Calming Your Child’s Mind

The pandemic caused everyone to stay at home to keep their families healthy and safe. This also meant that kids lost the chance to interact with other kids in school as these facilities were closed. Even now that the world is becoming less dangerous due to more people getting vaccines and booster shots, some parents will really worry about letting their children go out to mingle with others. This comes down to how some parents will choose to keep the kids inside the home to protect them as much as possible.

Although, doing this can stress out your children as they need some kind of outlet to expend their pent-up energy. And many activities do just that. But sometimes, what your kids need are activities to calm them down. Instead of engaging in rough play, they might benefit from relaxing tasks to calm their excited and anxious minds. Here are some ideas to help you soothe your children full of life and vigor.

Gardening

Gardening is a great task to do when stressed, and this can apply to children. Gardening will let them feel more in tune with nature as they touch the plants and the soil with their bare hands. They will get to see the wonder of life (in plant form) as the greens grow and flourish where you planted them. You can take your kids out into your lawn, plant some seeds or spouts, cut some dead stems, and water the soil.

Or you can start an entirely new gardening project inside your homelike an artificial vertical garden wall if you don’t have a lot of space outside. All in all, interacting with plants is always good for the mind, so your kids and the entire family can take part in your gardening efforts to keep both a beautiful garden and a serene mind.

Book Reading

Reading books is both educational and calming for kids. For younger kids, reading stories to them helps to develop their listening skills and extend their attention span as you read. They get to hear new words that you can explain to them to widen their vocabulary. And depending on the stories you tell, they will also learn some important lessons to keep in their minds for life. For older children, letting them read books themselves and asking questions about what they’ve learned maintains good interaction between you and them.

Cooking and Baking

Food is always something that connects different kinds of people, so you can also connect with your child. Making food requires some finesse that can be learned only through experience. You can let your kids join you as you cook or bake different foods to give them something to do while at home.

Choosing simple foods might be more appropriate for younger children, but you can make more advanced dishes if your child is very interested in the task. Just remember to keep them away from flames and sharp objects when they are helping you prepare the food.

Board Games

Board games are starting to become a thing of the past, but that shouldn’t stop you from playing one or two with your child. Many board games like chess and scrabble ask for a certain level of concentration that can help to distract the mind from worries and various stresses. But simpler board games like chutes and ladders can be played with younger children to keep them occupied for some time.

Origami

Origami is the art of folding paper to create different things and structures. From simple shapes and airplanes to animals and playful gadgets, you can teach your child to create something out of a sheet of paper. But this will require you to learn how to fold paper into your desired objects. Thankfully, there are plenty of tutorials and how-to videos that you can follow online with just a quick search.

These are only some of the activities you can do with your children. You can find more by looking at your kids’ interests and playing off of that to keep them well-engaged in your chosen activity. But know that each child is unique, so find those that your son or daughter will enjoy doing.

Children with special needs will also require a different approach to calming activities, so be wary of some of the mentioned ideas before trying them out yourself. With these, you should be more appeased with your children’s temperament and mental state. Spend a lot of time with them and talk to them while this pandemic slowly disappears and everyone can have their lives back once more.

Behind the Fan-Film: Jason Beware 2

Now that Jason Beware 2 has been out in the wild for a few months I figured I would offer a little behind the scenes look at how this fun project came together.

Back when we created the first video for Jason Beware we had no idea what we were doing. We went to a park, dressed up as some creepy characters and did a couple shots on an iPhone. I think the idea was originally just to do a photography session with the kids dressed up but it kind of turned into it’s own thing and we made a very short movie with no lines and really no plot.

A year went by and my son asked if we were ever going to do another movie and I said “absolutely!” So we got to work on the sequel. I had an idea of how we could make the sequel really a prequel that tied into the first movie so I got to work writing the script. Before I knew it, I had written a nice draft that actually could work with our zero budget, non-technical skill, and amateur child actors. By April 2021 I had the script finished and started planning the production, however there was just one issue. I had 1 extra role than I had actors and that’s when I thought of a cool idea. Secure a popular actor or celebrity to perform this extra role. It was a voice only role, so I figured it could possibly be easier for someone to lend their voice than it would be to schedule them to be on set. So I started my search.

I began my search by just reaching out the easiest way possible, social media. So I crafted a message that I could send to various people with the hope of getting someone to reply and hopefully join our cast. I must have sent out a dozen or so messages to different voice actors, screen actors, YouTube stars, and more. I casted a wide net and I wasn’t very confident that I would even get a reply, and I was right.

