpkin Pals to the wall.

And without further ado, I’m pleased to present Clone Trooper Pumpkin, age 45, and Sally Pumpkin, age 12 1/2.  Clone enjoys weapons, gear and pizza. He’s not a fan of various types of Droids. 🙂

clone trooper pumpkin

Sally likes pizza, pretty dresses (as seen in the photo), flowers and sunshine. Her dislikes are rain, bees and flags. Haha!

sally pumpkin