Veggie Skeleton

Veggie Skeleton

You know your kids are going to have way too much candy on Halloween, so here’s a healthy snack idea for a change. Added bonus: Because kids like the idea of eating this helpless guy’s “bones” (ewww!?), they just may eat more veggies than usual. A healthy snack with entertainment value. A keeper!

Head–lettuce leaves, sliced olives, veggie dip in a small bowl
Body–celery, baby carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, cherry or grape tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers

Arrange the veggies on a platter in the shape of a skeleton, top with an appropriate sized bowl of veggie dip for the head. (I’m sure your presentation will look better than mine. Note to self: skip the waxed paper next time. I’m not really sure WHY I used it in the first place.)

Take a picture of your final Veggie Man, print it up, then let your kids recreate him with the left-over veggies the next day.

I found this vegetable skeleton idea on the internet last year, but I’ll be darned if I can find it now to give appropriate credit.


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Popsicle Stick Haunted House Craft

Popsicle Stick Haunted House Craft

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If you are looking for an easy Halloween craft to do with kids, then you will love this popsicle stick haunted house craft!

These haunted houses are so much fun to put together and decorate. This would be a great craft for a school Halloween party. Or adults can put the houses together and let kids decorate and paint them.

We know you will enjoy making your own version of these haunted houses!

Popsicle Stick Haunted House Craft

Our book – Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials is bursting with popsicle stick crafts like this one. We have a whole section of popsicle stick crafts. But not only that, there are other recycled crafts for kids too – egg cartons, cardboard, newspaper, paper rolls, jars and more!

This craft requires a few different sizes of popsicle sticks. We used large craft sticks for the base but you could use smaller popsicle sticks to make your house a smaller size. You can customize the house however you’d like!

You can even add a “KEEP OUT” sign to the side of the house or turn the whole house into a 3D haunted house.


Supplies Needed To Make A Popsicle Stick Haunted House

Here is what you will need to make your haunted house:

  • Popsicle Sticks in a variety of sizes – jumbo, regular and small
  • Yellow Card Stock
  • Green Card Stock
  • Black Paint
  • Purple Paint
  • Hot Glue (adults only)
  • Halloween Foam Stickers
  • Black Sharpie


How To Make A Popsicle Stick Haunted House Craft

1. First you will need to take your largest popsicle sticks and line 6-7 beside each other. Take 2 more sticks and glue them horizontally onto the back of the lined-up sticks. This will create a base for the haunted house. Note: Adults should do the hot gluing.

Glue popsicle sticks together

2. Next, paint the house purple. Then paint smaller popsicle sticks black for the roof, windows and door.

You’ll need”

  • 2 black jumbo popsicle sticks for the roof
  • 5 regular popsicle sticks painted black for the roof, window and door
  • 2 mini popsicle sticks painted black for the roof (you can also cut regular ones up)

Paint Popsicle Sticks for Haunted House

3. Glue 2 popsicle sticks, overlapping at a point onto the purple base to form a roof. Continue with smaller-sized popsicle sticks until you are happy with the size of the roof. You can cut pieces of regular popsicle sticks to make them fit.

Glue Popsicle Stick Haunted House Together

4. Cut out 2 squares from the yellow card stock for the windows. With a black sharpie, add lines for the window panes. Glue 4 pieces of popsicle sticks around the outside edge of the yellow paper, overlapping them at the corners.

Make Haunted House Craft Windows

5. Glue the windows onto the purple house. Using the same method as the windows, glue small black popsicle sticks to a green cardstock rectangle for the door. Leave the bottom of the door without a popsicle stick. Attach it to the house with hot glue.


6. Add foam Halloween stickers or create your own Halloween characters from drawings or cardstock to glue on. You can even make your own ‘KEEP OUT’ sign to add to the side.


Now are you done and ready to display your amazing haunted house just in time for Halloween! Add a magnet to the back and you can turn it into a fridge magnet. And if you’re up for a challenge, make a 3D version of this haunted house craft!

Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic

Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic

Level: Easy

Total: 2 hr

Prep: 10 min

Inactive: 50 min

Cook: 1 hr

Yield: 8 servings



1 (5-pound) loin of pork, bone in,”frenched” and tied

6 garlic cloves

1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 lemons)




2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Allow the pork to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade process the garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, and fennel seeds until roughly chopped. Add the olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper and process until it forms a smooth paste. Rub the paste on top of the pork and roast for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, then remove the strings, slice between the bones and serve warm.

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Skeleton Meat Platter

Skeleton Meat Platter

For meat lovers and the not-so-faint-of heart:

This edible skeleton will likely bring a ghoulish chuckle from your guests.

Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 

(includes chilling time)

Active: 40 min
Yield: 12 to 14 servings


Skeleton Head:

4 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped

Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

One 8-ounce bag shredded Cheddar

4 scallions, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

1 pimento-stuffed green olive, cut in half widthwise



Skeleton Body:

1 medium red bell pepper, stem removed

2 pounds coiled hot Italian sausage

1 full rack cooked ribs, cut in half (about 13 ribs)

2 pounds cooked pulled pork (from two 1-pound packages)

Sliced baguette and assorted crackers, for serving


  1. For the skeleton head: Cook the bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until golden and crispy, 7 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, Cheddar, scallions, bacon, some salt and a few grinds of pepper and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. On a piece of parchment, mold the cheese mixture with your hands into the shape of a skull, then wrap the head in the prosciutto. Make 2 divots for the eyes and place the olive halves in the divots. Pinch the middle of the face together to make a nose and create an indent below the nose to make a mouth. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
  4. For the skeleton body: Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium-high heat.
  5. Grill the pepper whole, rotating occasionally, until charred on all sides and slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Cut the pepper from stem end to bottom on one side to create one long piece of pepper. Grill the sausage coil in one piece, flipping halfway through, until opaque and completely cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. To assemble: Position the skeleton cheese head at the top of a board or platter. Place the red pepper directly underneath the head and fold it slightly to create a heart. Align the baby back rib racks around the heart, one on each side, with the bony parts facing up to resemble a rib cage. Position the sausage coil under the rib cage to resemble intestines.
  7. Fill the space around the intestines, heart and rib cage with the pulled pork, tucking it under as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Serve with sliced baguette and assorted crackers.

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Haunted Gingerbread House

Haunted Gingerbread House

Start gingerbread season a little early this year with a spooky display for Halloween. Make gumball pumpkins, chocolate tombstones and a scary (but candy-sweet!) monster hiding inside the house. …

Level: Advanced
Total: 4 hr 

(includes chilling and setting times)

Active: 1 hr 45 min
Yield: 1 gingerbread house


Gingerbread Cookie Dough:

3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap and preferably golden, mild or sorghum molasses)

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


12 ounces white candy melting wafers

1 cup ready-made chocolate frosting

12 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed to fine crumbs

2 cups woven corn cereal squares 

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

12 ounces black candy melting wafers

Candy buttons

Black food color marker

3 ounces green candy melting wafers

1/4 cup green sanding sugar


Chocolate sprinkles

2 chocolate chews

3 to 4 round gumballs

3 ounces orange candy melting wafers

3 chocolate-filled rolled wafer cookies

Black sanding sugar

4 pretzel sticks

3 chocolate snack cake cupcakes

2 mini break-apart chocolate bars


Special equipment:  a 14-inch cake board or large serving platter and 4 disposable piping bags

1. Make the cookies: Sift 3 cups of flour, the ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and molasses. Mix until combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until a thick dough forms. If the dough is sticky, mix in the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough can easily be handled without it sticking to your fingers. You may not have to use all of the flour.

