halloween

Frightfully Easy DIY Halloween T-Shirts

October 25, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Easy DIY Halloween t-shirt

Want to get your craft on this Halloween, but worried you’ll slice off an appendage trying to carve a Pinterest-perfect jack-o’-lantern? Then try these frighteningly fun, eerily easy DIY Halloween t-shirts!

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Brains, Schmains: How About Some Zombie S’mores!

February 10, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Zombie S'mores!

S’mores are just about the most perfect snack. First, there’s the simplicity of them: chocolate + marshmallows + graham crackers; heat, eat, repeat.

They’re also super easy to customize, personalize, and accessorize. Maybe you like yours with peanut butter, or Nutella instead of chocolate; or maybe once in college you experimented with s’mores made from Pop Tarts and have always fantasized about trying that again.

And finally, s’mores are always in season: they taste just as gooey and delicious whether you’re huddled around a campfire telling ghost stories or huddled on the couch binge-watching The Walking Dead.

Speaking of zombies…
A while back I made some spooky monster s’mores for my son’s class Halloween party. They were such fun to make (and a big hit with the kids), that I thought I’d revisit this snack-craft and see what other monstrosity I could come up with. Then it hit me — ZOMBIE S’MORES. What could be more fitting than a gooey, melty, drippy snack made to look like a gooey, melty, drippy reanimated corpse?!

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Branch Out with This DIY Groot Halloween Costume

October 13, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

DIY Groot Halloween Costume

For most, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was their introduction to one of comicdom’s lesser-known super teams. Marvel’s gamble paid off, with millions becoming fast fans of Star Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and of course, Groot.

This majestic, trisyllabic creature is both powerful and compassionate, frightening and kind. And he steals every scene with a wooden smile and only three words: “I. Am. Groot.” Naturally, when my son requested begged to be Groot for Halloween, I said yes. Then I immediately panicked, having no idea how I was going to pull this off.

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DIY Ghostbusters Halloween Costume

October 31, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE, THINGS MY KID DIGS

At some point I may do a write up of how I turned my occasionally mild-manners son into Egon Spengler, the nerdiest of those superhero/super-scientists known as the Ghostbusters. But for now I’m just going to share the photos of my very happy little boy. And go take a nap…

DIY Ghostbusters Halloween costume

Who you gonna call? THIS GUY, striking an impressive pose in his Dad-DIY Ghostbusters Halloween costume. And next year he’s going as Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire.
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Movie-Inspired Halloween Costumes

October 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

If you’re frantically looking for easy, last-minute Halloween costume ideas, this is probably not the post for you. But if you love Halloween, creativity and the movies, you’ve come to the right place!

I recently started writing family-related content for Fandango, and my first assignment was an article about creative family Halloween costumes. Our family has always had a blast dressing up together, and I knew I had more than a few friends out there who did the same. So I pooled my massive sea of Internet resources, and they delivered… TOO MUCH! I ended up with more content than Fandango could use, so I wanted to give these other cinematically-creative families the spotlight on my own site. Go grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy these picturesque, movie-inspired Halloween costumes!
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Halloween costumes - Rocket Raccoon - Guardians of the Galaxy

Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy
An avid comic book fan, James decided to make his young son into Rocket Raccoon for an upcoming comic-con, who had seen (and been enamored by) the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer he’d seen on TV. The costume was a simpler version than shown here, but James made it all himself. At the convention it caught the eye of an experienced costumer who ended up making the custom mask, feet and tail shown in the photo. Way to work a room, Rocket! James’ son will, of course, be trick-or-treating in his full Rocket gear this Halloween.

Get the look: The jacket was made by cutting up and sewing pieces from a red t-shirt onto a navy turtleneck, accented with gold buttons. The raccoon tail (found at a frontier shop) was sewn into the seat of blue sweatpants. Read more here.

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Six Silly/Spooky Candy Corn Crafts

October 5, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Candy Corn Crafts for Halloween

Gun control, gay marriage, abortion…candy corn?!? Who knew Halloween’s perennial kernel-shaped snack could be so divisive?

I took a poll to find out how folks felt about candy corn, and the results were quite polarizing. None of the replies were of the “I can take it or leave it” variety. Certainly some sang its praises, and a few rode the fence with a love/hate relationship. But the most entertaining and creative answers came from the haters.

