Children love the anticipation of Halloween almost as much as they love the big day itself. With darker nights and colder days Halloween is well positioned in the year to lend itself to a ‘spooky’ atmosphere.
For some children the idea of ghosts and ghouls is exciting and some parents worry that this may be an unhealthy interest but the truth is children are fascinated with the contrast of light and dark, and good and evil, think about any fairy tale or children’s story and you’ll notice that there are good and bad characters. Halloween is a good chance for children to continue grappling with these issues.
So, if you’re hoping to celebrate Halloween with your kids this year you might be wondering what to do. Trick or treating is a good tradition but there are lots of other options too: maybe a Halloween playdate, a small Halloween party, or just some family time. Whatever you decide to do, our ideas here can help to make your Halloween special.
The costume is a big part of Halloween fun for kids, but what if they can’t decide which one to go for? Hold a Halloween fashion show where kids can show off multiple costumes! If you have family members that don’t live nearby why not use programs like skype, zoom or Microsoft teams to organize an online costume parade.
Provide children with a big ball of wool, string or thread and allow them to twist and thread it all around the room or outdoor space so it looks like a huge spider web! Children can then try to climb over and under the threads, allowing children to climb through the strings is not only great fun but it has great developmental benefits too.
It wouldn’t be Halloween without the traditional game of apple bobbing. You can fill a bowl or bucket about 3 quarters full and place a towel underneath. Then put about 4-6 apples in the water and let children take turns at getting as many apples as possible, without using their hands! A less messy, and safer, version of this can involve plastic balls in a cardboard box.
Decorating biscuits is a lovely activity to engage younger children, you can either buy biscuits or make some, and then provide children with different coloured icing, sprinkles or themed decorations and let them go to town designing (and then eating!) their own spooky biscuits.
Instead of “What’s the time, Mr. Wolf’ use “What’s the time Mrs. Witch?” as a Halloween-themed party game. One child is chosen to be Mrs. Witch, they can put on a witch’s hat for extra fun. The rest of the children stand at one end of the room with the witch at the other, with her back to them. The children ask: ‘What’s the time, Mrs. Witch?’ and the Witch shouts out a time. For example, “6 O’Clock” The other children take the corresponding number of steps in the direction of the witch. When they are almost at the witch, the witch can then choose to say “midnight” and chase the children. Whoever the witch catches is out of the game.
While you’re out trick or treating, why not expand the fun even more, and give something to children to do that’s not entirely focused on sweets and chocolate! You can easily create a Halloween scavenger hunt by making a list of things to spot and encouraging children to tick them off as they find them. These could be things like a smiley Jack O’Lantern, a house with more than 2 pumpkins, someone dressed as a ghost and so on.
This is a fun activity for a party because it is something that children can take home at the end of the party. As the toffee is incredibly hot, kids can help you measure the ingredients. They can also roll the apples in sprinkles under close supervision. The apples should then be left to cool before eating.
These ideas can all be adapted to suit the age, stage and interests of your children and their friends, to help make your Halloween full of fun and one to remember!