Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Camping

New to us, but obviously not new to the camping world is Halloween camping weekends. We tried it out this year for the first time because a state campground 30 minutes from our house was having a Halloween camping weekend over the kids MEA break. So we thought we would try fall camping with a twist this year.

Trick-or-treating: I am normally the parent that stays behind to hand out the candy at the house Halloween night, so getting to walk with the kids was a new treat for me this weekend. My brother-in-law and I took off with three of the kids in toe to walk the campground in search for candy. If the camp site was participating in the trick-or-treating, they had a paper pumpkin on their campsite marker, all the kids had to do was walk up to the site. Trick-or-treating while it is still light out was a little different, but you got to see everybody's decorated sites and all the kids costumes that way.

Site Decorating: While trick-or-treating, there was also a camping site decorating contest going on at the same time. Participation was optional, and again, the pumpkin sign indicated to the judges who had entering the contest. There are some mighty talented people out there using their creativity to decorate their sites. It is different decorating a campsite as opposed to your house. First of all, your house is always the same, so you know where all the decorations go each year. At a campsite, you have to work with the site you are at, which can change from year to year. We ended up bringing a small, but compact, amount of our decorations to the site. The pictures below show what we did with our spider theme. We had lit witch broomsticks with fake pumpkins, there were foam bats in the trees hung with fishing line. Spider webs in one tree with a sound activated flickering light under it, and plastic spiders thrown into the web. Spider lights hanging from the awning and spider plastic window coverings fit perfectly into the big window of the pop-up. Plastic spiders, with the help of scrapbooking glue dots, climbed up the camper door, and more foam bats were hanging about. The picnic table had some Halloween fabric laid across it and candles lining the middle. We also had green rope lighting duct taped under the table, but that really didn’t work well and will skip that in the future. And to light the path to our site and bonfire were plain lunch bag luminaries with a spider glued to the front of each of them. Everything we brought was compact, flat and easily packable as to not take up much room in the truck. The whole family got involved in the decorating, and in the end we ended up with a 2nd place win! Not to bad for our first time out. Decorating for holidays is one of my passions, and Halloween is by far my favorite holiday, so being able to enter a contest for my decorating….yes, we will be doing it again next year.

It looked much cooler at night, it looked plain during the day, but at night in the dark, the true fun of Halloween happened.

Costume Contest: There was a campground wide costume contest for all ages. All you had to do was show up at the big picnic pavilion after trick-or-treating in your costume to be entered. So after trick-or-treating, the whole family walked down to the pavilion to check it out. My oldest son did dress up, but did not want to participate in the contest, he was a Hawaiian Tourist. My daughter did not want to dress up at all, even though I made her throw on a Hawaiian dress to match her brother, she went back to regular clothes as soon as I took their pictures. Now my youngest son, who is still trick-or-treating prime age, had a blast dressing up as a robot. He was covered in two tin-foil covered boxes with do-dads from the garage glued all over him. Dryer vent arms and plain gray sweatpants finished off the look. The big draw to his costume was the green battery operated Christmas lights that poked out of his chest box on two sides. The biggest advantage to his lights was that we didn’t need a flash light walking with him, he lit the way for all of us! He wasn’t trying to find out who the secret judges were at the pavilion, he was just having a good time drinking hot chocolate and trying not to fall over. He couldn’t touch his hands together or pick anything up off the floor, so the adults had a good time teasing him. When the judging time came around, all the contestants lined up in a big oval so they could walk around and look at all the different costumes. Our little robot ended up winning 1st place by a unanimous decision. He was glowing from ear to ear, and it wasn’t just because of the Christmas lights. He came home with a trophy to display in his room and a Smore cookbook that will be a new addition to the camper.

Pumpkin Carving: There was also a pumpkin carving/painting contest for anybody to enter also. It was won by individual secret voting when the pumpkins were all displayed on a picnic table. I have a respect for people who can take a vegetable and some tools and make beautiful works of art. I am the plain carver with jagged teeth and triangle eyes, but the people who can carve spider webs with spiders hanging from it into the side of a pumpkin have my vote to win. It did include painted pumpkins also, even though there weren’t any displayed, I might have to plan ahead and try that next year.

If Halloween Camping sounds like something fun to you, check out your state’s campgrounds, or family owned campgrounds to see if they are hosting a Halloween weekend. With just a little extra planning, or even just a bucket of candy to give out, it can turn into a fun family weekend or maybe a new tradition like I think it did this year with my family.

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