You've Been BOO'ed!

We have a tradition in our family that begins October 1st and involves sneaking around, banging on doors and running. We BOO people and we have really great stories to tell. 

Each year we sit around as a family and make a list of the families we want to BOO. Each kid chooses 5 people and then I add to it... we Boo a lot. 

But seriously, I'd rather my kids sneaking around causing mayhem with me waiting in an idling car. #parentingwin

I put together a simple Boo kit to share. You can make these as simple or as elaborate as you want, either way, people just like to know someone is thinking about them. 

Enjoy & run fast kids!!!

Click & save image. Open and print on plain or colored paper.

Print big (8.5x11)! I like to print this on white cardstock, it hold up better when being tossed between kids & doorsteps.
You want people to be able to see it in the window.

Here are a few we did last weekend:

The first one was a tin filled with brownies & an attached ghost balloon, with the papers attached to the balloon. {I used a whole punch & attached the balloon string to the instructions & ghost.}



Another we filled with easy reader books and used caution tape as the tie.


We went old school on this one and filled a bucket with loads of candy & set a light-up ghost right on top.


Supplies:
  • Halloween bucket: Wal-Mart 98 cents
  • Ghost balloons: pack of 5 for $1 @ Dollar Tree
  • Caution tape & light-up ghost: Dollar Tree
  • Brownie batch: straight from the box (ain't nobody got time for scratch)
  • Helium: I had a small helium tank left over from a party so I used that to fill the balloons. I buy them at Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby (with a coupon) and they last for several holiday activities.
  • Books: I always stock up on all the dollar books from school book order forms & any that I find at the school book fairs.

Frightful Movie Shorts for the Family

One of my kids favorite things to do is find the most random (dumb) videos on YouTube & then call everyone in to watch. They are usually something funny like a parody or just straight up D.U.M.B.

Well I've got a few videos to share too kids... 

*These movie shorts are family friendly but are sure to cause a fright. I subscribe to TallGuyTrav on YouTube because, well he's funny but these are his frightful masterpieces that I re-watch every year (and laugh... and show my kids... and laugh some more).



Spooktacular Giveaway!


Join the fun with us for our 31 Days of Halloween! We are keeping this Giveaway old school & simple:
To enter:
  • Follow our Pinterest board and comment DONE in the comments [1 entry]

One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card!


Now hop on over to the next blog & win something good.

And for those of you that are still interested in donating books to our Macy Kate, click HERE
#hurricaneharvey
 

Revisiting The Little Shop of Monsters by RL Stine & Marc Brown

Summary: A frighteningly fun picture book adventure from two monstrously talented children's book icons--Marc Brown and R.L. Stine!
 

Are you are afraid of monsters?
Do they make you shiver and shake and shut your eyes really tight at night?

Welcome to the Little Shop of Monsters! Do you want a SNEEZER? A TICKLER? Or one of the CREEPIEST monsters of all? Come on in and choose your favorite, if you dare (before one of them chooses YOU!).

Renowned children's book creators Marc Brown and R.L. Stine join forces for the very first time-in Stine's picture book debut-with a tale that is monstrously good fun. 





I originally reviewed Little Shop of Monsters HERE and I still feel the same --> It's EPIC!

This still remains one of our family favorites to read and re-read aloud. 

I was really excited when I stumbled upon the Pocket Monsters that are available to download on the books website [HERE] but what I was most excited to find out was that the audiobook is available and.... 

wait for it...





                     still waiting?...




 
JACK BLACK is the narrator! 
Yes, you must buy it. 
Yes, right now. 
Click HERE.
image source: ew.com
And just one more gem, RL Stine & Marc Brown have delivered yet again with their latest scare, Mary McScary


AHHHH! I am so excited! 
<insert crazy excited emoji
I have it ordered & fingers crossed it's in before Halloween.   
 

13 Spooky Stories for Beginner Readers {Level 2 Readers}



When your little monster is finally to the point of reading solo but still needs a little help, level 2 easy readers are the best! 

