Hallowe’en With a (Lockdown) Twist!

This year has seen many changes of plans, from weddings to birthdays to holidays, which are just the tip of the iceberg. In this current normal, how on earth do we go trick or treating?

picture book illustrator

Hallowe’en is approaching, and it’s usually a time kids love for the fun costumes, the beginning of the countdown towards Christmas, and of course, the naughty treats! But this year, as with many aspects of our life, it’s going to look a little different. For most people we can’t just go knocking on front doors and accepting sweets; actually, looking back it does seem a rather odd thing to do if you’re knocking on the doors of strangers! Most people do have good intentions though, and for most parents and carers it will be a real shame to have to let down their children at this fun time of year. So, with this in mind, let’s find a few ways to enjoy the spoooooky season without breaking any safety rules.

Make a Hallowe’en Eve Basket

We’ve all seen Christmas Eve boxes, and this mum from Liverpool has had a fab idea: Hallowe’en baskets! With spooky-themed pjs, fun games and crafts, a couple of sweet treats and a slime-cake making kit, she’s had some really great ideas for getting kids into the spirit (pun intended!) of things. She explains how she found most of the items from Hobbycraft, Poundland and supermarkets, and if you can find things like cake kits, pjs that can be worn again and again, and other reusable or plastic-free items then even better.

children's illustration happy designer

Lights-Off Scavenger Hunt!

Of course, there has to be some spooky happenings at Hallowe’en! Why not turn all the lights off and grab a torch, then head off around the house for a treat hunt? During the day, one of the adults can hide treats, toys and other activities around the house. The kids just need to grab their trick’or’treat buckets and a torch then head off around the house! Make it extra creepy by decorating each room with cobwebs, pretend skeletons and maybe even a well-timed screaming sound effect or two! Have some fun without leaving the house!

Watch a Scary Film.

The classic Hallowe’en fun evening! Grab some popcorn, get your scary pjs and cuddle up under a duvet. Casper The Friendly Ghost, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Witches, Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice… there are so many films to choose from! Enjoy it under a blanket so you have somewhere to hide for the scary bits!

picture book illustrator

Carve a Pumpkin

If there’s one way to let people know you are having spooktastic fun inside this Hallowe’en it’s a carved pumpkin in the window! The great thing about a carved pumpkin is you can save the seeds and roast them (try with a little honey or a touch of salt!) and if you carve out enough flesh (uuugh!) you can make a fab pumpkin pie! These are super scrummy, and contain veg, so legitimately good for you! That’s how it works, right? Once you have got what you need from the pumpkin you can get carving! In such an odd year it may be nice to think of vampires, ghosts and zombies as being the really scary things. Once Hallowe’en is over you can compost the pumpkin, and if not apparently squirrels love them. So there’s no need for any of it to go to waste. Perfect!

Make a Costume – and Zoom Your Friends!

One of the best things about Hallowe’en is the creativity that can be employed when it comes to costume making. There are a million and one costume ideas from 2020 alone (we won’t name names, but think terrifying…!) so get your thinking caps on and grab the PVA and cardboard! However, can we really enjoy a costume if our friends can’t see it too? Head to Zoom, Skype or FaceTime (or any video calling device) and have a costume competition with your friends. Make sure you do a proper fashion show, we want zombie stumbling, ghostly, Kate Bush-style moves or growling werewolves! The best costume (and scariest model!) will get a prize. If you all agree a prize in advance, perhaps an adult can buy one so you all get a little treat as a reward.

Set Up a Garden Graveyard For Neighbours

Whilst we may not be able to enter each other’s houses, we can still enter the gardens safely. Let the local kids know your plan, so they can pop over and enjoy your scary graveyard garden! Make some pretend headstones (old polystyrene and cardboard works brilliantly – these can be used year on year too – paint in grey and paint some scary-sounding names on – Count von Vamp perhaps? Baroness Undead?) and decorate them around your garden. Go wild on the fake cobwebs, painted leaves and fake limbs! Try and use recyclable materials and limit the plastic. If you make your own items (another fun activity!) then you should save money, give the kids an activity and limit the use of shop-bought plastics. Once it’s set up, send out spooky invites to your local friends and neighbours, and make sure they know to attend in family groups only. On the day, nominate a crypt-keeper who can let people know when they are allowed to enter the graveyard. Once in, the kids can search the graves for spooky treats, and perhaps a few naughty ghosts can hide behind gravestones and squirt silly string (from a safe distance!) to scare their grave-robbers! Make sure the sweets or treats are not home-made (I know it’s sad, but for this year it’s best) and if you provide things like fruit, sweets or treats make sure they are individually wrapped so each child has their own.

Remember, whatever you do please have fun! It’s been a rough old year, and we want to see that if you can, you and your kids can have a fun time of it over the next few months. It won’t be the same as “normal”, but we can make it as fun and hopefully, as mischievous! Just remember to stay safe, keep washing your hands and stay happy. Have a spooooooky Hallowe’en!

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • "I am absolutely thrilled with the colours and love the look and overall feel of the book, its so different and unique, thank you so much"
  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication. Sarah is a fantastic illustrator! It is nice to know I have worked with someone who is so professional at her job, and will certainly remember her for the future if I need another book illustrating."
  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva