Autumn’s arrival means that Halloween is just around the corner, coming on the 31st of October each year. The run-up to that date is a great time to start preparing for some fun Halloween activities for children to take part in. Whether dressing up for Halloween-themed parties, putting carved pumpkin lanterns and spooky decorations out at night, or playing Trick or treat locally, children of all ages will find Halloween a time of unique fun! It’s also a great opportunity for children to strengthen bonds with friends and for families to start getting creative! With that in mind, here are our top picks for spooktacular Halloween activities for kids!
First, Though, What Is Halloween?
Halloween is a widely celebrated and highly festive milestone that occurs each year on October 31st. It has its origins in both Celtic and Christian traditions with both secular and religious roots at its historical heart. These included observances like All Hallows’ Eve, which is the night before All Saints’ Day in Christianity when people would remember and pray for the deceased. However, in more modern times, it has evolved into a time of festive activities and customs, particularly in the United Kingdom, USA, and other Western countries. Today, it is a time for creativity, community, and entertainment, with a focus on costumes, sweets, and — above all — spooky fun for children!
Halloween Activities: Great Ideas for Kids
Here are our top suggestions for children at Halloween. Bear in mind that younger children may need some reassurance around concepts like spiderwebs, ghosts, masks and suchlike and adults would be wise to supervise kids of all ages when it comes to the safeguarding of their wellbeing. That said, take a look at these wonderfully spooky Halloween activities and ideas…
Fancy Dress — Halloween Costumes
Dressing up in Halloween costumes is hugely popular amongst children. While purchasing costumes from stores is quick and easy, encouraging children to make their own Halloween costumes (with adult supervision) is likely to be not only cheaper but also much more fun. They’ll also be able to get creative and learn new skills in the process.
- Bedsheets are perfect for making simple but effective ghost outfits – all that is needed are a couple of eye holes.
- Witch or wizard outfits can be made from any type of black clothing that’s no longer needed, particularly if it’s baggy in shape. Adults can help children make it look more realistic by making edges ragged and perhaps even helping to make a broom from twigs and a long stick.
- Pointy witches’ or wizards’ hats can be added too. Create from card and tape, then paint them black — or indeed make them from black card.
- Children can also dress up as pumpkins if they can obtain (or dye) a t-shirt orange and paint on the eyes and face.
- Kids will also love dressing up as spiders. All they need is some black tights — or a pair of skinny trousers — and a black top that’s belted at the waist and then stuffed to make the ‘spider body’ fat. Extra spider legs can be made by stuffing more black tights and attaching them to the belt.
- Children can also use their imaginations and creativity to dress up as characters from books and movies. Costumes based on Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, ET and characters from various horror flicks are obvious choices.
Spooky Halloween Decorations
Halloween-themed decorations are great fun for children too. Whether shop-bought or home-made, dangling spiders, fake spiderwebs, skeletons, atmospheric pumpkin lanterns and ghost-themed decorations will go down a storm with little ones. There are so many ways to make your own Halloween decorations too and all it takes is a little imagination and creativity.
Make Halloween-Themed Food
Your children can take this a step further and add Halloween-themed food into the mix, so there’s something to nibble too!
- Ghost, spider and bat-themed cookies are always popular with children and are pretty easy to make. Children will not only enjoy eating them but will love making and decorating them too.
- Pumpkin soup is also an obvious choice, particularly for those families making their own carved pumpkin lanterns (more about those later).
- Parents can also help children make edible ‘mini pumpkins’ from bell peppers that are hollowed out and stuffed with something delicious like rice, mushrooms or a mixture of the child’s favourite foods. They’ll not only taste great but will look spooktacular too!
- Drinks can also be themed by children — they can decorate paper cups with all manner of ghoulish imagery. Local supermarkets may also stock Halloween-themed cups, swizzle sticks and suchlike around October and early Autumn.
Trick or Treat?
The Halloween tradition of ‘tick or treating’ has its roots in Medieval times. It is a playful remnant of the practice of “souling,” where the poor would go door-to-door during what was then known as ‘Allhallowtide’ (around All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day) asking for food in exchange for prayers for the deceased. Over the years, this evolved into what we now know as Trick or treat. Children, usually in full Halloween fancy dress, knock on neighbourhood doors and say Trick or treat? Then, homeowners typically give them sweets or other treats — or become the target of a playful trick from the children! It’s great fun for little ones, especially if one or more neighbourhood parents can organise the evening in advance. By doing so, the neighbours are warned and can opt out if they prefer. In this way, lots of fun, laughter and treats will ensue and nobody gets a trick that they weren’t expecting!
Go Pumpkin Picking
Many towns and villages will have ‘pumpkin patches’ during October. These are typically found on local farms and similar that set a field aside, chock-full of pumpkins. Families can come along and children will be able to scour the field and pick their favourite pumpkin. They can take it home in exchange, usually, for an affordable fee. Such pumpkin patches often also have wonderful photo opportunities where children can pose amongst pumpkin displays. In this way, children enjoy a morning or afternoon activity at the farm and end up with a hand-picked pumpkin too.
Pumpkin Lantern Carving & Decorating
Hollowing out and carving spooky and creative faces into pumpkins is a classic Halloween activity enjoyed by thousands of families each year. For safety purposes, supervising adults will need to do any carving, though, as it’ll likely involve the use of a sharp knife. They can also loosen the seeds and flesh and then, if able, children can help to scoop it out. Once hollowed out and eyes, nose and mouth have been carved, children can have great fun decorating the outside and turning the pumpkin into a lantern using tea lights (again, under adult supervision or using LED lights for safety purposes). Nothing quite says ‘Halloween’ like a pumpkin face that glows in the garden at night. Children will naturally love the whole experience, end result, and feeling of accomplishment associated with this activity.
TIP: Why not also save the flesh to make pumpkin soup? Seeds can also be saved to grow new pumpkins next year.
Host a Halloween Party!
Families can combine all or just some of these Halloween activities into one event by hosting their very own Halloween party for friends, relatives and neighbours. With spooky fancy dress costumes, Halloween-themed decorations, flickering pumpkin lanterns, and themed food and drinks, it’s sure to be huge fun and a spooktacular evening for everyone! Ghostly music and ghoulish games can be added to the event too, perhaps along with a period where children and adults can tell spooky stories and ghost tales. What’s not to love?
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