Ghost Pop Candy Holder

Ghost Pop Candy Holder by Fran W.
These candy holders are great to hand out at parties, after a Halloween program or to Trick or Treaters!
To make a Ghost Pop Candy Holder you will need:
A box of tissues
A bag of round lollipops (Charms, Tootsie Pops, etc.)
Cardboard bathroom tissue paper tubes
Tissue paper cut into 4 x 6″ rectangles
Construction paper cut into 4 1/2 x 6″ rectangles
Artificial leaves, Halloween stickers or stamps
Small zip-top bags
Small toys, treats and stickers
Optional: Hot glue, regular white glue and a paint brush
Ghost Pop
Put a lollipop in the center of a tissue and tie it at the base of the pop with a piece of yarn to form a head. Add a face with markers. 
Candy Holder
1. Fold a tissue paper rectangle in half widthwise so that it measures 3 x 4″ and tape it to one end of the cardboard tube. Doubling the tissue paper will help strengthen it so treats can be put inside. 
2. If you are going to use stamps to decorate the construction paper, do this before wrapping it around the tubes. Otherwise, go to to step 3.
3. Wrap the construction paper rectangle around the the cardboard. Tape one edge to the tube, wrap it around evenly, then tape the outer edge to secure it. 
4. Decorate the outside with artificial leaves or Halloween stickers.
5. Put small toys, treats and stickers inside the small zip-top bag and carefully put it into the tube. Try not to break the tissue paper bottom.
6. Add a ghost pop to the top, fluff up the tissue around it to hide the treat inside, and they are ready to give out.
Tip: If you want to put artificial leaves on the candy holder, hot glue works really well.
Hint: A small amount of white glue can be used to help keep the tissue and construction paper in place if needed. 
More ghost activities can be found here on
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Monster Mash

Monster Mash, by Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers

The ‘Monster Mash’ is a fun song co-written by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and Leonard Capizzi, in 1962. After every major record label turned the song down, Gary S. Paxton’s, of Garpax Records, decided to produce it. The song reached the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on October 20, 1962, remained #1 for two weeks, and sold a million copies that year!
In 1973 it hit #3 on the UK Singles Chart and sold a million copies again! 

Not bad for a one-hit-wonder!

As a matter of fact, it has been considered a Halloween favorite every year since its release 50+ years ago. 

Can you guess how the “Monster Mash” got its name?

A few dances were popular at the time of its release, the “Twist” and the “Mashed Potato” were two of them, and they inspired the name of the song.

If you would like to sing along to this song, you can find the lyrics here.

The video below is a fun, kid-friendly cartoon version of the song.

Sing a long to the Monster Mash!


Wikipedia: Monster Mash

Wikipedia: Bobby Pickett

YouTube: Learn How To Do The Monster Mash 12:59

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Create A 3-D Halloween Scene

3-D Halloween Scene by Fran W.

A 3-D scene, or a diorama, is a creative way to express an idea, thought, experience, or tell a story. They can be made very simply or very complicated and detailed. They can also be interactive, stationary, or somewhere in between! It’s all up to you.

To make a 3-D Halloween scene, you will need:
Your container…
This may include: A shoe box, a recycled box, a 1 gallon milk/water jug, milk/juice carton, cereal box, a jar, an old foam pumpkin, etc.

Craft supplies…
Glue, construction paper, acrylic or non-toxic paint, paint brushes, chenille stems, stickers, scissor, tissue paper, toothpicks, thread or string, pom-poms, air-dry clay, cotton balls, and anything you have on hand.

Add extras…
Action figures, small plastic or clay animals, outdoor items such as sticks, rocks, shells, feathers, acorns, etc., lights, spider webs, etc.

What will your scene be about?
Since this activity is meant to have a Halloween theme, think about what you would like to depict within your scene. Will your scene include a creepy old house with a bare tree and bats and ghosts flying around? Will you tell the story of a person walking through the woods? Will it be about a trip to the pumpkin patch? Maybe your story will show what you plan to do on Halloween night!


  • Paint the background: Is it day or night? Where does the scene take place? Park, woods, a graveyard, a pumpkin patch, etc. 
  • Paint or cover the bottom: Leaves, grass, dirt, sand, gravel, gravestones, pumpkins, etc. 
  • Make your own figures: Use chenille stems, toothpicks, wire, etc.
  • Use Halloween themed stickers, clipart, or pictures from a magazine/flyer.
  • Use string or thread to hang things down from the top.
  • Make pumpkins out of pom-poms.
  • Make gravestones from recycled cereal/cracker boxes.

Need some inspiration?

Storm The CastleHalloween Tatebanko Project
Click on either of these links. One will take you to the website, ‘Storm The Castle’ and the other to the project.

Enchanted Learning: Dioramas
There are a few examples of dioramas on this page.

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Washington Irving – Research Project

Washington Irving was a successful writer and editor, born April 3, 1783, in New York City, New York, and is best known for his short stories which include, ‘Rip Van Winkle’, and ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’.
Irving was America’s first internationally best-selling author who encouraged American authors – Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth, Longfellow and Edgar Allen Poe, and was admired by European writers including, Sir Walter Scott, with whom he was friends, Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, Charles Dickens and others. Irving believed writing should be considered a legitimate profession and promoted the cause. He advocated for tougher laws to protect American writers from copyright infringements, but the legislation did not pass.
Did you know…
  • Washington Irving was named after General George Washington, the first president of the United States of America.
  • Irving was privately educated in his youth and was a self-taught adult.
  • In addition to being an author, Irving was an essayist, biographer, and a historian.
  • Irving had many pseudonyms that he wrote under.
  • Irving studied law and passed the bar.
  • Irving served as an ambassador to Spain from 1842 to 1846.
  • Washington Irving died November 28, 1859.
Research Questions

  • Where did Washington Irving grow up?
  • Where did Washington Irving get his inspiration to write ‘Rip Van Winkle’ and ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’?
  • What did Washington Irving nickname New York City, and what does it have to do with Batman?
  • What pseudonyms did Irving write under?
  • How is Irving remembered? (Memorials, City’s Named after him, Stamps, etc.)
Bio: Washington Irving
Brief biography about Irving.

Wikipedia: Washington Irving

A longer biography about Irving

About: 19th Century History: Washington Irving

Long biography about Washington Irving.

Written by Washington Irving

The Literature Network 
Washington Irving
Read a brief biography about Washington Irving, and some of his works, located on the left hand side of the page.

Rip Van Winkle
Read Irving’s classic short story
Listen to this classic story on LibriVox: Rip Van Winkle

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Download and read Irving’s classic short story of the Headless Horseman & Ichabod Crane (aka The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)
Listen to one of these versions of the classic story on LibriVox: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, or The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow Part 1 by Washington IrvingThe Legend Of Sleepy Hollow Part 2 by Washington Irving

Old Christmas: From the Sketch Book of Washington IrvingThis is a LibriVox recording.

Videos to Watch and Places to Visit on the Web

Rip Van Winkle (Illustrations)

Look at images from Arthur Rackham’s illustrations to Rip Van Winkle.
Scroll down a little and click on the image you would like to look at.

The Museum of Washington Irving

Find out more about Washington Irving.

Related posts on…

Bram Stoker author of “Dracula

Edgar Allan Poe author of “The Raven“, “Tell-Tale Heart” and others

Mary Shelley author of “Frankenstein

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Make Your Own: Cocoa Bubble Bath/ Body Wash

This quick and easy recipe will not only make a fun bubble bath but it can be used as a body wash as well!

To make your own cocoa-scented bubble bath or body wash, you will need…

1c Unscented baby soap (liquid) or 1/2c liquid Castile soap
1/4c Glycerin
1/8c Cocoa power
1 Vitamin E capsule and a pin (optional)
1/2 – 3/4c Water
Bowl for mixing
A bottle that can hold 2 cups of liquid (a recycled shampoo bottle will work)

What to do…

Mix a 1/2 cup of water with cocoa powder, stir with a spoon until the powder dissolves, and set it aside.

Pour the Baby or Castile soap into a bottle, then add the glycerin and water/cocoa mixture. Remove the funnel, pop open the vitamin E capsule (you can use a pin to do this), and squeeze the contents into the bottle and discard capsule. Add the rest of the water to the bottle, close, and shake well. 

How to use…

To use as a bubble bath, shake well then pour a couple of tablespoons or so of the mixture into running water.

To use as a body wash, shake well then put a small amount of liquid on a puff or sponge, squeeze until foamy and wash as usual.

Scent alternatives…

Chocolate Covered BerryInstead of using baby soap, use strawberry or raspberry shampoo as the main soap base.

Chocolate-Mint: Castile soap comes in peppermint and can be used as the soap base. Mint essential oil can also be added to unscented shampoo.

Chocolate-Coconut: Add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil or a few drops of essential oil to the mixture. 
Try some other essential oils such as orange, vanilla, cherry, or another favorite scent.


Make a gift basket:
 An inexpensive gift basket can be made up for birthdays, holidays, or just because! 

Check the dollar store for travel-size bottles, bath puffs, and baskets. 

Label your creation: Think about making labels for your final product.

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Related post:

Chocolate Lip Balm

Cocoa Bubble Bath by Fran W

Make your own: Bottle Cap Stamps


Homemade stamps can be made with inexpensive materials and offer hours of creative fun!

To make your own stamps, you will need:                                      

Bottle caps, foam stickers, markers or stamp pads, and paper
Alternate method: Foam, scissors, and white glue 
What to do.....
Using foam stickers:

Pull the backing off of the foam sticker, center it on the bottle cap, and press it down so it stays in place.
Stamps made this way can be used right away. 
Any size foam sticker can be used if you have a cap that fits it.

Alternate method: Using foam, scissors, and white glue:

If you do not have foam stickers, shapes can be cut from foam and glued to a bottle cap. Once the glue has dried, the stamp is ready to go!

Note: When using words and letters, glue them on backward so that they stamp correctly.
Tip: Foam stickers can be purchased in a dollar or craft store, as can sheets of foam. 

Any kind of cap or lid can be used:
Water bottle caps, juice bottle caps, milk caps, caps from jars and plastic lids

How to use:
Once the stamps are ready to use, ink the foam with a marker, then press the stamp onto paper. If you huff on the stamp, you will reactivate the ink and stamp with it again, although the stamp mark will be lighter.

Clean stamps with a damp sponge or paper towel and a little soap.
Stamps can be used on fabric if fabric paint or fabric markers are used.

Suggestions for use:

Make cards: Greeting, thank you, birthday, holiday: Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween, Christmas and any other special day!

Stamp stories: Make custom stamps that fit the theme of the story or poem that you want to create.

Play games: Tic-tac-toe, guess my word, *code breaker and anything else you can think of!
*Set-up for Code-Breaker:
Make six different stamps by using small water bottle/soda tops and foam sticker.

How to play:
You will need: Paper cut into 4" x 11" wide strips, makers, stamps, damp paper towel or sponge

1. Decide if you are going to use one type of stamp and four colors or four different stamps and one color before you begin. 
2. On a piece of paper cut into 4" x 11" strips, have one player stamp their code any they want with the stamps and colors and fold it over so that the other player can not see it.
3. The other player will then try to guess what the code is by inking the stamps and putting them in the correct sequence. If any of the stamps are correct, the code maker wi ll let the player know one of two ways: 1) Underline the correct stamp or 2) Put dots on the side of the line to indicate that there are stamps/colors in the correct place but you are not saying exactly what or where they are.
4. Once the correct code has been found, switch roles so that the other player can create a code while the other guesses.
When the players get good at the game, opponents can challenge each other to guess the code in any color/stamp combination desired and agreed upon! Change the rules to fit your needs.

Tip: Use a little soap and a damp towel or sponge to clean stamps between colors.

