Thursday, October 23, 2014

Last Minute Twofer Costumes for Halloween AND All Saints Day: and a Catholic Costume Contest!

So, you're all set for Hallowtide, right? Your kids have got a Halloween costume and an All Saints Day costume all set and ready to go?


Not to worry. These costumes can be thrown together in a couple of days, and if you have Amazon Prime, you might not even need to leave the house.

And in case you need a little MORE motivation to get your act together . . . we're having a Catholic Costume Contest, with a prize that will help your kids live the liturgical year in your home, without YOU having to do ANY of the prep work. But I'm going to make you read all the way to the bottom to find out how.

Our homeschool group's weekly parkday is on Friday. So this year our All Saints Pageant and Carnival will be held on Halloween. So . . . that's a whole lot of party for one day. At least we have a history of making All Saints costumes that can double as Halloween costumes. This year, we're really going to need it.

1. Herminone / St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Any sort of a black robe will work for this. I went ahead and got Betty the Gryffindor Robe, because she's been asking for a Harry Potter-themed birthday in February.

For the Hermione costume, we added her own shirt and skirt, her brother's tie, her dad's socks, and a homemade wand made from a rolled up piece of paper and some hot glue. We made her hair frizzy by putting a bunch of braids in her slightly damp hair before bedtime.

For Elizabeth Ann Seton, we replaced the tie with a black ribbon, and covered up the Hogwarts patch on the robe by pulling the other side of the robe across the patch and pinning it closed. I found the bonnet on Amazon for cheaper than I could sew one myself, but if you don't want to sew OR buy one, you could use a loosely tied black handkerchief or piece of fabric. In images, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is usually holding a rosary and a book or piece of paper.

2. Jedi / Bl. Fra Angelico

The basis of this costume is the Hooded Jedi Robe. You could sew one yourself, but I think it's cheaper to buy one. For the Jedi, I put him in a khaki t-shirt and brown pants shorts (Bobby couldn't find the pants, so he went for more of a California Jedi), and added our existing lightsaber toy.

Fra Angelico was a monk, so we closed up the robe with a rope belt and a rosary. He was also a painter, so we added a homemade cardboard palette and a paintbrush.

3. Jedi / St. Francis of Assisi

A Hooded Jedi Robe can be the start of ANY monk costume. This one my mom sewed for Gus when HE was two. But you could also use a too-big solid brown t-shirt, they sell them at fabric and craft stores.

Frankie wanted to be his name saint, so we added a rope belt, a rosary, and a little bird for his shoulder. Depending on how committed you are to this costume, you could shave his head into a tonsure. But that's your call.

4. St. Clare of Assisi

No St. Francis would be complete without his St. Clare. My mom sewed this costume for Anita when she was four months old, Lulu is almost a year and it does NOT fit her. But we're going with it.

For Halloween, Lulu will be "A baby who is already sound asleep in her crib."

5. Anna from Frozen / St. Sunniva

Thank God that there is a Norwegian Princess saint, because it was Anna from Frozen or bust for my five year old this Halloween. This dress is adorable, machine washable and $20: Scandinavian Princess Dress

If you're not interested in really confusing yarn wig tutorials, just skip the next paragraph.

For Anna, I used orange and white yarn and a headband to make her an Anna wig. I found a one inch wide headband with a rough, glittery surface that holds on to the yarn really well. To make it, I measured the total length of yarn I'd need: from one end of one braid, up over her head, to the end of the other braid. Then I put two chairs that distance apart, tied one end of the yard to one chair, then wrapped the yard around and around the two backs of the chairs, to get the length I needed. I used almost the whole small skein of orange yarn (saving out about 10 feet or so to make the bangs) then about four loops around of the white yarn, to make the white stripe in Anna's hair. Once all the loops were on, I tied a six inch length of orange yarn around all of the loops, a little to the right of center between the chairs, since Anna has a side part. Then I looped the remaining 10 feet of orange around a small shoebox lid, for the bangs, and tied the end of it in a knot around all the loops, leaving a six inch tail. I arranged the long pieces on the headband, with the tie a little to the side for a side part. Because of the rough surface of the headband, I just had to tie the piece of yarn I used to make the part around the headband and the sides just kind of stick on it. Then I cut the loops on both ends, and pulled all of the white yarn to one side. I put the headband on my own head and braided it, tying each end with a piece of orange yarn. Done. I found the yarn on clearance, so the whole thing was less than $5.

For St. Sunniva, we just swapped the braids out for a dollar bin crown.

By now you're probably thinking to yourself, "Wait, am I at the right blog? I thought this was the lady who allows her children to dress as all manner of horrifying martyr." To you I say: Don't worry. You're at the right place. May I present to you . . .

6. Random Scary Red Guy / St. Bartholomew 

We saw this statue of St. Bartholomew at St. John Lateran in Rome and, I tell you what, it's not something you soon forget.

To recreate it for All Saints Day, we bought a SecondSkin Suit (ironic, no?) in red to be his skinned self. They HAVE a muscled one, which would allow one to look just like THIS statue of St. Bartholomew. But in an uncharacteristic show of restraint, we decided to go with plain red.

I bought two yards of flesh colored fabric and I traced him. THEN we remembered that we had some iron-on transfer paper left over from another project, and things got . . . a little more interesting. He cut himself out, and fashioned himself a knife. And rolled up a piece of paper. And that's that.

For Halloween, he won't bring the paper. Other than that, it's pretty much set for Halloween. Or maybe he'll leave the skin at home and just tell people he's a splat of ketchup.

7. Roman Soldier / St. Michael, Archangel

Gus is going as an old favorite around here. In fact, it's HIS second go 'round as St. Michael. We had a blue tunic that fits him from another costume <cough> itwasmary <cough> and a fabric chest plate from a St. George costume, and a red cape and skirt from a St. Longinus costume. And some Feather Angel Wings and a sword. Electrical tape turns regular sandals into gladiator sandals (kinda).

You could do this pretty easily with just the wings, a sword, and three T-shirts: a blue for the tunic, a gray to cut into a chest plate and a red to cut into a cape.

We added the coat hanger to the wings so he could wear them outside the cape.

On Halloween, he'll just be a Roman soldier, sans wings.

So that's it for us this year. NOW for the fun part. We're having a costume contest!

If your kids are dressing up for All Saints, I'd love to see it! Share your photos on Instagram with hashtag #catholiccostumes, or share them on the Catholic All Year Facebook page. Or email me at CatholicAllYear @ gmail (.) com and I'll share them for you!

The winner will receive a three month subscription to Saint Mail. I subscribed to Saint Mail for my own kids with my own money, and it has been worth every penny. Each month we receive a package in the mail all about one saint whose feast is that month. There's a letter from the saint with tons of great information, plus crafts, trinkets, and little collectibles that my kids L-O-V-E love.

My kids are learning about the saints (AND are quietly occupied for many many minutes) each month without me having to do ANY of the prep work. Molly from Saint Mail is a Catholic mom who is doing the prep work for you, only way cuter than you'd do it. Tiny San Damiano cross for St. Clare! Awesome leather bracelet with St. Benedict cross medallion for St. Benedict! I cannot recommend Saint Mail enough. It is worth every penny. If you don't win, you really should subscribe. And I'm not getting paid to tell you this. I just really like it that much.

For more on Saint Mail, see this post:


For more ideas for Catholic Costumes see these posts:


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Celebrating the Feast of Pope St. John Paul II in the Home, with a Printable

I am on a ridiculous (and completely unintentional) streak of two weeks of almost daily blog posts. We can't keep this up forever. I'm trying to stop. Really I am. But there's been all the guest posting and sponsored posting to tell you about. And Frankie was grumpy at the fair and you guys NEEDED to see THAT, right? And people were mad on the internet! Anyway, one more post I agreed to write that is coming almost, but not quite, too late to be of any use.

Ashley asked me to share how we celebrate the Feast of JPII in our home, and we wouldn't miss it, because our Jack is named John Paul in his honor. And that feast day is today: October 22nd.

Best JPII meme in town. Credit: Lifeteen

Quick story about that: While I was pregnant (in 2002), Jim pointed out that the Pope was ailing and perhaps he would die before the baby was born, and we could name the baby after him. And I said I was pretty sure that people don't have to be dead to have babies named after them. It turns out I was right. So we named the baby John Paul. But we call him Jack.

Anyhoo, it is Jack's name day. Normally he'd get to pick anything he likes for dinner. But I bought kielbasa at the store because it was on sale AND because it was Polish. So I pretty much told him that he could pick anything he wanted for dinner as long as it was kielbasa and sauerkraut. He countered with kielbasa + potatoes + brownies and he didn't have to eat the sauerkraut. Deal.

recipe at Taste of Home
I plan to poke some gummy worms into the brownies after they cool down, for the "fisher of men, also of fish" thing.

credit: Mama Gone Green

In her question to me, Ashely had the best idea yet for how to celebrate a great outdoorsman like Pope John Paul II: Take a hike. I think ours will just have to be a nature walk around the suburbs. But we will definitely be walking today!

I will never, ever get tired of looking at JPII in the out of doors.

If we tire of walking, we are fortunate enough to have the awesome Ignatius Press movie: Pope John Paul II on DVD. But in case YOU don't, it's available live streaming from the Ignatius website!

It stars Jon Voight as the elder, and Cary Elwes as the younger Karol Wojtyla. (By the way, please tell me you've read this: The Dread Pirate and the Pope. It just makes me so happy.)

And we own these two great books, also by Ignatius Press.

Check out the full review at
Micaela also reviews the books at California to Korea.

And, today only, the JPII coloring pages at Holy Heroes are on sale for $1.99.

For some more ideas, including Pope Cake (!) see Bonnie's post at A Knotted Life: Celebrate St. John Paul the Great's Feast Day.

Or Gina's post at Someday (Hopefully) They'll Be Saints: It’s Gonna Be A Party! St. Pope John Paul II Feast Day.

Reader Christina asked me to make this great JPII quote printable. And, how could I say no?

So here it is: Pope St. John Paul II quote on red . . .

 And: Pope St. John Paul II quote on white . . .

Click on the title to download the image from google drive, or just click on the image to enlarge it, and right click to save it to your computer. You may download the image for free for your own personal use. If you'd like to sell it, please contact me. Thanks.

If you do nothing else for Pope St. John Paul II today, watch this video. You'll be glad you did. I can say with great certainty that this is the best ever use of auto tuning. It's going to be on repeat around here all day.

p.s. Upcoming on the blog . . . This year's twofer Halloween / All Saints costumes should be coming up on Friday, Frankie's Little Monster 3rd Birthday party will be this weekend in real life and Monday or Tuesday in blogworld, and Operation Inspired Capsule Wardrobe happened on Tuesday and was a big success. It's going to take me some time to document it all, but it's coming!

p.p.s. In honor of JPII, I'm going to give away one last bag of goodies from the #whereislulu trip to Spain and France, including a rosary, medals, and a bottle of Lourdes water. Just let me know in the comments how you plan to remember Pope St. John Paul II today. (Watching the YouTube video and having dessert TOTALLY counts.) Winner will be announced on Friday.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Virtue of Blind Obedience (yes. that's actually a virtue.) Part of a Series on the Ten Virtues of Mary.

Blind obedience is a tough sell these days.

If you're anything like me, it's going to take a lot to even convince you that it's not utterly WRONG, let alone a virtue to be cultivated.

In our culture, the concept of obedience has fallen out of favor. We are hesitant to encourage blind obedience in our children. We want to reason with them, to value their input, to give them choices. We want them to do as we ask because they wish to do so, not because they were MADE to obey without question.

How much less do we hope to cultivate blind obedience in ourselves? Our culture champions choice above almost all other things. Many of us struggle to ask for or follow the advice of our husbands or parents or pastors or spiritual directors. Many of us struggle to follow the Tradition and Magisterium of our Catholic Church, especially when its teaching on important and personal social issues sounds so far removed from what our secular culture believes.

The world out there (and the occasional priest in here) tells us we need to listen to our own consciences alone, not just mindlessly follow the oppressive rules of a dusty old church run by a bunch of old men who don't really understand what these policies MEAN for us, for our bodies, for our lives.

But that's not what the Mother of God tells us. Mary was blindly obedient. Gloriously, blindly obedient. Obedient even to things that sounded crazy. That sounded wrong. That sounded like they would cause her to face ridicule and scandal and unimaginable heartbreak.

Her obedience set her free and sanctified her.

And mine, when I can manage it, does the same thing.

Deciding not to use artificial contraception as a newlywed felt like the craziest decision I had ever made. I made it without wisdom or understanding, without much trust or much hope. All I had to give was blind obedience.

The only reason I'm where I am today is that even though what the Church said sounded completely insane, I just couldn't quite justify thinking I knew better than thousands of years of Church teaching.

And I didn't know better. The Church was right, she was right about it all. I am deeply grateful that God gave me the grace to make that decision in that moment, and that I was somehow able to correspond to it.

I was able to come to understand the teachings of the Church, because I was willing to be obedient BEFORE I understood.

The beautifully counterintuitive thing about blind obedience is how liberating it is.

We don't make decisions in a vacuum. We make them in the world, and often in crisis. It's nearly impossible to make a detached decision on an issue related to sex or marriage or fertility or infertility or life or death, because the moral aspect of these issues is inextricably tangled with our own fears and desires.

In times of difficultly and confusion, we can fall back on blind obedience.

We have a responsibility to form our own consciences, of course, but obedience covers a multitude of sins. If I've chosen wrongly, but in obedience to a person or entity in whom it was reasonable to place my trust, I'm very confident trusting in God's mercy.

But how to find someone to give me good counsel?

1. My husband.

Husbands are mostly better for this than we give them credit for. We're quick to run to our girlfriends or moms or the world wide web when we need advice, but I know that my husband is my greatest source of drama-free advice. And if I can make myself be obedient to it, I'm always better off.

2. My gals.

I also happen to have girlfriends and a mom and bloggy friends who have the same life and afterlife goals as I do. If they didn't, I just wouldn't ever, ever ask them what they thought I should do.

3. My spiritual director.

I am in spiritual direction. When my husband or friends are stumped or not available, or when the situation is too close to them, I take it to spiritual direction. A spiritual director can be anyone you'd trust to advise you well. I've met with both priests and laywomen as spiritual directors over the years. Both have been great. I'm seeing a priest now, and we meet once a month. I believe some priests and nuns take a vow of obedience to their spiritual directors. My situation isn't so formal. I just get good advice. I could choose not to take it, but that would kind of defeat the purpose.

I am striving to cultivate the virtue of blind obedience in myself. For me it looks like knowing when to just stop asking questions and say okay. It likes like agreeing to do it someone else's way, even though I like my way better. It looks like eating what is set before me, be it too much or too little, something I like or something I don't much like. It looks like trusting my God, my husband, my parents, my Church, to know what's good for me.

I am also striving to cultivate that virtue in my children. I want to raise bold, confident, self-starters, who understand that there is a time to ask questions and there is a time to zip it and do as you're told.

Confidence is not at odds with obedience. Both are virtuous. Being obedient doesn't mean being cowed. It means knowing when to say:

How shall this be done, because I know not man?

And when to say:

Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.

Perfect confidence, perfect obedience. All in the same conversation. Not bad for a fourteen year old.


This post is part of a series on the Ten Virtues of Mary, hosted by To the Heights and running every Tuesday until the middle of December. So if you need some help in the virtue department, here's a great place to start ;)

October 7 - An Introduction to the Ten Virtues of Mary - Olivia of To the Heights
October 14 - Lively Faith - Molly of Molly Makes Do
October 21 - Blind Obedience - Kendra of Catholic All Year
October 28 - Constant Mental Prayer - Jenna of Call Her Happy
November 4 - Heroic Patience - Kelly of This Ain't the Lyceum
November 11 - Profound Humility - Carolyn of Svellerella
November 18 - Angelic Sweetness - Regina of Good One God
November 25 - Divine Wisdom - Britt of The Fisk Files
December 2 - Universal Mortification - Abbey of Surviving Our Blessings
December 9 - Divine Purity - Gina of Someday Saints
December 16 - Ardent Charity - Christy of Fountains of Home
December 17 - Massive GIVEAWAY at To the Heights - Just in time for Christmas


Monday, October 20, 2014

An Inspired Capsule Wardrobe

You'll find me at Blessed Is She today, discussing the parable of the rich man who stores up his grain . . .
I don’t have any grain, myself. But you know what I do have? Baby clothes. Washed and folded, sorted by size and separated into bins. I installed built-ins in the guest room closet to fit all the little seasons and sizes.
All so I could rest easy knowing that I had enough tiny sneakers and sweater vests to last me a lifetime.
Now, fortunately for all the little sneaker-wearing people who live in this house, my life has not yet been required of me. But, nor have I required all that stuff I so carefully hoarded for so many years.
Read the rest here. Or just subscribe already and you'd have it in your email inbox!

I wrote that post over a month ago, and in the weeks since then, it seems like I can't swing a bag of cats without bumping into another capsule wardrobe post on the internet.

The first I heard of it as a concept with a name was on this blog and I was smitten. She's just the cutest. But I guess this is where it all started?

In any case, I can't get it out of my head. For years now, I've felt uneasy about all the all the all the clothes in this house. There's this tug between wanting to use things for multiple children, and wanting to keep stuff for myself, just in case I need it . . . and, on the other side, feeling like I'm slowly drowning in stuff that other people could be using.

I wrote this post about how we pack for the kids, and ever since have secretly known that if my kids can get by on that amount of clothing for two weeks, then there is absolutely no reason they couldn't get by on it for three months. Or more in Southern California. My boys really only need pants for church and January.

Then I wrote this post giving us all permission to get rid of stuff that's cluttering up our homes, and ever since I've known that I could stand to do a better job of following my own advice.

Because the more I think about the concept of a small, seasonally appropriate wardrobe being the only thing in my closet the more I see it as not just a way to declutter and do less shopping, but as a step in the right direction in my Christian life.

We are called to be detached from our possessions. We are called to be "poor in spirit." That doesn't mean being unhappy. It means living a spirit of poverty, treating the things I own as not belonging to me, just as things I'm looking after, because everything belongs to God.

St. Basil says, “The coat, which you guard in your locked storage-chests, belongs to the naked; the footwear mouldering in your closet belongs to those without shoes. . . . Thus, however many are those whom you could have provided for, so many are those whom you wrong.”

These closets stuffed with clothes that I might need sometime are a symptom of attachment, and of a lack of trust in God's providence. I have a vision of myself having to get all these clothes burned off of me, slowly, layer by layer in Purgatory. Am I being overly dramatic here? Perhaps.

But I'm thinking NOW is the time to pull the trigger on this thing. It's finally started to cool down here in Los Angeles. So tomorrow, a terribly stylish friend is coming over to help me actually DO IT and not chicken out.

We'll see what ends up happening, but my plan is to create a fall/nursing capsule wardrobe to put in my closet now, that will last me until at least advent. I'll also choose pieces I like out of my existing wardrobe to create capsules for other seasons, and because I'm still in THIS part of my life, I'll need to create 1-2 maternity capsules, plus a postpartum, and maybe a not-pregnant/not-nursing one too. Then everything else goes. Out, out, out. (And then on to the kids?)

I'll be posting photos of the process and my picks, so stay tuned.

Now. Who's with me?! Who has done this and can offer me advice and encouragement? Who keeps hearing about capsule wardrobes and wants to give it a try with me? Who keeps hearing about capsule wardrobes and just wants it to stop?

Do you have a blog post about capsule wardrobes we should see? Link it up!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halloween for Kids on Netflix Streaming: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

For my inaugural Netflix Stream Team sponsored post, we're going to look at the kids' Halloween-type movies streaming has available. I'm going to tell you about a few I really like, a bunch that are kinda meh, and a few that you should NOT SHOW TO YOUR CHILDREN. This is how you do sponsored posts, right? I'm KILLING this selling out thing.

If you are logged into your Netflix account, clicking on the titles of the shows should take you to them in Netflix.

See this post . . .


for my full review of of The Nightmare Before Christmas and four other Halloween favorites. But, the short version is that my kids and I really, really like this movie. It's creepy but not TOO scary, and has a great message about following your vocation, not just your dreams. Stephen Graydanus also has a great review at Decent Films.