A little bit after my contact blitz I learned about a website called Cameo. On this website there are dozens upon dozens of celebrities that will send you a video message for a fee. I thought, maybe this is how I can make this happen. So I got myself a budget of $20 and found who I thought would be an amazing additional to the cast, George Hardy from Troll 2. His Cameo was only $20 and it looked like he was pretty responsive to previous orders, so I figured why not, let’s try it out. I will admit, I was very disappointed in Cameo’s interface, you are very limited in what you can send to the actor. You only get so many characters to type out what you want. So I had to convey a message of what I am trying to do, as well as send him the script, all in under 150 characters. I figured this wasn’t going to go well, but I got to try for the sake of the fan-film. I trimmed as much from the lines I needed as possible and sent the message. The next day George Hardy sent his Cameo, and it was nothing like what I thought we would get. What I was sent though, is still amazing and something that we will cherish forever.

@dadstl

It’s George Hardy from Troll 2! I reached out via #cameo to see if he would do a part for our Friday the 13th fan-film Jason Beware 2! #excellence

♬ original sound – dadSTL

Now a month after the script had been finish I was dead set on making this happen. At this point I got the bright idea to start reaching out to former Friday the 13th actors, writers, and directors. First I started with some of the actors like Adrienne King, Derek Mears, Warrington Gillette, and several others. I never got a response from anyone and I was feeling a bit defeated until I tried one more, Victor Miller. He was the screenwriter for the original movie and I had read that he had also done some voice work. So I reached out and not even 20 minutes later I had a reply! Mr. Miller agreed to help with our fan-film. So I sent over the small part and by the end of the day Victor had already recorded and sent his part back to me!

After three months of searching for an actor for this very small role. We were finally ready to make this movie happen.

Everything really started to come together once that piece of the puzzle was found. I gathered up props and did some scouting for a nice creepy shooting location and made a plan for it all to happen. Luckily for me, my other actors and actresses had been practicing their lines this whole time. So when the time finally came for a table read, they were ready!

Because of how organized I was with everything, and how prepared the kids were, we only had two days of shooting! The kids did great, from the acting, to helping with set design, handling clapsticks, props, and other behind-the-scenes stuff, I am very proud of them all and the work they put into the movie.

Editing took a bit longer to finish up. I knew I would need some sound design for post-production, so I reached out to my cousin to see if his aspiring beat making son would like to produce some scary music for the fan-film. I wanted to create some creepy tunes as well to really round out this production.

After about a month in the editing bay, things were looking good and I could see a target goal of August 13th, 2021 for a release date. It was going to be Friday the 13th after all. With the final things left to do being designing the movie poster and planning a premier party, I would say things were just rolling right along.

Our party was a success and the fan-film has been getting some views. We are all extremely proud of the work we all put into making this and we all honestly cannot wait to make another. My wife and I even decided to get little Oscar awards to give to the kids for things like best actor, best death, etc. They loved getting them and also enjoyed the goodie bags with fake weapons, Jason mask, and candy!

It’s crazy that even a small project like this can take months to come together, and then when it finally does, it is amazing. This crazy cast of characters are sure to make you laugh and probably wince a little too. Our movie is creepy yet funny and definitely worth the watch.

So please, enjoy our Friday the 13th fan-film, and also be sure to like and subscribe to our Facebook page for Jason Beware, the kids love seeing the views go up, likes, shares, and comments! Anyways, without further ado, may I present, Jason Beware 2: The Origin.

Richie’s Bone Chilling October Home Horror Daily Double Feature!

This month my wife and I always watch as many scary movies as we can. This week is a special week as we are watching a different horror original and a remake each night. I have been sharing some of the horror movies we have been watching on social media, but why not share them here too!

For the first weekend in October we decided to start a Stephen King marathon! As we made our way through the weekend we watched Cat’s Eye, Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Children of the Corn, Maximum Overdrive, Firestarter, and finally, Tales from the Darkside. I am sure we will sneak in a few more of King’s tales before the month is over but for now, we are on to double features!

We kicked off our Double Feature week with The Omen from 1976 and 2006. A perfect introduction into an original/remake double feature week.

Next up is Night of the Demons from 1989 and 2009. We think the original is hilarious and the remake does provide a bit more of a back story and an interesting take on the Angela character. We loved the pink ballerina cameo in the remake! It was a perfect call back to the original character.

The Last House on The Left 1972 and 2009. Both of these movies just creep me out big time. Home intrusions are pretty freaking scary.

The original Dawn of The Dead (1978) is the first zombie movie I have gotten my son to watch. It doesn’t have much gore in it at all, and the music really makes it all that more entertaining. James Gunn and Zack Synder did a complete 180 with the remake, leaving me on the edge of my seat during the entire flick… and the clips during the credits… no, no, no, no!