2. Gather the dough into a ball; divide in half. Roll each dough piece flat to 1/4-inch thickness between parchment paper sheets. Transfer the dough inside the sheets to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

3. Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Print the Haunted Gingerbread House Walls and Roof Template (link below) and cut the shapes out with scissors. When the dough is well chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and peel back the top sheets of parchment. Lay the templates on the dough and cut around them using a flat-edged knife (do not discard the templates). Transfer the dough shapes to the prepared baking sheets. Leftover dough can be re-rolled and cut into cookies, or you can shape it into a baton and store it in your freezer for up to 1 month.

5. Bake the shapes for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. While the cookies are still warm, lay the templates on top of the baked cookies and re-cut them using a knife. This will help the shapes fit together perfectly when you are assembling the house.

6. Assemble the house: Place the white candy wafers in a heatproof bowl and cook at 100 percent power in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Stir well after each interval until the candy is smooth (this should take about 1 minute total cook time). Transfer the candy to a disposable piping bag with a small hole in the end snipped (you may also use a zip-top bag with the corner snipped). Use cans from your pantry to help prop the house pieces up as you work. Glue the sides, front and back of the house together using the white melted candy. Let stand until dry, about 10 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the landscape: Spread half of the chocolate frosting over a 14-inch cake board or serving platter. Sprinkle the surface with the cookie crumbs and press them down slightly with flattened palms. Save leftover cookie crumbs and frosting for later use.

8. When the candy holding the gingerbread walls together is dry, gently lift the assembled house and place it in the center of the prepared board. Pipe white melted candy along the top edges of the house and attach the roof; hold the pieces steady with your hands until they hold on their own, about 2 minutes. Pipe extra candy around the roof edges and walls to fill in any visible gaps.

9. Place the corn cereal in a bowl or zip-top bag and add the cocoa powder. Mix together until the cereal pieces are well coated with cocoa. Pipe a line of candy on the bottom edge of a roof piece and place cereal pieces end-to-end in a single layer to make roof tiles. Pipe another line of candy just above the first row of cereal and add another row, slightly overlapping the first. It’s okay to use broken cereal pieces, as this will add to the character of the haunted house. Cover the entire rooftop with cereal. Pipe candy on the front and back top edges of the house and line with cereal squares. Allow the house to stand at room temperature until the candy is set, about 15 minutes.

10. Make the windows and door: Print the Haunted Gingerbread House Windows Template (link below). Place the template on a flat work surface and cover it with a large sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Melt the black candy wafers in a heatproof bowl and cook at 100 percent power in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Stir well after each interval until the candy is smooth (this should take about 1 minute total cook time). Transfer the candy to a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped. Pipe the candy over the black boxes (windows and doors) on the template. Use a toothpick to push the candy into small corners and to fill in gaps. Make as many windows as you wish for your haunted house by moving the template under a new sheet of parchment paper. Place candy buttons in each of the smaller windows before the candy is set. Use a food color marker to draw on eyeballs. Allow the candy to stand until set, about 15 minutes at room temperature or 5 minutes in the refrigerator. Peel the candy boxes with eyes off of the parchment and use a little melted candy to attach them to the top front of the house. Position each window tilted inward slightly. Attach the larger candy rectangle below the 2 windows to create the door. Use the white melted candy (reheat if necessary) to pipe dots on the top and bottom edges of the door. Use a toothpick to pull the melted candy into points to create fangs.

11. Make the monster arms: Melt green candy wafers as previously directed with the white and black candy wafers. Transfer the candy to a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped. Lay a sheet of parchment on a work surface. Pipe a 4-inch L shape on the parchment paper with the green candy. Use a toothpick to smooth the candy into an arm shape. Use the toothpick end to pull the bottom of the L shape into fingers. Pour green sanding sugar over the top portion of the arm, leaving the hand uncovered. Place a chocolate sprinkle on each finger to create long claws. Allow the shapes to set until firm. When the candy is firm, peel it off of the parchment and shake the excess sugar off of the arm. Repeat this process with a backwards L shape so that you have 2 monster arms. Attach a candy window with melted candy to each side of the house and hold until set, about 2 minutes. Attach an arm to each window and hold until set. Further decorate the sides and back of the house with more windows. 

