'Spellbound' Halloween Party

No need to cross your fingers or break your overworked back; superstitions and the supernatural make this magical party just plain super -- for kids and parents alike.

Try It!
Here are some Halloween recipes from our collection:

Cauldron Calling: Halloween Invitation

Add one part ease, two parts imagination, and a pinch of glitter, and what do you get? An invite so enchanting that guests will be counting the days until they can fall under the party's magic spell.

To create this bewitching invitation, purchase the number of black square envelopes and a piece of black and a piece of red paper equal to the number of your guests. On cardboard, draw a witch's hat shape that is a bit smaller than the envelope size.

Cut the shape from the cardboard, and use it as a pattern to trace the hat on the red paper. Then trace the pattern on the black paper, but cut about 1/4 inch inside the line. Glue the black hat on top of the red hat.

Using a silver gel pen, write on each invitation hat: "Something's brewing at Dana's House! Fall under Halloween's magic spells on Saturday, October 25, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Edible concoctions, enchanting wizardry, and electrifying fun await! Come attired in your most powerful magic hats, capes, charms, and costumes. Find the magic at 1235 Maple Lane. RSVP at 555-1234 by Sunday."

Create witch hats for enchanting invitations when throwing a Halloween party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Create witch hats for enchanting invitations.

Slip each hat into its envelope for an invitation that is a witch's dream.

Magic Castle: Halloween Decorations

Help guests suspend disbelief with a charming scene of Halloween decorations when throwing a Halloween party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Help guests suspend disbelief
with a charming scene.

Ensure that guests suspend disbelief at the door by elevating their imaginations with a charming scene that suggests they're stepping into a mystical dream.

Begin their walk into this enchanted kingdom by draping a row of purple streamers over the entryway. On one side -- the party room -- turn on a black light for guests who aren't afraid of the dark. Extend that ethereal feel by hanging stars wrapped in white paper or foil from the ceiling. (Under a black light, white-papered stars glow purple; silver shines in any light.)

Create a book of spells by picking up an old dictionary or encyclopedia from a thrift store and pasting two tea-stained pages to the open pages. Employ your most spidery handwriting to scratch out a spell or two, and leave the book open for the curious.

Pick up some black and silver balloons from the party store the day of the party. Have them filled halfway with helium and the other half with a mix of helium and air. Scatter these throughout the house for a cool levitating effect. Tape stained-glass cellophane onto your windows for a fun castle feel.

In the kitchen, black rules: A black tablecloth and black paper dishware are a nice start to a magical table. Hook eight black chenille stems through the edge of each guest's paper plate to create spider plates. Toss a handful of shiny sequins across the cloth, and in the center, create a crystal ball by stuffing an overturned fishbowl or round vase with silvery ribbon. No bowl or vase? No problem. Cover a sport ball (a basketball or soccer ball works great) with foil, and set it in a small bowl to keep it from rolling.

Whenever spells are in the air, superstitions are, too. Keep kids on their toes by leaning a ladder against a wall (have adults keep watch so kids don't try to climb), and set out a stuffed toy or cardboard black cat so all the kids have to walk past it. Leave a spilled saltshaker on the kitchen table.

Have a few prizes ready for any kids who recognize the superstitious possibilities and avert misfortune! Help out little ones by setting a few spooky signs near the potential misstep, warning of the old wives' tales they're about to encounter. For example, next to a piece of tape laid across the carpet to resemble a crack, hang a sign that says, "Step on a crack, break your mother's back."

Creating Magic: Halloween Crafts

It doesn't take a witch or wizard to provide fun for kids -- all you need is a little glue and some craft supplies.

Spellbinding

Take composition books and turn them into books of spells as an easy Halloween craft.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Take composition books and
turn them into books of spells.

What kid doesn't need a special place to sketch out spells, secrets, and dreams? Give each a chance to personalize a book of spells for which any witch or wizard would wish.

Purchase bound composition books (from the dollar store) or spiral notebooks, sequins, flat-backed rhinestones, glitter, craft glue, construction paper, feathers, etc. Let kids unleash their creativity by decorating the covers of their spell books. Offer a few silly love spells or homework spells to start them off:
  • Higglebee, wigglebee, do vo voom, / May the one who loves me walk into the room.

  • Teacher's eye and textbook row, / when I wake tomorrow, everything I'll know.
Worms of Endearment

The worm is as essential to a magic spell as is eye of newt. Save kids a trip to the backyard by giving them all they need to create a magic worm of their own.

Cut sheets of foam in half. Have kids draw a worm shape on a piece of foam and cut it out. They then use the first worm as a pattern to cut out another worm from another piece of foam. Have them lay a chenille stem down the center of the worm and glue the two pieces of foam together. Place all foam scraps in the middle of the craft table.