Enjoy being creative!
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Bottle Cap Stamps by Fran W

Jack O’ Lanterns

Photo by Jackins

Did you know…

Before coming to America, the Irish carved lanterns out of turnips and potatoes. When they figured out that pumpkins were easier to carve, they switched!

Play a game of Pumpkin Face
Are you planning to carve some real pumpkins of your own? Before you do, have fun practicing making pumpkin faces with this game!

You’ll need:

The homemade version requires:

Construction paper (orange, green, brown, yellow and black), scissors, and 1 die per player

The template version requires:

*DLTK: Jack-o’-Lantern Faces, crayons, markers or paint, scissors, 1 die

*Scroll down to the templates on the bottom of the page.

What to do:

Homemade version: 

Cut out pumpkin shapes for your game: Make long and short bodies, eyes, nose, mouth and a curvy stem. (If you make eyebrows use straight lines, wavy lines and other fun types of lines.) Be creative by using triangles, circles, squares and other shapes for the pumpkin’s face. Make a flower for the nose or oval eyes if you want!

Template version: Color the template pieces and cut them out.

How to play…..Pumpkin Face:

Object: To give your pumpkin a fun face and to be as creative as possible.

Each number on the die represents a pumpkin part, you can make up your own number-to-body part or use the following suggestions. With the homemade version, anything goes! Make your body parts any way you want. With the template version, just add the parts you have. You are welcome to mix the two versions too!
For example: Use template bodies and homemade parts.

1 Pumpkin Body –  Before you can decorate a pumpkin body, you need to get one! Roll a 1 to get your body.
2 Eyes – Place one eye on your pumpkin at a time.
3 Nose
4 Mouth
5 Stem – Curved, straight, short or long, each player gets to decide.
6 Anything goes! – This is where you get to give your pumpkin a little something extra, here are some suggestions: Eyebrows, hair, a leaf, cheeks, hat, hands, feet

Note: Be creative by making any shape or style eyes, nose, and mouth you want.

Allow the youngest player to start the game. You can use the suggested rules or make up your own.

Playing with additional pieces: If you would like to add other fun decorations to your pumpkin consider: a leaf, cheeks, hat, hands, feet and hair! Don’t forget to use different types of eyes, noses, mouths and stems to keep it interesting.

Question of the day:

Do you know the legend of the jack-o-lantern?

Learn more:

The origins of Jack O’ Lantern
Read the legend of the jack-o-lantern

History of the Jack O Lantern
Article and video available.

Carve a virtual pumpkin on line
When you get to the site, click on the word, “start” to begin carving.

Printable pumpkin carving patterns
Print simple and advanced patterns

3D Pumpkin Carving
Look through the awesome picture gallery of Scott Cummings a 3-D pumpkin carver!

Find more Halloween activities here.

Connect with Funschooling and Recreational Learning!

Spark of the Day: Create A Spooky Sound Sentence or Story

Image by digitalart
Free Digital Photos

Begin by thinking of as many spooky sounds as you can. If you need help, here are some suggestions:

A ghost moaning, bat screeching, wolf or coyote howling, door creaking, howling wind, hissing cat, screeching owl, squeaking mouse, creaking tree, scream, weird laugh, thunder, groan, roar, tree scraping the window, door slamming, leaves swirling in the breeze, crow cawing, a rodent scurrying, owl hooting, water dripping, rain falling, and anything else you can think of!

Create your sentence or story…..

– Think of a sentence or a story that has sound-words in it.
– Write, draw, or record it so that you can remember it for later.

Here’s one example of a spooky sentence:

One dark windy night, an owl swooped down and caught a mouse.

Sound-Words add description…

Sound-words add descriptive detail to a sentence or story. This allows the reader or listener to become more involved in what is being said, and it makes what you are saying much more interesting!


Suddenly, something ran across the road as a clap of thunder broke the eerie silence of the night. I slammed on my brakes and skid to a screeching halt. My heart pounded hard in my chest, ‘What was that?’, I thought. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When my heart rate slowed, I opened my eyes, and there it was staring back at me with glowing amber eyes!

