Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you all have a great Halloween weekend – our days are filled with trick or treating, and a costume birthday party for a certain boy turning 9 years old (yikes!).

Over on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog, she’s sponsoring her annual Halloweensie contest. We are challenged to write a 100-word Halloween story for children using the words costume, dark and, haunt.

Every year I find the 100-word limit VERY challenging, and some years I feel particularly uninspired (like this year), but here goes:

SPARKLE AND SHINE

Winnie knew her costume was a mistake. Inside, her sparkles had shined in all the right places. But outside in the dark night, everything was gray.

A haunted ghost passed her. She should have dressed scary.

Her sister Jean walked up dressed in a fluffy tutu. “I know what you’re missing,” Jean said.

She pointed her flashlight at Winnie. Colored reflections circled everywhere.

“Now lead the way,” Jean said.

Winnie raised her chin and proudly led them through the neighborhood. She returned home with a grin on her face, candy in her tummy, and big plans for next year’s costume.

 

Head over to Susanna’s site and check out all the great entries!

On a side note, for the next few months I will be posting to the blog less frequently. Please stick around – hopefully you’ll find the quality more valuable than the quantity.

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you all had a day (and evening) that was just a touch of spooky, and sprinkle of sweet, and a whole lot of fun.

Over on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog, she’s sponsoring her annual Halloweensie contest. We are challenged to write a 100-word Halloween story for children using the words pumpkin, broomstick, and creak.

Every year I find the 100-word limit VERY challenging, but here goes:

WHERE’S THE TRICK?

Witches, wizards, living down my street

Why do they pick tonight to come and trick or treat?

Skeletons, ninjas, knocking on the door

I give them each a candy but they try to get quite more.

Pieces, handfuls, candy quickly gone

Running up and down my street and traipsing ‘cross the lawn.

One has a pumpkin head and one flies on a broom

One makes a creaking noise and howls up at the moon.

I think I’ll skip this holiday until I’m big and tall

I hope I’ve grown a little bit around this time next fall.

Head over to Susanna’s site and check out all the great entries!

Review: Mouse and Mole, A Perfect Halloween

One of my favorite Halloween books this year (last year, too) is Mouse and Mole, A Perfect Halloween, by Wong Herbert Yee. Yee wrote the Fireman Small picture book, which my son loved as a preschooler. When I saw this easy reader, I knew we had to have it.

Divided into four chapters, the book follows best friends, Mouse and Mole, as they prepare for Halloween. Mouse is whimsical, brave, and laughs at everything, while Mole is serious, timid, and does things by the book. As they decorate houses and carve pumpkins, Mouse is the one holding Mole’s hand throughout the scariness of the holiday. But don’t be fooled–there are plenty of twists to keep things interesting!

A Perfect Halloween is suitable for young independent readers, though it’s wonderful to read aloud, too. Mouse and Mole seem like a modern Frog and Toad, and their friendship is just as fun to watch. Yee’s accompanying artwork is also very charming and funny. This story is one of seven books written about Mouse and Mole. So far it’s the only one I’ve read, but the more times I read it, the more I want to read them all.

This would be a fun book to read before carving pumpkins. (You’ll just have to read to find out what happens to Mole’s jack’o’lantern!) Also, it would be a nice choice if you have young ones that might be a touch scared by Halloween–they will be able to see themselves in Mole’s story and find fun in the end.

A Bonus Halloween Post!

Happy Halloween everyone! I’m not much into the gore of Halloween, but I am looking forward to taking my kids trick-or-treating tonight.

Susanna Leonard Hill is having another Halloween contest on her blog this year, and I had so much fun with last year’s contest, I wanted to do it again. It’s a Haloweensie contest, because it’s short and it’s for kids. We are challenged to write 100 words using the words spooky, black cat, and cackle. Here’s my contribution:

ARE YOU SCARED YET?

“I’m ready, ” said the little black cat.

“Let’s hear it,” said the big black cat.

“Booooooo,” said Little Cat.

Big Cat curled up. “Not spooky enough.”

“Ah ha ha ha,” she cackled, wrinkling her nose.

Big Cat yawned. “Not creepy enough.”

Little Cat bared her teeth. “Mwah ha ha,” she said.

“I’m still not scared,” said Big Cat, closing his eyes.

Little Cat took a deep breath and growled from her belly, getting louder until her body vibrated.

“Rawr!” she bellowed, and Big Cat jumped straight into the air.

“Not bad,” Big Cat said.

Little Cat smiled. I’m ready.

Review: Room on the Broom and Contest Update

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Room on the Broom

Written by: Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by: Alex Scheffler

Dial Books, 2001, Hardcover Edition

Target Audience: 4-8 (and my 3 year old loves it too)

Genre: Fiction

Theme: Holiday/Seasonal

How We Discovered This Book: Grandma bought this for my daughter last Halloween, and it has quickly become our favorite Halloween book.

