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On this side of the world, Halloween is a big thing. Department stores have been known to start selling candy in late August, when it is still too hot out to even be thinking of fall! Kids start "thinking" about their costumes, which can be anything from the most recent super hero to have a movie out, to the ubiquitous ghost, goblin, princess or witch incarnations. No matter what costume they pick, though, it *has* to be big enough to fit a coat underneath or Mom makes thems wear it OVER THE COSTUME. Nothing quite as spooky as a ghost wearing a parka...! So, here, boys and ghouls, is my Halloween offering, I hope you find it positively chilling...OOH Waahahahaa!

Decorations, as usual, are the first thing that must be chosen. Try party stores for small plastic ghosts, pumpkins, witches and black cats. At the great and powerful Wallyworld (Wal-mart) I have also found wonderful little resin castings that are of the halloween bent. Don't forget to find confetti...certain bags contain pumpkins, bats, moons and such that can be used to decorate a banner, and also occasionally contain a "scene" confetti with a ghost and pumpkin (much like the big cardboard cutouts you can get for your real front door). Look for "fake" spiderwebbing, as you can use that to decorate darker corners of the room. If needed, a handy cauldron can be built out of a bubble from a vending machine, beads, wire and a portion of flat black paint.

You will also need a pumpkin. One way you can make one that is hollow is to shape a piece of orange fimo around a bead (being careful not to get any of the outer part pushing into the bead hole) and before you close the top, wiggle the bead a bit. This will separate it from the sides, and make the inside a bit bigger. This will allow you to get it back out later on. Complete the top of the pumpkin, and gently add your ridge lines, stalk, and cook. When it is done, cut a hole on the top of the pumpkin and with any luck you will be able to remove your bead. This should leave a nice hollow space. On the outside, either paint a face, or carefully carve one. If you choose to paint a face, you need not even remove the bead!

The above pumpkin recipe can also be applied to a pumpkin centerpiece. Shape fimo around the bead as before, but leave the top open over the bead. Add pumpkin details, and bake. When it comes out, add paper or dried flowers into the howl...I mean hole...and you have an instant arrangement!

Food...you need food...! Popcorn balls are a classic, even though you are not allowed to hand them out anymore. They still make for a great party favorite! Take an expanded foam from a coffee cup, and pick out the little balls from it. Make a clay ball from model magic or another air dry clay and allow it to set. Cover little ball with glue, roll in the foam "popcorn". Allow to set, and either wrap in a little food wrap or put them out on a plate for the little monsters to devour!

Also, who can forget the delights of the candy or caramel coated apples? Those sticky little confections that your family dentist just loved, because they helped pay for his yacht. Make a ball out of "apple colored" fimo, push a "stick" in (could be a little piece of wire, or wire casing), and cook. When cool, dip in either "caramel" (appropriate coloured dimensional paint) or coat with very red glass paint and let dry. A local candy maker often puts smartie like candies on the caramels, and you can simulate this with very teeny balls of fimo that have been cooked and glued on!

Cookies. Can you imagine a classroom near Halloween that didn't have someone bring in pumpkin shaped icing rich pumpkin cookies? You can make them with a little flattened model magic medium, a straw, a needle or toothpick and some dimensional paint for "icing". Flatten model magic to the appropriate thickness, punch out cookies with straw. Push one end of cookie in a bit with needle/toothpick. Lay needle across cookie gently to make ridge lines. Allow to set up. Paint your cookies, base of orange, face of brown, and add a dollop of brown for the stem. Put on a tray (a piece of cardboard that has been painted silver, or a piece from a pie tin), on a plate or in a "tin" (there are small caps and such in hardware stores that look just like decorative boxes, keep an eye out!).

Costumes are a must. Think back what kind of things you had...most of them were handmade, weren't they? (Unless, of course, you were one of the spoiled brats who always seemed to have the money to hire a make-up artist and tailor for the occasion!). At anyrate, *some* of us made things at home. This translates purrfectly into mini! Make a ghost...all that would take is a small piece of white muslin, with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth (fray check before cutting!). Remember to check out the plastic princess... she is 1/6th scale, and you can take one of her (or skipper's) costumes and halve all the materials to make it (If you use size 60 thread, and size 10 (1.25 mm) needle it will be purrfectly in scale if crocheting, reduce fabric patterns by 50%). Masks can be made from a number of materials, including paper egg containers. Fimo can be used to "form over" an inexpensive plastic doll as well, and as long as you cook at a low enough temperature the doll should not melt! Don't forget, also, how we made crowns from cardstock, gathered tule for our ballerina costumes, etc! Use your imagination, sequins, straw hats, witch hat earrings and the like!

Treats! You have to have treats to give out. Suckers, hard candies etc., can be made from fimo. Candy corn can also be made very easily. Roll a snake of white fimo, cover it with first a blanket of orange and then a blanket of yellow. Bake, cut into circles. Cut those circles into pie pieces (the smaller, the better) and you have a classic treat!

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