Here are my top 13 picks that are Halloween themed!

1. Inside a House that is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

2. Flat Stanley & the Haunted House by Jeff Brown

3. Hot Rod Hamster & the Haunted Halloween Party by

4. Sponge Bob Squarepants: The Big Halloween Scare by Steven Banks

5. Happy Haunting, Amelia Bedelia by Herman Parish

6. Scooby-Doo! and the Cupcake Caper

7. The Cat in the Hat: Have No Fear! Halloween is Here! 

8. Never Kick a Ghost & Other Silly Chillers by Judy Sierra

9. Monster School First Day Frights by Dave Keane

10. LuLu Goes to Witch School by Jane O'Connor

11. Thomas & Friends: A Ghost on the Track

12. Halloween Parade by Abby Klein

13. In a Dark, Dark Room & Other Scary Stories by Alvin Swartz

Most of these are on Amazon at a reasonable price. I did find a box set at Sam's Club called "My Favorite Spooky Stories" and it included numbers 2, 5, 9, 10, 13.


Book Review: Glow by Megan E. Bryant

Summary:
"I used to worry about the dark. When it's dark, your whole life can spiral out of control. But there's a certain kind of light I should have been afraid of all along."

Separated by the span of a century, two girls are drawn to the same dangerous secret. With her college plans wiped out by her mother's financial problems, Julie's stuck in a dead-end job, watching her best friend move on without her. A chance discovery of antique paintings with hidden glowing images captivates Julie and leaves her determined to learn the identity of the artist—even as she is haunted by the paintings' increasingly nightmarish images.
One hundred years earlier, Lydia spends her days in a factory painting luminous watch dials for soldiers; her nights are devoted to writing letters to her beloved on the front lines of the Great War. Lydia hopes the factory, and its exciting new scientific paint, will provide her whole family with a brighter future.
As Julie's obsession with the mysterious paintings mounts, truths about the Radium Girls—and her own complicated relationships—are revealed. But will she uncover the secret of the luminous paintings before putting herself and everyone she loves at risk?

Release Date: September 2017
Age Group: 
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Ms. Leger

Review:
This is a 5/5 star read! The story-line & accuracy of this historical fiction is superb.  

Glow was so good that I read it in two days (while working). The story is told between two different periods in time. Bryant blended past & present perfectly, two simultaneous stories in one, not always easy to accomplish and she does is with ease. There is just enough mystery that it keeps the reader from finding a stopping point.  

I was familiar with the Radium Girls before beginning, had I not been familiar I would have stopped & done some quick research. I feel 100% confident that Bryant's research before writing this story was extensive and detailed. 
The past is written in the form of letters. As the story progressed, I found myself wanting to warn the dialpainters about working with radium.  So many times I wanted to shout "Stop, find another job!" but to no avail. 

The present day character, Julie, is more obsessed with art than with danger, not realizing what she has found. I have never seen radium but I can suspect its glow is memorizing. I understood Julie's fascination, I got pulled in too.
I recommend this book to all YA & historical fiction readers. I also insist Nat read GLOW next!
Ms. Leger 
One quick suggestion: read this fabulous fact sheet [HERE] before beginning Glow if you are unfamiliar with the discovery & uses of radium by dialpainters.

Book Review: Why Can't Everyday be Halloween? by Jaclyn Kruzie


Summary: Who doesn't want holiday fun to last a little longer? One young boy does! He wishes Halloween would last forever. It is also the night monsters roam, and they show up in the most unexpected places.

Release Date: 2015
Age Group: Children, Rhyming-Text
Source: Amazon Purchase
Reviewed By: Nat & The Boys

Review:
I don't normally start off a review with a quote but this is fitting. Tim Burton once said,
Everyday is Halloween, isn't it? For some of us...
I love Halloween. I love the colors, the pumpkins, the black cats & witches, the costumes, really I love all of it except the candy. I loathe the candy. It is very surprising to people that know me when I tell them I confiscate all candy on November 1st. My monsters get to choose 5 pieces to hoard away and eat at their own discretion... eat it all at once or eat it sparingly, I don't care BECAUSE THAT'S ALL THEY HAVE ACCESS TOO!

