Although you may have decided to give out non-edible treats this Halloween, chances are, your neighbors are still handing out the sweet stuff. When your kids come home from trick-or-treating with all that loot and start sorting through it, the sheer volume may make you freak out (even more than the pint-sized grim reaper at your door did).
What are you going to do with all that candy? You could let the kids eat most of it in one sitting and get sick, or you might be tempted to dump it in the trash. No need to take drastic measures. I recommend giving your kids the opportunity to pick out a few of their favorite pieces and then make the rest disappear like magic. Read on for a few neat tricks.
When we were invited by the Roger Williams Park Zoo to attend the annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, I was delighted – but when something is billed as “spectacular,” I am always at least a little bit skeptical. As it turns out, the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular truly is spectacular. More than just a collection of carved pumpkins, it is a curated show of highly skilled and imaginative artwork, with a soundtrack to boot. My family has an annual Halloween tradition of attending a zoo event during the daytime; now that my kids are older and are starting to outgrow Zoo Howl and Boo at the Zoo, maybe the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular will become our new Halloween zoo tradition. Keep reading for highlights from the show and tips for getting the most out of the experience – perhaps it will become your family's new tradition, too.
While my friends who still find time to read grown-up books argue over the merits of the film version of Gone Girl, I've been worried about a completely different page-to-screen adaptation: Disney's live-action take on Judith Viorst's 1972 kids' classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG). I know from experience that sweet and slim picture books often become stale and bloated family movies. Yet my nine-year-old still insists on seeing pretty much every one of them, especially when they're based on a beloved book like Alexander, which she read so many times its spine finally gave out.
But though the title is tailor-made for bad reviews, Alexander is far from terrible, horrible and all those other negative adjectives. The film cleverly expands on the premise and moral of the book—that we all have bad days—by making every member of Alexander's family suffer the same kind of rotten luck and humiliation he usually does. My daughter and I laughed out loud several times during the brisk 80-minute movie, though often at different things. And looking around the New York International Children's Film Festival preview screening we attended, most families seemed to have a similar experience. The kids were particularly enthusiastic about the movie—afterward, a bunch of them shared their hilarious reactions on video.
Sure, a haunted house is great and a haunted castle is even better, but if your kids have been there and done that, they might be looking for more this Halloween. That’s where theme parks come in. During the month of October New England’s theme parks go all out for Halloween, mixing the thrills of the rides with chills you get from spookiness seeping into every area of the park. Even if your kids aren't into the scary stuff, there is plenty of Halloween-themed fun to be had during the daytime for younger children, too.
Local mom and “Outdoors with Kids Boston” guidebook author, Kim Foley MacKinnon, shares her best family outing tips and picks with you as part of our guest blog series with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Kids Outdoors Bostonfree online community.
Let’s be honest: it only takes so long to pick out a pumpkin, even if your kids like to examine every pumpkin in the patch for the perfect jack-o-lantern. My family likes to combine pumpkin-picking with something else, like a corn maze, a train ride, or a fall festival. Here are a few places to elevate your autumn outing.
Larger-than-life corn mazes offer families the challenge of finding their way through winding paths to solve a mystery, claim a prize, or just make it to the other side - a perfect fall activity that gets kids and parents working together. Choose a farm with a corn maze to take your apple picking and pumpkin patch excursions up a level, plan an unforgettable birthday bash for your child, or just have a blast as a family. Here are four of the Boston area's best corn mazes for an outdoor autumn adventure.
Nothing says fall in New England like a family excursion to the apple orchards. With many orchards to choose from, families can head a short distance from Boston for their choice of places to pick their own apples starting in early September through mid-October.
We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite places to pick apples near Boston, but with over 50 farms in the area offering apple picking, there are many more to choose from. In addition to apple picking, many of the orchards offer petting farms, country stores, hay rides, corn mazes, and other kid-friendly activities, so leave plenty of time to take advantage of all these farms have to offer. You can also plan your child's fall farm birthday party at some of the farms.
And if you're looking for some ideas for what to do with all those apples, we've put together some of our favorite apple recipes for inspiration!
We love that there are so many options for enrichment outside of school for our kids. From music to art to robotics, Boston has it all. What we don’t love is how difficult it can be to choose from all those options. We definitely don’t relish the idea of blindly committing to several weeks of a class when we’re not even sure who the instructor is or what our kids will actually be doing in the class. Really, if you can sample ice cream before deciding on a flavor, shouldn’t you be able to try a class before you register? We think so, and luckily, so do the places on this list. Some are hosting open houses where you can check out programs and meet the instructors, while others offer a free trial class – try before you buy, so to speak.
With all the press about the mom who got arrested for leaving her nine-year-old child unattended in a park, and the resulting outrage, it’s raised the question across the country: What's an appropriate amount of freedom for kids, and what is not? Growing up in NYC in the '70s, my friends and I played outside and roamed around independently from an early age even though the city, in general, was not as safe as it is now. We learned street smarts and independence that, undoubtedly, spilled over into other areas of our lives.
For many reasons, parenting seems different today. There's a lot more pressure to constantly supervise children, even older kids. It can be hard to imagine that our "babies" will ever be ready to go out into the wide world alone. But with the start of a new school year, the reality is that many children will begin traveling on their own or with a group of friends. With my kids—a teenager who is fully independent and a tween who is just learning to navigate the city on his own—I've modified the '70s-style figure-it-out-on-your-own approach to include today's more stringent safety consciousness to develop a training course my kids must complete before being allowed out on their own.
Here's how I taught my own kids to be street smart city kids from an early age:
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara