There is so much scary-good fun to be had on Halloween that we couldn't resist sharing some of our absolute favorites. See below for a variety of crafts, games, treats and sweets that will help make this year's Halloween extra special -- and spooky! -- for you and your family.
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We loved looking through all of the unique jack-o-lantern ideas featured on Marthastewart.com with over 100+ suggestions! Pumpkin carving parties are not only great for all ages, but they can be taken home as party favors. For a toddler Halloween party, we'd recommend having a pumpkin "painting party"; just as fun, but without any sharp objects included! And, as an added bonus, parents can teach the little ones how to toast pumpkin seeds, making a quick and easy healthy snack for all once the carving is finished!
Tip: If you've got an old baby monitor packed away in the closet, consider reusing it in your jack-o-lantern to spook trick-or-treaters as they ring the door bell!
Kids will go crazy over making their own ghoulishly green Halloween slime. Invite the neighbors over for a slime-making party, add it into party games for a creepy sensation or just enjoy slimin' each other in the backyard with this sticky homemade "goo." And if you're not interested in using Borax, consider using cornstarch as a replacement for some chemical-free sticky icky slime time!
Pumpkin pinata partay!
Get the gang together and make your very own Halloween pumpkin pinata to fill with plenty of boo-tiful party treats. Your child will love getting a chance to whack the pumpkin in hopes of breaking open the treasures hidden inside! Pinatas can also be a clever solution to goody bags, by letting the children pick their own favorites.
Tip: Check out Green Halloween for neat suggestions on "green" Halloween pinata goodies and prizes!
These adorable eight-legged candy holders will be a hit at your child's next party. Recommended for ages six and up, these candy holders can be designed and decorated in all colors to be swung over shoulders or hung on bedroom doorknobs. These cute spiders can also be used for goody bags or after Halloween has passed to hold stickers, pencils and other treasured booty.
Tip: Paper plates can also be used to make Halloween noise makers, maracas or tambourines. Here is an easy how-to guide from Busy Bee Kids Crafts for the parents that really want to shake it up this year!
Try your hand at the mystery box!
Get an old hat or shoe box and have some chilling good times with this mystery box... If you dare! Children will love the sensorial experience of feeling around for a spooky surprise treat with this old-fashioned guessing game activity. Hat boxes can be found at any of the craft stores listed above and designed with your own creepy colors and Halloween flair. Whatever goes in the box, well... That's a mystery!
Master of disguise
Gather up the gang and break out the glitter and paints! Green Halloween has a great how-to guide for making Halloween masks with your little ghosts and goblins at this year's costume party. And for the older kids, or the more experienced mask makers, we recommend checking out marthastewart.com's homemade mask and headpiece photo gallery with instructions for each. The disguises are endless!
Pumpkins are exactly like bowling balls... right? Well they can be! These gourd games can be played indoors or outdoors on a flat surface that is perfect for "broom pumpkin hockey" or some gourd bowling. For older children, set up an obstacle course for them to push the pumpkins around before racing to the finish line. And if you're bowling -- consider setting up a triangle of ten one- or two-liter plastic bottles to see who walks away with the first pumpkin strike!
Other Halloween games we love: Kidzworld.com offers up some fantastic game ideas for Halloween fun, including pin the wart on the witch, a build-your-own scarecrow art table, a mad scientist laboratory and the classic favorite, bobbing for apples.
Kinderhelper.com as well features some great educational yet fun picks for kindergartners and elementary school-aged children that can be used in the classroom or at home during Halloween parties.
But what we really love, is modermom.com's suggestion for having a Halloween treasure hunt! This site features helpful advice for all age groups (including adults!) on how to pull off the very best Halloween-themed treasure hunt at your next monster bash. And if you need help coming up with rhymes and riddles for your clues, you're in luck -- our friends over at Peppers and Pollywogs have served up some fantastic sample clues that can be easily tailored to work in different homes.
Tip: be sure to check out the Peppers and Pollywogs readers' comments at the bottom for additional parent-tested tips and tricks for clues!
And onward to the tasty treats...
Got a cookie monster on your hands? This easy Halloween cookie recipe featured on foodland.com will make for a great activity table at this year's party, where kids can create their own jack-o-lantern treats, yummy ghosts or spooky bats. Joyofbaking.com as well includes some great tips for decorating, baking and how to make fun frosting for your bewitching batch of homemade goodies.
This is one spider that your Halloween guests won't be running away from! Featured on parenting.com, this giant black widow will leave your kids with a whole new appreciation for spiders, or at least for the tasty ones! Made with Cocoa Puffs, black licorice and M&M's or Skittles, these creepy crawly spider treats are super easy to make. Be sure to also check out the other featured Halloween party snacks and treats for children on the site -- there's a great variety of sweets and treats, healthy snacks, dinner ideas and even a fruity ghouls brew that is sure to be a crowdpleaser!
Your children will love making their own Halloween s'mores -- with no bonfire necessary! Simply add some chocolate hazelnut spread and marshmallow creme to your graham cracker and pop it in the microwave or (or oven on 'broil') for a short time. And for those with peanut allergies, switch out the chocolate hazelnut spread for soynut butter, just as delicious and totally safe... just don't forget to finish them off with sprinkles! (Heaven forbid.) Be sure to check out the rest of Better Home and Gardens' family-friendly recipes such as the chicken "fingers," pizzapedes, tombstone taco dip and the terrifying tarantulas -- all super neat ideas to consider for this year's Halloween party!
Naturalcandystore.com has a HUGE selection of organic, kosher, vegan, gluten-free and allergy-friendly Halloween candy... They even include candy that is fair trade and sweets that are specifically made here in the U.S.! We're talking lots of options and all the classic favorites -- jelly beans, milk chocolate candy bars, hard candies and more -- shipped right to your door. Bulk mixes are available; check the website for more details.