Worm are important for spells. Let kids make their own in this Halloween craft.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Worm are important for spells. Let kids
make their own with this craft.

While waiting for the pieces to dry, kids can cut designs from the leftover foam pieces and glue them, along with wiggle eyes, to their worms. After one hour, the glue will be set and the worm can be bent into different shapes.

Magical Machinations: Halloween Games and Tricks


Out of the Question

A sour future takes on a whole new meaning with this fortune-telling trick.

Shortly before kids are gathered, use a cotton swab dipped in lemon juice and, on different scraps of paper, write the words, "Believe it," "Never!," or "It is so." Allow each child to ask a yes or no question about his or her future, then have each choose one of the pieces of paper. Have an adult hold the paper close to a "magic" lightbulb (at least 60 watts). The warmth from the bulb will make the answer slowly appear.

Which Witch Is Which?

Smart kids might not believe in superstition, but they won't ever pass up a chance to test their brainpower. Give them a shot at this mind bender.

Arrange kids in a circle around a cauldron. (A large soup pot will do.) Hand the host child a witch hat to wear, and have him or her name one bewitching ingredient to put in the cauldron (eye of newt, tail of pig, slice of pizza -- whatever comes to mind), then the child passes the witch hat to the next person in the circle.

That person must don the witch hat, name the first kid's ingredient, then add his or her own ingredient before passing the hat. The next kid does the same, each kid having to remember all the ingredients named before. If someone can't remember the list, he or she is out. Last person in the game wins.

Quick Tricks

Hiring a magician is always a good move for kids' parties, but if you (or an older brother or sister) are
willing to wear a cape, consider appearing before your guests' eyes as a mystical person of infinite powers.

Master of Deception Tip!
Practice all tricks before the party; sleight of hand only works when it's smooth.

Egg Head

Your wizard can pull of these enchanting and easy magic tricks at your next Halloween party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Your wizard can pull of these
enchanting and easy magic tricks.

Challenge kids to balance an egg on its narrow end. (Hint: Use hard-boiled eggs just in case!) They will find the task impossible. With a pinch of salt concealed in your hand, wave your hand over the egg, discreetly dropping some of the salt to the hard surface of the table.

Wave your fingers dramatically over the surface of the table in order to collect the salt into a small pile. With a flourish, balance the egg atop the granules. The salt -- invisible to the audience's eyes -- will support the egg.

Magic Knot

Tie a knot at one end of a handkerchief, and stuff it in your pocket. To start the trick, yank the handkerchief from your pocket, concealing the knot in your closed hand and letting the unknotted length of the hankie hang below. Tell the kids you are going to knot the hankie using only one hand and a magic word of their choosing.

Pull the unknotted end up toward your closed hand and secure it in place by holding your index finger over it. Say the magic word, and with a snapping motion, release the unknotted side by lifting your finger as you snap. Act confused and request another magic word. Tuck the unknotted end in the same position, and this time when you say the magic work and snap your hand, release the knotted end while keeping the unknotted end secure between your fingers.

Soda Magic

You can make a cup float. Pretend to take a drink from a foam cup, and then place your thumb in a hole in the back (which you made before the show). Move your fingers away from the cup so it looks like you're not holding it anymore.

Raise your hand with the cup attached (your audience must be in front of you). Use your other hand to pretend to try to grab the cup. The audience will see a cup floating, wiggling, and acting like it has a mind of its own!

The Sticky Wand

Tell the kids that you can command a wand to do whatever you tell it to. Grasp the wand in your right hand, with your right shoulder to the audience. Place the wand in your left palm, and close your fingers.

Grab your left wrist with your right hand. Turn so your left shoulder is now to the audience. While you turn, move your right index finger up to hold the wand. With the back of your hand facing the audience, command the wand to stay -- and open your left hand. The wand stays put.

Bag o' Tricks: Halloween Goodie Bag

Don't send your guests back into the real world without fantastical and mystical surprises.

Cook up a cool cauldron for goodies. Buy inexpensive black bowls (or paint the bowls black) from the dollar store. You'll also need a black chenille stem and 3 wood knobs for each bowl. Paint the knobs black, and glue them to the bottom of the bowl. Attach a chenille stem to the top as a handle. Fill the bottom of the cauldron with black plastic Halloween "grass" to look like smoke (white fiberfill would also work).

Give kids these cauldron goodie bags at a Halloween party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Give kids these cauldron goodie bags.

Here are some ingredients kids will need to brew up their own sweet magic: fancy pens for their spell books, magic trick items, colorful bone-shaped candy, and other Halloween goodies. You could also add gummy worms, eyeball candies, plastic spiders, raisins (label them "shriveled eyes"), wax teeth, and taffy (label it "tongue of monster").

Halloween parties don't have to be scary. In the next section, we'll show you how to throw a grown-up "Historical Halloween" party.