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My favorite links for Halloween

Time to Make the Costumes (Or Not) – “…I love Halloween. It’s the most un-baggage-y of holidays. No one’s parents ever got upset that she couldn’t come home for Halloween; no one worries that we’re missing its true meaning. Glue-gunning yarn onto cardboardis its true meaning, especially if you eat candy while you’re doing it. So is ripping open that wizard costume (as long as it’s not the size 6 “naughty wizard” costume I saw at the party store last week) and putting it on.”

What you need to know about 6-foot trick-or-treaters – “Don’t tell them they’re too old. They already know that. Let them pretend it just isn’t so.”

The sticky topic of Halloween candy -Ellyn Satter wrote Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, which has been a fantastically helpful guide for me on how to feed my son in a way that supports him in exploring new foods without making a big deal out of meal times and without stressing either one of us out. Her take on Halloween candy? Let your kid eat as much as they want on Halloween and the day after. Then “put it away and relegate it to meal- and snack-time: a couple of small pieces at meals for dessert and as much as [they want] for snack time.”

Favorite picture books for Halloween

Over the years (it’s been two years — that counts as years doesn’t it?), I’ve amassed quite a collection of Halloween books. I love cute Halloween, and there are a LOT of picture books out there that fit this description. Here’s what we’ve found so far. I love them all.

Just Say Boo! My First Halloween

Just Say Boo! – When you see something scary on Halloween, what do you say? BOO! I like this message, and I love the pictures of a classic suburban neighborhood all decked out for Halloween, and a dad dressed up as an astronaut with a glass helmet walking his kids through the neighborhood while they trick-or-treat. (At a distance, of course — you only see him in a few pictures.)

My First Halloween – The best how-we-celebrate-Halloween in a nutshell book I know. The pictures in this book inspire my Halloween planning more than anything else, including Pinterest.

The Spooky Old Tree Bears in the Night Pumpkins

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree – Three little bears sneak into a haunted tree! My kid loves the rhythm and repetition, and he was fascinated for months by just the right level of scariness in this.

Bears in the Night – Little bears sneak out of bed to find out what is making that strange noise up on Spook Hill. A compelling read!

Pumpkins – The book we read before we go to the pumpkin patch. Gorgeous photos showing where pumpkins come from, how they grow, and where they end up.

Creepy Carrots A Very Brave Witch Frankenstein

Creepy Carrots! – A rabbit is haunted by carrots that no one else can see. Is it all in his imagination, or is there something else going on? In a surprising twist, this book has a happy ending for everyone — the creepy carrots and the rabbit.

A Very Brave Witch – Did you know that witches are afraid of humans? One brave little witch decides to overcome the fear and learn more.

Frankenstein – A monster-themed parody of Madeleine.

Usborne Spooky sticker book Ghosts in the House! Arthur's Halloween

Spooky Sticker Book – Okay, this is not actually a book. It’s a sticker book. But I love it. Sometimes my little boy helps me stick the stickers on the pages. Sometimes I do it myself.

Ghosts in the House! – When this little witch moves into a new house and find it full of ghosts, she throws them in the washing machine, hangs them out to dry on the clothesline and then puts them to good use.

Arthur’s Halloween – Arthur is afraid of everything Halloween-related until he has to rescue DW from a witch! He finds his courage and discovers that the witch is just a friendly old lady who needs a little help with the upkeep on her haunted-looking house.

Monster Needs a Costume AlphaOops! H is for Halloween

Monster Needs a Costume – Monster has a lot of ideas about what he wants to be for Halloween. Finally, he settles on something completely original. My son loves the rhymes in this book.

AlphaOops: H Is for Halloween – Oh how I love this book! It’s my favorite ABC book in the world. The letters are putting on a Halloween show, and they get all mixed up. This is about as cute as cute Halloween can get.

Excuse Me... Are You a Witch? Halloween ABC Night of the Gargoyles

Excuse Me Are You a Witch? – A lonely little black cat who spends a lot of time at the library reads that witches like black cats, so he goes in search of one.

Halloween ABC – Trick or treating, ABC-style.

Night of the Gargoyles – Gargoyles come to life at night and frolic in the city! It’s not Halloween related, but it’s a little eery and the text is beautiful.

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever – Two mice love and nurture the same pumpkin and figure out how to share it so that they both get what they want.

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin – Duck and Goose are pretty silly guys. They look in all the wrong places for a pumpkin until a friend helps them out.

Max's Halloween Max and Ruby: Happy Halloween Max and Ruby: Spooky Bunny Tales

Max’s Halloween, Happy Halloween!, and Spooky Bunny Tales – We loooooove Max and Ruby. This brother and sister are always tugging back and forth about how things should be and working through their small scale conflicts with kindness and a sense of humor. I love how gentle these are and I love little brother Max’s determination and belief in himself.

Where is Baby's Pumpkin? What Am I? Halloween

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin? and What am I? Halloween – We are also big fans of lift-the-flap books. These two walk little kids through cute versions of Halloween symbols and characters.

I Love Fall!

I Love Fall! – This cute touch and feel book isn’t about Halloween, but it does have pumpkins in it, and it feels right to get it out when pumpkins start showing up in the stores.

Bats at the Beach Bats at the Library

Bats at the Beach and Bats at the Library – These books aren’t specifically about Halloween, either. They’re just about bats. But what bats! They do all the things that people do, but at night time and in upside down funny bat ways.

Miss Spider's Tea Party

Miss Spider’s Tea Party – Again, this isn’t a Halloween book — it’s a book about a spider. But when big furry spiders start showing up all over people’s houses in our neighborhood, I like to have this story about a friendly, dainty vegetarian spider who throws elaborate tea parties kicking around.

What are your favorite Halloween picture books? I’m always looking for more…

Stepmom links

Stepfamily Central: Establishing Clear Boundaries in your Stepfamily – an interview with Jenna Korf about learning to figure for yourself where you need boundaries (everyone’s boundary needs are different) and how to create them.

A Healthy Stepmother . . . plants her feet and stands tall. – It’s amazing how good standing in “Super Woman” posture feels. This is an easy pose. Give it a try!

Crushing Glass: Silence Blended – A mom with mixed feelings for the stepmom (or stepmom figure) who came and then went from her son’s life.

Suburban Turmoil: Facing Off Against the Food Police – This stepmom watched her stepkids develop as eaters over the years and is relaxing a lot more about food with her younger kids. I had a similar experience, so I want to give this entire post a big virtual high five.

Marigold seeds in an envelope

Marigold seeds 1
When I was little — early elementary school age — we grew marigolds in our yard. When the flowers shriveled up, my mom and I picked them off the plants, and she set me at the kitchen table to pull the seeds out of the flower heads and put them on a piece of paper. They came out easily, and I liked how it felt. I liked seeing them slip out together. When we were done, we put them in envelopes for next year. It’s one of my first memories of understanding seeds and gardening. Not just having the technical knowledge, but feeling how things worked.

Marigold seeds 2