Kids Newsletter October 2017

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is right around the corner! Oct. 31, will see kids all over the country dressed up as ghouls, goblins and ghosts on a quest to get as much candy as humanly – or ghostly – possible. Some families choose to celebrate this spooky spectacle by carving pumpkins, having a party or simply watching their favorite scary movies.

The people who started Halloween celebrations many years ago believed that if they appeared scary, they would frighten away the spirits of the dead who were roaming the earth on All Hallows' Eve. These people also carried food to the edge of town and left it there hoping that the spirits would eat that food and not come raid the village.

Let's Read

"Arthur's Halloween: An Arthur Adventure" by Marc Brown

Halloween has Arthur spooked! When his little sister wanders off into the scariest house on the street, Arthur has to find the courage to go in and save her. Will Arthur and D.W. make it out alive?

"Clifford's Halloween" by Norman Bridwell

Out of all the holidays, Emily Elizabeth and Clifford like Halloween the most. They play games, trick-or-treat in the neighborhood and tell ghost stories. Best of all, they can wear costumes! Clown, witch, knight or ghost – what will Clifford decide to dress up as this year?

Did You Know?

  • Irish and Scottish immigrants brought Halloween to the U.S. during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • Trick-or-treating became popular in the U.S. in the 1930s.
  • Originally, trick-or-treaters received mostly fruits and nuts, not candy.
  • 52 percent of trick-or-treaters prefer chocolate candy, such as candy bars, to hard candy, such as lollipops.
  • The first jack-o'-lanterns were made out of turnips.
  • The largest pumpkin on record weighed 2,032 pounds. The record was set on Oct. 11, 2013.
  • Pumpkins are not only orange, but can grow to be blue, white or green.
  • It is believed that if you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved one watching over you.
  • Magician Harry Houdini (1847-1926) died on Halloween night.
  • More than 90 percent of parents steal their children's Halloween candy!

Let's Be Healthy

  • Fill up before trick-or-treating – If kids are full before they go trick-or-treating, then they will eat fewer pieces of candy afterwards.
  • Trick-or-treat and exercise – Walk from house to house instead of driving. Parents can even encourage siblings or friends to wear pedometers or activity meters and start a friendly competition to see who can be the most active while they are collecting candy.
  • Be aware of calories. – It's always tempting to eat your entire stash, but even the smallest candy, such as a snack size candy bar, can have as much as 85 calories.
  • Keep your favorite sweets. Hide the rest. – Some nutritionists suggest that a little goes a long way and say that it's best to have one to three pieces of candy a day – starting with lunch at school and as an afternoon snack or after dinner treat – and making it a regular part of meals. The rest of the candy can go in the freezer so that it's out of sight and out of mind.
  • Check your candy. – Before you eat one bite, have mom or dad look through your candy to make sure there's nothing dangerous in the wrappers.
a cartoon rendention of a spooky house and trick or treaters

Let's Have Fun

Pumpkin Carving
  • Pumpkin carving – Create a jack-o'-lantern based on your favorite PBS KIDS characters! Find free templates for Daniel Tiger, "Peg + Cat," "Curious George," "Super Why!" and more at
  • DIY Halloween costumes – Do you have your Halloween costumes yet? PBS Parents has all kinds of DIY costume suggestions, including some from your favorite PBS KIDS shows.
  • Host a party – Invite several families to join you for Halloween fun. Include healthier alternatives like sliced apples, roasted pumpkin seeds and popcorn. You can also shift the focus to active fun. Dance to "The Monster Mash." Make it a game of Halloween Freeze Dance. Whoever is caught moving after the music stops is out of the game. The last person dancing wins.
  • Plan a parade – One of the great joys of Halloween is showing off costumes. Young children love to dress up, and grown-up neighbors enjoy the show. Spread the word in advance and invite children to assemble to walk down your street, through your condominium complex or around your apartment hallways at an appointed time. The parade should take place in the morning or late afternoon, before trick-or-treating begins.
  • Scare up a haunted house – Get teens and older kids involved in creating a haunted house in your backyard, basement or garage. They can set up a terrifying tour with a few simple tools. Lighting and spooky music are the most effective special effects. Use flashlights, colored light bulbs, spotlights and nightlights so that it's still safe enough to move around.
  • Trick-or-treat for charity – There are plenty of worthy Halloween charities to consider. Ask older children to suggest a cause they would like to raise funds for, such as the local animal shelter, a children's charity or medical foundation. You might also try trick-or-treating for canned goods to donate to a community food bank. Because food collections can get heavy, you'll need an adult to come along in a car or to pull a wagon.

