Cutting costs by making gifts and decorations has helped me save a lot of money and headaches.
It's a Party
Having a party for Halloween this year? Not sure what to do to keep the kids busy? I have a few ideas that I do at my Halloween parties which the kids all seem to enjoy. Many of the games can be modified to fit almost any party theme. You can do them all, just a few or use parts to create your own.
Favors And Prizes
Purchase foam stickers and brown or white paper lunch bags. Have the children decorate the bags with markers and the stickers being sure that each child puts their name on the bag. The bag becomes their party favor and they put in all of the prizes as they win them.
Fill a container with small party favors (some that fit the specific party such as Halloween would have bat erasers, etc. and some that are for any theme. Allow each child that participates in a game to pick one item out of the container for each game (the items then go into their bags). Then the winner of the game gets something a bit bigger, but not really all that expensive. I found that the kids get excited about bubbles, pencils and small pads, specialty straws (I used the eye glass straws one year and ran out during the first wave because they were so popular), small game items like tiny mazes, or whatever else you can think of. Let your imagination soar for this and ask your kids for ideas.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
You can modify the game for your party. You can use large poster board hung where even the smallest of children can reach it, and draw out a pumpkin (for a jack-o-lantern), a ghost, a bat, or any weird monster shape, even a witch works depending on how artistic you are (quick note here-don't cut out the creature because the kids can feel the edges and use that as a guide). Leave off some item, a nose, a set of eyes, a mouth, a hat, whatever you like and then draw several of these items separately. Color and cut them out (or you can have the kids do it). Put the name of a child on the item (be sure to make enough for all children invited and a few extras for mistakes and just for fun). Put a bit of tape on the item, put a blindfold on the first child, twirl 3 times, and place the item in their hand and aim them in the general direction. The closest to the mark wins the prize. (You can do this for any party by creating something that goes along with the party theme: pin the hat on the pirate for a pirate theme, or pin the star on the tree for a Christmas Theme and so on.)
Create your own bingo cards. You could do numbers (remember for each letter you need a total of 15 numbers as follows: B 1-15; I 16-30; N 31-45; G 46-60; O 61-75). Put a party themed picture in the background of all of your cards and make sure the boxes are large enough for whatever you will be using for markers (I used poker chips). Create each card separate so that all of the cards have the numbers in random order. Make several different ones as the kids will want to choose their "lucky" card. Now create a set of small squares with the letter and number for each section ('B' would have a square for each number 1-15 and 'I' would have 16-30, etc.) and create a master sheet with all the numbers marked on it so you can place the squares as they are called and verify when you have a winner. Give each of the children several markers so they can mark their cards and then elect a caller. Parents can help the smaller ones find and mark their numbers. We purchased small prizes of various types and played until everyone had won a game (the first winner got his/her prize and went off to play with his winnings while the others kept playing).
Variation: You could also do random pictures of Halloween items such as bats, ghosts, pumpkins, etc. and then have your caller pull squares with random pictures from a bowl. You should have enough of each picture to cover the majority of a card so that you can put the items on your master list for verification, or you could just give them the benefit of the doubt and put the item back in the bowl each time you call it.
Bobbing for Apples or Balloons
A great old-fashioned game, however, I find that most of the kids can't get the apples because their mouths aren't big enough. Modify the game by using balloons blown up until they are the size of an apple and tie off (don't use helium, your own hot air is needed here). Toss the balloons in a tub of warm water so that there is plenty of room for them to move about (use only about 6 inches of water and monitor the kids so none of them inhale the water trying to get the balloon). NOTE: You will want to make sure the kids remove their masks before attempting this if they have a costume on.
Variation: a variation of this game is to put balloons in the water with numbers on them (make sure there is at least one balloon for each child attending). The numbers would correspond to a prize of some sort (we put several of the same item in a small basket marked #1, another basket marked #2, etc.) and then have the kids pull the balloons out to see what they got.
Another variation: put the numbers in the balloons and the kids have to break the balloon by sitting on it in order to get their prize (you might want to dry off the balloon before they try to sit on it).
Note: This game should be done outside because of the water, or you can have the kids just sit on a balloon they pick for a prize. (We decorated the house with several balloons and then just before the kids left, we had them choose a balloon and try to sit on it for a prize).
Clothes Pin Drop and Silly Game
Clothes Pin Drop-Decorate a milk jug or juice jug in a party theme and purchase thin, non-clipping clothespins (you can paint these if you like), or you can use decorated craft sticks (just make sure the decorations won't catch on the side of the jug), have the children kneel (or stand if needed) on a chair (try to have them sit or stand so that each child is about the same distance from the jug). Place the jug below the chair and have the children drop the clothespins to see if they can get them into the small opening. We gave our kids three chances, but you can do more or less. The one that gets the most in the jug wins and ties are broken with retries.
Silly Game-Write up silly things children might be able to do like jump on one foot, chirp like a bird, crawl like a crab, etc. on small pieces of colored paper. Place the papers in a bowl or hat and have the children take turns pulling out a paper and then acting out what is on the paper, young ones can be helped by an adult. The other children get to vote on whether the child was good enough to get a prize. We always allowed each child to win something no matter what.
Variation: A variation of this one would be to put the ideas in balloons for the children to break and then act out what is on the paper.
A Maze and a Whisper Game
Maze-If you have a large back yard, build a small maze using fencing. hay bales, or whatever you might have handy. Set up small tables throughout the maze where adults are waiting (in costume). The children can get a piece of candy from each adult by 'treating" through the maze, (make this one unique by having the children perform something or answer a question like what color is my nose from an adult in a clown costume), or you can have the adult hide (this is more for at night when lighting is very low) and jump out as the child takes the candy (I don't recommend this for very young children).
Whisper Game-Have the children gather in a half-circle facing inwards. Hand the first child something (a rock, a button, a comb, etc.) and whisper to the child that the item is something else. Example: hand the child a comb and tell them it is a coat for a kitty. The child must hand the item to the next child and whisper to them the same thing. Once the child's hands are free hand them something else, and keep it going. Each child hands the item on and tries to whisper to the next child what it is. Have each item and the silly description written down before you begin and then see what the item ends up being when it reaches the last child. This game can be lots of fun. Prizes aren't awarded here, but you can give each participant a chance to pull something from the miscellaneous prize container.
Give the kids foam sheets or regular construction paper and allow them free reign. Provide stickers, glue, glitter, foam decorations, markers, crayons, pencils, ribbon, whatever seems good and let them go all out. This activity might be best done outside or on a cleared table with newspaper on the floor. Or you might want to put an old sheet on the floor and have the kids decorate their master pieces there. Let them take their pictures home with them after the party.
"Get creepy, scary and funny this Halloween. Have fun and be safe." Halloween Ghost.
© 2011 Cheryl Simonds
Pass on some of your gaming ideas:
Cheryl Simonds (author) from Connecticut on October 25, 2011:
You are most welcome, I hope everyone that reads this can use some or all of the suggestions. Thanks to everyone who voted for my nugget!
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on October 24, 2011:
Doing arts and crafts is a hit with our preschool kids so I am sure this will be truly a fun thing to do. Speaking of BINGO hmmmm you just gave me a super idea. I would like to use this game this Halloween. Thanks.
Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. To all who would like to read and vote, this way please: https://ladyjane1.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub/Roo...
Stephanie Das from Miami, US on October 18, 2011:
Nice hub! All of these games are fun! I even like to use pin the tail on the donkey and bobbing for apples with my grown-up friends. Voted up!