Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

It’s the Great Edible Halloween Craft, Charlie Brown!

a photo collage of three images, consisting of pictures of graham crackers covered in orange frosting and candy.
Examples of Edible Haunted Houses created by young patrons at the North End Branch of the Boston Public Library.

I have been itching to do an afternoon craft program at my new branch, which schedule wise, is not as easy as it sounds.  Monday?  Short staffed. Tuesdays?  Chess club.  Wednesdays?  Girl Scouts?  Fridays?  Adult Films.  That leaves Thursdays, and Thursdays in the Fall here are dead, because of ISEE test prep, soccer, and other fall things.  So, when the stars aligned for a Tuesday when there was no other programming, and we were almost at full capacity staff wise, I knew I had to jump!

One of my favorite activities that we loved doing at my old branch was “Edible Haunted Houses”.  Using graham crackers, frosting, food coloring, and candy, kids were challenged to build their own scary structures.  Kids of all ages could participate, and it was a great craft to do as a family or with a group of friends as well.   Another great thing is that this project is easily manageable for those with food allergies.  No specific brand of cookies, candy, icing, or food coloring is required, and everything can be swapped out.  For example, one family went home and did the craft using pizzelles!

On average, we get about 15 kids at our afterschool programs.  I’m not always on top of program organization, so you can imagine how proud I was when by 11 am the day of (it was a 3:30 pm program), I was all set up.  I had 15 plates set out with graham crackers on them and  filled “piping” bags, made from ziplocs. At each table I had little bowls of candy toppings and napkins, just in case it got messy. Can you still see in your mind how proud and calm I was?  Great!  Now, imagine how I felt when at 3:30, 30 kids came in!

The initial shock must have been fairly evident, because immediately, the parents around me jumped into action!  One set up a table and chairs, while the other mixed frosting and food coloring.  One handed out plates and graham crackers, and another divided up the candy.  This method of teamwork worked for about 5 minutes, but then more people came in, and it was time to throw caution to the wind.  We gave up on making the frosting orange, and just put the containers of white frosting on the tables with knives and spoons.  If you wanted a different kind of candy then was at your table, then you had to search for it yourself! The best part?  The kids seemed totally unfazed by the delay and chaos.  While they waited, they looked around at the projects their friends were working on and got ideas for their own creations.

Needless to say, the program was more of a treat than trick.  We ran out of supplies right before 5:00 pm, and only had to turn one group away, but that was because we had already cleaned up. Did you and your patrons do anything fun for Halloween?  Equally as important, do you have a great literary inspired costume? It’s been a little crazy here, but I finally selected a costume!  My younger sister and I will be Thing 1 and Thing 2, and our baby brother is going to be the Cat in the Hat.  We’ll be trying to update our Library’s facebook page with photos throughout the day, so feel free to check them out!

Have a Happy Halloween!

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