The life skills I want to teach my kids are basic ones: planning and project management, social interaction (and with that, empathy), research, budget management, project execution, teamwork. These may sound complex for a pre-schooler, but I try to introduce some of the core fundamentals of these concepts to my pre-schooler through fun projects to work on with the family. The upside is that it helps to keep him productively occupied over some length of time.
Organising a party for his friends is one of the projects I try to take on at least once a year (this is in addition to his birthday party) as a way for him to put some of these skills to practice. We make lists, put some time into online research, make decorations and invitations, shortlist games and activities, plan the menu, cook and bake, and comparison shop for small treats. We keep these parties small, usually inviting only two to three children (which tends to make it less stressful for mommy and daddy).
I know that the thought of organising a children’s party is often a parent’s nightmare. But I’ve found that breaking it down to a series of small activities involving my child over a couple of weekends makes it less daunting. Because T loves Halloween, we’ve decided to throw a Halloween kids party this year. In addition to useful links for Halloween ideas below, we’ve also listed some of the places we usually go to for our party and craft supplies because we know that half the stress lies in having to get all the shopping done!
Halloween decorations & invitations
T decided that he wanted a black and white Halloween theme this year. After going through our favourite kids craft sites, Mr Printables and Minieco for Halloween ideas, we decided to revisit the pink Pacman Halloween garland we’d made two years ago with a monochromatic version (above). All it called for was a quick template download. T and I spent part of our Sunday afternoon tracing the shapes out on card stock, cutting them out, then affixing circular stickers for the eyes. Next, we stuck them onto black and white baker’s twine with sticky tape and attached the garland to our dining room wall with washi tape. T decided to draw other creatures such as spiders, bats and ghosts, which he cut out and attached to more baker’s twine before placing them around our home.
For invitations, we chose adorable 3D Halloween ghosties (see topmost image above) from French blog, Zü, which were a snap to assemble. Simply print, cut out and fold. The sleeve just called for a little double-sided tape at the point of final assembly. For photo props, we printed Boo! Typography glasses on black card stock and cut them out. I made the mistake of trying to cut them out at night, which made eyeballing the black-on-black lines difficult. But with a wee bit of patience, this is a very do-able project. Affix the temples (the bits on the side that go over your ears) with small pieces of double-sided tape and you’re done. T loves these.
Halloween activities for pre-schoolers
I generally try to programme activities whenever we have young guests over just because I prefer to create a little structure for little kids. It can otherwise be challenging to keep them engaged and contained within a confined space.
We picked out Minieco’s spider thaumatrope (see topmost image above) as a craft activity. They’re incredibly easy to assemble. And when you spin them rapidly, the spider looks like it’s descending from its web. We reckon that even our two-year-old guests will enjoy them.
Tigermom that I am, I’ve also organised a bunch of worksheets. We selected a fun spider web maze and ghost word search for the older children, as well as handwriting worksheets (above) and Halloween math worksheets. Even if we don’t use them at the party, most moms appreciate receiving them. They’re great boredom busters for little ones.
For the two-year-olds, Halloween colouring pages (Google “kids Halloween colouring pages”) paired with dot paints are a fabulous option. T also really wanted to make paper plate spiders (use black paper plates for utter simplicity, and pair with pipe cleaners, and googly or sticker eyes), which are fuss free and fun for even our youngest guests.
Some of the Halloween ideas we’ve lined up for games include Pin the Boo! on the Ghost (a variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey), Donut Chomp (donuts are suspended from long pieces of string tied to a pole held over their heads and the kids have race to eat the donuts up without using their hands) in place of apple bobbing, and mummy bowling (we’re wrapping our toy bowling set with toilet paper, then attaching googly eyes for a ghoulish version of the game).
Halloween ideas for our menu include ghost and bone shaped wholewheat sugar cookie cut outs (below) made using T’s favourite recipe; choc chip brownie wholewheat cookies covered in cream cheese icing bandages (above); old fashioned pink popcorn coloured black; and Putrid Pizza (freshly made either at home or from our favourite pizzeria on Deliveroo). Creepy drink options include freezing rubber or plastic spiders in ice, or just labelling watermelon juice as vampire’s blood. Of course, there will also be lollypops and all manner of horrifying Halloween themed gummies which we selected together on a grocery store run.
Where we get our Halloween party supplies
In all honesty, I’ve learnt to keep things reasonably simple. The kids enjoy one another’s company most of all. Between Spotlight, Daiso and Cold Storage we were able to pick up black and white paper plates, cups, straws, streamers and cutlery, Halloween accessories (fake cobwebs, vampire fangs, masks, goodie bag stuffers), candy and snacks. Most of our craft supplies were from Spotlight, Art Friend and Popular. In addition, we keep a small canister of helium we acquired at Spotlight in our home for inflating balloons (black and white ones this year, along with a couple with spiders on them), but it’s just as easy to order some online and have them delivered pre-inflated.
T and I hope you find our Halloween ideas useful. Have a howling good Halloween this year!