Halloween Parties for Younger Kids

What's a parent to do when kids are too young or too cool for monsters? Skirt the standard scary scene and unearth a Halloween party for younger kids that is full of creepy crawlies. The party ideas on this page will help you throw a Halloween party for younger kids.

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Here are some Halloween recipes from our collection:

Crowd Cultivation: Halloween Invitations

Plant a seed in your guests' heads that this celebration will breed fun in full bloom. How? Sow these invitations with a little drop of creativity. We promise: The kids'll dig 'em.

All you need to create these garden-themed invitations are several sheets of orange and yellow construction paper, a black fine-tip marker, a stapler, and a pumpkin seed packet (1 per guest).

For each seed packet, cut out six seeds from construction paper (about the size of small eggs). On each construction paper seed, write a detail about the party: "You're Invited to Ella's Haunted Garden Party. Harvest begins at 3 p.m. and ends at sundown, Saturday, October 25. Plant yourself at 1234 Maple Lane.
Join us for bushels of food, fun, and games. Come dressed as a mad botanist, a wild flower-child, a wacky wood sprite, or a funny farmer! RSVP at 555-1234 by Sunday."

Remove the real seeds from each packet, and replace them with the party information seeds. Cut a piece of construction paper the same size as the packet plus 2 inches (one per packet). Fold the 2 inches over to make a flap.

Use seed packets to invite guests.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Use seed packets to invite guests.

Place the seed packet between the fold. Staple the paper to seal, and write each guest's name on a packet top.

Everything's Coming Up... Dead Roses: Halloween Decorations


Go beyond the garden gate to transform the party room into a haunted garden. Twist orange and green streamers in loose loops along the walls and ceiling or use camouflage netting. Use the same colors for tableware. Signs that say "Beware of Man-Eating Plants" and "Please Don't Feed the Wildflowers" won't keep kids off the lawn but will keep them giggling if you stick them in and around your houseplants.

Since man-eating plants are always bloodthirsty, keep watering cans at the ready and drip long, stringy licorice from the spouts into small white cups stenciled with the Red Cross logo.

Decorate the party room like a haunted garden.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Decorate the party room
like a haunted garden.

Spread plants along high shelves and bookcases of the party room, and position a lively looking one as a centerpiece on the kitchen table. Place snack-size sealable plastic bags filled with cinnamon candy (to look like blood drops) at each setting. Attach plastic tubing (find it at a hardware or pet store) from the bags to the plant to look like IVs.

Scatter plastic bugs, spiders, and other garden pests around the table. It's only natural that gourds belong at this garden party, too. Pile a few by the door; you could even carve or paint gaping mouths on them. A fog machine adds chilling special effects.

Cute But Deadly: Halloween Crafts

If you've ever seen the film Little Shop of Horrors, you know that Audrey, the bloodthirsty plant that made the flower shop so horrifying, was hardly a houseplant you'd want to bring home to mom. But with just a few supplies and a little creativity, your kid's guests can make crafts that even a mom will love.


Mini Maneater

Before the party, an adult should use a craft knife to cut a 2-inch hole across each tennis ball for the plant's mouth. Also, cut out different petal shapes from the felt.

At the party, the kids can decorate their man-eating flowers with evil eyes, luscious lips, nefarious noses, perfect petals, and sinister stems.

It's Alive!

These cute seed pots are great for little hands.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
These cute seed pots are great
for little hands.

Before the party, pick up a small bag of potting soil, small clay pots (21/4- or 3-inch pots work well), and inexpensive packets of quick-growing cat grass. (Cat grass seeds can be found at garden or pet stores.)

At the party, give kids acrylic paints and brushes, and invite them to paint a silly or spooky face on their pots. When the paint is dry, have them line their pots with aluminum foil. Then help them scoop soil into their pots and plant the seeds according to the packet directions. The grass will sprout within a week or two, making silly hair for the pot people.

Farm Fresh Games: Halloweeen Games

Heart Like a Wheelbarrow

Divide kids into teams of two, and mark a line at least ten feet away from the starting line. On "Go!," one partner holds the second partner's ankles in the air as the second partner races forward on his or her hands toward the other line. Once they reach it, they switch positions and race back to the starting line. The fastest team wins.

This wheelbarrow game is fun for kids of all sizes.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
This wheelbarrow game is fun
for kids of all sizes.

Hunger-Pain Rain

Cut out large petals and leaves from colored paper, and tape them around a large bowl (don't use glass). Have all the kids stand in a circle around the flower bowl, starting about three or four feet away, depending on the children's age or skill level.

Give each kid a cup full of candy; each cup of candy should be a different color or type. On "Go," all kids toss a piece of candy into the bowl to feed the flower. Kids who miss the bowl are out. Kids who get their candy into the bowl take one step back and toss again. Continue moving the kids back until all but one player is eliminated. The last player standing wins the bowl of candy.

Showtime

A movie makes a great diversion for kids tuckered out from fast-paced games, and at this funny farm party, you can't go wrong with a showing of Little Shop of Horrors. It offers lots of laughs, lots of songs, and just a smidge of fright. It's a perfect party movie for kids of all ages. Even if there's not enough time for a complete viewing, the fun music and sounds make for great background noise.

Cups of Fun

Nothing says, "I just came from a killer garden party" quite like a slithering cup of goodies.
Decorate clear plastic cups with foam or felt and markers. Glue on snakes for spine-tingling fun! Fill the cups with red hot candies (blood drops), goofy garden pests, and other Halloween treats. Some other fun things to include could be pumpkin seeds, creepy-crawly toys, and pumpkin candies.

