Gearing up to entertain the toddler, preschool or kindergarten set on Halloween, but want to skip the spooky stuff? There are plenty of ways to celebrate that won’t keep younger kids up at night. Try these silly, not scary, Halloween activities at your next ghostly gathering.
Halloween Costume Parade
Costumes are the best part of Halloween, which makes a daytime costume parade perfect for little kids who are too young to trick-or-treat into the evening hours. It’s easy to do too — just lead your littlest superheroes, animals, witches and princesses on a short “parade route” through the neighborhood, so they can show off their costumes.
Nix the knives and little kid-proof your pumpkin decorating with art supplies like paint, markers, glue and glitter. Provide each child with a pint-sized pumpkin, and let them get creative (and messy) making a Halloween masterpiece. Bonus: The uncarved pumpkins will last longer than their jack-o-lantern counterparts.
A great activity for ages 4 and up, Halloween BINGO is simple and fun. To create the card, divide a page into a 5 x 5 grid and fill each square with popular Halloween characters like cartoon ghosts, witches, pumpkins, black cats, broomsticks, bats and skeletons. Don’t forget a free space. Not up for making your own card? Search Pinterest for printable options. To play, roll a dice (1 = B; 2 = I; 3 = N; 4 = G; 5 = O) and randomly choose characters from a bucket, then call out letter-character combinations (i.e., O-Bat, B-Skelton). The first child to yell “BINGO” wins a prize.
While it may cause you bridal shower flashbacks, the mummy wrap game is hit with younger kids. All you need is several rolls of toilet paper. Put kids in groups of 3 to 4, and choose one to be the mummy. The rest of the team has a certain amount of time (5 minutes or so) to wrap the mummy as best they can with toilet paper.
Kick your monster mash up a notch by incorporating an element of red light/green light. Choose your favorite Halloween-themed tunes — our favorites are Monster Mash, Purple People Eater, Ghostbusters and Thriller — and make sure there’s plenty of space for little ones to bust a move. Pause the music at random intervals and yell “Freeze!” Encourage kids to freeze in silly or scary poses.
Skeleton Bone Hunt
A skeleton bone hunt is similar to an Easter egg hunt. Hide plastic skeleton bones, which can be purchased at party supply stores or on Amazon, in your yard or a nearby park. The child who finds the most bones wins a prize, or use a permanent marker or stickers to indicate special prizes for certain pieces of the skeleton.
Check out a stack of books from your local library for a Halloween-themed storytime. Use this activity toward the end of a Halloween party to help kids wind down from all the excitement. Great books for storytime include, “Click Clack Boo!,” “5 Little Pumpkins,” “The Night Before Halloween” and “Max’s Halloween.”
Homemade Treat Bags
For an easy and creative Halloween craft for young children, decorate bags they can use to hold their tricks and treats. Brown or white paper gift bags work best, just make sure you don’t choose bags that have a glossy coating. Let kiddos customize their bags with markers, crayons, stickers and construction paper cutouts. Avoid mix-ups and meltdowns by adding names to the bags.
Healthy Halloween Treats
Skip the sugar, and opt for healthier Halloween-themed treats that young kids can help you prepare. Make cheesy spiders with mini-cheese rounds and pretzel sticks for the legs. Banana ghosts are another Halloween hit. Add eyes, a nose and a mouth to a banana using regular and mini-chocolate chips.