Jaynie has extensive experience with party and event planning. She has planned events for groups of 20 to 600 people.
Haunted Halloween Parties for Kids
I can't think of a better way to celebrate autumn and harvest time, than to start planning a big Halloween party for the kids! Here are some of the ideas I have used in the past, to create a memorable, safe and FUN experience for my girls and their friends.
Each party was planned as an outdoor event, which allowed the kids the opportunity to run around and have fun, but did not make a complete mess of my house. It also added to the "spooky" ambience because the parties did not start until after dark.
I'm a big believer in sending invitations that are special enough to pique the interested of all invited guests. Anyone can be invitations at the store and fill in the blanks, but creating your own signature invitations is not only fun, but also allows you to get guests excited about the upcoming celebration. I've done a couple of different things that the kids loved.
(1) Gel Pens on Black Paper and Chocolate Suckers
My kids and I have had great fun creating our own magical invitations by using various colored gel pens to design spooky images on folded black paper. We drew such things as tombstones, bats in the full moonlight, skeletons, pumpkins, ghosts, and knotty autumn trees on the covers and the interior of the invitations which framed our message. COME IF YOU DARE...TO (your name here)'S HAUNTED HALLOWEEN PARTY...NOT FOR THE FEINT OF HEART!
My kids and I like to work together to make chocolate suckers to hand out with every invitation. I have several Halloween sucker shaped molds and sucker sticks which I purchased at a local craft store. I used both white and milk chocolate which I simply melt and pour into the molds. White chocolate makes great ghost suckers and it is also fun to make two toned suckers. Once they have cooled and solidified in the fridge, We wrap them in Saran Wrap and tie them off with orange curling ribbon.
When completing your invitations, be sure to include all relevant details, including what time the party ends. After a few hours of screaming, excited children, that might be the most important detail of all!
When I began creating haunted houses in my garage, I also included this in the invitations so that parents could determine whether that activity was appropriate for their child, or whether they wanted to attend after that event had concluded. That way, children who might be frightened would not feel embarrassed.
I tend to include all the exciting details so that it really attracts the kids and makes them eager to attend. You can accomplish this anyway you like, but I tend to be concise and use a time line format. For example:
6:00 Party At Jaynie's House
6:15 - 7:00 Spooky fun awaits you in Jaynie's Haunted Garage!
7:00 - 7:15 Scavenger Hunt (play for COOL prizes!!)
7:15 - 8:00 Games (win some of the BEST prizes EVER!!)
8:00 - 8:45 Trick or Treating
8:45 Yummy Treats and Sweet Desserts
9:00 Pick Up
(2) Foam Board Invitations
First plan the designs that you would like to make. You can purchase several Halloween colored pieces of 8.5 x 11 foam board at any local craft store or places such as Shopko or WalMart. For my invitations, I made tombstones, ghosts, bats and pumpkins, so I purchased white, gray, black, orange, green and yellow foam pieces.
Lightly trace your pattern onto the foam and cut out. I used the yellow foam for bat eyes and the green and brown to make leaves and stems for my pumpkins. You can get as creative as you like. On the reverse side of your decorated foam board, use a black Sharpie to add your party information just like in the example above.
It is important that guests RSVP so that you know how many goody bags to prepare and you can arrange your Scavenger Hunt and other game teams in advance.
The Scavenger Hunt
This is a great way to start the party because as the kids are searching for their items, you can be putting finishing touches on your haunted garage or other party details.
What You'll Need
List of all teams divided into equal numbers
Brown paper bag with all scavenger hunt items written on it in black marker (one for each team)
Flashlights for each team
Prize bags for the winning team (be sure to have enough. I always make one extra just in case)
How To Play
Hide prizes well in advance. I color coded prizes for each team so there was no confusion. The red team might be looking for such things as a red beanie baby, an apple, a pair of red socks, a small toy fire truck, and a box of Red Hots. I typically used things that I found around the house so that I didn't have to buy anything new. Each team had 5 things to find.
