Halloween is another one of those cultural exchanges that I’ve been having with family and friends as I continue to pass my time living in Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples in Italy. Italy knows not of Halloween. Its people think they know Halloween because nowadays one or two stores have a pumpkin in the window, they cook with pumpkin here, and a few shopkeepers hand out candy to the kids on the 31st. C’mon. That’s barely one-tenth of an American Halloween celebration. Rather than just miss one of my favorite holidays or stew in my jealousy over all my American Facebook friends and their pumpkin-picking, costume-wearing, party-throwing Halloween amazingness, I decided to force the holiday – the real holiday – on my Italian peeps.
Part 1 in this quest required I make all sorts of crafts with the help of 2-year-old Baby Boy. He’s gotten pretty good with the ol’ Elmer’s Glue if I do say so myself. This is a Halloween party for my toddler son, so the decorations are not scary. We had my mom ship us some Halloween paper plates and cups with a friendly ghost, black cat, bat, and spider on it, so we used that as the inspiration for our projects.
First up were the tissue paper spiders, like the one in the photo above. Everyone from Martha Stewart to your local PTA mom makes those tissue paper pom-poms or flowers for parties these days. I buy tissue in bulk from the dollar store and never leave the States without it. I’ve used them the traditional way hanging from a ceiling, as flowers in a vase, and last Halloween I turned them into Monsters by attaching giant googly eyes. Thinking back on that stroke of genius, I decided to turn them into spiders this year, by attaching pipe cleaner legs (by running them through the rubber band at the center of the “flower” and then securing them with the orange ribbon that also serves to hang them) in addition to the eyes.
I cut eyes out of a black and green spider from a set of foam shapes my mom had sent us from the States. I then attached a couple of googly eyes to each spider. Then, I tied an elastic string from one end to another and voila. I did the same for the black and orange cats in that same set. See below.
Second, I had to get Baby Boy even more involved than helping me drop a little glue where needed. So, I pulled out his paint set and some paper. I painted his hands black and had him make his prints on white paper so that his palms and thumbs overlapped and his fingers were printed in opposite directions. This created the look of a spider, which he thought needed a few fingerprints of orange, too. And we glued on more of those googly eyes. Mamma made a spider web and the words Boo using orange and black construction paper and there you have it. I won’t take credit for this project because similar versions of this one are all over the Internet, which is where I got the idea. My sister-in-law also has done the ghosts using her kids’ footprints in white. Very cute as well!
By the way, Baby Boy also made that pumpkin you spy underneath his hand-print spider, reports the proud Mamma. Of course, with 13 relatives expected to be on hand for the party I’m throwing on the 31st, two Halloween-inspired shades are not enough. I made the masks below using a template from a make-your-own mask kit that my mother had sent us. I just traced the mask from the kit onto foam sheets and cut them out and then added the witch’s hats, which were in that same set of foam shapes as the others.
And finally I used another one of the shapes in that set to make a pumpkin mask. All I did was cut out the eyes and nose and add eyebrows and candy corn fangs.
Coming up on Friday – Italy Meet Halloween Part 2, where you’ll see our party for yourself and discover if the Italians bought into the Halloween hype.