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A Very Kid-Friendly Halloween

It’s the season of the witch, and we have been playing our Halloween music and watching our Halloween films since mid-September.  We have already rolled out our yearly music playlist, and are ready to follow up with some more ways to get your kid-friendly scares on this Halloween.

“The Grand Scream of Things” by Andy ZListen To: “The Grand Scream of Things” by Andy Z

Award-winning kids’ musician Andy Z has just released an ambitious musical audio play for kids 8-12 called “The Grand Scream of Things.” The 66-minute music adventure takes listeners on a Halloween day journey with protagonist Andy, his dog Reggie,  his buddy Danger Dude and Pleadia, a teenage alien and potential romantic interest for Andie. Interspersed through this “old time radio show” style adventure are stand-alone songs that span the punk, hip-hop, pop and hip-hop genre. Guest kid musicians like Paula Messner (Candy Band) and RhymeZwell show up while production is handled by Grammy-nominated producer Tor Hyams

Bonus Mention: Children’s musician David Tobocman is offering a free Halloween song download called “Spooky Stuff.” This tune was written by David’s 1st grade daughter Zoe.

Peekaboo Trick or Treat with Ed Emberley
We are long-time fans of Night & Day Studios’ Peekaboo brand of apps. Each release brings unique artwork and new tricks to their trademark line of  apps  featuring animals and objects popping out and surprising toddlers and babies. For Halloween, Night & Day enlists the talent of Caldecott award-winning author and illustrator, Ed Emberley (“Go Away, Big Green Monster!”) to create kid-safe interpretations of Halloween mainstays like witches, werewolves, bats and ghosts. In “Peekaboo Trick or Treat,” little ones tap on the  colorful “haunted house” and are greeted by a rotating cast of 14 characters with silly sound effects.  A simple app with inspired illustrations that allows even the youngest ones to celebrate the season without getting too scared.
 

The Worst Witch

The Worst Witch introduced the young, fledgling witch/wizard-in-the-making story years before Harry Potter entered pop culture history books. Based on the book series of the same name,  this made-for-TV production focuses on central character Mildred Hubble as she tries to find her way at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Along the way she deals with bullies, botched spells, evil witches and a meeting with the honored Grand Wizard. While the special effects are slightly dated, the movie’s central themes are ageless, as Mildred overcomes obstacles both realistic and supernatural to become the school’s superstar student. Adult viewers: come for the retro charm, stay for the positive message, and come back again for Tim Curry’s hammy performance as The Grand Wizard and his musical number “Anything Can Happen on Halloween.”

Bonus Mention: Scholastic Storybook Treasures: A Very Brave Witch…and more Halloween Stories.  Eight classic kid’s books are brought to life in this Halloween-themed edition of the Scholastic Storybook Treasures series. For parents who prefer a mellower, literary approach to television viewing, this a great option.  Most of the stories in this DVD compilation are filmed books with simple camera pans, celebrity narration and optional onscreen read-along.

Go & Do: PhilharMONSTER! @ The Peter Norton Symphony Space in NYC

Lucky NYC-ers can go to this special one-off Halloween show on Sun, Oct 28 at 4 pm.  The young musicians of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York’s Carnegie Hill Orchestra (ages 8 to 12) and ISO Symphony (ages 12 to 19) will perform horror-themed orchestral classics to get into the spirit of the season. All players will be dressed for the holiday, with a special Ghost Conductor.

HallowilloweenBonus Mention: Be sure to check out musician Alastair Moock’s “Slightly Scary Spectacular” concerts at Jammin Java (Saturday, October 27, 10:30 am) and 92Y Tribeca NY (Sunday, October 28, 11 am).

Read: “Hallowilloween: Nefarious Silliness” by Calef Brown 

Artist/poet Calef Brown could be described as a modern-day Dr Seuss, with an edgy folk-art touch. He has even inspired an album based on his previous books. “Hallowilloween” features Calef’s trademark ridiculous rhymes, this time themed around his own brand of monsters. Meet the baseball “Vumpire,” shunken head Duncan, the brain-eating “Oompachupa Loompacabra”  and the cowgirl “Witches of Texas.” Age appropriately morbid, Calef Brown’s poems are humorous enough to circumnavigate any nasty nightmares.

Bonus Mention: “Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyle”  by Charles Gilman. A novel for tweens that references the king of horror and “speculative fiction.” Yes please! “Tales from Lovecraft Middle School” tells the story of twelve-year-old Robert Arthur as he navigates his way through a middle school filled with mysterious passages,  Lovecraftian beasts, and teachers that are never who they appear to be.

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