Halloween Party Ideas

You can almost feel the electricity of excitement as they enter the Harvest or Halloween party area that you’ve prepared. Whether they’re in first grade or fifth, they bolt in with wide eyes, darting from corner to corner, to see what decorations, games and treats you’ve brought for them. It’s Halloween party time!

With thirteen years of classroom party coordinating, I am no expert. I still scramble to email other creative friends for fresh ideas, or search the web for easy and fun games. What did we ever do without Pinterest? What I do know is that the kids just want it to feel like a Halloween party and not like a classroom.

In my opinion, the best parties include getting the kids out of their seats and onto the floor, into a hallway, gym, or better yet, outside the school building! As a general rule of thumb, if it requires a long list of instructions on exactly “how” to have fun, it’s not very fun. Just keep it simple.

Below are a few common and successful party games. Most are relays and require you to divide students into groups or teams.

Kindergarten: Ghost Tower

Supplies: large white marshmallows, sharpie marker or googly eyes

Before the game starts draw ghost faces on the marshmallows. Race to see how many “ghosts” they can stack before their tower falls.

1st grade: Pumpkin Bowling

Supplies: various sized pumpkins and empty milk jugs or plastic pop bottles painted to look like ghosts

Set up the painted ghosts as the bowling pins and uses the pumpkins as bowling balls. Play

2nd grade: Mummy Wrap

Supplies: LOTS of toilet paper

Divide into pairs. Wrap your partner like a mummy during this timed race. The kids like to wrap their teacher up as a mummy too!

3rd grade: Eyeball Race

Supplies: ping pong balls, sharpie marker, plastic spoons

In advance draw bloodshot eyeballs on the ping pong balls. Place eyeball on the spoon and race to other end. Pass the spoon to a teammate who races back, or they can drop the “eye” into a plastic pumpkin or freshly carved pumpkin and race back.

4th grade: Costume Dress Up Relay

Supplies: funny costume separates

The students must race to get dressed up and then race to the other end, remove costume items and tag teammate. Try to gather funny items that are similar for two teams, like a hat for each team, 2 wigs, glasses or mask, vests or jackets, skirts/tutus, capes etc. The sillier they look, the more fun they will have.

5th grade: What’s In The Box | Brain Search

Supplies: decorated shoe box or cooked spaghetti noodles + halloween items to find

This is a timed game. Place small, interesting or gross items in the “brain.” The kids must feel around for as many items as they can find. The “brain” is held above eye level. They may not peek and may not pull items out. They try to guess the items and remember what they felt. They will then race to write as many items on a given list. Whoever has guessed the most, wins. This is a home made version of the store bought game, “What’s in Ned’s Head.”

6th grade: Monster Mash

Supplies: balloons, markers or self stick foam pieces, string

Each student blows up their balloon and decorates their monster. Tie one end of string onto balloon and other end to shoe or ankle. When the game begins, each student needs to try to step on or sit on someone’s balloon monster, while protecting their own (without hiding it or holding it). Whoever survives the “monster mashing” moves onto the final round. Best if done in smaller groups to avoid chaos and to allow kids to watch this crazy activity.

Don’t assume they’re too old for games. If you bring it, they will make it, play it and eat it. Even the kids who think they’re “too cool for school” will enjoy the break.

What are YOUR favorite games, treats, music and decorations for a classroom Halloween party? I’m still looking for those fresh ideas!

Games with Paper and Pencils

With all the technology in the world at our hands today, it is easy to forget where we came from with games. Pencil and Paper Games is at your service.

Many games are listed – including sorts by type and popularity. A dedicated page is available for each game along with instructions. Dots and Boxes was a favorite of my childhood.

Guess I might have to put down the iPhone or the shiny new Super Nintendo Classic console for a bit and give my kids some old school gaming knowledge.

21 Geo-Social Media Domains You Can Register Today

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some unregistered domains your can get your grubby little domaining mitts on.

Here’s 21 {geo}socialmedia.com domains you can register today:


Have at ’em.

Chicken Stew & Dumplings

chicken and dumplings1.25 lbs chicken breast (2 large halves)

2 cups chicken stock
1 10oz jar turkey gravy (or 1.25 cups homemade gravy)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 large potatoes 1″ diced
1 onion diced
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup frozen peas
3-4 carrots 1″ chop or 1/2 bag baby carrots, halved
1 can Grands Biscuits
4 bay leaves

Step 1 can be skipped and the breasts cooked in the slow cooker, but avoid the taste test in step 7. I like to poach the chicken first so it is falling apart tender at serving time.