How to add sound effects to your sentence or story…..

Professional sound effect artists make sounds by using everyday objects and noises and so can you!

Here are a few of the things you can use to make sound effects:

Kitchen utensils, doors, leaves, gravel, sand, chairs, your hands, mouth, rubber band, bowls, cups, garbage can, scissors, ruler, plastic, fan, fruits and veggies, balloons, and anything else you can think of!

Here is an example of how these objects can be used:

Horse walking – clap clean coconut halves together
Howling wind – release air slowly from a zip-top bag
Fire crackling – crumple a piece of cellophane
Animal screeching – let air out of a balloon
Thunder – wiggle a metal cookie sheet
Swooping sound – whip a piece of rope through the air
Squeak – a toy that squeaks or a mouth noise
Scream – balloon with a hexnut inside

Our example above would look like this….

One dark windy night (wind howling), an owl (screeching sound) swooped down (swooping sound) and caught a mouse (squeak).

When you’re ready to retell it:

– Have someone in the background making the sounds on cue.
– Record sounds in sequence so that they go off when they are supposed to, while the story is being told.
– Pre-record your sentence or story complete with sounds and play it back for others to hear.

Note: If you decide to use a computer to create your story, there are websites that offer downloadable sound effects. You can also use a movie maker program to help you create your story.
Warning: Parental supervision is advised when downloading anything off the Internet.

Sound Effects Information:

Partners in Rhyme 
Downloadable sound effects; some are free, some are not.

Epic Sound
Offers an A-W list of sounds and how they are made.

Let’s Get Creative
Tips for making sound effects

More information about “Sound Effects” can be found on the Fran’s World Yahoo! Group, it’s free to join and open to everyone!

The image used was from: digitalart /

Black Cats

Black Cat photo from Wikipedia

In some countries, black cats are considered bad luck, while in others they are a symbol of good luck!

To learn more about the history of black cats, and how and why they have a good or bad reputation, read: Wikipedia: Black Cat

During the Middle Ages, cats effected the start and outcome of the Black Plague. Cats: Heroes During the Black Plague explains how this happened.

Cats have an interesting history dating back to Ancient Egyptian times! Read, A Short History of the Domestication of the Cat to learn why cats were highly regarded some of the time, and treated unfairly at other times.

Cats in general are well known for their great sense of balance. See how well you can balance with these activities!

You’ll need:

Masking tape, an unsharpened pencil, a small flat object, bean bag, rolled up sock, a book
Optional: A stop watch, a friend, paper and pencil

Try this….
Warning: When you try these activities, have something to grab on to or a safe place to fall so that you don’t get hurt.

– Stand on one foot for as long as you can, switch sides after a couple of minutes, then close your eyes and try it again.
How long can you stand on one foot with your eyes open?
How long can you do it with your eyes closed?

– Put a line of masking tape on the floor and walk the line without falling off. Close your eyes and try again.

– Balance an unsharpened pencil: on your fingers, on one finger, in your hand, on your nose, and on your forehead. Try this activity with the pencil standing up, or laying flat, whenever possible.
How long can you do this?

– Put a book, a rolled up sock, or a bean bag, on top of your head and walk around with it. For an extra challenge, hop or stand on one foot while balancing something on top of your head.

– Put a bean bag or a rolled up sock on your foot. Raise your foot, keeping the item in place, try to flip the item up and catch it. Switch feet. Then kick the object around, keeping one foot off the ground at all times. Flip it to your hands and back down.
How many times can you juggle the object this way?

More black cat resources…

CSI: Superstition Bash: Black Cats – This article gives some of the reasons black cats were considered good and bad luck.

Today I Found Out: Why Black Cats Are Considered Bad Luck – Find out how black cat got a bad reputation.

PoeStories: Edgar Allan Poe’s: Black Cat – A short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1845.

I have a Housecats Research and Activity Guide and Resource page available for anyone interested.

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Note: Has this or another activity on Funschooling and Recreational Learning inspired you or someone else in a positive way, or have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!