Things to Do in October with Your Family


Fall is here! That means Halloween, cooler temperatures and new ways to play with your children this season are just around the corner.

Dive into Fall Fun
Sweaters are coming out of hiding and shorts are being traded for pants. With a change of seasons comes a whole new set of activities for you and your kids to enjoy together. Before Old Man Winter chases your family indoors, entertain your children with fall season activities that celebrate the change of seasons and get your family to enjoy some quality time together at the same time.

Get Ready for Halloween
If your family participates in Halloween, you have a lot to do this month. Start with picking your family’s Halloween costumes. With that big task out of the way, you can now focus on throwing a kid-friendly Halloween party. But Halloween wouldn’t be complete without trying some themed activities, such as creating a ghost and pumpkin tree,ghost candy bag or pumpkin treat bag. And as you map out your Halloween night strategy, just remember, you can still have fun without going door to door for treats on Halloween night.

Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month
If your family has been thinking about bringing a furry family member into your home, now may be the time to take action. Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month is an annual push to help homeless dogs find good, loving homes. Choosing a family pet shouldn’t be decided on a whim, though. If your family has talked it over and is ready to commit, there are plenty of dogs in animal shelters who would love the chance to become a part of your family.
Computer Learning Month
These days, it seems like as soon as a child can sit up on his own in a chair, he wants to know everything he can about computers. While you should follow the recommended ages for computer and online time guide to make sure your kids aren’t spending too much time in front of the computer, you can start to teach them computer basics. One way to use the computer as a learning tool is by finding the best educational websites that will help your children polish their computer skills while learning everything from the alphabet to arithmetic. And when they’re really ready to show off their computer skills, work with them to build their own website.

Family History Month
Your kids probably know their grandparents’ names and how much they love them but do they know what the first car was that their grandfather drove? What was Aunt Marcy’s favorite song in high school? Capture those memories for your kids while tracing the family tree. This month presents a huge opportunity for you and your kids to learn more about your own roots.

National Roller Skating Month
National Roller Skating Month started back in 1983 to promote this form of fitness and raise awareness of how to enjoy the fun safely.Teach your children how to skate properly while making sure they know skating without a helmet or pads is off limits. Kids often think they’re invincible so it’s important to use this time to remind them of the right safety techniques to keep them rolling and out of the ER.

National Stamp Collecting Month
Being a stamp collector may not be as cool as it was once but it’s still a hobby that has its place in your house. While the cost of stamps continues to rise, stamp collecting is still an economical hobby. Getting started is easy too.Start collecting U.S. stamps to see if your children’s interests hold and then you can look for stamps all over the world, thanks to the Internet.


Red Velvet Brain Cupcakes

Yield: 12 CupcakesTotal Time: 50 Minutes


  • Cupcakes:
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 cups canola oil
    1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
    1 teaspoon white wine or cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon red food coloring (recommended: Select natural food coloring)
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    2 teaspoons natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    4 cups confectioners’ sugar
    1/3 cup whole milk
    Red and black food coloring
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners (preferably silver).
For the cupcakes: Crack the eggs into your mixer. Add the canola oil, buttermilk and vinegar. Drop in the food coloring and vanilla. Let it stir up until well mixed.
Put the sugar, flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk together until well mixed. Then sift this right onto a big piece of waxed paper, it makes it easy to transport to the mixer. Make sure there are no clumps.
Turn your mixture on low and slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients as it’s mixing. Turn the mixer up just a bit and combine well. Stop and scrape down the bowl.
Use an ice cream scoop to evenly dish the batter out into the cupcake liners, about 3/4 full.
Pop the cupcakes in the oven until a cake tester comes out nice and clean, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: Add the softened butter and confectioners’ sugar and cream together in a mixer. Add the milk. Stop and scrape down the bowl, getting all the confectioners’ sugar incorporated. Add a couple drops of black food coloring and then some red food coloring. Mix in the vanilla and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
Fill a pastry bag or snip the corner of a zip top bag. Fill with the frosting. (To fill the bag easily, wrap the bag around a cup and wrap the edges of the bag around the top to keep the bag open while filling with frosting.)
Frost the cupcakes, making a little squiggly line down the middle, and then filling in little swirls to look like the brain. Repeat on the other side and for the rest of the cupcakes.