Dressing up is one of their favourite activities even on a normal playdate, so the idea of being allowed to actually walk around the neighbourhood in their favourite costumes is like heaven to my children. Combine that with the promise of a spooky little tea party with friends, handfuls of sugary treats, and being outside after dark – it just doesn’t get any better!
Hallowe’en parties, pumpkin carving contests and group trick-or treating are something of a tradition in our neighbourhood, so we’ve decided to share some of our best ever tips – learned through trial and error with kids from 2 to 10.
Our Top 7 Hallowe’en Party and Trick or Treating Tips
1. Decorate the house with homemade Hallowe’en decorations and create a spooktacular party atmosphere. A very simple idea for creative little kids is to make paper cut-outs of Hallowe’en shapes like bats, witches riding broomsticks, ghosts, and jack’o’lanterns (hallowe’en pumpkins), colour or decorate them, and stick them to the windows.
2. Carve a pumpkin to make a Jack O’Lantern to greet your Hallowe’en party guests. Obviously very young children shouldn’t help with the actual carving, but they can most certainly get involved in the design, and they will love gutting the pumpkin and picking pumpkin seeds from the innards. You’ll find step-by-step pumpkin carving instructions on Kids National Geographic, and there are some expert tips on choosing the right pumpkin and some free printable Jack O’Lantern patterns on the aptly named Pumpkin Masters website. If you’re a fan of The Muppets, we’ve also got a free Kermit the Frog pumpkin carving template for you to use… inspired by the upcoming The Muppets movie, of course.
3. Invite a few local children over – but really, just a few! If you have 5 kids in the house for a Hallowe’en party, it will feel like there are 15 kids. This is officially known as the Sugar Factor.
4. Feed them well, and early. As Hallowe’en falls on a Monday this year, many of the children will be coming straight from school and will be feeling hungry. Rather than staving off hunger with a little snack and then realising they are too excited to eat properly later, start the party with a wholesome, high protein or low-GI meal around 4:30 pm. We’ve found some brilliant ideas for filling but suitably ghoulish Hallowe’en party food that the kids will love.
5. Plan two or three fun party activities – while there are plenty of creative craft activities and Hallowe’en games to play, bear in mind that the children will be upset if they end up with glitter glue or slime on their Hallowe’en costumes. There are some fun, mess-free Hallowe’en games to play on Family Fun.
6. Set a specific time to go trick-or-treating, and give the kids a 5 minute warning so they have time to have a last wee, re-arrange their costume, etc. This year Hallowe’en falls on a Monday, so many people will be at work until at least 5 p.m. We’d recommend waiting until a little later before heading out, say between 6 and 6:30 p.m. to avoid the disappointment of knocking at empty houses.
7. Leave an adult at home with some Hallowe’en treats to give out! When you go out trick-or-treating in your neighbourhood, it’s easy to forget that other children will also be trick-or-treating at your house.
Which other tips would you share with other parents for enjoying Hallowe’en with young children?
Image courtesy of Heather Franks on Flickr