One year, I had two age groups having a party at the same time. I had about 30 nine year olds, and about 7 four year olds. While the older kids were having the traditional scavenger hunt, the younger kids searched for prizes in a large pile of hay with the help of their parents. Since there were no prize bags for the younger kids, I hid actual prizes such as small flash lights, coloring books, key chains, and other Halloween themed prizes that I had purchased from Oriental Trading Company. They LOVED it!
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The Haunted Garage
This was one of the most fun, successful events we ever had. Each year we changed it up so that the kids would never know what to expect. You can create your own atmosphere and make it as scary or as campy as you like, depending upon what age group you're working with and how you think the kids will respond.
To create a real outdoorsy, autumn atmosphere, be sure to remove EVERY item from your garage except for those that you plan to incorporate into your theme. I stored everything in my basement or the neighbor's garage (with permission of course) until after the party. Save up your dried leaves and scatter them about the garage floor. You can't imagine how this can transform your space. My leaves were piled pretty thick and I raked pathways for them to follow from the front door to the back in a winding fashion. I used decorations that I had collected over a few years. These included skeletons, skulls, fake hands, scary mummies, battery powered flying bats with glowing eyeballs, tombstones, wall murals, and several other accents. I hit a CD player and had spooky Halloween music and sounds playing. I also used a fog machine and black lights. My husband and my father dressed up as spooks. One sat on a bench in the makeshift "graveyard" while the other was buried under a pile of leaves and sat up when kids passed by, reaching out toward them for a good scare!
The kids had so much fun with this that they went through again and again!
What You Will Need
Brown paper bag for each team filled with the following items:
Pair of pants
Pair of boots
Button down shirt
How to Play
Divide the kids into equally numbered teams. Each team picks a scarecrow. When you say "GO," the teams work together to see which can dress their scarecrow the fastest. That team wins.
What You Will Need
Fun Halloween music
Enough chairs for all but one guest, arranged in a circle, facing outward
Prize bag for the winner
How to Play
This is just like traditional musical chairs except played to Halloween music. You can use your kid's favorite music if you like.
Kids walk around the chairs while the music is playing. When the music stops, they scramble to find a seat. The child that cannot get a seat is out. Remove one chair after each round until there are only 2 kids left and one chair. The last child who is able to get the seat is the winner.
Candy Balloon Relay
What You Will Need
One hay bale per team
2 extra large black lawn and leaf bags per team
orange and black balloons (extra large)
candy (kisses, peanut butter cups, hershey's miniatures)
prize bags for the winning team
How to Play
Divide kids into equal number teams
Line each team up a fair distance from their hay bale, behind a starting line
Have one adult behind each hay bale with 2 bags full of inflated balloons. Have 1 piece of candy in each balloon. Be sure that the teams have equal number of balloons. This is very important.
When you say "GO," the first kid in each line runs to the hay bale, grabs a balloon from one of the bags and bounces on top of it on the hay bale until it pops. They retrieve the piece of candy that was inside of it and runs to the end of the line so the next person can do the same. This continues until one of the teams finally pops all of their balloons. That team is the winner and each player receives a prize bag.
What You Will Need
4 rolls of toilet paper for each team
1 garbage bag for cleaning up
How to Play
Divide kids into equally numbered teams. Each team picks a Mummy. The other players use all 4 rolls of toilet paper to complete wrap the mummy from head to toe. Be sure to tell them not to cover the mouth and nose. The first team to successfully wrap their mummy using all the toilet paper wins.
What You Will Need
BINGO Cards that feature the letters GHOST at the top (instead of BINGO) and have Halloween pictures instead of numbers on them.
Coins, chips or candy kisses to use as markers
Prizes for the winners
How to Play
This is a nice game which allows kids to have fun, but settle down a bit after the more active games. It is also nice in case the weather doesn't allow you to be outside.
Each kid gets a GHOST BINGO card. I make my own by using Clip Art and a color printer. I also had them laminated so I can use them from year to year. As the caller, I draw one letter from an envelope that has cards with G,H,O,S, or T printed on them, and one card from the picture envelope. The pictures are those that match the pictures that are printed on the BINGO cards.