12. Create boards for the windows: Knead 2 chocolate chews together and roll flat with a rolling pin (if the chews are too firm to flatten, heat them in the microwave for 5 seconds). Cut small board shapes (about 1/4 inch by 1 inch) from the candy using a knife. Use the end of a toothpick to striate the pieces. Use the pointed end of the toothpick to poke 2 small holes in each end, creating nail holes on the boards. Attach the pieces over the windows using melted candy.

13. Make candy pumpkins: Carefully poke holes in the gumballs using a metal skewer or knife, and thread them onto the pointed ends of toothpicks. Melt the orange candy wafers as previously directed. Dip the gumballs into the candy and place them on parchment paper. Remove the toothpick. Use leftover chocolate chews to fashion small pumpkin stems. Place them standing upright on top of the pumpkins. Allow to stand until set, about 15 minutes.

14. Make spooky trees: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use the black melted candy (reheat as needed) to pipe 3 well-spaced lines on the cookie sheets. Place a rolled wafer cookie on top of each line. Use the black candy to completely cover the wafers. Draw tree branches with the candy coming off of both sides and the top ends of the wafers. Cover with black sanding sugar. Let stand until firm, about 15 minutes.

15. Meanwhile, make the pretzel ladder: Break 2 of the pretzel sticks in half. Place 2 whole pretzel sticks parallel to each other. Attach the broken pretzel rungs to the whole pretzel sticks using melted candy. Let stand until set. When firm, lean the ladder against the house, preferably leading up to a window with eyeballs peering out.

16. When the trees are firm, lift them from the parchment and shake away excess sugar. Place each snack cake on the cake board upside-down and press a candy tree in its center. Cover the snack cakes with leftover cookie crumbs, if desired.

17. Make tombstones: Place leftover chocolate frosting in a piping bag. Break the chocolate bars at their perforations. Pipe a small dot of frosting onto the crumb-covered cake board and press an upright turned chocolate piece into the frosting. Repeat with remaining chocolate pieces to create a graveyard.

18. Finishing touches: Use melted white candy to pipe spider webs onto the house. Use the food color marker to draw cracks on the house, and spiders near their webs. Place the pumpkin decorations on the landscape and around the house as desired.

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Tissue Box Monsters

Tissue Box Monsters

These cute tissue box monsters are a great way to recycle an old tissue paper box! Kids will love designing their own monster. And we love that every tissue box monster can be unique!

This craft is from our new book –Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials If you’re looking for a fun Halloween craft, monster craft or just an easy recycling craft for kids – you have to try to make these tissue box monsters! Kids can paint them and easily glue on the googly eyes, teeth and pom poms.



Here are the Supplies You’ll Need to Make These Tissue Box Monsters

– Tissue Box – preferably one with a round opening so that it looks more like a mouth but a square opening could work too!

– Colored acrylic paint – we used two different colors, one for the outside of the box and one for the inside

– White acrylic paint

– Googly eyes – extra large ones can be found at Michaels, different sizes work best and small ones are needed for the purple box.

– White cardstock

– Large pom poms

– Black sharpie or marker

– 1 popsicle sticks (optional for the purple monster)

– Craft knife (optional – adults only)

– Glue – hot glue is always going to work best when working with large googly eyes and pom poms, but you can also use an extra-strong glue like this one. Just make sure to let it thoroughly dry and press and hold for the glue to take.


And don’t forget to check out our NEW book which has this craft in it! Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials is bursting with easy cardboard crafts for kids like this one. But not only that, it is all recycled crafts for kids too – paper rolls, egg cartons, cardboard, popsicle sticks, jars and more!