Summary: The story begins: “How the cat purred/ and how the witch grinned/ As they sat on their broomstick/ and flew through the wind.” A witch takes a broom ride and needs help from some animal friends along the way.

What I Liked: The rhyme is fluid, and never forced. I really admire writers who can write well in rhyme. I don’t attempt it, for fear of failing miserably. The story is cute and fun. At one point it could have gotten spooky, but a creative twist keeps it kid-friendly.

What Did My Kids Think? My kids ask for this book frequently, and sometimes they ask to read it again as soon as we’ve finished. I won’t spoil the twist for those of you who haven’t read it yet, but it gives the kids and me a chuckle every time.

Resources: Julia Donaldson has created her own companion book of activities with stickers, puzzles, and games. More can be found on the official Room on the Broom webpage.

The Tall Stories Theater Company has a study guide for teachers or homeschoolers to use, with activities like Mixing Up A Spell (literacy activity), Multi-Monster collage, story comprehension, and Rhyme Time.

Check out more picture book reviews each Friday at Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Last week I kicked off a Halloween sounds story contest. Unfortunately, we did not have any entries, so there is no prize to award. If you are interested in a Halloween story contest, but our contest was too long or too complicated for you, check out the Halloweensie contest on Susanna’s blog. It kicks off on Monday and runs through Halloween. I’m planning to enter again this year.

Halloween Sounds and a Contest

It’s only a few weeks until Halloween. Are you ready? Have you carved or painted your pumpkin? Have you bought candy for trick or treaters (only to have to buy more after you eat it)? Are you going to any fun costume parties?

No parties for us this year, which is a relief, after the so-called family party we went to last year. This year, we just have regular neighborhood trick or treating planned (if it doesn’t snow this year), and a school parade for each child. My daughter is dressing up as a fairy, which makes things easier since her Tinkerbelle costume is on regular rotation for dress-up. My son wants to be a bumblebee, so I have some sewing to do. I’ll share some pictures after the big day.

So in continuation of the last post, let’s have a little Halloween contest about sounds. Next week I will be reviewing Julia Donaldson’s book Room on the Broom. The winner of the contest wins their own copy of the book.

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Halloween is a season full of spooky, creepy, and scary sounds. Which one is your favorite?

Now write a short story of no more than 250 words, with your chosen sound as the first AND last word of the story. Use it as many times as you want (along with other sounds if you choose), but one sound must appear at both the beginning and end.

Here’s mine to get you started:

Creeeeek. I opened one eye. The room was pitch black, so I couldn’t see anything moving. I waited while my heart beat three times. Nothing. I closed my eyes again, and was dozing back to sleep when I heard it again. Creeeeek.

I sat straight up in my bed. I wasn’t imagining something in my room. Could I make it to the door before it got me? Maybe I could make it to the lightswitch instead. Creeeek. The sound was getting closer.

I felt inside my bedside table drawer for my flashlight. I squinted at the bright light as I switched it on, and then opened my eyes wide as I swung it back and forth across my room.

My desk covered in papers: check. My cars lined up on the block road I built: check. The pile of clothes mom keeps asking me to put away: check. Everything was where it should be.

I turned the light off and laid in bed looking out into the dark. Come on, whatever you are. I dare you. Make another noise. I counted to 20 and back. Nothing.

I grinned to myself. I must have scared it away! No sound is a match for me. I chuckled to myself. I bet my little brother would have cried.

I slowly drifted back to sleep, dreaming of lifting a car with my bare hands. Creeeeek.

Please submit your story:

1. In the comments

OR

2. Post it to your blog with a link back in the comments

by next Thursday, October 24th at 6 PM EST. Our panel of judges will choose the winner! Hint: We really like creativity, humor, and wit!

Good luck!

A Bonus Halloween Post!

Today Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting a contest on her site. The challenge is to write a Halloween story, under 100 words, using the words witch, bat, and trick-or-treat. I didn’t have a problem working the words in, but staying under 100 words was hard!

Happy Halloween everyone! Hopefully Sandy hasn’t put a damper on your fun!

 

ARE YOU BRAVE?

This Halloween party was CREEPY.

The decorations howled and shrieked. A witch stood by the fireplace, a bat flew over her head, and fake blood dripped down the bathroom mirror. Where was Trick-or-Treating?

The doorbell rang and I jumped. Was someone here to rescue me?

A little fairy girl tiptoed in. She bit her lip.

I knew what to do. I took her hand.

“Stay away from those creatures, and stay away from the bathroom,” I said. She looked up at me. “Thanks, Captain America. You’re so brave.”

I puffed out my chest. “No problem,” I said.