Halloween will bring crowds of well-meaning parents to elementary schools everywhere. As they volunteer to plan the holiday festivities, room mothers and fathers are anxious to balance classroom control and Halloween fun. The key to success is preparation.
For a successful classroom party, parents should include the following: a hands-on activity, a holiday-themed game, a Halloween story, and some tasty treats.
These four elements can be managed in classroom “stations” as small groups of younger children rotate through each activity. Older school children will enjoy participating in each event as a whole class.
Hands-on Halloween Activities
Smart classroom volunteers know children love to be active, especially during Halloween excitement. A great classroom party always includes something kids can make or do. Keeping kids busy will deter wild behavior and encourage cooperation.
Here are a few Halloween crafts for younger children:
- Handprint ghosts and spiders
- Ghost and spider lollipops
Older children will enjoy doing spooky science projects such as:
- Making a classroom fog machine
- Writing messages with glow-in-the-dark ink
Halloween Themed Games
Almost any children’s game can become a Halloween game with a few creative adjustments. Young children will enjoy “Ghost, Ghost, Pumpkin” – a variation on “Duck, Duck, Goose.” Musical chairs is fresh for Halloween when spooky sounds are used for musical background.
Halloween Bingo cards are easy to make. Kids can use candy corn pieces as bingo markers. Children of all ages enjoy the traditional Halloween games: apple-bobbing, eating donuts hung from strings and bubblegum-blowing contests.
Experienced elementary school teachers and librarians know the calming effect of story time. As holiday excitement builds within a class party, homeroom moms and dads can turn down the activity level using Halloween stories to transition between activities or to entertain students while snacks are prepared.
Not-too-scary stories for lower grade students:
- Spooky Riddles by Marc Brown [Random House, Inc., 1983]
- Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting, pictures by Jan Brett [Clarion Books, 1986]
- Halloween Night by Arden Druce, illustrated by Daid T. Wenzel [Rising Moon, 2001]
Spooky tales for kids age 8 and up:
- The Best Ghost Stories Ever by Christopher Krovatin [Scholastic, 2004]
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz [Scholastic, 1989]
- Campfire Ghost Stories by Jo-Anne Christensen [Lone Pine Publishing, 2002]
Tasty Halloween Treats
Halloween parties aren’t complete without refreshments. Since the entire holiday is sugar-based, it is wise to keep most food choices light and healthy. Popcorn, cheese and crackers, yogurt tubes, baby carrots and apple slices are popular Halloween snacks.
For the grand finale, parents can bring out orange frosted cupcakes. Plastic spider rings pushed into the center of each little cake will be a welcome party favor. Or kids can decorate pumpkin-shaped cookies with colored icing and candy sprinkles.
With careful planning and a bit of creativity, classroom volunteers can organize memorable Halloween parties for kids of all ages. Including a hands-on activity, a holiday game, a Halloween story and some tasty treats will ensure a successful celebration that everyone will enjoy.