MASK-QUERADE: 10 DIY Ways To Upgrade Your Halloween Party

2. Boo Banner

Boo Banner

This cut-out “Boo!” banner will help you set the mood.

3. Chocolate Boo Goo Apples

Chocolate Boo Goo Apples

What will you serve for snacks? These caramel apples come with a side of scary!

4. Boo Halloween Garland

Boo Halloween Garland

If you want to have a killer Halloween party, start with the decorations. Needle felt some pumpkins and ghosts for a hanging garland.

5. Black Devil Martini Recipe

Black Devil Martini Recipe

You can’t host a party without drinks – this frightful-looking martini is sure to delight your guests.

6. Knitted Eyeballs

Knitted Eyeballs

Knitted eyeballs are equal parts creepy and cute.

7. Stairway to Rat Heaven

Stairway to Rat Heaven

Bring the creatures of the night indoors for a spell with these papercraft critters.

8. Halloween Amigurumi Ornaments

Halloween Amigurumi Ornaments

Crochet these cute Halloween amigurumi ornaments for party favors or decorations.

9. Monsters and Zombies Embroidery

Monsters and Zombies Embroidery

Embroider some zombies and monsters to hang on the wall or give to friends.

10. DIY Halloween Nails

DIY Halloween Nails

 

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SOCIAL MEDIA: Does your child have it? If so, here’s something you may want to know

By The End Of The School Year, Thousands Of Schools Will Be Monitoring Their Students’ Social Media

Privacy advocates worry about school districts snooping on their students’ social media accounts, but the students at one California high school don’t seem to mind.

via BuzzFeed Staff

John Gara / BuzzFeed

GLENDALE, Calif. — It’s Friday afternoon. School just got out at Hoover High. You can hear the drumline practicing in the distance. A group of senior guys sit talking kitty corner from campus as one of them skateboards.

The week before, the entire campus was abuzz with word the district was monitoring their social media accounts. “Somebody read something [online] and rumors spread,” says Andre Abramian, a senior.

Most of his friends had heard about it. A few hadn’t. “That’s fucked up!” one says after Abramian explains what happened. “That’s bullshit!”

The school district hired a Hermosa Beach firm, Geo Listening, to monitor students’ social media accounts and report back with what they find. Some attacked it as an invasion of privacy. The district sees it as a way to help students. The consensus among Abramian and his friends is that it’s about discipline.

“For like a week, everybody talked about it, but then nothing happened,” says Michael Rizzo, a senior. “I haven’t heard of anybody who got in trouble.”

Their teachers are mostly on board with the program. Rizzo says he’s only heard one opposed to it.

The next day, The New York Times will break news that the National Security Administration has been monitoring Americans’ social networks since 2010. The story was mostly lost in the lead up to the government shut down, and also, it’s not that surprising a revelation, considering the government has been tracking Americans’ phone records and emails.

Polling has shown that a majority of Americans think the government’s phone and email surveillance tactics are acceptable as an anti-terror tactic, and it’s not a stretch to assume they’ll feel the same way when asked about their social media.

Andre, Michael and their friends feel the same way. When asked if they’re OK with what the district’s doing, they shrug. They don’t think they ever post anything on social media that will get them in trouble anyways.

“We built this for the kids,” says Chris Frydych, Geo Listening’s CEO. “I just really wanted to have a greater impact in some of the areas involving school climate.”

Frydych hopes his service will make schools better by giving educators and administrators more information about their students. They look for evidence of bullying, drug use, violence, possible suicide and unauthorized use of technology in the classroom by using a blend of technology and employees who sift through the data to find meaningful information.

“We don’t interpret, we just provide information,” he says. “We get that information to people who work there every day and help.”

Geo Listening is expected to have 3,000 “school sites” as clients by the end of July across the country and internationally as well, Frydych says. He’s tight lipped over who the clients are, though. A confidentiality agreement means even curious districts thinking about signing up for the service can’t find out which of their neighbors are already using it. The only reason Glendale’s business became public was because it was picked up on by local media after being included in a district board meeting.

