Host a Halloween Party Your Kids Will Love

If you’re here, you probably love Halloween as much as I do. You may already be well-known for your ghoulish galas or maybe this is your first time hosting a boo bash. I’ve compiled my best ideas for hosting a Halloween party in the spooky season, whether you’re expecting a gaggle of toddlers, elementary-aged kids or tweens looking for a thrill.

Toddler and Preschool Party Animals

preschoolers in in dino costumesIn my day job, I get to hang out with little guys all week so this group is definitely my jam. For this set, the objective is simply to have fun and give the kids a chance to wear adorable costumes. With that in mind, you can keep it super simple. Consider limiting your party to an hour to keep everyone interested and engaged.

  • Storytime – Starting your party with a story is a great way to get everyone in the spirit. For toddlers, choose a book with a fun or silly theme, with great illustrations, that can be read within 3-4 minutes. Preschoolers can handle slightly longer stories but possibly make them even sillier!
  • Sensory bins – You’d be amazed how long toddlers can be entertained with a few sensory bin options. Simply fill containers with colored rice, beans, water or water beads. Add small toys like cars, trucks and dinosaurs as well as spoons, scoops and sifters. To keep things interesting for preschoolers, consider creating individual Jell-O digs with Halloween related items hidden inside.
  • Decorating treat bags – Create a station with crayons, markers and stickers so each guest can decorate their own bag for indoor trick or treating.
  • Indoor trick or treating – Arrange for helpers to hand out candy, toys or books from behind different doors inside your house.
  • Snack zone – If you’re planning to stick with a one-hour time frame, a small snack is probably more than enough. Offering a cupcake or muffin decorating table, in addition to grab and go snacks, will keep grumbly tummies happy.
  • Favor fun – Poke a pumpkin is an easy way for your guests to play a game of chance but always come out a winner. Just be sure to put the same thing in each cup to avoid comparison meltdowns!
  • Baby rave – If I’ve learned anything in working with toddlers and preschoolers, it’s that you can’t go wrong with an event that ends with music bubbles. Investing in a bubble machine will ensure that your guests have a blast and that their parents capture the moment in sweet photos.

School Aged Thrills and Chills

Moving along, we have what I consider the Halloween party sweet spot… elementary aged kids. With this group, you don’t have to worry so much about being ‘cool’. They still want to show off their costumes and they actively enjoy silly games, crafts and trick-or-treating. They’re just here for the party!

  • Ghoulish games – Again, this crowd is still willing to be a bit silly so you can offer up classic party games like pin the hat on the witch, donut on a string, clothespin fishing over a curtain, musical chairs and freeze dance.
  • Fearsome fun – Other fun activities may include a mystery box, where guests stick their hands into boxes without being able to see the contents. Extra points for anything super-ordinary but oddly out of place, such as cooked spaghetti (brains), water beads (eyeballs) or a rubber glove filled with flour (severed hand), yikes!

Whacking a piñata, passing a surprise ball around the circle and even hosting a Halloween egg hunt add to the fun by giving your guests an unexpected joy. Face painting and temporary tattoos are also very popular options, as well as a pumpkin decorating station. Depending on the ages of the party animals, you may opt for decorating over carving, or both!

  • Snack zone – Because this age group can sustain a longer party, you’ll want to be sure you have plenty of snacks on offer. Maybe you’ll roast hotdogs and S’mores over a witch’s cauldron or serve pumpkin shaped pizzas. Serving slices of Jell-o in the shape of a brain might be just the gruesome touch your table needs.

You can also fashion a very convincing pumpkin shaped cake by stacking two bundt cakes top-to-top and adding your own iced embellishments. And all a punchbowl really needs to bring the Halloween spirit are light-up ice cubes, frozen ‘hands’ (water frozen in food grade gloves), ping pong eyeballs or fun drink stirrers.

  • Favor fun – Send your guests home with a project meant to keep the festivities going. Make-your-own-monster kits are affordable and effortlessly easy to throw together. You can also feel good about handing out glow stick bracelets and necklaces meant to increase visibility while trick or treating.

Themes Just for Tweens

Lastly, we come the tweens, who in some cases may be feeling that they’re too old for trick or treating. A killer Halloween party can be just the ticket to keeping the spirit of the season alive a little longer. For this portion, I’ve enlisted the help of a spy-on-the-inside, my 10-year-old son.

  • Keep it cool – Is ‘cool’ even cool anymore? I’m not 100% sure but I’ve been told that costumes are still acceptable AS LONG AS there are great prizes for those deemed to have the best ones. In this case, great prizes would be gift cards for Starbucks, Steam, Nintendo, Sephora, iTunes and the like.

Hiring a fortune teller or a stylist with experience creating wild hair designs are also fun, novel ways of making your party stand out. Escape rooms and murder mystery who-dunnit themed parties are also still considered ‘cool’. If you know you’ll be hosting a group that enjoys Nerf style gaming, devising a zombie invasion where players take turns as the undead and the living is also an easy way to create a unique party environment.

  • Photo op – Create an Insta worthy backdrop for your guests to capture their own memories. You might also consider taking Polaroid pics as fun, throwback favors.
  • Screen screams – After everyone has had a chance to show off their costumes, have their fortunes read, sprayed their hair into a mohawk or dispatched their share of zombies, it may be time to chill out with a movie. No, this isn’t the moment to introduce your guests to The Exorcist but there are lots of options out there that will appeal to both your guests and their parents. An outdoor screen and projector in the dark would be great for setting an eerie stage but indoors works just as well.
  • Snack zone – Again, for a great Halloween party, the food must be cool as well. Fortunately, we live in the age of appreciation for the charcuterie board, which makes your life easier and elevates simple foods in a way that make your tweens feel a bit more grown up. There are so many options for creating a Halloween themed board so give yourself full creative license. Give them something they’ll still be talking about next year when you serve them juice in blood bags! What can I say, I love a theme!
  • Surprise them one last time just before the opening credits roll by offering up a full concession stand just like you’d find at a movie theater. Popcorn, nachos, hotdogs, candy and drinks will keep them fed and happy for the duration of the show… and you’ll look like a superstar event planner!
  • Favor fun – Send them home with their own Magic 8 ball or a pack of fortune cookies to keep the magic of your party alive until the next spooky season rolls around.
    Kids love Halloween, and we hope these ideas for hosting your own Halloween party inspire you to have some spooky fun this season!


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Bambi is a Kingwood transplant by way of Fairbanks, Alaska. Her Houstonian status was fast-tracked by her family’s disastrous Hurricane Harvey experience just 2 months after arriving… but she’s never looked back! She spent 14 years doing meaningful work for the University of Alaska Fairbanks before landing her dream job as a children's library worker for the Harris County Public Library. She has been happily married to Richard since 2004 and is an extremely proud mom to Miles {April 2012}. When she’s not scouring Pinterest for story time craft ideas, she enjoys reading, blogging and vegging out to British TV while eating pasta. Her family loves Disney cruises and will sail any chance they get! Bambi's goals are to create a Little Free Library in her front yard and to volunteer with local child-centric services. She a bit obsessed with personal development and would be happy to suggest several books and podcasts if you dare mention a similar interest! She can't wait to connect with Houston families through her writing and Houston Moms events.

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