Using a knife to dig out slimy seeds and carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns doesn't appeal to all. No-carve pumpkin decorations are becoming more popular, with the easiest and most kid-friendly of these being painted pumpkins. With one visit to the local crafts store, get a few paintbrushes and colors of paint (craft paints or acrylic paints work well), along with sponges and scissors. At this time of year, many stores also sell pumpkins, so select smooth-surfaced ones and bring them home to wash off the dust.
At this point, let imaginations run wild. Gold-colored paint makes for a sophisticated look and checkerboard patterns are fun. Solid white paint can be used to cover every other vertical section to give you a striped pumpkin. You can have the kids choose their favorite color and coat the pumpkin entirely in it, and then cut the sponges into their favorite shapes to stamp accent colors on them. Use these pumpkins to decorate your front stoop, your dining table as a centerpiece or even line the hallway near their bedrooms.
To get into the spirit and relax at the same time, make a list of your favorite non-scary Halloween movies. Some popular titles include "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," "Hocus Pocus," "Casper," or "The Legend of Sleepy Hallow" (if you can get over the headless horseman scene!). Think about creating a routine where you schedule movie nights for the weekends so you can pop some popcorn and watch your choices together as a family.
Instead of having to scroll through TV schedule lineups to find your desired films, use a device like Roku to stream your Netflix or Hulu Plus subscriptions to get these movies instantly for your scheduled family time. When the TV is not being used, you can use the device to decorate the room with Halloween screensavers.
Halloween foods can make eating fun for kids. Simple foods like chili can be spruced up with a bat, ghost or pumpkin-shaped slice of cheddar cheese on top (you can buy inexpensive Halloween shaped cookie cutters at stores like Party City). Then, you can use these same cookie cutters to make desserts for the Halloween season. Top cookies with frosting colored with homemade natural food dyes to eliminate the artificial chemicals for your children. If you don't want to make the frosting yourself, you can buy natural decorating colors for $15 online.