One thing about having children – they really help you ‘up’ your parenting game with their honest critic of the job you’re doing. With only a few days before our annual Halloween party my oldest son asks me if we’re ‘only’ doing the magic potions because, “they are for little kids”. I choked and sputtered on my beverage because his 8 year old buddies have actually asked me “are you doing magic potions again this year?” … with hope in their eyes. But with trying to keep it fresh…I’ve been researching something for the older crowd.
BTW – click on this link to get a description of the magic potions we do every year at the party. Don’t listen to my big boy – kids of ALL ages love them! Halloween Magic Potion Fun
So I remembered seeing pictures of specimen jars last year on various sites and they look perfect for the older crowd. A little gross (perfect for the over 6 year old crowd) but they are inexpensive and you can get very creative. For inspiration, I’ve been following The Craft Junkie and their post on Mad Scientist Specimen Jars have been amazing! My favorites are the skeleton hands, prisoner’s brain (extra love for the Harry Potter reference with labelling the jar from Azkaban), and floating werewolf eye balls. Included in The Craft Junkie blog are the printable labels for specimen jars which will save you time in the creative department. All of their specimen jars are fabulous and great for decorations but to turn this into a craft to keep kids busy for 5 minutes…I’m combining ingredients for mine. The below picture is from The Craft Junkie site – I wish mine looked like this!
Before you start specimen jars you need to think back to your preschool days and ask “will it float?” You don’t want a combination of things that all float – although I do love the werewolf eyeball jar. For our party specimen jars I’m using:
~ Avalon glass milk jars with colored water (green and yellow). Green looks great if items float to the top and yellow for body part jars you want to see through the jar.
~ Canning jars
~ Cauliflower brains
~ Gooey eyeballs
~ Paper clips and celery cut into 1 inch strips
~ Cooked spaghetti
Firstly, my mom had 20 odd mason jars (canning glass jars) not being used that she donated so that was a huge help with getting this craft ‘party ready’. I’m using empty Avalon milk jars for kids to pour the colored liquid because they match the theme perfectly with their shape. They are glass – but hey – I think the kids can handle it. We played with different recipes for an hour today and found the best combo was to get the brain at the bottom of the jar. If you are using a plastic/rubber brain that stores sell – you’ll need to weigh it down so it reaches the bottom of the jar. Hook a paperclip through it and hook the other end of the paper clip through some celery to weigh it down. If you are using cauliflower – these will automatically sink to the bottom of the jar. Next we added an eyeball, then intestines on top (spaghetti). We poured yellow liquid into the jar and it’s complete. Now to print off the label from The Craft Junkie and we’re done!
I did try using a technique of pouring clear shampoo into a jar then adding an old plastic animal toy so it would look suspended but didn’t have any luck at all. I’m really not the crafty type – but I do love to use my imagination with thinking of gross Halloween parts for activities. My twin girls really got into the fun this year too. Will post pictures on the Mommy Footprint fan page of the best looking jars!
Happy Halloween! Enjoy this fun time of year!!