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HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM MINDSHAPES! Everyone's favourite friendly ghost, Casper, will stimulate the memory skills of your kids in this ghoulish dress-up app designed for children 3-7. Get inspiration for your Halloween costume from Casper's spooky wardrobe of costumes. Available now on the App Store.


Greetings from Mumsnet Towers,

Half-term's almost here, so we've pulled together the top 10 Halloween family outings (and the best of the rest). This year's Halloween name-change poll closes at midnight tonight (20 Oct) and it's a frighteningly clever shortlist, so do vote.

Our next batch of Learning content from Pearson is all about assessment in primary schools, plus there's a new maths game for your children. Said children might also like to supply a question for Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney. We've got 10 copies of his new book, Cabin Fever, up for grabs. 

The answers to your Qs about setting up and financing your own business are in from Barclays, and if you've got any questions about your credit rating, please post them for CreditExpert's Caroline Thomas.

Last, but very much not least, the deadline for donations and nominations for this year's Christmas appeal is Mon 24 Oct. So if you've been meaning to donate something, don't dilly-dally.

Now for this week's parenting news...

Parents asked to rate schools: Ofsted has launched Parent View - a site enabling parents to post their views about all 22,000 state schools in England. Teachers' unions have raised concerns that the system of anonymous ratings will allow grudges to be aired, but Ofsted denies this, saying it will allow parents to see how other families rate a school before they send their children there. Consistently bad reviews will inform whether Ofsted launches a new inspection of a school. (Telegraph)

Screen-time limits for under-twos: The American Academy of Pediatrics this week issued new guidelines on the amount of time infants and toddlers should spend watching television. Its key message is that 'there's no such thing as an educational programme for young children'. The AAP estimates that for every hour a child aged under two spends in front of a screen, he or she spends about 50 minutes less interacting with a parent and about 10% less time in creative play. (New York Times)

IS THERE A MORE TIMELESS TOY THAN A ROCKING HORSE? The Rosa Rocking Horse has been made for the modern day child. This rocking horse really is the ultimate finishing touch to any nursery. Get one today from Naturalmat, and don't forget Mumsnetters get a 10% discount.

First Aid

Other stories in brief

The week on Talk

Quote of the week

limitedperiodonly frets about the direction Downton Abbey's plot is taking: "The dawn of a new era is one thing but how beastly if poor Lady Mary is forced to assemble flatpack furniture after a hellish Sunday afternoon with Sir Richard at Ikea."


Blog of the week

Fabulous Baker Boy: Get your bake on with these lush cakes and lavish designs. From Harry Potter to Hermes, there's nothing this baker can't cover - and his recipes and pics are the icing on the cake.

Enjoy more juicy blogs on our Bloggers Network.


Check out the great prizes in our October competitions. Here's what you could win:

WHAT BRANDS WOULD YOU LIKE GET DISCOUNTS ON THROUGH MUMSNET? Please give us your thoughts on this thread.

Aitch's TV round-up: Jamie's Great Britain, Tues 25 Oct, Channel 4, 9pm

Jamie, we're fans, we really are. We like what you did with the school dinners, we're grateful that you taught the nation to cook, and we liked the 30-minute thing, but we're in the middle of a world-wide recession. So yes, enjoy your trip round Britain, tucking in to beef and ale pie (with cheddar and mustard - yum!) and baked sea bass, but we're on the pasta and lentils over here...
Discuss this show (and others) on our Telly Addicts Talk board.

Recipe of the week

Twiglett's oven-roasted vegetables: a stalwart of the 'chuck it in all in a roasting tin' recipe variety, but using seasonal fennel. Great with couscous or jacket potatoes, plus to make it into pasta sauce, just add a tin of chopped tomatoes.

You can review this recipe here - or why not upload one of your own?

That's all. Parenting news is back the week after next. Happy Halloween.
Love, MNHQ

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR ENTERTAINING YOUR DCS THIS WINTER? Tell Cathedral City's Chedds your top tips for entertaining your children during the cold and wet winter months, and you could win a Nintendo DS.

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