Hauntingly close to Halloween, El Día de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead – is a magical holiday that's also a living history lesson, demonstrating the tendency of conquerors to absorb indigenous customs into their own. Christian Europeans arrived in Mexico already fans of All Hallows Eve (modern day Halloween), only to stumble upon an ancient tradition celebrated by the Aztecs on November 2, with a spookily similar theme. Day of the Dead is a time when the door between worlds is meant to open, so that celebrants can honor departed loved ones and hopefully lure them back for a visit. We have a separate post of the many free Día de los Muertos celebrations around town; some of the major events below charge a small admission fee.
These spooky and simple ideas for turning everyday snacks like hot dogs and brownies into some spine-tingling treats for Halloween will have you and your kids dancing the Monster Mash. Easy enough for a kids' party activity, or parents can whip a batch up for a fun twist on the pre-trick-or-treating dinner. Either way, you won't even need to dress up to be a hero this Halloween.
Cemeteries can be beautiful, historic, and filled with interesting people. On Halloween night or under a full moon they might be just a little bit spooky or awfully sinister, depending upon your tolerance. Regardless, my family loves them. For my daughter who relishes the macabre, there is always the hope and possibility of encountering a graveyard ghost. My husband and son are scholars of the past, and there is nothing quite so historic as a bunch of dead people. Me, I like the trees and the grass and the inscriptions.
A good boneyard has something for everybody (including some great Day of the Dead celebrations). While Los Angeles is a town where people come seeking eternal youth (or at least a botoxed rendition), nothing lasts forever. Nevertheless, our sundrenched landscape is not a bad place to spend eternity, and you may even find yourself alongside somebody quite famous in one of these LA final resting places.
Don't be scared to get creative this Halloween; one of the best things about Halloween is the opportunity to be creative and replace store-bought with homemade. While your kids may demand that store-bought character costume, you can skip the plastic treat bucket or the old pillowcase this year and do something homemade without any sewing skills. An old costume might even make the basis for the perfect treat tote. Or pick a black or orange colored tee. Another alternative: let them decorate the tote with spooky drawings, or glue plastic spiders and other Halloween elements. Let your imaginations take this easy project in your own unique direction.
If you've already spent on the Halloween costume (and perhaps a second one if you bought too early), and the pumpkin (and perhaps a second one if you bought too early), and the Halloween candy (and perhaps an extra aerobics class, if you bought too early), then you might have reached your limit with spending money on this mother-of-all kids' holidays. That's when it's time to start sniffing out all of the great free Halloween activities that keep the mood going at this haunting time of year. Never fear - there's a frightful number of free events for your little goblins. Here are 10 of our favorites - the scream of the crop!
As parents, it seems like the list of things to worry about never ends. From prenatal health to getting them into college, raising kids is probably the most anxiety-provoking thing we will ever do. And, as if that isn’t bad enough, the 24-hour news cycle seems determined to inject new fears into our overwrought minds all the time.
But, as it turns out, much of what we’re told to be concerned about is actually quite harmless, while more likely dangers are seldom discussed. If we’re going to put so much energy into worrying about our kids, let’s at least worry about the right things.
Here we are halfway through October. Are your costumes ready? Halloween is just around the corner, and there are several spooky activities to check out this week. The Los Angeles Public Library continues its exploration of Homer’s Odyssey with many events for kids, teens, and adults in multiple locations across the city. On Tuesday stay home or go out, but be sure to take a few minutes to “Read for the Record” – Jumpstart’s annual promotion of child literacy. The book selected for this year’s event is Rosemary Wells’ Bunny Cakes. Siblings Max and Ruby have different ideas about Grandma’s birthday cake; Ruby wants buttercream frosting and roses, but for Max it’s all about the red hot marshmallow squirters. For these and other fun weekday ideas, read on...
Our house loves Halloween - no, really loves Halloween. We reconnect with neighbors as we hang ghosts in trees, weave skeletons into the jasmine, drape pumpkin lights along the fence, and smear cobwebs all over the shrubbery. Our normally zen rock garden becomes a graveyard, and last year's Halloween costumes become its inhabitants.
One way we feed our macabre creativity is by avidly checking out other Halloween addicts' handiwork; we love the ghost trains, festivals, and pumpkin patches, but the real beauty of living in the film capital of the world is that private haunted houses frequently rival the spectacle of the big theme park spooks. We've collected the scream of the crop below...
Confronted with the statistic that one out of every five children in the U.S. is food insecure, a friend expressed incredulity. "How can that be true? I don’t know a single person like that.” That's the tricky thing about hunger today. Not only has the demographic of who suffers from hunger changed, it's a problem happening right under our noses without us realizing it.
Sometimes situations that lead to food insecurity are complicated. And, let’s face it, people don't introduce themselves by saying, “By the way, I don’t have enough money to feed my children” unless they are panhandling on the street. I speak from experience because I was food insecure as a child, and most of the people around me had no idea, outside of one English teacher who frequently bought me a bagel for lunch if I hadn't eaten that day.
That’s why I’m proud to sponsor Unilever Project Sunlight, a program that brings awareness to the issue of hunger in America and encourages supporters to Share A Meal to fight childhood hunger. I hope you’ll consider joining me in our virtual food drive. Our goal is to raise $1500 through Feeding America, and if we reach it, Mommy Poppins will double the amount by adding an additional $1500 donation.
Someone file a name change because Philadelphia is about to become the city of Motherly love. That's right, Mommy Poppins is setting up shop in the town William Penn founded. I'm looking forward to cheesesteaks and soft pretzels and runs up the steps of the Art Museum. But that crack in the Liberty Bell? We had nothing to do with it, nothing, you hear? (We were being careful!)
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