The rest is played like traditional BINGO, except that when you have a winner, he or she shouts out "BOO" instead of BINGO.
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Tricks for Treats
What You Will Need
5 Bowls full of varying prizes (one might have chocolates; one non-chocolates; one small prizes like pencils, bouncy balls, temporary tattoos, etc.) and so on.
1 adult in costume for each bowl.
Tricks Cards (one deck for each adult)
How to Play
This is a great alternative to regular Trick or Treat If you have a very large group or have your party on a night in which there is no neighborhood Trick or Treat, this makes a great, fun, safe activity.
Each kid goes around the property in search of a costumed adult holding a prize bowl. In order to get a prize, they have to draw a card from the deck that the adult is holding. The cards have "tricks" printed on them that the child must perform in order to be able to take a prize from the bowl. For example, trick cards might say something like "Jump up and down and act like a monkey," or "Sing your A,B,C's."
I make my own Trick Cards using 3x5 cards and black Sharpie. I give each adult about 20 cards and make sure their bowls are full of prizes! The kids love this!
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Wrapping It Up
At the end of the evening, I usually get the kids to calm down by inviting them into the kitchen for Halloween themed treats. I have a couple of great Halloween cookbooks from which I take easy, creative recipes. The kids love things such as Scarecrow Cupcakes, Graveyard Cake and Popcorn Gloves.
For the cupcakes, I use a cake mix and decorate with vanilla icing. Use candy corn for the nose, M&Ms for the eyes, Shredded Mini Wheats for the collar, Licorice whips for the hair, and flattened gummy balls for the hat.
For the cake, I also use a mix, and spread chocolate frosting on top. The add crushed oreos and decorate with gummy worms, candy pumpkins. Use Milano cookies by Pepperidge Farms for tombstones and add such accents as R.I.P or BOO using decorator gel.
For the popcorn gloves, simply pop corn and use non-latex gloves. Place one candy corn in each finger and thumb of the glove and then fill the entire thing with popcorn. Tie off with an orange curling ribbon or twist tie.
Enjoy your party!!!
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© 2010 Jaynie2000
Jaynie2000 (author) on October 31, 2010:
Thanks so much! I hope he likes it. My kids always loved the candy balloon relays. Great fun!
MythiliK from India --> Switzerland on October 31, 2010:
Wow... great and cool ideas... I liked that mummy wrap ;) Will give a try if my son accepts the deal :D
Jaynie2000 (author) on October 27, 2010:
Thanks so much! Have a great Halloween!
Bizziebee from La La land, California on October 27, 2010:
Love the pics! Thanks for the post :)
Jaynie2000 (author) on October 10, 2010:
You'll just have to have an adult party and dress up and play games. I'm telling you, so many times the adults have more fun with this stuff than the kids do! I guess we're all kids at heart. ( -:
Matilda on October 09, 2010:
Ahhh reading this article made me wish that I could celebrate Halloween in my country. Sadly in Singapore no one ever celebrates it.
Haha I suppose it's too late for a 21 year old to be dressing up and running around yelling 'trick or treat'. ^_^"
bigvlamet on October 07, 2010:
Awesome ideas! We love Halloween and we've been invited to parties. I'd like to do my own as the kids get more involved in school and make more friends.
Jaynie2000 (author) on October 07, 2010:
Thank you so much! Halloween is HUGE at our house. The kids' friends start asking as early as February if we're having our annual party and if they'll score an invite! There are a couple ideas I forgot to include, but I'll save them for another hub. Enjoy the season!
surlyoldcat on October 07, 2010:
What a delightful article. Some excellent ideas for your party, I must say. Well done! :)
Kyriana from Midwest US on September 10, 2010:
All great ideas. I really enjoy receiving handmade invitations to different parties. It helps put you in the right mood and you feel like the person having the party is really excited about it and working to make the party a success before it even starts.
Hannah Severing on August 31, 2010:
Great ideas! Looks like a lot of fun. I'm planning to try some of these ideas with my kids!! Thanks for sharing.