Harvest Halloween: Another Party Idea for Younger Kids

Are your guests too young for terror?  Don't kill your plan for a killer party. Breathe life into the Halloween spirit by unearthing the nice and natural side of the Halloween season. Wee beans and preteens will love you for it.

Natural Request: Halloween Invitation


Cultivate a cool party crowd by sending each guest a pumpkin invite.

These pumpkin invitations are actually orange peels.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
These pumpkin invitations
are actually orange peels.

Biodegradable and just plain cute, these pumpkins are actually orange peels. To make them, simply cut off the top quarter of an orange. Scrape the pulp from the "lid." With the top removed, carefully hold the orange in one hand and scrape out its pulpy inside using a spoon. As you would on a pumpkin, use a knife to gently cut out the eyes and mouth of a jack-o'-lantern face. Press some cloves into the inside bottom of the orange to keep it smelling delicious. Let each orange and lid dry out for at least two days.

When they're dry, glue a cinnamon stick and autumn leaves to the lid. Inside each place a rolled invitation: "The time is ripe for Jenny Helm's Harvest Halloween party! Please join the fun at 1234 Maple Lane on Saturday, October 26 from noon to 3:00 p.m. We've got lunch, desserts, crafts, and games that are sure to grow on you... RSVP: 555-1234"

Your child can hand them out as is, or you can get extra fancy by placing them in craft moss and dried leaves or flowers at the bottom of small gift boxes.

Fall Into Decorating: Halloween Decorations

These darts are a fun Halloween game for a non-scary Halloween party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Decorate the party room
with straw and fall leaves.

Bring the season to your party room by stocking up on raffia. This crumpled paper ribbon resembles hay and can be found at any craft store. Make a scarecrow head by bunching up old newspaper and covering it with raffia. Use hot glue to hold if needed. Leave the head like this, or decorate it with button eyes, a cutout nose and mouth, and a real corncob neck. Top the head with a straw hat. Set the head on top of an outfit stuffed with clothes or newspapers that you've positioned in a chair, and then stuff the arm and pant cuffs with a little raffia. You can also wind a couple layers of raffia around small boxes to create indoor haystacks.

Fall just isn't fall without falling leaves, so string some leaf-shaped accordion streamers (find them at party supply stores) along the walls, windows, and door frames. Don't want to buy any? Make your own streamers by gathering leaves from the yard. Soak curled ones in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to soften, pat dry with paper towels, and then press them in a book for a few days. Tie the stems onto a length of ribbon to make a garland.

For a more permanent garland, lay each leaf between 2 squares of waxed paper, smooth a dishtowel on top, and then press an iron (set on low-heat, no steam) onto the towel. The waxed paper will seal the leaf inside. Cut around each leaf, and string them using a needle and embroidery thread. Then hang the garland around the room.

While you've got the ladder out, hang a yellow poster board harvest moon outlined with gold glitter, as well as some silver stars. Arrange some colorful gourds for the table centerpiece.

Seeds of Creativity: Halloween Crafts

Harvest Fun

Use pumpkin seeds to make this Halloween craft.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Use pumpkin seeds
to make this Halloween craft.

Inside each pot, plant a packet of pumpkin seeds, pumpkin candies, candy corn, halloween pencils, and other small seasonal toys.

Seedy Crafts


Have some pumpkin seeds you didn't manage to eat? Mix them with some dried beans and unpopped corn kernels for a cool art project.

Kids can use tacky craft glue to stick the beans, kernels, and seeds to foam balls. Attach a length of ribbon to each ball with a jeweled pin for hanging. Kids can make jack-o'-lanterns or just a neat design for a cool autumn ornament. For younger kids with less patience, use craft glue and colored cardstock instead of foam balls. For preteens, get some autumn-colored beads and ribbons for sparkly fun.

Homegrown Games: Halloween Games

These darts are a fun Halloween game.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
These darts are a fun Halloween game.

Farm Fresh Darts

Use an orange marker to color small foam balls orange, and then, imitating the pattern of a pumpkin's lines, wrap thin strips of black, adhesive-backed hook-and-loop tape (use the scratchy side) around the ball. Glue or staple a large circle of felt to a piece of cardboard and use a permanent marker to draw point zones that get higher closer to the bull's-eye. Inspire better aim and plenty of giggles by making the bull's-eye a goofy face.

Find the Pumpkin

If the weather allows, let kids test their sleuthing skills.Place mini-pumpkins and imposters (navel oranges) in different hiding spots before the party. Consider high tree branches (no climbing; tell the kids they have to shake the trees), the mailbox, sandbox, underneath overturned buckets, etc. The child with the most pumpkins wins. Oranges don't count.

The key to a fun Halloween is to know your audience. If your guests are younger, you don't want to throw a scary party. Older children will appreciate your attention to detail as you act out their nightmares with these Halloween-theme parties. No matter which Halloween-theme party you choose, have a frightful and fun Halloween.


Publications International, Ltd.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Twardowski is a freelance writer who specializes in the child and teen market. She is the author of Birthday Parties for Kids and Face Facts: How to Bring Out the Beautiful You, as well as several pop culture books. Twardowski is also an instructor at the Institute for Children's Literature.

Contributing craft designers: Phyllis Dunstan, Sherri Osborn, Ed Smith, AIFD, and Alesha Whitney.