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Countdown to Christmas with Playmobil

 

Do you celebrate Christmas? If you do, how do you and your family countdown until the day Santa arrives?

When I was a young girl, I always made a paper chain to countdown the days until Christmas. Every morning when I got up I would remove a paper ring from the chain. Then I would count how many rings were left on the chain, which would tell me how many days until Christmas. As I got older I would add things, like a giant star, to the end of the chain so I could visually see how short the chain was getting towards the end, as well as count how many chains were left.

I heard of Advent Calendars growing up, but it wasn’t until I was a bit older than I got one from my mom. Back then, the ones I receive were filled with candy. Each day you would open up a little “door” to reveal a piece of candy (usually chocolate) hidden inside. Naturally, I would open up more than one day at a time. There was chocolate inside! I love chocolate.

To this day I still buy my kids the chocolate Advent Calendars. My daughter always tends to eat all the chocolate right away. My son on the other hand, he tends to do it day by day, like you are suppose to.

Did you know that you can get Advent Calendars with TOYS inside? Playmobil has such an Advent Calendar.

With the Advent Calendar from Playmobil, your child will get a new toy. The toys have a similar theme, so they can all be played together, or you can mix and match the pieces with other Playmobil pieces you might have.

I received one to review. Playmobil actually has a few different kinds. The one I received is called 1-2-3 Christmas in the Forest. I really like this one because I love woodland creatures, and this set features several animals. Not only that, this one comes with a complete Santa’s sled including the big man himself (Santa), and a reindeer to pull his sled.

The box features an image of all the pieces you’ll get inside the calendar on one side, and the numbered “doors” on the other side.

The doors are not numbered in sequence, so you have to look around the box to find the door you are to open that day to reveal what’s hiding behind it.

I went ahead and opened up all of the doors, just because I was too excited to see what was behind each one.

Check out some of the goodies that I found inside this Advent Calendar.

My apologies for the photos not being as good as they could be. We have weird lighting in our home.

I LOVE these pieces. Even as an adult, I can appreciate how wonderful these are.

I’m using the sled (with Santa and the reindeer) as a decoration, as well as the three smaller deer.

As for the rest of the pieces, I brought them to where I work for the kids to play with and enjoy. We have plastic building blocks that the kids love to play with, and these added pieces were greatly appreciated by the kids. They enjoy having people and accessories to add to their creativity and play.

The Playmobil 1-2-3 Advent Calendar – Christmas in the Forest, is available on the Playmobil site for $24.99. I’ve linked to it for your convenience. Is is NOT an affiliate link.

Most of these pieces can be played with year round, so it does make a great gift.

Playmobil also has other Advent Calendars you might be interested in.

What do you think of this Advent Calendar? Do you think your child would love to have it to countdown to Christmas day?

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

7 Tips For Saving Money This Holiday

 

It is that time of the year again. We have a long line of holidays waiting to close out the year and begin a new one. It is a wonderful and fun time when families and friends come together, eat together, exchange gifts, and share good times. Needless to say, the holiday period also comes with extra expenditure we do not normally make in ordinary times. However, while we are trimming the Christmas tree, it is important to find ways to trim our expenses so we can save despite the holidays.

We recommend seven ways to make sure that at the end of the holidays you would have more money in your pocket.

1. Prepare a budget

Shopping without a budget is a surefire way to overspend, especially this period when there is no shortage of people to spend on. The first thing to do is to sit down, take a pen and paper, and assign how much goes to what. Budget for everything down to the cards, then commit to someone close to you that you will stick to the plan. Of course, it makes no sense budgeting if you do not follow it through.

2. Pay yourself first

There is an old saying that states: you do not save what is left after spending, rather you spend what is left after saving. Most times your paycheck comes net of taxes, meaning that you have paid the government first. Who is the next person you should pay? You! That is right, and the only way to do it is to move some money to your savings or investment. And there are a lot of investable channels popping up giving the news regarding dinar intel.

3. Cut down on your expenses

Most times, people wait the whole year to spoil themselves or their loved ones this season. It is okay, but you can indulge them a little less and save some money in the process. So, instead of eating out at a 5-star restaurant, you could go to your regular Italian place and order their best dishes.

4. Change costly habits

Often some of our habits are the drain pipes on our savings effort. Expensive and unprofitable habits like smoking, drugs, and gambling can never help us in the drive to save more. Another incentive is that there is no better gift you can give to your loved ones than to quit such obsessive, compulsive habits. What is more, you will save a ton of money in the process.