Don't panic, I don't throw away the overpriced chocolate. I happily donate it the first chance I get and get that crap out of my house. Obviously, I loved this book because it was inline with my mad parenting skills.

Why Can't Everyday Be Halloween? is a fun children's book that tells the tale of coming down from a month of monsters and candy. Of course this story relays to kids in a fun way what might happen if you keep eating all that junk; unlike my approach of just ripping off the band-aid (aka take all the crap away).

I really enjoyed the simplicity of the story. What really caught my eye was the art! The watercolor was awesome and the facial expressions were so creepy! Hats off to Curt Cryer, you nailed it.

This really is a fun Halloween book to add to a family library or class library as a read-a-loud book. I would recommend reading this book to young children the week following Halloween. You know the week when they are whiny, won't go to bed and you almost want to choke them... THAT.WEEK.

I borrowed a copy from a friend but I did find it on Amazon HERE and ordered my own.

As always, Happy Haunting Friends & put the candy down! {Pace yo selves, your butt will thank me later}.



Campfire Tales: Are You Afraid of the Dark? {31 Days of Halloween}


Nothing is scarier than sitting in the dark, hearing the crickets and having everyone around you holding their breathe waiting to hear what happens next...

It's the perfect time of year to sit around a fire and tell spooky stories, but for that to happen you have to have the right story. The scariest stories I have ever listened to were from two series: Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs by QL Pearce & Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. These are the stories that are sure to cause children to sleep with their parents. I still remember being scared out of my mind as a tween and it was great! 

Scariest episodes HERE.
If you have a group of kids that are leery about sitting and listening to a campfire story because a) it sounds lame or b) they are lame have them watch a few episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? 

[Here is an intro that I randomly found on YouTube just to give you a preview.]

They WILL have a chill down their spine after watching the intro, gosh I miss 90's TV. That preview was the catalyst that got a group of us to have our own Midnight Society and tell spooky stories (well and sneaking a lighter into the woods). Of course it only lasted a few weekends and then we were glued to the series but hey, those were scary Saturday nights!

You can stream all of the series on Amazon & Netflix, I'm sure there are also other ways to find episodes if you are tech savvy. As for me, I risk nothing when it comes to a scare, I bought the complete seasons... I hate to depend on internet streaming.

Happy Haunting,








Book Spotlight: Winnie the Witch series by Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul

I've loved Winnie the Witch since 1987 when she made her first debut! She was a quirky, clumsy witch that always seemed to get into a pickle, kind of like Amelia Bedelia but with a wand and a cool cat! 

Wilbur, her black cat, always seems to be right in the middle of whatever adventure Winnie has cooked up and most of the time it's to his dismay. I love that cat.

I've kept Winnie around since my childhood and I am thrilled to report that my kids love her too. We always read the original and have started adding more to our collection each year. Winnie the Witch can be read year round because her adventures are similar to how The Magic School Bus series runs, with each book discussing a specific theme (planets, the sea, pirates, birthdays, dinosaurs, etc.). There are even sing-along's & audiobooks available for pre-school age children. There is even a play that's been adapted based on the original Winnie book.




If you want more than a picture book, no worries, Winnie also has a series of chapter books too.



Note to Teachers: There are several free resources on Winnie's website <HERE> that are specific to each book, plus lots of other fun activities that are Winnie & Wilbur inspired. My favorite activity is How to Dress up as Winnie! <HERE> If you're feeling really witchy, there is a complete party pack available to download! How cool is that! <HERE>


Bottom line: I love Winnie. I love Wilbur. You should hop on the broom, you won't regret it.



Quick Character Costume: Kung Fu Panda


I'm sure you've seen them in Wal-Mart and might have even thought one of two things: 
  1. What are those? 
  2. Who in the world would buy them?

1. They have a name, Maskimals. And oddly enough they are not even for Halloween. They are apart of the back-to-school merchandise as a type of mascot/school spirit item.

2. Me! I'm the nut that almost bought the entire bin. Well, I bought not one... not two... not three... 

I bought FOUR okay, F.O.U.R. Maskimals! I regret nothing. 

When I saw these giant animal heads I instantly thought of all the book character costumes I could throw together with the bonus of just laughing at these ginormous animal heads bobbing around on kids. So naturally, I went a little overboard.


Here we have our version of Kung Fu Panda Po. This is an easy and quick idea for kids who love the martial arts (karate, jiu jitsu, tae kwon do, etc.) or just flat out like to pretend they have mad ninja skills. You can grab any gi, in any color, and throw this #maskimal Panda head on and BAM, you now have Po from Kung Fu Panda. 


Up next will be our T-Rex maskimal! So keep your heads on and an eye out! What book do you think I have in mind?

Happy Haunting!






Thanks Amelia for being such a good sport! Slay girl, SLAY!

Scary Book Review: Bony Legs by Joanna Cole

Summary:  
When a terrible witch vows to eat her for supper, a little girl escapes with the help of a mirror and comb given to her by the witch's cat and dog.


Release Date: 1983 (before smart phones)
Age Group: Childrens, Picture Book
Source: A relic that I still own
Reviewed By: Nat








Review:
Bony-Legs was one of my classic reads from childhood. It was creepy, had a nasty old witch and a happy ending. Just how I like it, a little scary but in the end I have a smile on my face.

As a parent I still love this book! Bony-Legs is a picture book with a good plot. It teaches the reward of kindness even in the most unlikely of circumstances and the concept of trust via a persons actions-- we do not trust the witch but we trust the kind girl. There is humor mixed in the text and I think this book is best read as a read-a-loud to pre-K to kindergarten age children.

Bony-Legs is an oldy but still a goody! In fact it is such a good one that finding a copy is going to cost you a pretty penny! I found a first edition on Amazon for $134! That alone should tell you it is special. 








 

Halloween Book Displays {31 Days of Halloween}



Today I discovered that Maryn's high school librarian, Deedra, has her library looking festive! {or as the cool kids say "on fleek"}

Here are her Halloween inspired book displays that dot the library desks.

Dr. Frank


The Twins: Yin & Yang

Casper's cousin is BOOtiful!


Witch better have our Candy!




Witch is your favorite? 

Obviously I can't choose and love them all! Word on the street is that a student has challenged the librarians to come up with a Bat display... challenge has been accepted friends! I will update when Mr. Bat is ready for debut.

Group Shot.


 






Happy Haunting Friends!

13 Frightful YA Novels {31 Days of Halloween}



Reader beware, you're in for a scare...

Here are 13 YA novels that are sure to give you a scare, thrill, nightmare and possible symptoms of a heart attack... ENJOY!

1. The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan
 
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?






2. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
 
What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod
.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?





3. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
 
Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
 





 

4. The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.











5. Missing by Kelley Armstrong 

The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?





 

6. The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.
 




7. Ruined by Paula Morris
Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her Aunt Claudia, who reads Tarot cards for a living. And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city.









8. Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch
 
Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows… and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving… and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.


9. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life.



10. Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?




11. Remember Me by Christopher Pike
 
Shari Cooper hadn't planned on dying, but four floors is a long way to fall. Her friends say she fell but Shari knew she had been murdered. Making a vow to herself to find her killer, Shari spies on her friends, and even enters their dreams. She also comes face-to-face with a nightmare from beyond the grave. The Shadow - a thing more horrible than death itself - is the key to Shari's death, and the only thing that can stop her murderer from murdering again. 











12. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.







13. The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
 
Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless... you’re immortal.






***And a big thank you to Deedra for helping me with this list! I'm so happy you appreciate a twisted tale.***