    1. Add chicken breasts, 2 bay leaves, 1/4 of the onion to a deep pan. Cover to top of chicken with water, bring to a boil and poach for 15-20 minutes until chicken cooked through.
    1. While the chicken is poaching, dice the vegetables and add to slow-cooker.
    1. When the chicken is cooked. Shred or 1″ dice and add to slow-cooker.
    1. Add remaining bay leaves.
    1. Add turkey gravy, cream of chicken soup, chicken stock and butter.
    1. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 6-8 hours.
    1. After 3 hours in cooker, taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
    1. 45 minutes prior to serving. open the can of biscuits, tear or cut in pieces and add to stew.

The Dirty Secret of Google Apps

Before you click that submit button to sign up for Google Apps for your domain, burn this into your brain right now:

If you ever think about letting your domain expire, this doesn’t destroy your Google Apps account. You must cancel this service as well.

Any future registrant of your domain, if they determine you had Google Apps – and it is a trivial process – all it takes is a couple of days and they will have full control of whatever information resided there – which includes Google Apps email archives, Google App Docs and more.

I don’t blame Google for this, this isn’t a hit piece on them and they shouldn’t be policing the expiration of domain names from Google Apps accounts.

It is no secret that I buy and sell domains. I’m not as active as I once was, but I still browse the drop lists for expired domains and actively search new domains with keywords of up-and-coming business/tech and terms in the news.

In the last 6 months alone, I’ve picked up 3 domains1 that I realized, after the fact, had Google Apps accounts configured. Between those 3 domains, and before I deleted the Google Apps accounts, I had access to 37 email accounts and their archives. A cursory look through a few of those accounts and assuming people lagged behind in changing the email address associated with their accounts, I could have likely found a way to access:

  • Cell Phone Accounts
  • LinkedIn Profiles
  • Facebook & Twitter Acccounts
  • Affiliate Network Accounts
  • An Ashley Madison Account (hmmm)2
  • Business Plans
  • Apple ID & iTunes Account
  • Hundreds of Contacts
  • And more, you get the idea

Like I said, I deleted the accounts associated with these domains. Mainly because I would hope someone would do the same for me, but also because there was some temptation to dig for some competitive information that I didn’t feel right doing. I removed the temptation and kept the ethical compass pointing north, mostly north.

Before you let any domain expire, audit its past usage and clean up the loose ends so they don’t come back to bite you.

1 Don’t ask, I’m not revealing which domains they were.
2 A married, and from what I gathered, a prominent business person in his city.

spanish bungalow

Spain (another misdirected email)

This is a continuing series of misdirected emails to my inbox.

Hi, you may be surprised to learn that we are downsizing and moving to Spain. We found this bung. at a silly price near Dolores (Alicante). It is a little inland, away from the concrete It is one of a group of 9 similar places all occupied by Brits. All legal, no further development allowed. It is very secluded and we drive up an amazing avenue of palm trees to get to it. On our visits to Spain we have noticed how much cheaper most things are, food in particular. There seems to be much more English spoken and the attitude of traders is usually helpful. So we are selling off bits and pieces in all directions mostly on le Bon Coin. Sorry we don’t seem to have heard from you since you had pool pump problems. Trust you got that sorted! We finally got our non paying tenant out, what a relief, but we are owed considerable monies which we don’t expect to recover! Regards Dave & Michele.

spanish bungalow

Emails From Tom: Moms Birthday

(This guy keeps emailing me thinking he is sending this to someone else, so until he stops, I publish, details scrubbed of course.)

Moms Birthday

Thanks to all of you for loving Mom yesterday. She had a wonderful day and was blessed to spend time with each of you either in person or on the phone. FYI: Stephen and Emily have another item to add to their wedding gift list (phone voice lessons). Between their giggles, laughing and false starts we had a good laugh when they called and sang to Mom. We returned home last night about 9:00 or so and after a couple of phone calls went to bed. She mentioned more than once and again as well fell asleep how much she felt loved, what a great day she had and what a wonderful job she had as a mother.

Keep Shining,

I Love you all dearly