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15 re-imagined kids' monster drawings that will make you shriek with joy.

Get ready to scream ... with delight over these awesome monsters.

What's Halloween without some creepy monsters to haunt your dreams?

Image by Trey Wadsworth/The Monster Project.

That's exactly what Katie Johnson, the creator of The Monster Project thinks — except in her case, monsters haunt her dreams (in the best way) all year long.


Johnson began drawing monsters when she was younger to jumpstart her creative process. Today, she uses monsters to help kids learn about the magic of artistic expression.

"Monsters can be anything," Johnson explained over an email. "They can be short or tall, angry or happy, as big as a planet or as small as a pea. There are infinite possibilities when you're drawing a monster and there are no wrong answers."

The Monster Project offers kids the chance to see their monster drawings brought to life by professional artists.

Originally Johnson was the sole participating artist, but soon, she invited her peers to help out. "It really just clicked into place that the more artists I could involve, the richer the experience would be for the kids," writes Johnson.

Eventually word spread through artist communities, and now Johnson has over 1,000 artists at The Monster Project's disposal. The artists pick from drawings the kids submit and illustrate them, and at the end of the process, the kids get to see the illustration and a video message from the artist who made it.

Here's 15 of The Monster Project's 100 new monsters and the professional artists who brought them to life — just in time for Halloween

1. This triangle-headed monster by Riccardo Zema

All images from The Monster Project, used with permission.

2. A spacey frog alien by Stuart Wade

3. A flower factory robot by Oliver Sin

4. This marshmallow-stone-eating dragon by Stuart Wade

5. A creepy skeleton king by Stefano Colferai

6. A singing cat monster with heart eyes by Sergio Chaves

7. This panda-loving gumdrop monster by Chris Schofield

8. A wild-haired art enthusiast monster by Agata Karelus

9. A ghost-hunting mad red dog by Luis Pinto

10. A critical lady monster by Aleksey Baydakov

11. A building-hugging wooly monster by Alex Jefferies

12. A casual gremlin by Trey Wadsworth

13. A glorious tree monster by Milan Vasek

14. A dragon tornado by Christi du Toit

15. This colorful rainbow mohawk kitty monster by Bakea

It just goes to show that monsters can be awesome in any form. What's most spooktacular about these monsters is how they help kids flex their creative muscles.

Despite the fact that the arts have been shown to help students perform better across the board, many schools can't afford to keep their art education programs due to budget cuts. That's why Monster Project is working to make their services free to schools in low-income areas that have had to do away with them.

They're getting there with the help of donations and an online shop where you can buy things like a monster activity book made up of the artists' monster recreations. The Monster Project is also having a gallery showing in San Francisco in December thanks to an Adobe sponsorship.

Johnson's goal is to keep expanding until The Monster Project can offer recreated monsters to kids in need of a creative outlet all across the country.

To think that all of this came from one woman who recognized what great power monsters have — both on and off the page. That's scary cool.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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