How to make your preschoolers’ Halloween party just scary enough for kids?
Photo by Alexia Rodriquez on Unsplash
Little kids love Halloween. Between dressing up as their favorite character, decorating the house, and getting a free pass to eat more candy than they normally would in a week, it’s an exciting holiday for children of all ages. If you’re planning a party for 3-to-5-year-olds, you’ll want to make it a little bit spooky, but mostly fun. Here’s how to make your preschoolers’ Halloween party just scary enough for kids.
Decorate the house
Your kids will have fun helping with this part. Put tea lights into paper bags and line your entryway with them for a warm glow. You can even decorate the bags with markers, googly eyes, or glitter if your little ones want to take things a step further. Preschoolers love decorations they can touch, so put plenty of decorations low enough to the ground that kids can interact with them. Choose cute rather than scary decorations. Some examples include fake spiderwebs, fuzzy bats, and crows with soft feathers.
And, of course, it’s practically a requirement to adorn your house with pumpkins. Take a shopping trip with your kids to pick their favorite ones. See who can find the bumpiest pumpkin, or the biggest, smallest, or smoothest one. Then, head home and put them around the house.
Get that energy out
A party isn’t complete without games, and preschoolers love to be physically active.
Play some timeless favorites like musical chairs with a Halloween twist, where each chair has an image of something like a witch, ghost, vampire, or skeleton on the seat. You can play the classic version where you remove chairs or eliminate players based on the picture they’re sitting on. Then, the kids can color in the pictures when the game is over.
Children also enjoy dancing to music and freezing in place when it stops. Put on some kid-friendly Halloween tunes, get everybody moving and tell them to hold still when you pause the music. Spoiler alert: They’ll be laughing too hard to stay still.
Go pumpkin bowling
Use white paper, twine, and black markers to make a set of bowling pins look like ghosts. Set them up in the usual fashion, but instead of knocking them down with bowling balls, use pumpkins that are small enough for the kids to throw.
Preschoolers love making things fall over or crash – just watch any young child playing with blocks – so they’ll probably have a blast with this game.
Many of the kids will probably arrive with their faces already painted, but if not, you can offer face painting. Some preschool face-painting ideas include a cat with whiskers, Frankenstein’s monster, a jack-o’-lantern, or a skeleton.
For kids who already painted their faces as part of their costume, but still want to participate, paint something on the back of their hand or give them temporary tattoos with a Halloween theme. You can also do artistic crafts like decorating pumpkins. Since preschoolers are too young to hold a knife, skip the jack-o’-lantern-carving and decorate pumpkins with stickers, markers, or glitter glue.
Get some stickers that look like funny eyes, noses, mouths, and hair, and see who can make the funniest, scariest, or cutest pumpkin. You can even give out small awards, like lollipops, as a prize for each category.
Hunt for candy
Hide candy throughout the living room while the kids are in the kitchen. Then, give everyone a flashlight, dim the lights and tell the kids to go on a candy hunt. Some children might not want the lights to be all the way off, so consider leaving a lamp or night light on for them. You can join them for moral support while they search.
Eat spooky snacks
To temper, the sugar rush that’s just around the corner, offer some savory Halloween foods. Make boogers on a stick with pretzel sticks, cheese, and green food coloring. Set out bowls of healthy foods like whole grain cereal, cheese cubes, crackers, and other easy-to-grab snacks.
For a heartier meal that’s sure to delight preschoolers’ love of gross-out humor, make a meatloaf in the shape of a foot with almond slices for toenails and ketchup on top. It’s called feet of meat and serves both as a delicious dinner and a delightfully spooky decoration.
Play sensory games
The mystery box game involves filling a box or bag with something that sounds gross but is actually harmless and then letting kids feel the object without getting to see it. For example, you can label a box with the words “zombie brains,” which is actually pumpkin guts, and see who’s brave enough to reach inside and feel the gooey mess.
Some other ideas include using sunflower seeds as vampire teeth, olives as eyeballs, and cotton balls as ghost poop. Eww!
Another messy and tactile sensory craft is to mix shaving cream and food coloring in a cauldron. It looks like a witch’s brew and is oh-so-fun for kids to dip their hands in.
Have a great sendoff
When bedtime rolls around, send your guests home with some party favors as a thank-you for coming. Some ideas include lollipops decorated to look like ghosts, boxes of crayons, Halloween-themed erasers, or glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces.
Hosting a preschoolers’ Halloween party
The key to throwing a great Halloween party for little ones is to emphasize games, hands-on activities, and lighthearted fun. If you make it just scary enough for kids without letting anybody get too creeped out, everyone is sure to have a blast. Happy Halloween!