I guess the marketing folks at Disney would like you to watch this compilation year-round, so they've called it House of Villains, but it's 100% Halloween. It's made up of fun classic Disney cartoons featuring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, with lame new filler transitions in between.

Like the movie above, what I enjoy about these cartoons is that they ARE a little scary. I think my kids can handle that. I want them to be able to handle that.

The individual cartoons vary in style and substance, but I wasn't troubled by any of them. The first, especially, is definitely in the "make fun of the devil" (in this case a witch with a broom named Beelzebub) tradition championed by some. While that's not the focus of OUR family's Halloween, it doesn't bother me any. There's one starring Mickey about how too much technology in your home could well result in your house attacking you. Pay attention kids. The one starring Goofy is wordless, which always enraptures my little ones.

This isn't a Halloween movie, per se. But it is magical and creepy, both good ingredients for Halloween. The giant bugs and the evil aunts are both pretty monstrous, but for different reasons.

The movie is very true to the spirit of the book, and I didn't notice any major plot deviations (except that in the movie the aunts survive being squished by the titular giant peach).

It's an intense story that includes James being mistreated by his aunts, and the fanciful, stylized deaths of his parents (they are eaten by an angry rhinoceros). There are scenes of peril, but it's a story about teamwork and making the best of things.

This indie musical cartoon from France (but in English now) has a VERY devoted following. We watched it on the airplane a couple years ago, before I was watching things with blog-eyes, so I'm not ABSOLUTELY certain that there's nothing questionable in it. But the kids and I enjoyed it. There's singing, and action, and perilous situations, and bad guys who aren't who you think they are and vice versa. Lessons are learned about not jumping to conclusions about people.

It doesn't reference Halloween that I recall, but there's a monster and some steampunky mad science.

If you're looking for a seasonal movie the whole family can sit through, and Tim Burton isn't your cup of tea, A Monster in Paris should do the trick.

Not to worry, everyone, The Musters IS available via Live Streaming on Netflix. I know you've been concerned. I tried watching a few of the Halloweeny shows in the category below with the kids and they were just so. very. very. dumb. that we decided to put on an episode of The Munsters instead.

And, granted, it's also kinda dumb. But it's dumb in an old fashioned, campy, occasionally clever way. We watched the very first episode and it was fun to see how they introduced all the characters. My kids all thought it was hilarious, and it was a show that was in a spooky setting, about creepy characters, but with lots of winking humor and without any real scares that would be too much for little ones. All my age groups enjoyed it.

I watched a couple of episodes of this show from the mid-90s on my own, and was really pleasantly surprised. It's suspenseful and pretty darn scary, without being gory. And, unlike the newer R.L. Stein show I tried (see below) the kids and families in the two episodes I watched were likable.

If you have middle grade kids who are looking for a good clean scare, check it out.

And one more . . . with a caveat

This newest incarnation of the iconic series is really, really well-done. It's smart and funny and stylish. And it's COOL. They made Scooby Doo cool again.

But. But. But.

It's not a kids' show. Really. It's not intended for kids. It's intended for grownups who liked Scooby Doo when THEY were kids. So it's just too edgy for my twelve and unders. The girls are rather . . . forward. Velma and Shaggy are a couple, and Daphne is after Fred, but he's oblivious, being utterly obsessed with building traps for monsters. It's pretty funny, but, ya know, a bit much for kiddos. When she asks him about the swimsuit magazine in his couch, he says he only reads "Traps Illustrated" for the articles.

*I* just might watch it again though.


Some of these my kids have watched, some of them I have watched some of, some of them we haven't watched at all. But to my knowledge there isn't anything objectionable in any of them. It's just that they're SO LAME.

I'd much rather my kids watch something clever, even if it's scary, than watch an insipid super duper Halloween fun cartoon. I'm pretty sure I'd sit my kids down to watch Psycho before I'd sit them down to watch Barney's Halloween Party.

But that's just personal preference. Maybe you feel differently. And I couldn't find a comprehensive, recent list of kids' Halloween shows available on Netflix Streaming anywhere on the internet. Including on Netflix Streaming.

So here are ALL the Halloween shows and movies I could find.

1. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest

Frankie loves Curious George. Maybe we'll watch this at some point. But I like scary for Halloween.

This is one of the Netflix customer reviews:
The music was... ok. The plot was down-right pathetic. Really, a headless scarecrow that kicks off people's hats? How is that scary in the least bit? Even to a kid! Stupid. There are so many more better movies that they could've used. I enjoy the show, it's pretty cute (except the Man with the Yellow Hat really needs to not let George get away with so much stuff). Oh... And one more thing, how does everyone, including the "intelligent" adults, believe in No-Noggin? And seriously... No noggin? Really? That's supposed to be scary.I don't have if a Halloween movie is scary, especially with the kids that can't handle scary movies (I couldn't, myself). But, don't pretend to be scary just because it's a Halloween movie. Just take the "no-noggin" part out and put in a usually Curious George story. About him getting into shenanigans.BUT, on the other hand... My son did like it. And that's the most important part. It doesn't matter if I liked or not, it matters if HE likes it or not. So, 4 out of 5 stars just for the simple fact that my son liked it. If he didn't, it probably would have been a 2 (and that's only out of respect for Curious George).
I like how this guy thinks. I think we can trust him.

2. Barney: Halloween Party

Don't know, didn't watch it. Won't. Ever.

3. Dreamworks Spooky Stories: Scared Shrekless and Monsters vs Aliens, Mutant Pumpkins

My kids watched this one and found the three shorts just really loud and confusing and odd. And they like pretty much everything, so that's really saying something.

4. Casper's Scare School

Weird computer animation. Stars Bob Saget.

*"bad" as in "not great cinema," not "you shouldn't let your kids watch this."


There aren't a ton of scary movies aimed at kids available on streaming, so I was tempted to watch these with my kids.

But the reviews I found on them were troubling, so I thought I'd better preview them before I let the kids watch, but I haven't had time to get through all (most) of them.

So, if you've seen any of these, I'd love to hear what you thought of them.

1. The Addams Family

I know I saw this as a kid, and liked it. I remember it as being about a quirky but loving family. But the Common Sense Media review of it freaked me out a bit. "Strong sexual innuendo, especially between Gomez and Morticia. The couple can be heard having an orgasm while in public. There are several subtle references to sadomasochism, and a quick reference to child molestation relating to Uncle Fester. Much of this will go over the head of young viewers."

Please tell me they're overreacting?

2. ParaNorman

Common Sense Media didn't mind this one, but Stephen Graydanus was pretty convincing in his dislike.

3. The Haunted Mansion

The Common Sense Review: "Go on the Disney ride instead. It's over sooner." Ouch.

4. R. L. Stine's The Haunting Hour

This one is a TV series from 2010, based on the author's book series. I was intrigued, because the girl who plays young Snow White in Once Upon a Time is on the cover. But I quit watching after just a few minutes of the first episode. It's probably fine, but it was all her demanding dolls and stuff and her parents giving in to her. Maybe she learns her lesson, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style, but I wasn't getting a good vibe from it, so I moved on.

*potentially, you tell me

Okay, first sponsored post in the books. I'm supposed to put in the logo. Done.

And, now, it's your turn. Tell me in the comments about what you've been watching on Netflix Streaming and/or for Halloween. Or, for this month, if you've got a blog, link up your Hey Watch This! posts below and let us know what we should or shouldn't be watching.


Cranky Frankie Went to the Fair

We spent this afternoon and evening at our parish's annual festival. A good time was had by all. Even Frankie. But you wouldn't have known it to look at him.

Kid has a bad case of grumpy resting face.

There were just too, too many to Instagram them all, so I decided they needed their own blog post.

So, here goes . . . we'll begin with Frankie on the ride he was talking about all day: The Blue Fwyin Cauw. As you can see, it's all he remembered it would be.

For comparison purposes, here is how Anita experienced the same ride.

Then the swings. Careful buddy, you're nearly smiling there.

And the roller coaster.

Then we had something to eat. Everyone loves to eat at the fair, right?

And listened to some live music.

And, finally, that most magical of childhood experiences, the carousel.

He really did have a good time, I promise.

So did we all.

Can't get enough of Cranky Frankie?

There's more . . .