Kids Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween is a great time to unlock kids' imaginations, treat your family and friends to homemade goodies, and just have fun. Bring all these elements together in a Halloween party that's as fun for the kids to enjoy as it is for you to put together.

We've got dozens of fresh ideas so even parents pressed for time can pull off the perfect party with ease.

Halloween Candy Image Gallery

We'll show you how to keep your goblin guests entertained and how to make your young hosts the hit of the holiday with themed parties that are bound to be fun. No matter what theme you choose, in costume or out, you'll bear an uncanny resemblance to a bewitching wizard if you keep these simple party tricks up your sleeve:

  • For maximum fun and minimal chaos, let the age of your child determine the number of guests to be invited. For example, if your goblin is seven, invite seven of his closest ghostly chums. If you have several children, let them each invite a few friends, but make sure you have plenty of adult and teenage helpers. You want to enjoy the party also.
  • Send out invitations two weeks in advance, and request RSVPs within the week. Like costumes, Halloween parties are far less painful when they are sized to fit: think menu, craft, and game supplies.
  • Nighttime isn't the only time for a Halloween party. Afternoon parties offer the outdoor advantage -- less pre- and post-party cleanup, more activity options, and lots of room for the kids to scream, giggle, and get silly. Be sure to specify warm clothes and/or play clothes in the invitation if the kids will be spending any time outside.
  • Whether the party is indoors or out, keep kids safe and on the right track by closing doors to rooms and spaces that are off-limits. No door? No problem. Hang crisscrossed streamers, caution tape, or signs that warn, "Beware: Haunted" across no-enter zones. For added security and fun, cut monster footprints from cardboard leading from party room to party room. Don't forget the path to the bathroom.
  • Keep food, games, and emergency cleanup and craft supplies at the ready to avoid lulls during the party. Organization and preplanning are key to a successful party: You want to keep that energetic group of goblins grinning.

Have kids who love to be scared? In our next section, we'll give you a scary party idea designed just for the family.

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Scary Party Ideas

A cauldron can add a spooky touch to your party decor.

If you're spooked at the prospect of scaring up a child's Halloween party all by your lonesome, you should be. Like any other holiday, Halloween is best celebrated when it's shared.

So make a party planning date with your little monsters. Make a feast of festive eats and spooky craft treats so that your family can plan a simple Halloween party.

You don't need a server named Lurch to set a spooky dinner scene. Since it's just your own family, dim the lights and break out a couple of tapered candles or -- if you've got one handy -- a candelabra. Switch on some Halloween tunes, and don a black dress, veil, or cape. Speak like a vampire from Transylvania if you can. Your kids will love the fuss.

Convinced you're living with the undead? In our next section, we'll show you to make a fiesta out of it with monster Halloween party ideas.

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Monster Halloween Party Ideas

These homemade creepy invites set the tone of your monster Halloween party.

The touch of a cold corpse, the sound of a howling wind, the taste of your heart in your throat...the senses truly come alive at Halloween. Spine-tingling invites and undead goodie bags are sure to set your guests' neurotransmitters on super-shiver mode. Kids seeking a haunting holiday sour at the sight of a candy-coated Halloween party. For them, grisly and ghastly is the only way to go. Let those tough types test the strength of their spine with a party that oozes with heart-stopping surprises, cringe-worthy crafts, and a menu into which only the boldest vampires would sink their fangs.

Creepy Invites

If you want to create the gross atmosphere right from the beginning, be sure to tie your invitations into the theme. We'd suggest getting a surprise messenger to do your, inviting.

Find small jewelry boxes and rubber rats that will fit inside them. On the outside of each box, write "Open up, if you dare!" Then write party invitations on parchment paper, in spooky writing.

Tie black ribbon around the rat's neck and attach the other end to the invitation. Place the rat and the invitation in the box. Cut out a bat from construction paper, and glue it to the front of the box.

The invitation reads:

"My master has sent me to invite you to a Horrifying Halloween Party! Come to 1234 Maple Lane on Saturday, October 26. The haunting will take place from noon to 3:00 p.m.! Call my master to RSVP at 555-1234. Be afraid. Be very afraid!"

Ghastly Goodie Bags

When kids leave the party, give them coffins filled with stuff all ghost- and monster-busters need to communicate with the other side: invisible ink markers, spell books (note pads), toy phones, paintbrushes (for dusting ghost prints), a small pocket mirror (because the dead don't have a reflection), and maybe even a monster figure or two.

This next Halloween theme party idea is fun for little Frankensteins and Brides of Frankenstein.

Audio Invites

Listen up, moms and dads: Audio invitations are an awesome way to involve your kids and alert your guests to the frightfully good time that awaits. Using a few regular household items, you and your children can relay the party date and time details amidst a cacophony of spooky sounds. All you need are some blank CDs or audiotapes and a little imagination.