“I would rather write an essay on a blackboard using nothing but a fork.”

“My teeth hurt just reading this.”

“Insipid confections spawned from hell.”  

“Rather eat corn in sh*t.” 

“I would like to feed All of It to Dick Cheney, staple him to Donald Rumsfeld and launch the whole lot into the sun.”

“HAAAAAAATE”

Alrighty, then. There seems to be some seriously deep-seated loathing of this defenseless little sweet. Yet according to the National Confectioners Association, 25 million pounds (9,000+ metric tons) of candy corn are sold annually. I imagine there must be more than a few metric tons lying around somewhere, uneaten and unloved, serving no purpose but to populate our landfills and choke our dolphins.

So for all you candy corn abhorrers — and for the admirers that also love super silly crafts — here are some ways to put that bumper crop of corn to good(ish) use.
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Halloween Treats: Spooky S’mores

September 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | THINGS MY KID DIGS

For my son’s very first class party, I made the rookie mistake of not pouncing on the snack sign-up sheet. It was for his preschool Halloween party, and by the time I got around to volunteering, all that remained was the dreaded “other” category.

But I’m always up for a creative challenge. So I retreated to my laboratory, pulled together some randomly yummy ingredients, and SPOOKY S’MORES were born! Mwaaa-ha-ha-haaaa!

Halloween Treat: Spooky S'mores

I got weird & wacky with the snacks for my very first class party

But wait — aren’t s’mores supposed to be toasted? Technically, yes. But I wasn’t about to bring an open flame into a classroom full of three- and four-year olds. At least not at my very first party. Trust me — they’re plenty yummy without being heated, and certainly messy enough in this form. However, I may try them another time with pre-toasted marshmallows. That could make for some very cool melted eyes/zombie effects…

They’re super simple to make, and you can even employ the help of your kids. Just make sure they (and you) have a healthy snack beforehand, or be prepared to lose quite a few ingredients in the process of putting them together.

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Halloween Highlights: Creepy & Creative

November 8, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Halloween is quickly becoming my favorite holiday. All the decorating, crafts, food and fun of Christmas crammed into a shorter period of time and without having to log all that extra church time. PLUS COSTUMES!

We had multiple events, all of which were an opportunity to put on my Designer Daddy hat (or horn, as it were) and we had a blast! Here are a few Halloween highlights…

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The first event was the Saturday before Halloween – a fundraiser/fair at JJ’s preschool, the “TODDLER BOOOOGIE!” For this occasion, JJ went as Batman. Yes, there were multiple costumes. You were expecting different from a super-hero obsessed toddler with two gay dads?
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batman

Batman’s still figuring out the fit of his new costume.

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No, We’re Not Hasidic Jews

November 1, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Yes, we got asked if we were Hasidic Jews last night by an annoying (and drunk, maybe?) passerby as we were heading to our neighborhood Halloween block party. We also got asked if we were some sort of Two and a Half Men thing. The cutest was overhearing a little girl behind us asking her mom if we were related. Unfortunately her mom said, “I think they’re just friends.”

I guess it would have been clearer had we ALL been wearing not only tuxes and matching top hats and red bowties, but also beaks and giant yellow feet. Maybe I’ll have more time to be crafty next year, but I doubt it. JJ’s birthday is next week, and I can only fit in so much craftiness in such a short span of time. Hey, I did add the red ribbons to our grownup hats.

So in case it wasn’t clear, we’re penguins. Inspired (partially) by one of our favorite family books, And Tango Makes Three. This equally adorable and controversial book is about two (real) male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who hatched and raised a baby penguin together. It’s a must for any same-sex parent household, as well as for any family with a kid who loves penguins (so yeah, all of them). There was also a funny episode of Parks and Recreation spoofing/celebrating the whole “Gay Penguins” phenomenon.

But mostly we were inspired by how awesomely cute JJ is in a penguin costume. And luckily he didn’t seem to mind wearing it.

You can’t hear him, but he’s saying (and doing) “Waddle, waddle, waddle!”

So what did your kiddos (or you) dress as for Halloween? Please share photos — would love to see ’em! And to all you seasoned parents out there, I’m also curious how long your kids let you choose their costume. I know it won’t be long before JJ makes the jump from happily dressing up in whatever cutesy animal suit Daddy picks out to demanding to be Jango Fett, Optimus Prime, or -shudder- a Wiggle.

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