Crafty

Halloween Haunts 2017

A Good Gray Halloween 2017 Portland OR

Here’s what’s spooky and silly this year on Portland’s west side:

OCTOBER 20 (FRIDAY)
Great Pumpkin Hunt at Garden Home Recreation Center (Portland, 6 to 8 pm, $10): Come for games, crafts, a bouncy house, and bring a flashlight and hunt for pumpkins out back. Register now.

OCTOBER 21 (SATURDAY)
Monster Mash Morning at Bridgeport Village (Tigard, 8 to 9:30 am, 9:00 to 10:30 am): Ways & Means Oyster House and California Pizza Kitchen are each hosting a fun morning for kids. Registration required.

OCTOBER 26 (THURSDAY)
Night-time Walkabout at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro, 6 to 8 pm, ages 8 and up): Register for this FREE event

OCTOBER 27 (FRIDAY)
Squishing of the Squash (Oregon Zoo, 11:00 to 11:30 am, FREE with zoo admission): Some of the world’s largest animals squish some of the area’s largest pumpkins
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 11 pm, various prices): Bring kids 8 and younger to the charming storybook-themed Enchanted Trail, or wait later to bring the big kids to the freaky Haunted Trail.

OCTOBER 28 (SATURDAY)
Howloween at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 10 am to 3 pm, FREE with zoo admission): Dress in costume and participate in this fun but educational scavenger hunt at the zoo, collecting treats and prizes.
Harvest on Main (Hillsboro, 10 am to 1 pm): Downtown Hillsboro’s former “Safe n’ Sane” event is now Harvest on Main, and includes more activities and longer hours. You can still bring kids for trick or treating at local businesses as well as fun activities.
Villains in the Village at Bridgeport Village (Tigard, 11 am to 12:30 pm): Wear your costume and come fight villains at this fun, free event
Dia de los Muertos Crafts (Beaverton Library, 11 am to noon)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Beaverton, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm): The funny, family-friendly retelling of a spooky classic.
Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm): Skate in costume to Halloween music–games and costume parade too
Spooky Dance Party at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, 7 to 8:30 pm): Dress in costume and come shake it to spooky (but not scary) music. For preschoolers and elementary schoolers.
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm, various prices): Bring kids 8 and younger to the charming storybook-themed Enchanted Trail, or wait later to bring the big kids to the freaky Haunted Trail.

OCTOBER 29 (SUNDAY)
Howloween at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 10 am to 3 pm, FREE with zoo admission): Dress in costume and participate in this fun but educational scavenger hunt at the zoo, collecting treats and prizes.
Not-So-Scary Halloween (Portland Children’s Museum, 10 am to 2 pm): Trick-or-treating, crafts, and games
Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm): Skate in costume to Halloween music–games and costume parade too

OCTOBER 31 (TUESDAY)
Candy-Free Halloween (Portland Children’s Museum, 10 am to 1 pm): Trick-or-treating, crafts, and games
Spooky Babies Dance Party (Beaverton Library, 10:30 to 11:15 am, up to age 6): Bring your little ones in costume for a parade and fun.
Halloween Dance-o-Rama (Tualatin Public Library, 10 am to 11:30 am, ages 6 and under)
Trick-or-Treat at the Streets of Tanasbourne (Hillsboro, 1 to 3 pm or while supplies last, ages 12 and under)
Trick-or-Treating at McMenamins’s Grand Lodge  (Forest Grove, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, all ages)
Mall-o-ween at Cedar Hills Crossing (Beaverton, 5:30 to 7 pm): Trick-or-treat at participating stores

 

Anything fun I missed? Please comment below!

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Halloween 2015!

What’s haunting this Halloween? Check out the calendar below to maximize your spooooky fun on Portland’s west side. (And don’t miss my ideas for pumpkin patches here.)

