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 ISSUE 15   •   22  OCTOBER 2006  
   This week's theme: creepy crawlies


1. Editorial: Trick or treat?
2. MAKE: crazy caterpillars
3. MAKE: a dingly dangly spider
4. MAKE: cheeky bugs
MAKE: a sleepy snake
6. More creepy crawly ideas

1. Editorial: Trick or treat?

Is Halloween stressful or fun for your family?

This is the very question that was posed on the Ask Moxie website last week. As always, Moxie and her readers have come up with some thought provoking answers and great ideas. 

My favourite idea, posted by 'Kel', is for limiting sugar intake. Kel has instigated a Halloween tradition in her home where "after trick or treating, you put out all the candy (well, except for a few choice pieces) and the Great Pumpkin comes and takes it, but leaves you a cool present."

We don't really do Halloween in these parts but if we did I think it's likely that I'd be having a 'Great Pumpkin' talk with my children!

I've come across some brilliant Halloween links over the past week or so. Here are some of my favourites.

– Two different styles of spooky cupcakes: Martha Stewart's Creepcakes and Not Martha's Halloween cakes (via Kiddley).

– Amazing recipes like marshmallow ghosts and bloody popcorn over at Wanda's Halloween Cookbook.

– The Halloween archive at Makezine has some great crafty ideas for costumes and decorations. I just love the Bert and Ernie pumpkins!

– And importantly, here are some practical tips on what you can do to make sure that Halloween is not too scary an experience for young kids.

Happy crafting and see you next week!

Amber Carvan

2. MAKE: crazy caterpillars

These colourful little chaps are a brilliant 'discovery craft' idea. You can provide the framework for the activity and then let your little ones go crazy and exercise their creativity!

You will need

• polystyrene, cut into rectangular lengths
acrylic paint and paintbrush
kids pvc glue
small beads
match sticks (cut in half)
various bottle tops, cotton balls and buttons to decorate

1. Paint the polystyrene pieces and allow to dry.

2. Cut pipecleaners into two short lengths and attach a bead to one end. Poke them into the polystyrene to form antennae.

3. Poke in some colourful match sticks and glue on some bottle tops, cotton balls and buttons.

4. Keep creating until you have a legion of fancy caterpillars. I can't begin to imagine what kind of butterfly these little guys might turn into!

3. MAKE: a dingly dangly spider

While making this spider Ella learned that she can expertly thread a needle! Good timing too as she couldn't help but pull the needle off the wool every time she threaded something onto it! This is a good 'all ages' craft – younger kids will enjoy the challenge of threading the straws and older kids will be able to take this project and run with it.

You will need

a small ball of black wool
wool needle
drinking straws
beads (8)
googly eyes
kids pvc glue

1. Cut four even lengths of wool (about 30 cms in length). Then take your ball of wool, unwind it about 40 cms and thread the end through a few strands on the ball. Tie off with a strong knot. 

2. Take one of the lengths of wool that you cut off. Thread it onto a wool needle and then thread it from one side of the ball of wool to the other, leaving the ends to dangle out each side. These ends will form the legs of the spider. Repeat for remaining three lengths of wool forming eight legs.

3. Cut drinking straws and thread them onto the legs. You may need to do this with the wool needle, depending on how soft/fuzzy your wool is. When you're almost at the end of the length of wool, thread on a bead for a foot and tie it off with a couple of strong knots. Repeat for all eight legs.

4. Glue on some eyes and a mouth and dingle dangle from the ceiling.

4. MAKE: cheeky bugs

These simple cheeky bugs won the 'kids favourite' award this week. No surprises really considering my daughter's sweet tooth! You can use any type of soft gingerbread for this activity – we used a style of German cookie called 'Pfeffernusse' that has a thin layer of sugar icing over the top.

You will need

• soft gingerbread biscuits
slivered almonds
sliced almonds
food colouring and thin paintbrush

1. Lay out your ingredients and start to decorate the gingerbread. We painted on eyes using food colouring. Alternatively, you could press in small sultanas or cachous.

5. MAKE: a sleepy snake

Your little ones will love ripping and scrunching newspaper to stuff this sleepy snake. The sticky variety of velcro dots work well to hold the snake in a coiled position and also allow kids to un-coil and re-coil the snake to their heart's content. If you don't have access to any you can just use strong double sided tape.

You will need

an old pair of pantyhose
stuffing (rolled up newspaper, tissue paper or rags)
red felt or piece of red ribbon
google eyes or pieces of white and black felt
stick-on velcro dots

1. Cut one of the legs from an old pair of pantyhose then stuff it till it looks suitably snake-like.

2. Tie a knot in the end and glue on some eyes and a tongue.

3. Curl the sleepy snake in a coil, using velcro dots to join it together.

6. More creepy crawly ideas

•  Make snails from play dough
•  Fill a piece of paper with drawings of teeny tiny spiders
•  Make a grub by skewering grapes with a toothpick
•  Create some creepy crawly creatures from mud, rocks and sticks
•  Put together your own delicious dirt cup!

For more ideas read my article on how to get great mileage from a weekly theme.

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