Happy National Adoption Awareness Month!

November is National Adoption Awareness Month!

In that spirit, check out this sweet video of an adoption judge who dressed up like a Fairy Godmother to grant the dearest wish of the families whose adoption hearings were scheduled for Halloween yesterday:

http://www.kprcradio.com/pages/waltonandjohnson.html?article=11789687

 

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Halloween Safety tips from the Montana Red Cross

Happy Halloween! Here are the pumpkins my kids carved practically all on their own. Willow, in fact, kept her design a surprise until she was done. Notice the little pumpkin cutout on the bottom left-hand side of hers? Landon’s is the pumpkin on the right – you can’t see them in this picture, but there are x-shaped slashes all over it. Truly spooky!

Before you head out for tricks or treats this evening, here’s one last list of Halloween safety tips. These come courtesy of the American Red Cross of Montana.

“Halloween’s greatest hazards aren’t vampires and villains, but falls, costume mishaps and traffic accidents,” says Montana Red Cross CEO Rod Kopp. “By following a few safety tips, you can make this a fun and safe Halloween.”

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

  • Make sure trick-or-treaters are wearing flame-resistant costumes.
  • Plan the trick-or-treat route and make sure adults know where children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children as they make their way around the neighborhood.
  • Make sure the trick-or-treaters have a flashlight. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. Have everyone wear light-colored clothing in order to be seen.
  • Visit only the homes that have a porch light on. Accept treats at the door – never go inside.
  • Instead of masks, which can cover the eyes and make it hard to see, consider using face paint.
  • Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic. Look both ways before crossing the street and cross only at the corner. Don’t cut across yards or use alleys. Don’t cross between parked cars.
  • Be cautious around pets and any other animals.

WELCOMING GHOSTS AND GOBLINS

If someone is welcoming trick-or-treaters at their home, they should make sure an outdoor light is on. Other safety steps include:

  • Sweep leaves from the sidewalks and steps.
  • Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
  • Restrain any household pets.
  • Use a glow stick instead of a candle in the jack-o-lantern to avoid a fire hazard. 

LEARN WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE GETS INJURED

People can download the free American Red Cross First Aid App, which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at the user’s fingertips. Features of the app include:

  • Step-by-step instructions on how to handle the most common first aid situations;
  • Videos and animations that  make the skills easy to learn;
  • Safety and preparedness tips; and
  • Quizzes that users can take to earn badges which they can share with their friends on social media.

All Red Cross apps are available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store (search for American Red Cross) or on the Red Cross website: redcross.org/mobileapps.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/montana or visit us on Twitter at @MontanaRedCross.

 

 

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This Halloween, Montana’s governor is handing out treats

Montana’s current governor has three children under the age of 10, which means the Governor’s residence in Helena is not going to escape today’s Halloween festivities. No sir-ee.

In fact, Gov. Steve Bullock and First Lady Lisa Bullock are officially inviting trick-or-treaters to their capitol abode – which would be a bit of a drive for us in Missoula. Still, I think it’s pretty cool, and I’m curious to hear what they give out to costumed visitors.

For readers in the Helena area, the governor’s residence will welcome trick-or-treaters today between the hours of 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. The Governor’s house is located at 2 Carson Street in Helena, and limited parking is available at the corner of Lockey and Carson.

For the rest of us, the Bullocks urged parents and their children to stay safe this Halloween, and sent out this list of safety tips:

  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult
  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and other see you.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible
  • Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult.
  • Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses.
  • Never accept rides from strangers.
  • Make sure vision is clear when wearing masks and other head gear.

Happy Halloween

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Thanks to the Children’s Museum, Halloween can come early

Can’t wait for Halloween?

You don’t have to!

Each year the Children’s Museum in Missoula holds a fundraiser that doubles as a big Halloween bash. And the 11th annual Halloween Bash will be this Sunday!

Sunday, Oct. 27 from noon to 5 p.m., to be exact. It’s at the Children’s Museum, of course, which is located in downtown Missoula at 225 W. Front Street.

Note that it’s on a day and at a time many families might find more convenient for celebration than after dark on a Thursday, which is when Real Halloween will be happening. Particularly families with younger children.

Since it’s a fundraiser, regular passes won’t be accepted, but admission is only $5 per person. And that five bucks gets you access to all this:

  • G-Wiz (UM chemistry Professor Garon Smith)
  • The Professor of Fun
  • Creepy Critters Show by Animal Wonders
  • SpectrUM Dissection Demo
  • And new this year: Paleo Icky with UM Paleontology’s Kallie Moore

Costumes are encouraged (come on, it’s a Halloween party!) and treats will be on hand.

It’s a party for a good cause: fun. Also, it helps support the Children’s Museum, which offers a variety of fun kid activities all year ’round. The bash is sponsored this year by FOX Montana, Missoula Pediatric Dentistry, Big Pizza, Boone Karlberg Attorneys at Law, Vandewetering and Baffa Law Offices and Zilla State. So claps for them.

Call the museum 541.PLAY or go to www.ChildrensMuseumMissoula.org for more information.

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Halloween can be hell – on orthodontia

I really do love Halloween. Swear.

I don’t intend to be the Debbie Downer of Halloween – although that would make a pretty sweet costume.

See, my inbox is just overflowing with Halloween warnings from various groups. Here’s one subject line that caught my eye: “It’s scary what Halloween candy can do to orthodontic treatment.”

My kids don’t have braces (yet). But they are sporting roughly five loose teeth between the two of them. As awesome as it would be to have some of those teeth pulled out by candy, a visit from the Tooth Fairy on Halloween night is more than this momma wants to take on.

In any case, I was also intrigued by the list of orthodontia-friendly Halloween recipes. Aren’t Halloween-themed foods fun? The Missoulian ran an interesting Foods page feature yesterday on making “noir-hued” treats for grownups.

Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune

That right there is a picture of sauteed octopus over squid-ink pasta. I wouldn’t eat it, but hey.

Here’s the press release from the American Association of Orthodontists in full. Click on the link I included to see the recipes and photos (my favorite is probably the Spider Bites):

It’s scary what Halloween candy can do to orthodontics treatment.

With October 31 just around the corner, kids with braces will be tempted to chew on sticky candy that could tear off brackets and delay treatment.

But parents- don’t fear! For those of you hosting Halloween parties for adolescents with braces, try out these recipes for orthodontist-approved treats!

Frightful Finger Cookies

Goblin’s Gooey Apples

Halloween Parfait

Spider Bites

Goblin Goodies

Graveyard Shakes

Mounds of Brains Cookies

Witch’s Crystal Ball

Happy Halloween!

 

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Halloween decorations don’t have to be scary – if they’re safe

Hey, did you know Halloween is coming up? If not, then you don’t have kids. Mine remind me how many days are left every, oh, three minutes or so.

Needless to say, we’ve got our decorations up already. Giant hairy black spider? Check. Foam grave markers? Check. Home-made pumpkins and witches and cats on fenceposts? Check, check and check.

Since I’m so – ahem – frugal, every year for the past five years we’ve been re-using the same stuff that’s supposed to look like spider webs when you stretch it out. Only it’s long since lost its stretch, and is now laying artfully in clumps around the front yard – like this:

Hey, Halloween decorations aren’t suppose to look pretty.

I was reminded by the National Fire Protection Association today that they are, however, supposed to be safe when the NFPA sent out a scary warning for parents to make sure Halloween costumes and decorations don’t accidentally catch fire.

That’s because candles alone were the cause of more than 11,600 house fires from 2006-2010, resulting in 126 deaths and nearly 1,000 injuries, according to NFPA.

To help prevent tragedies like that from happening, the NFPA provided this timely list of Halloween safety tips:

    • When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
    • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
    • Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
    • It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far away from trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards.
    • If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times.
    • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
    • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
    • Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.

That’s for the grown-ups. For the kids, the NFPA has a Sparky Be Safe Halloween Coloring Sheet.

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Take a flashlight tour through ‘Haunted Hollow’

This Thursday, Oct. 18, the little playground in downtown Missoula will be haunted.
How do I know? A Carousel for Missoula told me so. In fact, they’re looking for volunteers to help with the haunting.
That involves turning Dragon Hollow into Haunted Hollow and giving guided flashlight tours through spooky mad science labs, an obstacle course and a dragon’s lair (apparently the dragons of Dragon Hollow are sticking around for this!).
The transformation promises to be good fun, and it’s for a good cause – a fundraiser for A Carousel for Missoula. Kids 12 and younger can get in for $4 and older kids can check it out for $6.
The haunted flashlight tours will take place on Oct. 18-20, and Oct. 25-29. Each evening will be broken into two segments, with the earlier one (from 6-8 p.m.) offering a less-spooky version of Haunted Hollow for younger kiddos to enjoy, and the later time (from 8-10 p.m.) getting full-on scary!
Interested in volunteering to help out? Call volunteer coordinator Ray Davis at 523-9803.
For more information about A Carousel for Missoula, go to www.carouselformissoula.com or call 549-8382.

This Thursday, Oct. 18, the little playground in downtown Missoula will be haunted.

How do I know? A Carousel for Missoula told me so. In fact, they’re looking for volunteers to help with the haunting.

That involves turning Dragon Hollow into Haunted Hollow and giving guided flashlight tours through spooky mad science labs, an obstacle course and a dragon’s lair (apparently the dragons of Dragon Hollow are sticking around for this!).

The transformation promises to be good fun, and it’s for a good cause – a fundraiser for A Carousel for Missoula. Kids 12 and younger can get in for $4 and older kids can check it out for $6.

The haunted flashlight tours will take place on Oct. 18-20, and Oct. 25-29. Each evening will be broken into two segments, with the earlier one (from 6-8 p.m.) offering a less-spooky version of Haunted Hollow for younger kiddos to enjoy, and the later time (from 8-10 p.m.) getting full-on scary!

Interested in volunteering to help out? Call volunteer coordinator Ray Davis at 523-9803.

For more information about A Carousel for Missoula, go to www.carouselformissoula.com or call 549-8382.

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A Halloween party for mermaids, pirates and other water-lovers

My daughter likes to reach for the impossible. For her birthday recently, she asked for a swimming suit “with a real mermaid tail.” Uh huh. I’m still working on that one. Maybe I’ll have something figured out in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, Halloween is coming up and that means it’s time for costumes and parties. Wanna-be mermaids in particular won’t want to miss the upcoming “Splash-O-Ween” party at Currents – which will include a costume contest and other fun activities in addition to open swim.

It’s this Friday (!), Oct. 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The admission cost is $3 for all ages, with a dollar from each admission going to Share The Fun Youth Recreation Grants.

So support a good cause while also enjoying the company of Currents mascot Oscar the Otter (who will pull double duty as the costume contest judge), as well as a “Mad Scientist’s Lab” display, a greased pumpkin contest, musical inner tubes and a pumpkin relay.

Word is that the Crazy Creek Cafe from Splash Montana will also offer concessions for purchase.

For more information about the city’s aquatics programs or the “Splash-o-Ween” party, call 721-PARK.

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MT Natural History Center offers Halloween fun

OK, this may just be the coolest thing ever. Anna Rummel Tennenbaum, a toy maker, is offering a Woodland Fairy and Elf Costume Workshop through the Montana Natural History Center.

Get this: The workshop will teach kids and adults how to make their own “crowns, tiaras and accessories using natural materials found in the garden.” Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds awesome.

The cost is $5 to cover supplies, and child participants should probably be at least 8 years old. For more information call the history center at 327-0405.

You’ll want to sign up soon – Registration for the Thursday, Oct. 20 workshop closes at 5 p.m. this Monday, Oct. 17. The two-hour workshop will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Fort Missoula Native Plant Garden.

If you miss that one, though, there’s another fun activity coming up courtesy of the history center. On Oct. 29, from 2-3 p.m., the center will host a “Spiders” Saturday kids activity with the help of Animal Wonders.

Be forewarned: the activity includes live spiders. Kids ages 5 and older are welcome, and welcome to come in costume. The cost for this one is $5 too.

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Halloween bashes abound in Missoula

I’ve taken several running starts at trying to list all the Halloween events for children in Missoula this year, and so far haven’t been able to clear the hurdle.

There is just too much going on. Where do I even start?

One of my favorites is the annual Halloween Bash at the Families First Children’s Museum. It doubles as a fundraiser for the museum, and it’s now heading into its ninth year.

For only 5 bucks a person, kids and their families can enjoy five hours of Halloween-themed activities. This year’s bash will take place on Sunday, Oct. 30, from noon to 5 p.m.

Here’s an idea of what to expect: A ghouly ghost craft project, spooky story time with musicial guests “The Unknowns,” a creepy crawly show provided by Animal Wonders, a dissection demonstration by SpectrUM, freaky fishing, mummy mountain slide, a treasure dig, and of course games and a glow-in-the-dark dance room. And more.

Kids are encouraged to come in costume.

For more information about the bash or the Families First Children’s Museum, call 541-PLAY, email info@FamiliesFirstMontana.org, or come on down to the museum at 225 W. Front Street.

And for more information about local Halloween events, well, I’ll do my best to post them as I find out about them. But don’t wait on me! If you know about a particularly cool and kid-friendly Halloween party, go ahead and drop me a note or tell readers about it yourself in the comments.

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