You'll need one cd or tape per invited guest. Since you're only going to be recording a few minutes of sound on each, choose the cheapest tapes with the fewest recordable minutes.

Local libraries and music stores often have recordings of eerie music or sound effects available, but you easily can make your own. Crack fresh celery for breaking bones. Have a vaporizer or humidifier gurgling in the background to mimic the sound of a cauldron bubbling or experiments going awry in a mad scientist's lab. You can also find sound effects on the Internet.

A slow wail (created by running your finger along the rim of a wine glass) makes a haunting intro. You can follow with a squeaky door, heavy footsteps that get faster and faster and louder and louder -- then a howl, a bloodcurdling scream, some celery snapping, insane laughter, and, finally, a spooky whisper that asks: "Who's next? You are, if you dare to attend Nathan Alexander's Halloween party on October 26. The terror begins at noon, at 1234 Maple Lane. Survivors -- if there are any -- can escape at 3:00 p.m. Please wear play clothes and arrive hungry. Your last meal will be a good one."

Finish with a haunting melody, more howls and screams, or whatever your imagination desires.

Once you've recorded the invite on a tape, use it as the master to dub the remaining tapes. Remember to rewind each tape to the beginning. You can also record the invitation on CD through your computer. Many programs are available for creating audio and burning CDs.

Finally, create a label for your CD or write "Listen if you dare" on the recorded side of the tape's label and underneath, "RSVP 555-1234." You can package each CD or tape in a festive envelope, box, or even trick-or-treat bag so your child can distribute the tapes with fanfare.

Goodie Bags from the Great Beyond

Besides the souvenir wig, let guests take home a goodie box or pail.

Fill each with a small pocket mirror to identify the undead (the dead don't have a reflection), a small vial or baggie filled with cinnamon candy blood drops, vampire fangs, a vampire toy, and a pencil (a.k.a. wooden vampire stake).

Halloween Invitations: Wheel of...Misfortune?

Who knows which way the wheel of fortune will turn when October winds blow? Your guests will if a gust blows this three-way invite into their mailboxes.

To make, cut a black 51/2-inch card stock circle and a white 6-inch card stock circle per guest. Cut out a triangle, about 1/4 of the pie, from each black circle, leaving at least a 1/2-inch border at the outside edge. (Make a triangle template, and trace it onto each circle. Then cut out the triangles.)

Cut out 6-inch circles from green, red, and black construction paper. Fold circles in half, then in quarters. Cut circles into quarters using folded lines as guides. Glue a green, red, and black circle quarter on each white circle, leaving a quarter white.

Use a brass fastener to secure the center of each black circle to the center of each colored large circle. Slowly turn the small circle until it spins easily. On the smaller disk use a silver pen to write: "This Halloween, will you be one of the good, the bad, or the ugly?"

In the white window, write: "Feeling good? You're invited to don your cheeriest costume and step into the happiest Halloween dimension." In the black window, write: "A bad moon is rising. Wear your spookiest costume for a walk on the dark side." In the green window, write: "Calling all monsters! Put on your ugliest scare-wear for a horrifically good time." In the red window, write: No matter which side you're on, you're invited! Come to Casey's house, 1234 Maple, on Saturday, October 25. The party is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. RSVP at 555-1234 by Sunday."

You don't need a spellbook to create a magical Halloween party. In our next section, we'll give you some magic Halloween party ideas.

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Magic Halloween Party Ideas

These charm pouch invitations are great for a magic-themed Halloween party.

Call off the search for eye of newt. All you need to concoct a Halloween party that bubbles with black magic are these easy-to-find charms: a pinch of enchanted children and a scene set for an incantation. Mix well, then stand back and let it cook.

Invitation Incantation

Want to summon your gaggle of guests with invitations so magical no witch or wizard could resist their charms? Send out charm pouches.

To make the pouches, buy enough fabric to provide 43 12-inch rectangles of purple fabric per invited guest and at least 1 yard of ribbon (any color you find bewitching) per pouch. If you don't have a sewing machine and hate sewing by hand, don't worry; fabric glue is strong enough for this job.

Cut out the rectangles. Use pinking shears or scissors with scalloped edges for extra flair. Fold each rectangle in half, and glue or sew the sides, leaving the top open. If using glue, let it dry completely. Measure 1 inch down from the top opening, and cut a small slit on either side of the bag, about 1 inch from each side.

Weave the ribbon in and out of the slits. When the ribbon ends are pulled, the pouch will close. (For fun, glue a spider onto one of the ribbon tails.)

Using a silver or purple pen and parchment or black paper, write: "Charmed, I'm sure! You will be if you don your pointed black hat or wizard's cap and ride your broom to Jamie Welp's house for a magical Halloween party at 123 Maple Lane on Saturday, October 26. The spell will be cast from noon to 3:00 p.m. Give the magic word, and food, games, and crafts will appear! RSVP: 555-1234."

