With many limitations and restrictions due to the Covid pandemic, last year we arrived at the first school holiday, a week at the end of October, which was all about Halloween in my house. Even without the possibility of trick or treating or attending/hosting Halloween parties, the morale of my children did not go down, because they were involved in various fun crafts, and they still enjoyed dressing up at home.

We put a giant popup cardboard haunted castle in the living room used as a setting for a series of themed shots, made creepy decorations, carved four scary pumpkins, and cooked tasty Halloween food: pumpkin tartlets, petrifying muffins and hair-raising pizza.

Giant pop-up cardboard castle

The main piece of our last year Halloween home decoration was (and I imagine it will be this year too!) a giant pop-up cardboard haunted castle. I made it with the collaboration of both my children a few years ago (this is a second, improved version of a first attempt made in 2017). It turned out pretty nice, and the great thing is that you can fold it flat and store it easily until the following year!

How to make

Find a big box, open one side and make it flat. You will have 4 top flaps, 4 central areas, 4 bottom flaps.

Find the half of the flattened box. Draw the castle in the two central areas. Cut only the battlement shapes and push the tower forward. That is your castle! The bottom flaps will be the ground.

Colour it! We painted it flattened. We used acrylic colours and tempera paint, applied with large brushes and rollers. We added some spooky details, like bats, a full moon, a gnarled tree, pumpkins, an old cemetery and a decrepit castle on the background.

Once dried, you can cut doors and windows and push the castle forward, ready to go in and play inside… if it’s big enough!

Dressing up

Our haunted cardboard castle was a perfect background for a series of Halloween-themed shots, where my versatile and beautiful girl played quite spooky characters, like a skeleton, a witch, a pirate, and even Dracula. She drew from the box of costumes we already had, and she lent herself to have her mum do detailed face painting. Who had more fun, mum or daughter? 😉

More ideas for Halloween dressing up in the blog post Halloween costumes for all the family. You could also find interesting these two posts: Monk costume from a single bed sheet and Ancient Roman Costume.

Decorations and pumpkin carving

Since the end of September, the shops have been displaying different nice home decorations for Halloween, but to make your own ornaments with recycled materials has (literally!) no price!

Do you have an old x-ray film and an orange card? Cut out of them fluttering bats and juicy pumpkins, punch a hole, insert a string and then hung them on a branch. Here is our Halloween tree!

Halloween tree decorations at craftymessymom.com

A black bin bag, some kitchen foil, white sheets of paper, strings of wool and some tape became a bunting, spiders, bats and ghosts to decorate our windows!

Mummies with toilet rolls? Have a look at the post Halloween creepy crafts!

Obviously, funny/scary decoration of pumpkins could not be missing!!! Here is the result of our carving last year!

And this year? What will our imagination suggest to us?

Halloween food

To have a complete experience of Halloween why don’t you treat your kids and yourself with themed food? Fun is guaranteed if you involve the children to prepare your very own Halloween food!

Last year from a small cooking pumpkin I took out the flesh and seeds: with the first I made some yummy tartlets; the seeds instead, baked in the oven and dusted with salt, were a delicious savoury snack, and perfect added to a salad. And with the empty pumpkin? Of course, decorated! We don’t waste anything! 😉

Another day my daughter helped me in making choc chip muffins (see my recipe) that then we decorated all together – my girl, my boy and me – with colourful ready-to-roll icing. Here our petrifying muffins!

If you are not a sweet tooth, you can try to decorate your pizza as we did with some hair-raising topping, such as cheesy ghosts and black olive-spiders! Baked, it’s a little bit messier… My pizza recipe? Here.

It is a classic in my house for Halloween to eat mummies-meatballs. Once cooked, simply wrap them with cooked tagliatelle! Making fresh egg pasta with your kids can be another fun and easy activity to do with your children over the half-term or in the weekend. I shared my recipe in the post Making homemade pasta and tagliatelle with kids.

More ideas about Halloween food in the blog post Halloween sweet and savoury treats.

This Autumn half-term and Halloween are fast approaching, we are going to use the decorations made last year but of course I planned other Halloween fun activities and crafts to do with my children!

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Halloween fun activities and crafts for kids at craftymessymom.com
Image on Pinterest