The Hills Have Eyes is this weird but absolutely horrific story that has only improved as time as passed. Both the original and the remake are worth a viewing every spooky season.

Terrifying from start to finish. As a kid, Candyman was the one name you never said alone or during a sleepover. The original and the remake are fantastic horror movies.

Evil Dead. What else could be said about this masterpiece of horror. Watch it and love it and stay tuned for more horror movie watch lists during Richie’s Bone Chilling October Home Horror Daily Double Feature!

Scarefest in St. Louis 2021

Haunted house season is upon us and this year Scarefest is back in St. Louis with The Darkness, Creepyworld, and The Lemp Haunted House! With so many new and different attractions this year, it is definitely time to revisit the scariest destinations in the area!

This past weekend my wife and I managed to go to two different haunted houses. Friday night we went downtown to the Soulard area and checked out The Darkness for the 2021 season. Terrifying is an understatement. With new covid precautions in place you can be worry free as you navigate the twists and turns through-out this remarkable scream inducing labyrinth of horror. We arrived early to avoid the lines and when we left you can see the crowd was getting bigger. With plenty of parking, security, and screams, The Darkness is something to embrace rather than avoid this time of the year!

The actors and performers at The Darkness were top notch. Their costumes and performances were knocked out of the park. They thoroughly scared me and my wife. That girl swinging and bouncing around in one of the areas has been ingrained in my head as absolutely terrifying. Let’s just say my heart was pumping and it took a while for the adrenaline to wear off.

After a night of getting my head straight we were back at it again. This time we ventured out to Fenton to visit Creepyworld. This place is literally like a whole other world. Fog, lights, strobes, sounds, and so much more fill so many different haunted attractions and each and every one of them lives up to the Creepyworld name. With 13 haunted attractions in one location including the all NEW Slaughter and Sons Funeral Home – Tales of Terror – The Pumpkin Barn and an all-new Krampus haunted house. Creepyworld also features St Louis’ ONLY Haunted Hayride ‘Trick R Treat Haunted Hayride.

Creepyworld is the longest haunted house in the St Louis area by far! Bring your camera as Creepyworld features multiple photo ops for you and your friends! Creepyworld features several haunted houses including Haunted Asylum, Haunted Prison, Haunted Hospital, Sleepyaway Camp, Krampus, Blackout, Silo-X, Haunted Mansion, and the new Sleepy Hollow 3D haunted house. It takes over one hour to complete so bring your friends and scream together!

While we did not get there early enough to avoid a line, we did not have to wait too long to make our way through this hellish adventure. Plus while waiting in line there was plenty of terror to be had. Actors come through and visit with guests and there is also a huge projection setup telling the story of several of the attractions.

Camp Crystal Creek was one of my favorites. Our family is big into Jason and the Friday the 13th lore, so seeing this area fleshed out with well, flesh, and of course Jason, just makes it even scarier. The Krampus house was also a highlight. With more lighting to highlight the Christmas gore and the enslaved children forced to work by Krampus, it really puts a damper on the holiday season.

REMEMBER CREEPYWORLD IS ALMOST COMPLETLY OUTSIDE UNDER THE PALE MOONLIGHT! SCREAM WITH YOUR FRIENDS THIS HALLOWEEN AT CREEPYWORLD with the biggest RENOVATION in our HISTORY!

We plan on visiting the Lemp Brewery Haunted House this year as well. We just have to fit the trip in our schedule, but judging from the photos, it looks amazing and just as creepy and scary as The Darkness and Creepyworld. Follow me on social media for more photos when we do visit!

The Darkness, Creepyworld, and Lemp are all worth visiting this season. I have got to say, props and amazing work by all that make these haunted houses possible. From the actors, designers, and builders, to the security and sales clerks. Check out some of my behind the scenes at The Darkness photos! A haunted house is a great escape from reality with all of the drama and craziness we all endure day after day, and Scarefest is the place to make that happen. It’s amazing what a couple hours of screaming your head off will do for your mental health!

You can grab tickets at the ticket booth or online at Scarefest.com

Follow The Darkness on social media for more awesome details!

Twitter @Scarefest
Instagram @Scarefest
Scarefest on Facebook.com/stlouismissourihauntedhouses
The Darkness on Facebook.com/DarknessHauntedHouse
Creepyworld on Facebook.com/CreepyworldHauntedHouse
Lemp on Facebook.com/lemphauntedhouse

Each locations has different Covid-19 precautions and rules and regulations are changing all the time. Be sure to check out their website if you have any questions!