Andrea Mara

Official website

Halloween themed midterm for the uninspired parent

Midterm break crept up on me this year, and I realised this morning that we have no plans at all – other than not getting dressed until as late as humanly possible every morning. The kids are here all week, so day-time working is suspended, but I forgot to come up with actual things to do.

So I started googling, looking for Halloween themed day trips – anything suitable for bringing three kids on my own, one of whom does regular disappearing acts. And potentially in the rain.

Meanwhile, the kids decided to make their own schedules, and wrote up pages of plans like “Go to library”, “Bake Halloween buns”, “Yoga” (although none of us knows anything about Yoga) and “Rilacs time” (from the Jolly Phonics student.)

2015-10-26 11.58.19

Their schedules do sound quite relaxing actually – maybe they’re on to something. So I stopped googling and made a new plan – see below. If you’re off work this week, and equally unprepared, or unenthusiastic about traipsing out in the rain to faraway destinations, or just a little bit tired, something similar might work for you too:


Morning: Stay in PJs and enjoy the newly purchased Halloween decorations and not doing the school-run.

Afternoon: Go to library to get spooky, scary books (as well as the usual haul of mind-numbing Rainbow Magic instalments) then read the spooky books at home, in the light of our new pumpkin lanterns.

pumpkin lantern


Morning: Bake buns and ice with orange coloured butter-cream icing, then sprinkle with Halloween sprinkles. An annual tradition. Same box of sprinkles still going, four years in…

Afternoon: Go for coffee and cake – Halloween themed cake a bonus


Morning: Draw witches and vampires with a thick black marker and get the kids to colour them. We did this last year, they loved being able to make special requests for particular drawings – hours of entertainment, no mess, and practically qualifies as a Halloween craft.

Afternoon: Possibly attempt to make Toffee Apples, but probably chicken out and make Toffee Apple buns instead. Or really chicken out and make Apple Crumble, but call it Goblin Crumble. Staying on-theme is key.


Morning: Yoga, apparently, but also pumpkin carving, and an attempt to make this pumpkin and coconut soup with the innards.

Afternoon: A visit to Killiney Ghost House, then Vampire Pasta for tea (a one-pot chorizo pasta that’s become an annual tradition.)

And finally, for a really lazy Halloween centrepiece, put your pumpkin in the middle of your table, and put a Halloween decoration on top. Voila.

pumpkin centrepieceToday, we did go out – to newly reopened Rathfarnham Castle. So we’ve ticked the (almost) day trip box for the week, and I’ve taken plenty of photos to remind them of it.

Rathfarnham Castle
Rathfarnham Castle

Next year, we’ll be organised and do all the trips. But for now, we’ll stick to rilacs-ing with a hint of pumpkin.





Click the button below to sign up to my Penguin newsletter.