Throwing a party for a mixed age group of children can be a challenge because children at different ages are often interested in different activities. The activities suggested in this article are flexible enough to satisfy children from two to ten. They are moderately spooky, but can be made scarier or more “gross-out” with a few creative changes.
Because it is difficult to corral little ones for organized games and crafts, and because children of different ages are likely to complete activities at varying times, these activities are designed to occur simultaneously. Children can cycle through the activities at their own pace, with limited adult supervision. Suggestions for turning each activity into an organized group game or project are included.
Run Through a Haunted Obstacle Course
Set up a Halloween themed obstacle course in the backyard and let the children run through it at their own pace. Children may go through the entire course multiple times or may find a station that is their favorite to do over and over again. Remind the older children to give the younger ones lots of space before taking their turns.
Squish Some Monster Guts
Put Gak, Bio-Putty, Silly-Putty, or other modeling substance in baking trays set on a table. Encourage children to mold it, drip it, bounce it, and spread it. This activity is best done outside either over a drop cloth or in an area that can get messy. For an organized activity with older children, have them make their own Gak.
Decorate Halloween Cookies
Bake batches of thick sugar cookies in Halloween shapes. Provide white, orange, and black icing and small candies for decorating. Candy corn, thin licorice strings, Skittles, M & M candies, gum drops, and Lifesavers all work well. For an organized activity, bake the cookies with the children or provide prizes for the cookies that are the spookiest, funniest, most colorful, and tastiest.
Make Monster Masks
Purchase or cut out simple, undecorated masks. Provide craft supplies, such as, construction paper, scissors, cotton balls, ribbon, glitter, crayons, craft foam, pompoms, and pipe cleaners. Children can embellish their masks as desired. Once the masks are completed, dance to the Monster Mash or award prizes for the spookiest, funniest, and most creative masks.
Race to Mr. Pumpkin Head
Let children play with a Halloween version of the Mr. Potato-Head doll. Attach squares of self-adhesive Velcro to a pumpkin to represent its eyes, nose, and mouth. Cut out a number of facial features in different colors and styles (for example, triangle eyes, circle eyes, grinning teeth, and a mouth with fangs), and attach Velcro to each one. Include wigs and hats, and have children mix and match the features to create no-carve jack-o-lanterns.
Hold a relay race by preparing two or more pumpkins ahead of time. Place children in teams about 25 feet from the pumpkins. Place the facial features next to the pumpkins. At the signal, the first child in each line races to her team’s pumpkin and places one item on it. She tags the next child in line who places another feature on the pumpkin. The first team to complete their pumpkin wins.
One of the advantages of choosing activities that occur simultaneously is that the majority of the work is done before the guests arrive. Once all of the party activities are set up, hosts are free to enjoy them with their children. Add some festive Halloween-themed snacks, and the party will be a stress-free hit.