“The contract with Geo Listening was included in the district’s board agenda,” said Kelly Corrigan, a Glendale News-Press reporter, in an email. “The board approved it without any discussion then.”

The district had also piloted the program last spring, but Corrigan says as far as she knows, they never publicly discussed that. If it wasn’t for her reporting, the program would still be a secret.

Her story set off a media firestorm that drew the attention of the Los Angeles Times and CNN and drew criticism of privacy advocates. Frydych, who had previously listed the connection to the Glendale district on his LinkedIn profile, went private, Corrigan said. Glendale Superintendent Richard Sheehan defended the program, saying during its pilot phase, the district was able to intervene with a student who was contemplating suicide on social media. “We were able to save a life,” Sheehan told CNN.

Suicide prevention has become a top concern for districts. Sheehan said two students have committed suicide in the past year, and California has reduced mental health services in schools. It’s also an issue parents hold schools responsible for. In 2011, the parents of a Florida girl who committed suicide after being bullied for a topless photo she sent to a boy spread through the school, sued their school district, arguing they didn’t do enough after their daughter showed signs of being suicidal.

A district spokesperson said Sheehan was no longer speaking to media about the program. Glendale was burdened with the fallout from the story, but potentially hundreds of schools across the country are doing the same thing without students’ knowledge.

Frydych dismisses critics who say his service is a violation of privacy. He sees the outrage as misunderstanding from adults who are used to an Internet of email and passwords and privacy and don’t know the realities of publicly visible social media. “We only look at publicly available social media,” he says. “You make a conscious decision to publish publicly or privately.”

He also says this is something students want. “The students have stood up and said they want this,” he says.

At a district meeting after the program came to light, Hoover High School senior Audria Amirian, a student representative on the school board defended the program.

“They’re not hacking into your system to find out what you’ve posted,” she said,according to the Glendale News-Press. “Everything is public information. And I think that even if it saves one student’s life, it’s worth every dollar that you’ve put into it.”

Frydych says he doesn’t seem much competition in in Geo Listening’s future — “I think the companies are scared of liabilities,” he says — and they’re moving forward, working within the legal framework of each new state and country they enter. It’s a service more and more schools might look to as they grapple with how to handle students and social media.

“Adults have a very large blind spot for what’s happening on social media,” he says. “They don’t understand the volume of negative activity students see directed towards them and their peers.”

BUZZFEED: 25 Clever Costumes to wear as a group!

1. The Rugrats

The Rugrats

As presented by a variety of famous people.

2. Women Laughing Alone with Salad

Women Laughing Alone with Salad

Oh lettuce, you slay me!!

3. Tetris

Tetris

Get the full instructions here.

4. The Characters from Daria

The Characters from Daria

5. The Peanuts Characters

The Peanuts Characters

6. Pac-Man et al

Pac-Man et al

7. The Cast of Clue

The Cast of Clue

8. Chefs and a Lobster

Chefs and a Lobster

The happiest little meal there ever was.

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

It takes no time at all to pull together.

10. Mario-Kart

Mario-Kart

The bikes and balloons are what make this.

11. The Many Looks of Johnny Depp

The Many Looks of Johnny Depp

12. And Bill Murray

And Bill Murray

13. And Britney Spears

And Britney Spears

14. Chris Lilley’s Characters on Summer Heights High

Chris Lilley's Characters on Summer Heights High

15. Trolls

Trolls

The gem in the belly button is key.

16. The Witches from Hocus Pocus

The Witches from Hocus Pocus

Cleavage totally optional.

17. Beer Pong

Beer Pong

18. Nesting Dolls

Nesting Dolls

Bonus points if you have a bunch of humans who are different sizes.

19. Roller Coaster Enthusiasts

Roller Coaster Enthusiasts

20. The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums

21. The Golden Girls

The Golden Girls

22. Madeline, Miss Clavel, and the Other Girls

Madeline, Miss Clavel, and the Other Girls

If you’ve already got a private-school uniform, the rest is just hats and silly fake French accents.