Roll up each scroll and tie with ribbon before tucking it inside a pouch.

Ghastly Gifts: Goodie Bags to Go

Send each witch or wizard off with a pile of magical party favors.

Give tiny spell books (colorful miniature notepads), fun stickers, candy, a witch figure, and a lollipop ghost. (Cover a round lollipop with a tissue, and tie the tissue below the lollipop.)

If you're feeling charming, compose a few fun friendship, love, or study spells for the kids to cast.

There's another great themed party if your witches and warlocks are excited about spells. Create even more magic with the Spellbound Halloween party.

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."

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

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).

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").

As a parent, you know that Halloween can be tough for the smaller monsters. In our next section, we'll talk about Halloween parties for younger kids.

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Halloween Parties for Younger Kids

These pumpkins are actually orange peels.

Pay tribute to the traditions of Halloweens past by inviting guests to a timeless celebration of the autumn season. This Halloween party isn't scary and just as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids.Some backstory about Halloween: When the Romans adopted Halloween as an official holiday, they merged it with their October holiday honoring Pomona, goddess of trees and fruit. Her symbol is the apple. This is said to have inspired the Halloween tradition of bobbing for apples.

One of the best aspects of this Halloween party is that it celebrates the treats of life, instead of focusing on the tricks of the day. It's an excuse for beautiful old-fashioned Halloween decorations, crafts, and games.

Natural Request: Halloween Invitation

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

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.

Or, if you want to celebrate the history of Halloween, throw an old-fashioned party.

Halloween in a Handbasket: Halloween Invitation

It's an old-fashioned gathering, so keep it simple: Baskets and bows -- not ghosts and potions aglow -- are all you'll need to create this effortless invitation.

Craft stores carry rows of darling baskets. Purchase one for each guest and decorate with a fall flower, papier-mache gourd, and raffia. Add an invitation that reads:

"Ye Olde Invite. You're invited to celebrate the season! Please bring this basket to 1234 Maple Lane, and reap the rewards of an autumn harvest on Saturday, October 25, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. We'll eat a feast, kick up our heels, and hark back to the Halloween of yore. Please RSVP to 555-1234 by Sunday."

For a truly authentic feel, drop the invitation baskets at each guest's front door.

Prefer a back to nature theme? Celebrate autumn with this next Halloween party idea.

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.

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

Ready to walk the plank in search of a great Halloween idea? In our next section, we'll show you some pirate Halloween party ideas.

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Pirate Halloween Party Ideas

These pirate goodie bags are made with kids' socks.

Flounder for a party no more. We've uncovered a trove of Halloween fun that'll hook yer little landlubbers on a ghostly galleon party they'll always treasure.

Aye, Thy Excitin' Invite: Halloween Invitations

Who says message-bearing bottles only turn up on the seashore? Sail these spooky invites straight into your guests' mailboxes.

These invitations are meant to look like they've sprung from the depths after decades at sea, so you'll want them to look aged.

Remove the labels from water bottles (1 per guest). Sponge the bottles with green and blue paint to look like algae. Paint the cap also, and tie raffia around the neck of the bottle. Glue a shell on the raffia.

If you can't find aged-looking paper at a craft or stationery store, make your own. Tear the edges of some medium or heavyweight white paper (one piece per guest). When the edges are roughed up to your liking, crumble each piece into a loose ball. Boil four cups of water, and pour into a heatproof bowl over eight tea bags.

When the tea has cooled, squeeze and remove the bags, and dip each crumbled ball of paper in the water until the paper is stained to your liking. Swirl paper in water to catch any tea leaves that escaped the bags to add extra dark, texturizing stains to the paper. Gently uncrumple each ball.

Roll them up scroll-style, unroll them, then let them air-dry. This will keep the edges slightly curled so the paper is easier to roll later.

When the paper is dry, use a black or brown marker to write: "You're Invited! Brave the gales of Halloween, and set sail for a spooky shipwreck celebration at Jay's house. Don your best pirate costume, and enjoy grub and games galore inside the ghost ship. We set sail Saturday at 3 p.m.; Neptune willing, we'll return at 5 p.m. X marks the spot: 1234 Maple Lane. RSVP at 555-1234 by Sunday."

When all the invitations are complete, roll each like a scroll and tuck into a bottle. Aye, aye, then it's time to pass them out to the swabbies.

Pirate Boot-y: Halloween Goodie Bag

Decorate kid-size socks with jewels, beads, silver chenille stems, and seashells for a galleon of fun. Fill each with gold-wrapped chocolate coins, jewel ring candy, a skeleton straw, and a seashell necklace.

You could also include a "treasure" map. City or town maps or maps of area parks are usually free at your local chamber of commerce or visitor's center.

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