A Good Gray: Halloween 2015

OCTOBER 23 (FRIDAY)
Great Pumpkin Hunt at Garden Home Recreation Center (Portland, 6 to 8 pm, $10)
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm)

OCTOBER 24 (SATURDAY)
Villains in the Village (Bridgeport Village, 9 to 10:30 am): Come fight villains at this fun, free event
– Halloween Yoga Storytime (Beaverton City Library, 11:15 am to noon, ages 4 to 12): A special storytime with movement and play, featuring yoga poses inspired by Halloween.
– Spooky Stories with Jacques (Hillsboro Main Library, 2:30 pm, ages 7 and up): Storyteller Jacque will share some of the spookiest, most scary stories she’s ever heard. Costumes are welcome.
Zombie Halloween Party (Cedar Mill Library in Bethany, 5:30 to 7 pm, ages 11 to 18)
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm)

OCTOBER 27 (TUESDAY)
Baby’s First Halloween (Portland Children’s Museum; 9:30 to 11:30 am; $16 for members, $18 for non-members): digital portrait, costume parade, snacks, costume contest

OCTOBER 28 (WEDNESDAY)
Safe Trick-or-Treat at Pacific University (Forest Grove, 4 to 7 pm): the 17th annual event has free treats and activities for all

OCTOBER 29 (THURSDAY)
– Spooky Storytime and Movie (Beaverton City Library, 4 to 5 pm, ages 2-10 with family): Come hear a not-too-spooky storytime and follow it with a short Halloween movie in the Auditorium.
Night-time Walkabout at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro, 6 to 8 pm, ages 8 and up): Register for this free event

OCTOBER 30 (FRIDAY)
– Squishing of the Squash (Oregon Zoo, 10:30 am): some of the world’s largest animals squish some of the area’s largest pumpkins
Halloween Dance-o-Rama (Tualatin Public Library, 11 am to noon, ages 6 and under)
– Spooky Dance Party (Shute Park Branch Library, 6:30 to 7:30 pm, children in preschool and elementary school): wear costumes are shake it to some spooky (but not scary) tunes

OCTOBER 31 (SATURDAY)
Howloween (Oregon Zoo, 9 am to 3 pm)
– Trick-or-Treat at the Streets of Tanasbourne (Hillsboro, 1 to 3 pm, ages 12 and under)
Not-So-Scary Halloween (Portland Children’s Museum, 10 am to 3 pm)
– Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm)
– Spooky Crafts (Hillsboro Main Library, 2:30 to 3:30 pm)
– Trick-or-Treat at Orenco Station (Hillsboro, 3 to 5 pm)
Halloween Carnival (Beaverton Library, 3 to 5 pm, grades 1 to 5)
– Safe ‘n’ Sane Halloween (Hillsboro Main Street, 3 to 6 pm): trick or treat downtown with live music and activities
Trick-or-Treating at McMenamins’s Grand Lodge (Forest Grove, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, all ages)
Mall-o-ween at Cedar Hills Crossing (Beaverton, 6 to 7 pm)

The Outpost

What: The Outpost
Where: Shute Park and Shadywood Park in Hillsboro
When: Monday to Friday, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm (June 15 to August 14)
Who: Children and youth ages 1 to 18 (and their parents)
Why: It’s a fun, free way to spend a summer afternoon
Cost: FREE

A Good Gray: The OutpostAfter swim lessons at SHARC this past week we happened upon a field full of children—running, screaming, and simply having a ball. I assumed it was a summer camp at the park, but a cowgirl passing by let us know it was something better: the Outpost.

Yeee haw!

The Outpost is a FREE drop-in program put on by the Hillsboro Parks and Recreation. Nearly every weekday you’ll find them at both Shute Park and Shadywood Park. They provide children ages 1 to 18 free reign to tons of outdoor toys, books, activities, water play, and crafts.

Particularly helpful to many people is the free lunch provided by the USDA. You’ll get a nutritious lunch at Shadywood from 11:30 am to 12 pm, and at Shute from 12 to 12:30 pm.

Parents are expected to stay and supervise/play, but honestly that’s part of the fun. So git yourselves to the park one of these days. Your family will love it.

A Good Gray: The OutpostA Good Gray: The Outpost

Half-Drawing with Kids

In 4th grade, my teacher had me do something important: a half-drawing. She had us pick a picture from a magazine, cut it in half, and then draw the rest of it however we wanted.

You should know that I picked a mouse’s caboose. And it turned out beautifully.

I had my niece and nephew over to play with my kids today, so I invited them to try this art technique.IMG_0718I thought the end results were pretty creative, and the kids enjoyed doing it. I especially favored my 5-year-old’s “Boxer watering flowers” drawing. Mike Tyson would have never seen that one coming.

IMG_0720 A Good Gray: Half-Drawing with Kids

Indoor Play: Colorful Yard Stones

A Good Gray: Colorful Yard Stones

Now that spring is upon us, we’re spending more and more time out in the yard. And every time I see these little rocks the girls painted, I want to let loose a good ol’ gushing “Awwww!”