5. Non-monetary gifts

Gifts do not have to come with expensive price tags. There are always options. Something like homemade cookies or cakes are especially delightful gift items when given to the appropriate person, and they do not cost an arm. Homemade cards and other such personalized gifts cost nothing, but the recipient knows that you put your time into them. Also, you can find other great inexpensive gift ideas online.

6. Make the most of sales

During this period, most shops splurge on sales. Use the internet to compare prices and get coupon codes. It is important, however, to ensure you limit your buys to what you need and not get carried away by discounts.

7. Is there a substitute?

When making purchases this season, especially for gift items, it might make sense to go for less popular and lower-priced alternatives. For instance, last year’s model of television will cost less and still share a lot of features with the trending ones.

Applying these tips faithfully will surely save you some money this holiday season. Now that you have been able to save, what should you do with the saved funds? The first question to answer is what was the purpose of saving? The answer to this will largely determine how you can invest the money.

If the saving was for buying something in the immediate term, then a savings account is the best way to go, as it offers you the convenience of being able to withdraw you’re your money whenever you want it. But if the need was for a short-term of six months to one year, it will be more advisable to invest in a certificate of deposit (CD). However, depending on your plan, Bank of America believes a combination of the two options will serve you better.

In the event the saving effort is for a long-term goal, then the capital market is the best bet. There are a lot of high-quality bonds that will pay coupon-interest and still have the potential to rise in value over their lifetime. Also, depending on one’s risk appetite, there are higher paying but lower-quality bonds.

Then there is always the stock market which may require some level of expertise before one can operate in that arena. There may be the need to hire a professional funds manager if the savings are quite substantial. Alternatively, one can invest in mutual funds and have the advantage of his or her money being managed professionally alongside others.

How to Keep Pets and Wildlife Safe This Halloween

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.  

With Halloween around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what to do to keep our pets and wildlife safe on such a fun night. While it’s enjoyable to dress up and trick or treat for humans, it can be quite scary for pets and wildlife. Dr. Gary Weitzman, veterinarian and president of San Diego Humane Society gives tips to keep both wildlife and pets safe this holiday.

Six Tips to Keep Pets Safe and Happy This Halloween:

  • Halloween causes pets stress:Keep pets inside away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. To reduce stress levels, keep pets in an enclosed room with their favorite toys and with the television or radio on.
  • Doorbell stress:Excessive ringing of the doorbell can make some dogs bark and raise their stress levels. Consider leaving a note on your door that asks trick-or-treaters to lightly knock rather than ring the doorbell.
  • Candy is a trick, not a treat:Chocolate and other ingredients can be toxic to animals, so keep candy somewhere they won’t be able to get into. Also, be mindful of wrappers and foil – they can be a choking hazard to animals.
  • Be careful with costumes: Just because animals look adorable in costumes, doesn’t necessarily mean they like it! Don’t make your pet wear a costume unless you’re sure they enjoy it. A simple Halloween bandana can be a more comfortable alternative to a full costume.
  • Use caution with Halloween decor:Keep jack-o-lanterns with flames out of reach of your pets or use flameless candles to prevent curious pets from getting burned. Also, use caution with fake cobwebs and other decorations that could be a choking hazard for your pet.
  • ID your pet:Make sure that all of your pets are microchipped and wearing tags with a current ID. Opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters creates plenty of escape opportunities for your pet. If your pet does go missing, a pet ID and microchip will help ensure a quick reunion.

In addition, here are some important tips for helping to protect wild life during Halloween season.

Don’t use fake spider webs or other decorations made of entangling fibers on the outside of your home. Wild animals can easily get trapped and may not be able to break the material to free themselves.

Avoid decorations with loops or closed circles. A foraging animal can inadvertently put its head through a loop or circle and choke itself.

Avoid decorations with small, dangling, edible-looking parts.

Candy, and the plastic it’s wrapped in, can also be a hazard for animals. Don’t leave candy out where wildlife may find it, and dispose of all candy wrappers properly.

Carved pumpkins may be attractive to wildlife as food, so properly dispose of them if you don’t want post-holiday trick-or-treaters. (After Halloween, you can donate your pumpkins to Project Wildlife rather than throwing them away. Pumpkins are used for enrichment for raccoons, providing stimuli to enhance their well-being, but also allows them to practice their foraging behavior before they’re released back into the wild!)

Be alert for nocturnal wildlife while trick-or-treating. Avoid cutting across lawns and through brushy areas to avoid accidental encounters with your wild neighbors.

Drivers on Halloween night know to be on the alert for children, but we encourage you to also be aware of wildlife that may be scared out of hiding by all the unusual nighttime activity.

It’s time to get “scary” with fun decorations and costumes from WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com

 

Some of our Halloween decorations.

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, I tend to go “all out” when it comes to Christmas and Halloween. Some people might argue that I tend to decorate more for Halloween than I do Christmas. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I do know that when it comes to decorating for Halloween, I have a blast.

When my kids were little, I tried to keep my Halloween decorations kid-friendly (even though I wanted to be as scary and creepy as possible). The older they got, the scarier my Halloween decorations became. Now that my kids are adults, I can decorate any way I want, much to the dismay of my husband. He thinks it’s weird and keeps joking that he wishes he had a “normal wife.” He doesn’t share my appreciation for things that are scary and gory.

I collect horror memorabilia. Needless to say, there is no Halloween decoration too creepy for me.

Even though we have a nice collection of Halloween decorations, there is always room for more. I love to rotate between decorations so that we’re not displaying the same ones over and over again.

Normally we are decorated for Halloween by mid-September (just about the time stores are putting out their CHRISTMAS decorations, ha ha). Sadly, my cousin took ill with cancer, and passed away. He was my best friend growing up. We lived next door to one another and we share the same birthday (he was three years older than me). I’ve just been too “down” to decorate. This Halloween is going to be unlike any other Halloween in the past, because this year we are not decorated. I have a few things here and there, but 99% of our decorations are still packed away in the basement, including my beloved life size Michael Myers (Halloween) mannequin.

Our Michael Myers mannequin that stands on our balcony and totally freaks out the neighbors.

When it comes to purchasing decorations, I love a good bargain. That is why I love shopping at places like WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com. Not only do they have a great assortment of Halloween costumes for both children and adults, they also have plus sizes, which is great for a plus size lady like myself.

Don’t let the name fool you. Just because they have the word “wholesale” in their name, doesn’t mean that they don’t have popular, trending costumes. They have popular costumes like Descendants, Legend of Zelda, Pokeman, Paw Patrol, Marvel and The Joker, which I have a feeling will be a very popular costume this Halloween season.

My kids are adults now, so I don’t need to shop for Halloween costumes for them. I also have a costume I’ve worn every year for the past few years (a butterfly). I don’t think it’s necessarily to buy a costume that I’m only going to wear for three hours, then have to worry about finding a place to store it for the next 365 days. My butterfly costume consists of lightweight wings (silk scarf like material that fold up into a tiny square) and a headband. I wear them with black pants and a black top, which I always have in my wardrobe to begin with.

What I’m after at WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com is their Halloween decorations. This year I’ve added some really cool ones to our ever growing collection.

Mystic Oil Slick Crystal Ball Prop Accessory – Item #SEW80708 $21.90

It’s hard to tell from my photo, but the “glass” (actually plastic) globe has a crackle appearance to it.

By day, the crystal ball has a crackled mirror-like appearance (as you can see in the above photo). When the evening approaches, flip on the switch on the bottom of the crystal ball and watch it come alive with changing lights (mostly green and blue) which give it a super creepy vibe.

This would be a fun accessory to use in a mock seance. It also looks really cool on the coffee table or on a bookshelf. The every changing lights draw your attention to it.

I like the base of the crystal ball and how it has an antique look to it.

This is a decent size. I don’t have a ruler handy, but I’d have to say it’s about 8″-9″ tall, and maybe 6″ round.

WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com has other crystal balls worth checking out too.

Stranger Things Alphabet Tapestry with Lights Hanging Decoration – Item #R200145 $44.90

I love Stranger Things. I am a HUGE fan of the series. I watched all seasons in the matter of days (binge watched multiple episodes each day). I love the show so much that I have numerous collectibles and figurines from the series.

I have always wanted one of the “lights’ decorations for my home. I think they are really cool. When I saw that WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com had one, I was thrilled.

I was so excited that I was getting one to review. I wish however the size of the tapestry was listed on the website. This is huge. It measures 68″ x 46”. I’m 5’3″ (63″), so this is longer than I am tall.

Sadly, this won’t fit where I wanted to hang it. The only place I can thin of is the hallway, but it’s not an area that is seen that much (unless you are coming/going from our home). I really wanted to see this every day during Halloween season (and perhaps beyond). As of right now, I have been unable to hang this up.

This is a really nice, well made cloth. It comes with the Christmas lights that you have to put in when you hang it up (it doesn’t come assembled). That is easy enough to do. It also requires batteries (not included).

3D Head in Jar Decoration – Item #F53282 $21.90

I have seen heads in jars decorations before. I always thought they were really cool. I think that they would go great with my horror memorabilia collection, as well as for Halloween. Yes, I would actually keep one up year round. Trust me when I say there is a reason why my husband calls me “weird.” LOL!

WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com has a fun Head in Jar prop that is sure to gross out your Halloween visitors (or even yourself).

The jar is made out of plastic. I have no open the jar yet, but I can only assume the head is made out of plastic too.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this is a good size jar. I actually thought it was going to be smaller, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it’s true size.

I do wish the sticker found on the bottom of the jar (as seen in these photos) was easier to remove. I eventually got it all off, but I had to soak the jar for a bit in order to loosen up the sticker.

I am seriously considering leaving this out year round.

18” Wooden Spirit Board – Item #SI79172 $23.90

I love this! I didn’t think I would love it as much as I do. When I saw it on the brand’s website, I thought it was cool. When I saw it in person, I fell in love with it. I am seriously considering leaving this out year round as well. I just need to find a place where I can hang it up.

This spirit board is made out of wood. I love the slight imperfections it has because it gives it an aged look. With something like a Spirit Board, you don’t want it to look perfect. You want it to look old because it gives it a much more creepier vibe.

This Spirit Board does not come with the apparatus that you use to make it like a Ouija board (the thing you lightly rest your finger tips on). This is meant as a decoration/prop, not as an actual board that you use. I suppose you could use it if you have the other piece, but personally, I wouldn’t. I’ve had some crazy experiences with Ouija boards when I was younger. I steer clear of them as an adult.

Bloody Cleaver – ITEM #: 63058F $3.90 and Bloody Axe – Item #63060F $4.90

The Bloody Cleaver and Bloody Axe can be used as accessories with your Halloween costume, or you can use them as decorations/props. I am currently using them as props.

I have an actual cleaver and axe that are autographed in my horror collection. Thankfully they are not bloody looking like these props.

Each one is made out of plastic, even though they appear to be the real thing. Each one also has a decent splattering of “fresh blood” on them to make them look even more scary.

I was going to use one of them in the hand of our Michael Myers mannequin, but in the films he didn’t use these tools. So I’ll just leave the fake knife in his hand, if we decide to bring up our Halloween decorations this year.

50” Fuzzy Spider Decoration – Item #F81922 $7.90

For about the past 10+ years we’ve had a giant spider on our balcony. He looked as if he was climbing up on to our balcony. Sadly, time and the weather took it’s toll on him and we had to get rid of him. His once black fur was light gray from being out in the sun. His fur was also coming off of him. I knew it was time to replace him.

WholeSaleHalloweenCostumes.com had the nearly identical spider to the one we had to get rid of. The only difference is that the one from WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com had red eyes that glowed (if you chose to put a battery in him and turn him on). I don’t think we’ll do that if we decide to put him outside. No one would be able to see his eyes from how high up we are, and I don’t like the idea of batteries out in the elements. If we opt to keep him inside, I will utilize his eerie red, glowing eyes.

This fun spider has legs that can be bent into a variety of positions, making it easy to find a way to “hang” him.

I love big spider decorations like this. They are fun to work with.

Bloody Hanging Foot – Item #63053F $6.90 and Bloody Hanging Arm – Item #63277F $6.90

For many years we’ve attached a leg to our balcony, so that it looks like just that one body part is hanging off (where is the rest of the body?!). When I saw that WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com had not only a hanging leg, but also a hanging hand, I knew I had to get them to add to our balcony.

Below is a photo of the leg that we have (not from this brand). This is an older photo. Our balcony decor has changed (improved!) over the years.

I have not hung up these props yet. As I explained earlier in this post, due to my cousin’s illness and death, I wasn’t in the mood to drag up our decorations. Thankfully there is still time, so I might just get them up after all. We’ll see… In the mean time, these are super cool props that I hang from my shelving where I keep all my horror memorabilia.

Even though these are made of plastic (including the chain), they do have a realistic look to them, which I love.

Sorry We’re Dead Sign – Item #BB78958 $1.99

This one is a mystery to me. I have no idea where it went! When I first recieved these goodies from WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com, I put everything in the closet for safe keeping. For the life of me, I cannot find it. I’m sure it’s in my closet somewhere. It probably fell behind something.

This is made out of a strong cardboard-like material and comes with a hanger so you can hang it up right away. I was going to hang this from our door when we run out of Halloween candy. I thought that would be funny.

Bloody Unrestroom Sign – Item #BB75038 $1.99

This is a really funny wall/door STICKER. This is not a window cling. This will stick to any smooth, clean, flat surface, like a bathroom door.

I’ve actually used this exact one a few times over the years. I forgot where I initally got them from, but I purchased several of them so I could have one year after year. I used the last one last year, so I was thrilled to find that WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com had them.

I’ve never had any issues with these. They peel off quickly and easily. I have had wall stickers actually take paint off the wall, but honestly, I have not had that happen with THESE stickers. That doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, so I would use caution when removing them. Just take it slow and easy and it should peel off just fine.

Sadly, this is a one time use only sticker. You can try to safe it, but I doubt it would stick as well. But for $2, it’s a fun addition to your home’s eerie decor.

Bloody Removeable Stickers – Item #BB75039 $1.99

Just like with the bathroom wall sticker, I have not put these stickers out yet. These are also a “one time use only” type of product. I am holding off using them to see if we’re going to put out all our Halloween decorations or not. If not, I must just save them until next year.

I have used these before as well. The same time I purchased multiple of the door sign, I also purchased multiple of these to use each year. I also ran out of these last year as well.

If I remember correctly, these stick a bit more than the bathroom sticker. I would definetly take it slow and easy removing these from your wall, just to be on the safe side.

These are fun to add those “finishing touches” to your scary Halloween decor. Add some to the top of doors, your toilet tank, or any where that you want people to think there could be a slaughtered body or monster lurking about.

I love decorating, and WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com has plenty of great decorations at budget friendly prices. I’m looking forward to many great years with these awesome decorations.

If you would like to check out what else WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com has, visit WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com. Also, check out their “sister site,” WholesalePartySupplies.com for all your party needs.

Both brands are also found on social media. Their links are found on their websites.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Tips for Celebrating an Old-Fashioned Christmas

 

 

While there is certainly a lot to be said for having a modern Christmas, and the internet has certainly made things such as sending a Christmas greeting card to each of your family members and friends a whole lot easier, there is a lot to be said for celebrating an old-fashioned family Christmas as well.

Many people would agree that Christmas has drifted far away from what it was meant to be, and that getting back to the good old-fashioned Christmas values of the past is a great idea. However, in a world that is all about commercializing the holiday, how do you even begin to make that happen? Well, it doesn’t have to be as hard as you might think. Below, you can find a few tips for making your dream of an old-fashioned family Christmas come true.

Create a Christmas Budget and Stick to It

“Keeping up with the Joneses” is a saying that seems to be especially true during the holiday season. It seems that, instead of celebrating with family, people are trying to outspend and out give other family members and friends instead. This isn’t at all what Christmas in the past was about.

For an old-fashioned family Christmas, you might want to consider sticking to a budget. Create a Christmas budget and refuse to break it. Some of the best ways to ensure you stick to that budget is by only shopping with cash, starting a savings account in January for next Christmas, and not trying to keep up with everyone else in your family when doing your shopping.

Make Your Own Decorations

Everything from decorations for the tree to decorations for the outdoors seems to be bought in stores these days. If you’re intent on having a Christmas out of the past, try your hand at making your own decorations this season. Get the entire family together and string popcorn for the tree, make your own Christmas stockings to hang by the chimney with care, and even make a few decorations as gifts for family and friends to give them on Christmas Eve as a special present to hang on their own family tree.

Decorate with Decor from Nature Itself

There are no better Christmas decorations to be had than the ones that come from nature itself. Start by bringing home a real tree, instead of a fake one. It will be cheaper, and something the family can do together. Some of the best things to use for decorations are popcorn, pine cones, berries, cinnamon sticks, and even dried orange slices, will not only make your home look amazing but will give you the scents of Christmas wafting through the house as well.

Give Homemade Treats as Presents

Another way to make an old-fashioned Christmas for family and friends is to give homemade treats as presents, instead of store-bought gifts. In the past, women used to spend weeks making homemade treats for Christmas, then putting them in baskets to give as gifts to everyone on their Christmas list. Not sure what treats to make and give out? Here are a few suggestions to think about.

  • Christmas bark
  • Apple butter
  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Turtle bites
  • Christmas pound cake
  • And more

There are also tons of ideas online for foods that are perfect as Christmas gifts as well.

These are just a few of the ways that you can have a good old-fashioned Christmas with family and friends this upcoming holiday season. Though a modern Christmas may be good for many people, for some, the idea of getting back to the basics and true meaning of the holiday is even better. In the end, the choice is yours.

Fun new Halloween books from Simon & Schuster

 

I know that summer just ended (technically it ends on September 23, 2019), but it’s never too early to start planning for Halloween. I don’t know about where you live, but here they’ve had Halloween things in the stores since the beginning of August.

I bought some Halloween decorations from AC Moore (craft store) around the first of August. I haven’t put them out yet. We plan on decorating for Halloween towards the end of September.

If your child/grandchild wants to get into the Halloween mood, there are plenty of fun books for all ages available from the publishing company, Simon & Schuster. They have plenty of new Halloween books for all ages, that are worth checking out.  I received a few of these books to review. I’ll comment about each one I reviewed below.

I also linked directly to the book on Simon & Shuster’s website so that you can learn more about it and where to purchase the book. Many of these books are found locally in bookstores, online book retailers and of course, Simon & Schuster.

CLACK, CLACK, BOO!

By Doreen Cronin

Illustrated by Betsy Lewin

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534450127 | All Ages

New York Times bestselling duo Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin’s beloved Halloween story is now available as a Classic Board Book!

HALLOWEEN KITTY

By Salina Yoon

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534443426 | All Ages

A cute kitten with a very twitchy tail is looking for a friend to trick-or-treat with in this purr-fect Halloween novelty book from award-winning creator Salina Yoon.

This book is super adorable! Throughout the story, you or your child can pull on the side tab to make the kitten’s tail wag back and forth.

I wish the book had “googly eyes” ‘instead of printed on eyes. I think that would have made the book even cuter.

The story is sweet, and the book is short enough to keep a young one’s attention.

The illustrations are adorable, and the images are bright and colorful.

This is such an adorable book.

I’M FEELING OUTRAGEOUS ORANGE

By Tina Gallo

Illustrated by Mette Engell

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534440197 | Ages 2-5

Kids are sure to laugh out loud at this pumpkin-shaped board book celebrating Halloween.

PJ MASKS SAVE HALLOWEEN!

By May Nakamura

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534440586 | Ages 3-7

The PJ Masks have to protect all the kids from Luna Girl, Night Ninja, and the Wolfy Kids who team up to steal everyone’s treat bags. It’s up to the PJ Masks to save the day—and Halloween! 

 Cast a spell on your curious child! Our Halloween picture books are both clever and cute:

CLEVER LITTLE WITCH

By Muon Thi Van

Illustrated by Hyewon Yum

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781481481717 | Ages 4-6

Little Linh is the cleverest little witch on Mãi Mãi island. She has everything she could need: a trusty broomstick, a powerful spell book, and a magical pet mouse. She also has a new brother named Baby Phu, and she does not like him one bit. He crashes her broomstick, eats pages out of her spell book, and keeps her up all night. Little Linh tried giving Baby Phu away, but nobody will take him. So, she’ll just have to try something else…

THE MOST TERRIBLE OF ALL

By Muon Thi Van

Illustrated by Matt Myers

4/23/19 | ISBN 9781534417168 | Ages 4-8

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who’s the most terrible one of all? Every morning, Smugg’s magic mirror tells him that he’s the most terrible monster there is. Until one day, when the mirror tells him there’s an even worse monster, right next door!

SKULLS

By Blair Thornburgh

Illustrated by Scott Campbell

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534414006 | Ages 4-8

Debut picture book author Blair Thornburgh and award-winning illustrator Scott Campbell put their heads together to celebrate one of the most important bones in your body: the skull! This smart, skull-positive story cheerfully dispels any fears kids might have about their skeletons, flipping our view of skulls from a spooky symbol to a fascinating, cool, and crucial.

 

SPENCER’S NEW PET

By Jessie Sima

8/27/19 | ISBN 9781534418776 | Ages 4-8

When Spencer gets a new pet, he’s excited to do all the things that pets do—taking walks in the park, going to the vet, and attending parties together. There’s just one hitch: Spencer’s new pet is a balloon. And that means No. Sharp. Objects. 

For Ages 5-7, a spooky sleepover Ready-to-Read:

CREEPIEST SLEEPOVER EVER

By Ximena Hastings

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534440647 | Ages 5-7

Mavis is thrilled to be reunited with her friends Sophie and Charlotte, twin werewolves from her Ghoul Scout troop. But when Aunt Lydia smells humans on the premises, she orders a lockdown of the castle and a search of the entire hotel. Mavis’s sleepover goes awry in this hilarious Level 2 Ready-to-Read based on an episode of the hit Disney Channel show Hotel Transylvania: The Series. 

Calling all monster lovers! Junior Monster Scouts is a new series for ages 7-10 for fans of Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol and Hotel Transylvania!

THE MONSTER SQUAD

9/3/19 | ISBN 9781534436770 | Ages 7-10

By Joe McGee

Illustrated by Ethan Long

Wolfy, Franky, and Vampyra—the children of the classic monsters—are Junior Monster Scouts. And even though ‘monster’ is their middle name, these funny fiends just want to help anybody in need, earn their Junior Monster Scout merit badges, and make friends. But, their good deeds are always foiled by Baron Von Grump, a cranky schemer who doesn’t like noise, doesn’t like kids, and most of all doesn’t like the Junior Monster Scouts.

CRASH! BANG! BOO!

9/3/19 | ISBN 9781534436800 | Ages 7-10

By Joe McGee

Illustrated by Ethan Long

It’s The Village’s 150th birthday celebration! And that means bright lights, popcorn machines, a marching band, and a musical merry-go-round. But not if Baron Von Grump can help it! 

I received both of these books to review. They are a fun read. I hope that the author, Joe McGee, plans on writing more books about these lovable characters.

These books are easy to read, and feature black and white illustrations sprinkled throughout the pages. I personally prefer reading books with interior pictures (I’ve always been that way). I find that illustrations keep my attention and add to the visualizations I have in my head about the content I am reading.

There is a third book coming out in April of 2020. I wouldn’t mind reading that book either.

I could see myself reading these books back in the day when I was in the 7-10 range (maybe even younger or older). I love monsters and scary things, so these books would have been perfect for me.

No worries, these books are NOT scary. They are just super fun books that really grab your attention (which is why I’d love to read the 3rd book in the series.

Check out these Halloween-themed tales from our other favorite chapter books series:

CAMPIRE STORIES

By Andres Miedoso

Illustrated by Victor Rivas

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534433519 | Ages 5-9

Camping with Desmond Cole is a lot of fun, until he starts telling ghost stories around the campfire. Most kids tell creepy stories that are totally fake, but Desmond tells totally true stories that will give you goosebumps.

This is another fun Halloween book.

Recently, the film Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark came out. That movie was not suitable for young views (in my opinion). This book would be a great alternative. It’s not scary at all.

I think most people share stories around a campfire (I used to when I went camping with my cousins). I could see someone reading this out loud to little ones around a campfire (or fire pit).

This book features different stories (each one is only a few pages long). Some are a bit more “spookier” than others, but nothing scary (in my opinion).

THE GREAT PUMPKIN SMASH

By Franklin W. Dixon

Illustrated by Santy Gutierrez

9/3/19 | ISBN 9781534431249 | Ages 6-9

Detective brothers Frank and Joe investigate a crime of smashin’ in the tenth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series. Can Frank and Joe find out what happened before it’s too late? Or is this pumpkin crime unpatchable?

NO TRICK-OR-TREATING!

By P.J. Night

8/27/19 | ISBN 9781534445635 | Ages 8-12

Ashley is shocked to find out that her new friends in Heaton Corners are forbidden to go trick-or-treating, so she convinces them to sleep over at her house and go trick-or-treating anyway. But she soon discovers that Halloween in Heaton Corners isn’t like Halloween anywhere else. Halloween is more than haunted in this superspecial You’re Invited to a Creepover book, featuring a glow-in-the-dark cover.

THE MARSHMALLOW GHOST

By Natalie Shaw

9/17/19 | ISBN 9781481494878 | Ages 5-8

A sleepover at the Royal Castle has Mini, Taffy, Frosting, and even Gobo the little troll believing in marshmallow ghosts in this fourth super-sweet Aladdin QUIX story. Perfect for fans of Sofia the First. 

 

PUMPKIN GUTS VERSUS VAMPIRES

By Andres Miedoso

Illustrated by Victor Rivas

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781534440456 | Ages 6-9

On Halloween, a curious Mavis and her friends break with tradition and do something every monster has been warned not to do: they go trick-or-treating. How much trouble can they cause? Plenty apparently.

Discover the wacky world of Franken-Sci High, the only school in the world for aspiring mad scientists! A new series created with the Jim Henson Company, perfect for ages 8-12.

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH NEWTON?

8/27/19 | ISBN 9781481491310 | Ages 8-12

By Mark Young

Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum

It takes a lot to stand out at a school for mad scientists—but Newton Warp is unlike anyone (or anything) else at Franken-Sci High. Newton Warp is a mystery, even to himself: He wakes up one day in the library with no idea of who he is, how he got there, or where he came from. He’s eager to find out who his family is, but this is high school after all, and he soon has other problems.

MONSTERS AMONG US!

9/24/19 | ISBN 9781481491341 | Ages 8-12

By Mark Young

Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum

In the second book in the Franken-Sci High series, Newton Warp’s friends notice he’s being followed around by a strange new professor, Dr. Flubitus, but have no idea why. Newton wonders if it has something to do with the barcode on his foot. He doesn’t have much time to dwell on it, though, because soon there are reports of a giant monster loose on campus!

Beware of these spooky middle-grade novels for ages 8-12, guaranteed to hook any young reader:

BUNNICULA: 40th Anniversary Edition

By James Howe

5/21/19 | ISBN 9781534435933 | Ages 8-12

Celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the fluffy and fearsome classic Bunnicula with this pocket-sized edition, perfect for accompanying readers on all their mischievous adventures. This special edition includes bonus content and a deluxe cover that looks and feels as eerily delightful as the story within!

Seriously? Is Bunnicula FORTY years old already? Sheesh… I feel old. Very old!

This book has a velvet-like cover, which kids are going to love to “pet” and stroke.

This is a classic story that I read many times over the past few decades. This book is so funny! It contains a plethora of crazy characters that you are sure to love.

I know this story is geared more towards younger children (8-12), I think older children and even us “big children” (adults) will enjoy reading this. I’ve read this book numerous times and I still find myself laughing at certain parts.

Cute! Cute! Cute! You really should read this book at least once in your life.

FESTIVAL OF GHOSTS

By Alexander William

Illustrated by Kelly Murphy

5/21/19 | ISBN 9781481469197 | Ages 8-12

Rosa Diaz saved the town of Ingot by unleashing all the ghosts who were previously banished. Now, like the rest of the world, Ingot is filled with spirits and poltergeists. But unlike the rest of the world, the town’s residents have no idea how to cope, and some of the ghosts are holding century-old grudges. National Book Award winner William Alexander conjures up a spooky adventure full of excitement in this entertaining sequel to A Properly Unhaunted Place.

This book is actually a series of sorts, There is another book that preceeds this book. I haven’t read that one, but I’d be interested in reading it because there were some parts in this book where I feel there is a backstory and I’d love to learn more about it.

This book, in a way, reminds me of Mean Girls in that Rosa (the main character) has to attend middle school after being at home for many years. She needs to find a way of navigating middle school, which i s a lot scarier than the ghosts she’s experienced. She’s also seeing as the “weird” kids at school, which honestly doesn’t bother her.

Even though the lead character is a girl, I think boys would enjoy this book just as much as girls would.

I enjoyed reading this book. I don’t think it’s necessarily scary. But there is a bit of a creepiness factor too it, which is cool.

 

THE GRIFFINS OF CASTLE CARY

3/5/19 | ISBN 9781534430884 | Ages 8-12

By Heather Shumaker

A charming, adventure-filled debut novel that’s perfect for fans of The Penderwicks series. The Griffin siblings can’t wait to spend a week visiting their eccentric aunt in England. But when they finally arrive, they’re faced with a few local secrets that stir up more than a little trouble. Apparently this town has a ghost problem and the three children must race to solve the mystery before the ghosts take something that doesn’t belong to them. 

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Roller Girl graphic novel for ages 8-12:

THE OKAY WITCH

9/3/19 | ISBN 9781534431461 | Ages 8-12

By Emma Steinkellner

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! 

For readers 14 and up, a plague called “Wickedness” is pulses through the world in this dystopian YA:

HOW WE BECAME WICKED

By Alexander Yates

7/23/19 | ISBN 9781481419840 | Ages 14 and up

When an insect-borne plague begins to envelop the world, three sixteen-year-olds struggle to survive amongst the healthy “trues” and the infected “wickeds” in this gripping dystopian tale from the author of The Winter Place.

What book (or books) stood out to you the most? What book (or books) do you think your child/grandchild would love to have? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I received free book samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.