23. The Very Motley Crew from Napoleon Dynamite

The Very Motley Crew from Napoleon Dynamite

24. Black-and-White Film Characters

Black-and-White Film Characters

You know how there are make-out costumes and non-make-out costumes? This is def the latter.

LOCAL ATTRACTION: Kentucky Science Center, Science in Play Exhibit in Louisville, KY

My toddler and I recently joined Ms.LouFamFun and her two kiddos on a rainy day in downtown Louisville. She invited us to check out the return of Kentucky Science Center‘s, Science in Play exhibit. This exhibit was at the Science Center last year, and it has returned and will be moving permanently into the Center’s exhibit space.

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We arrived bright and early as the Science Center was opening, and had the place to ourselves for a good 45 minutes or so! The Science in Play exhibit is currently housed on the first floor, in the temporary exhibit space right next to the KidZone. There are five main areas to play, engineer, and use your brain! They are a Sensory Course, Getting Moving and Small Build, Testing, Big Shapes, and Shapes and Stuff Store.

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The LouFamFun kids are ages 4 and 6; my little guy is just about to turn 2. He had fun sprinting around the space, rolling balls, climbing under the ropes course, and playing in the mirror maze. The LouFamFun kids are the perfect age for this exhibit. They built roller coasters and used their minds to problem solve and figure out what pieces needed to connect where, disassembling pieces where needed, and just trying to get just the perfect set up for the right momentum for the ball to make the entire loop and span of the coaster. It was fascinating watching her son as an architect, building and rebuilding to get it just right.

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We stayed in the first room for a long time. In this room is the above mentioned roller coaster making station, along with a fun mirror maze, a ropes course mat where kids try to figure out how to cross from one side to the other sticking with the same color ropes, a huge mirror with wooden blocks for building, and a large magnetic space on the wall with fun cups, spoons, pails, etc. for kids to experiment making different designs.

All of our kids really loved this entire area; my little boy really liked the magnetic space and pulling the spoons off and sticking them back on! He also loved the musical sound floor, where you move your hands over the space and make music! We then ventured to the next room, which is adjacent to here. In this room is the Big Shapes and Shapes/Stuff Store area. Once again, the LouFamFun kids just went at the huge foam blocks in this area, building and assembling to their heart’s content. My little boy immediately saw small, toddler sized grocery carts and went to grab one. In the Shapes/Stuff Store, kids can grab a huge shopping list card that is color coordinated and you can go shopping for the shapes listed on your card. When you’re done grabbing all of your shapes and colors, you can follow the directions on the card to build a new shape out of the shapes you’ve shopped for. It’s a really neat concept! Of course my under 2-year-old didn’t quite catch onto that concept, but loved looking for the colors and naming them things that he is familiar with in his own world, like orange balls became oranges and yellow shapes became bananas. This was a very fun space, a great place for kids’ imaginations to run wild. There is also a nice little reading nook in the corner, for some quieting down time for your kiddos.

All in all, visiting the Science in Play exhibit was a huge hit. Of course, after you’ve had your adventures there, the rest of the Science Center awaits you. We also took our kids over to the ever popular KidZone space, where they played and had a blast. My son and I had to get home to lunch/naptime, but the LouFamFun family stuck around and explored the rest of the center, stopping for a packed lunch that they brought along with them. The Kentucky Science Center is a very engaging, educational center in the heart of our downtown, and it’s the perfect place to spend an entire day learning! I would recommend this exhibit for kids ages 9 and under, although we saw kids of all ages exploring in their own ways; there were even some older kids that may have been middle school aged there the morning we went and they were really enjoying themselves as well. The entire center is geared for a wide range of children, of course.

The Kentucky Science Center is located at 727 West Main Street. Click here for hours and admission prices. Remember you can visit the Center for $5 after 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The Science in Play exhibit is included in your general admission.