I highly recommend the feeling. So much so that I think you should have your kids make them too.

It’s super easy. Here’s all you need:

– Small stones with flat sides, washed and dried
– Blue painter’s tape
– Acrylic paints in bright colors
– Paint brushes

Oh, and I should add patience to that list (your kids are painting, after all).

Now to decorate the stones:
1. Prepare by covering the table and your child as needed. Squeeze out a small amount of each color of paint onto a paper plate.
2. Help your child cut a heart out of the painter’s tape (or cut it out yourself if your children are young). They could also cut out polka dots, letters, etc. Adhere the tape securely to the stone.
3. Sit your child down with the stone and the paint, and let them go to town. Make sure they cover the sides of the tape design completely. (Encourage them to not mix the colors too much or you’ll end up with brown stones.)
4. Set stones aside to dry. When mostly dry, carefully peel off the tape design. (If you wait until the stone is completely dry, your paint might peel.)

A Good Gray: Colorful Yard Stones A Good Gray: Colorful Yard Stones

We have an itty-bitty suburban Portland yard, so I went with small stones because they can also fit in flower pots. We ended up putting them right in our flower beds, and they’ve held up great in the rain month after month.

A Good Gray: Colorful Yard Stones

I used this idea last year to help my daughter’s play group make Mother’s Day gifts. I attached a poem to a bag, and threw in the dry stones. Done and done!

Indoor Play: Fun Messes for Toddlers

Sometimes you just need to get your hands dirty, so here are some ideas of how to get the job done inside.

1. Shaving Cream:
IMG_7350IMG_7348
Where has this mess been my whole life?! Playing with shaving cream was way more fun than I expected. And we even kept it very simple: I just filled cookie sheets with cheap-o shaving cream and let the kids go at it! I gradually added water + food coloring using medicine droppers, letting them mix colors, draw, and write. They created mountains, squished it between their hands, and coated their arms (“it’s like suncream, Mom!”).

I highly recommend putting on paint smocks or aprons, and protecting wooden tables with a vinyl tablecloth (just in case). You can also take shaving cream to the backyard, bathtub, art easel, and more.

2. Homemade Play Dough:
A Good Gray: Fun Indoor Messes

I’m always suspicious of DIY play dough. I like my play dough (a) name brand and (b) in a tiny yellow container. But we followed this recipe to make some glittery, white play dough during the snowstorm, and 3 weeks later we are still loving it! I just stored it in an air-tight container, and it’s still soft and sparkly. And because it’s white, it’s not THAT messy when we play.

I bring out cookie cutters, forks, funky kitchen tools, and anything that we think will make cool textures. My girls use the play dough to make great birthday cakes, birthday cookies, and birthday presents. (Yes, they like birthdays.)

3. Potato Prints:
A Good Gray: Fun Indoor Messes

My husband thought I was messing with him when I suggested this, but potato printing is a real thing (okay, BABE?!).

To make the stamp, simply have an adult cut a potato in half and carefully carve a negative shape or letter. Then dip the stamp into some paint and stamp away. We made snowmen and snowflakes with white acrylic paint on blue construction paper. We also added some construction paper accents. Prettttty cute.


Why we love it:
 It’s sensory play + creative entertainment. The mess is totally worth it to me!

Indoor Play: Cardboard Fun

Brace yourself for some boring pictures of cardboard boxes. But it’s for good reason!

Because cardboard + kids = fun. In fact, when you see your children spending hours playing with boxes, you’ll start to question why you ever get them toys.

A Good Gray: Cardboard Fun

We first made some cars out of boxes for a “drive-in” movie night a few months ago. We cut up some diaper boxes, taped them convertible-like, and let them color them as desired.
A Good Gray: Cardboard FunThey watched an entire show in these cars with pillows and blankets. At first we declared them a Friday-night hit, but they turned out to be a hit week after week. They’d pull the cars out of the garage to convert them into doll houses and trains, restaurants and hiding spots. Thank you for the distraction, shipping containers!

Here are some other ideas for what your cardboard boxes can become:
– Castle (for themselves or dolls)
– Rocket
– Plane, train, or automobile
– Ball pit
– Marble ramp
– City (fictional or real… a cardboard Eiffel tower is tres chic)
– Puppet theater
– Obstacle course
– Race track for toy cars
– Zoo for stuffed animals
– Reading nook
A Good Gray: Cardboard Fun