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It's Coming

I make no secret that I don't like Halloween. Even as a child, and in spite of the fact that my parents let us dress up and go trick-or-treating, I would have rather been doing something else. Now as an adult, I can see the fun side... I love the pumpkins and beautiful fall decorations. Heck, I love chocolate as much as ever!

And yes, I let my kids dress-up and trick-or-treat too. If some day they don't want to, we'll find something else to do. For now, I hand out goodies to all kids of all ages and enjoy the smiles that come from fun costumes and bags full of candy!

So in the "spirit" of Halloween, I'm going to offer up a few of my favorite fall fun activities that do not involve eye-balls, skulls, blood, or half-dead creatures of any sort.

Here's a simple project that you probably did as a child: Go on a nature walk and pick up some of the beautiful leaves. If you are up for it, help the kids discover what kinds of trees the leaves came from. Otherwise, first place the leaves under a sheet of plain white paper and make a rubbing of your leaves with an un-wrapped crayon held horizontally. Then, take the same leaves and place them between two sheets of wax paper. Heat up your iron and place the wax paper between an old sheet and iron until the wax melts together and holds. Then the kids can use it as a placemat or you can tape them to the windows.

And speaking of leaves, have you raked them yet? I can't think of too many things that are more wonderful than raking up a pile of leaves and jumping right in! We do this every year with our kids and it's the perfect photo op! Leaves flying and smiles shining - now that's fun.

Next: caramel apples! A quintessential fall treat and so incredibly easy. Like ten times easier than baking cookies with kids. One bag of caramels and five apples (that's the Kraft recipe standard). Melt the caramels, add some water, plunge popsicle sticks into apples, dip in caramel and sit for one hour. These make great gifts for friends and neighbors or a fun family snack.

And finally, pumpkin painting. Maybe you've been doing this for years, but if you have young children you've probably figured out that sharp objects are not your friend. They really can't cut the pumpkin themselves, so if you really love to carve up a pumpkin reserve that for an adult only night. With the kids, get out the paints and let them go to town. They'll enjoy the process a lot more and bonus, the pumpkins won't rot as quickly!

There are so many great ideas for fall and I could go on and on. What are your favorite Halloween traditions that make for great activities and super memories?

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