Let's Get Creative

construction paper spider

Easy Handprint Spider

  • Black construction paper
  • White yarn
  • Two googly eyes
  • Scissors
  • White school glue
  • Pencil
  • Fold the black construction paper in half.
  • With the pencil, trace around your child's hand, with the base of the palm on the paper crease.
  • Cut out the handprint. Keep in mind: cut through both layers of paper, and do not cut the crease.
  • Cut the thumb from the handprint, leaving the four fingers (after all, a spider has eight legs). Then, unfold the paper.
  • Cut a small hole in the back of the spider and thread the yarn through. Knot both ends.
  • Place two small dots of glue near the front of the spider's head and place the eyes on top.
  • Let the glue dry, and you are done! Place your spider in his web!

Let's Go Exploring

haunted house

Haunted Houses

The haunted house didn't become a cultural icon until Walt Disney decided to build one. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion opened in 1969. In a single day, shortly after its debut, more than 82,000 people passed through the Haunted Mansion. Since then, communities all over the world host haunted houses with creepy characters and surprises. Arkansas has its share of haunted houses. Find one in your community and bring your friends!

Let's Cook

jack o lanterns made from oranges


  • Oranges
  • Candies (Chocolate pieces, citrus chews, jelly beans … whatever!)
  • Sharp knife (have a grown-up do all the cutting)
  • Steps
    • Using a sharp knife, slice off the top of an orange, and set it aside.
    • Using the same sharp knife, cut around the edges of the orange and scoop out the fruit. (Be careful not to cut away too much of the white pith. The oils from the peel might melt your candy.)
    • Use a spoon to scrape out whatever you couldn't pull out the first time, until you have a mostly clean, hollowed-out, intact orange peel.
    • Rinse with water, and pat dry.
    • Carefully carve spooky faces into the side of the peel. (If you want to have one of them falling over/spilling candy like the picture above, carefully cut off a small, flat piece on the spot where you want your orange to be balanced to create a flat platform.)
    • Freeze or chill in the fridge until you're ready to use your orange-o'-lantern.
    • Fill with candy, and enjoy!

    What's New

    Halloween Programming

    Spooky fun is coming to PBS KIDS this October!
    • "Arthur and the Haunted Tree House" – premieres Monday, Oct. 23, at 6 a.m.
    • "Odd Squad: Haunt Squad/Safe in the Woods" – premieres Monday, Oct. 16, at 3:30 p.m.
    • "Splash and Bubbles: Yuck Or Treat/The Thing from Above The Reef" – premiers Monday, Oct. 16, at 9:30 a.m.
    • "Sesame Street: Halloween" – premieres Monday, Oct. 23, at 10:30 a.m.

    There will also be repeats of the hit specials "The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About Halloween!," Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 8 a.m., and "Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest," Monday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 a.m.

    All programming above will repeat on Halloween day.

    No Bully Zone

    Bullying Prevention Month

    PBS KIDS kicks off Bullying Prevention month with two timely episodes from "Arthur."

    • "Arthur: The Last Tough Customer/Brain's Chess Mess" – airing Monday, Oct. 2, at 4:30 p.m.
    • "Arthur: So Funny I Forgot to Laugh/The Best Day Ever" – airing Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 4:30 p.m.

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