Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


Stay Safe on Halloween in Bellingham

Halloween combines two popular childhood activities—playing dress-up and eating candy—so it’s no surprise that the holiday is one of the most popular annual events in America for kids. And, let’s be honest, grown-ups love it too. Whether you’re anxious for some Jack-O-Lantern carving or passing out Fun-Sized Snickers on the big night, Halloween makes everyone feel like a kid again.

Stay Safe on Halloween in Bellingham Just a few reminders before the kids start knocking on doors for treats.

But, as a parent, you need to make sure your kids are safe while Trick or Treating. Here are some tips to remember when the kids are heading out the door on Halloween night.

Dress for Success
It’s a good idea to wear light-colored clothing so that you’ll be more visible for cars at night. And if your child has their heart set on being a witch or a vampire, all decked out in black, make sure they carry a flashlight or attach some Reflective Tape to their cape, hat, or broom. They might protest that it’s not “cool,” but their safety is a non-negotiable. You should also make sure that kids are comfortable moving around in their costumes, so they don’t trip on their wizard’s robe or have trouble seeing through their Darth Vader mask. Finally, even though they will really want to show off their Shawn Johnson gymnast outfit, make sure kids are properly dressed for cold and rainy weather (it’s almost November, after all).

Candy from Strangers
Halloween seems to go against everything we teach our kids about strangers and candy, so make sure that young kids understand what kinds of treats are okay to accept. Candy in sealed packaging is usually safe; homemade cookies and candies should be handled with more caution, especially if you don’t know the person passing it out. Kids should also learn never to go inside a house without a parent’s permission. And before sending kids out to collect treats, feed them a hearty dinner so they won’t start scarfing down candy as soon as it’s in their bag; it’ll save them a tummy ache later on.

Without the Parents
If you have older kids, they might be interested in Trick or Treating without you or other parental supervision. You know your child best, so if you think they’re mature enough to go out with just their friends, then that is up to you. Be sure to give kids clear parameters about which houses and which streets in your neighborhood are safe for visiting, as well as a specific time to be home. You should also make them agree to bring candy home to be inspected before eating. You’ll just have to trust that they’ll obey you on that one, and if you don’t think they will, you might want to rethink allowing them the privilege of going out without a parent.

Alternatives to Trick or Treating
Several local organizations are holding open to the public Halloween parties and events, which are a good alternative (or addition) to the fun kids have going from house to house. Many churches and schools also organize individual Harvest Parties, so ask your child’s teacher or neighborhood friends if they know of any spooky events coming up in your area for the holiday.

Have a Happy Halloween!

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Quick and Inexpensive Halloween Costumes

We’ve come a long way from the European and Celtic traditions of wearing masks on “All-Hallows Eve” to blend in with the ghosts that have returned to the world of the living, and leaving bowls of food outside to prevent the spirits from entering the house (find out more at History of Halloween: Today’s Traditions). Although today’s Halloween costumes tend to focus on the fun, dressing up for free treats is still a pretty good deal that most kids don’t want to miss.

Quick and Inexpensive Halloween Costumes Get some cheap and simple ideas for Halloween costumes.

But why spend a ton of money on a Halloween costume that kids are only going to wear for one night? Don’t forget that you can still get creative with costumes without spending too much money. In fact, you can probably whip up a great outfit using clothes and items that you already have lying around the house, and maybe with one quick trip to a local thrift or craft store. Here are just a few ideas for any kids, or adults, that are on a budget for Halloween this year.

Super Hero
The most important element for this costume is a cape. You can use an old towel and tie the ends together (make sure that it’s not tied so tight that it’s a choking hazard). Or, for something a little more refined, make a No-Sew cape (you can find instructions in Judy Ann Sadler’s The Jumbo Book of Easy Crafts). You can also have your child pick out a super power and add design elements based on their power (if they have “lightening speed,” draw lightning bolts on an old t-shirt). Some accessories to help complete their super-look are rain boots, an oversized belt buckle made out of cardboard and covered in aluminum foil, and a bandana with eyeholes cut out for a mask.

You can make a tall chef’s hat easily with two pieces of legal sized (11 x 14 inches) white paper and tape. Tape the papers together (now you’ll have one sheet that is 11 x 28 inches) and “accordion fold” it to crease the paper. Unfold, then fold a cuff two inches from the bottom edge. Try it on and adjust to fit, then secure with tape or paperclips. Don an apron and sprinkle some flour on your child’s cheeks and hair to give them the look of a true baker. They can also collect Trick or Treat candy in a mixing bowl and carry a whisk in their other hand.

Mad Scientist
Try searching thrift stores first, then check out Bellingham’s Classic Health Apparel (but only if you’re willing to spend more than a few dollars) in order to find a white lab coat. Maybe you even know a doctor or science teacher that will loan you an old, spare coat (it never hurts to ask!). After that, all you need is a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves on your hands, swim goggles perched on your forehead, and some mousse to tousle your hair for that extra deranged look.

Need a costume in a hurry? Grab a roll of aluminum foil and start wrapping up your legs, arms, and torso (over your clothes, of course). Use duct tape to secure the costume and start practicing your best android impression.

Have any tricky ideas for fast and inexpensive Halloween costumes for kids? Or a story about your favorite Halloween costume when you were a kid? Tell us about them on the Forum, or leave a comment below.

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Visit a Local Pumpkin Patch

Visit a Local Pumpkin Patch Visit a Local Pumpkin Patch.

While grabbing a pumpkin at your neighborhood Haggen is convenient, there’s nothing quite like loading up the car with the kids and heading out to a local farm to find the perfect pumpkin for jack-o-lantern carving, right off the vine. So here are a few facts about some Whatcom and Skagit County farms that you might want to check out if you’re planning a pumpkin patch expedition this October.

Stoney Ridge Farm
2092 Van Dyk Rd.
Everson, WA 98247
Open Thursday-Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM

Stoney Ridge Farm is a third-generation family operation in north Whatcom County. The farm originally centered on an apple orchard, but now boasts the largest pumpkin patch in the county, as well as a large selection of Christmas trees for the winter holidays. While you must pay an admission fee ($5 per family on Thursdays and Fridays; $10 on Saturdays), the kids will have plenty to do as they meet the cows, pigs, goats, and horses on the farm and take a wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch. And be sure to try the Cider Mini-Donuts at the Rusty Donut Café; they’re always fresh, warm and tasty.

Take a wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch. Take a wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch.

McPhail Berry Farm
8318 Bob Hall Rd.
Lynden, WA 98264
(360) 354-5936
Open Friday & Saturday (10 AM to 5 PM) and Sunday (1 PM to 5 PM) in October

Don’t let the name fool you; McPhail Berry Farm sells pumpkins, corn, cornstalk, and tomatoes during the harvest season. You can also take a hayride across the 20+ acre farm in west Lynden during your visit. And if you’re really craving a taste of summer, purchase some of the farm fresh jams, pies, and berry syrup in the gift shop. Raspberry jam on warm crescent rolls sure tastes like autumn to me!

A donkey at Stoney Ridge Farm. A donkey at Stoney Ridge Farm.

Gorgon Skagit Farm
15598 McLean Rd.
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
(360) 424-7262
Open daily through October from 9 AM to 6 PM

A Skagit Valley staple since 1932, the Gordon family began to focus increasingly on pumpkin, squash, and apples in the late 1960s. You’ll find nearly every kind of pumpkin imaginable at the farm, whether you’re planning to carve it or cook it. And once you’ve found your pumpkin, you can explore a Corn Maze and Haunted Barn. If it’s a particularly chilly day, stop by the Red Fox Cider Shack for a piping hot cup of cider and fresh baked goods; proceeds will benefit the La Conner High School Culinary Arts Program.

What’s your favorite local pumpkin patch? Share your recommendations with others by leaving a comment below or posting in the Forum.

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