Afraid the usual Halloween games will spook your small children? Try some family-friendly fun for toddlers and up…
Whether you’re letting several little monsters loose for a Halloween party or it’s just you and yours this October 31st, celebrating with pre-school children isn’t as simple as snacks and a scary movie. Opt for fun over fear-factor this year with some of our favourite Halloween games especially for those whose bedtime is long before the witching hour. *
Game: Ghoul Bowling
Players: 1+ Age: 2+
What a difference a face makes. Using paint or felt-tips and upturned buckets or plastic cups, design your own bowling pins in the style of white ghosts with black eyes and smiles, and decorate a ball that’s heavier than they are as an orange pumpkin with a black grin. Arrange your skittles bowling alley-style or stack them on top of each other, and have your child roll or kick the pumpkin ball – depending on what they’re best at – to knock over as many as they can. Prizes are given for a strike, or for the most strikes in a given number of turns.
Game: Monster Ring Toss
Players: 1+ Age: 3+
Cut between one and four rings for each player out of coloured cardboard, depending on how you’d like to score the game. Take toilet roll tubes or create cylinders of coloured cardboard, snip them around the bottom at 1cm intervals so that they can be pressed down flat, then secure them to heavier, sturdy cardboard bases. Decorate each one to look like a monster – think horns, fangs and extra eyes – with coloured paper, felt or paints (the kids can help if they’re old enough) and once they’re dried, arrange them ready for the ring toss. You may want to experiment with the size of your rings and the distance between your monsters, and for older players, mark a starting line that they can’t step over with a strip of paper or fabric. Prizes go to whoever’s ring traps a monster, or to the person with the most rings on monsters at the end of the time limit.
Game: Ghost Hunters
Players: 1+ Age: 3+
This spectral take on a scavenger hunt sees your child seeking out friendly ghosts hidden around the house, each of which is hoarding a Halloween treat. Create your ghosts by taking white cloths or scraps of fabric and drawing simple eyes and mouths in black fabric pen. Next, twist a hairband around the neck area, leaving the rest of the fabric to spread over the top of their prize. Alternatively, tuck smaller treats inside the ghosts themselves so that when they lift them up, it looks as though there’s nothing underneath – where could their prize be?
Playing in teams? For greater numbers of players, colour-code your ghosts by their hairbands and allocate a shade to each child or team. Want to check no-one’s snaffling anybody else’s spooks? Have them bring their prizes to you to put in their own plastic cauldrons – and declare that the quickest team to bring back all their own ghosts wins the big prize!
Game: Hook a Cauldron
Players: 2+ Age: 2+
If your little ones are too small to trick-or-treat, create a witchy version of Hook a Duck using light plastic cauldrons. Using waterproof stickers or pens, mark each one with a number and float them in a paddling pool. Attach a hook to the end of a short pole (such as a stick of garden cane, used for supporting growing plants) and supervise or help them as they lift out their cauldron. Alternatively, skip the hook altogether by using magnets – just make sure all the cauldron magnets are attracted to the one on the pole, and that they’re securely attached so littler ones can’t swallow them. Let the youngest children point or pick out their cauldron instead of using a pole at all. Each number corresponds to a treat wrapped in tissue paper so there’s a prize for everyone – but only one is the big one!
Game: Eye and Spoon Race
Players: 2+ Age: 2+
This one is as simple as the traditional Sports Day event. Hand everyone a coloured plastic or rubber spoon and balance an eyeball on the end – this can be chocolate, confectionery or a simple ping-pong ball with felt-tip detailing. The winner is the first person to cross the finish line without dropping their peeper. Extra rules for older children include going back to the start when you drop your eye, or even setting up an obstacle course for each player to work their way through, over and under.
Game: Spooky Snap
Players: 2 – 5 Age: 3+
Draw or print your own deck of creepy cards, with pairs of pumpkins, skeletons, witches and more in cute cartoon styles. If you like, add a learning element by writing the name of each character underneath the drawing, like flash cards. Take it in turns picking a card from the deck and putting it straight onto the discard pile – the first to shout ‘snap’ when they see a pair keeps it, and the person with the most at the end is the winner. For younger children, play the ‘memory’ version, with six (two rows of three), eight (two rows of four) or more sets of pairs laid out face down, and have them reveal two at a time until they have matched all the pairs to win their prize.
Game: Graveyard Charades
Players: 3+ Age: 5+
Older children pick from a pile of Halloween-themed flashcards you drew, printed or – if they can read – wrote earlier, while younger ones come to you to whisper their charade in their ear. Will they be staggering around like zombies, flapping their arms and gnashing their teeth like a vampire transforming into a bat, licking their paws like a witch’s cat or howling like a werewolf (it’s up to you whether you allow sounds to make it easier)? Split the children into teams if there are enough of them, or give a treat to the performer and the quickest guesser for each correctly called charade.
Game: Stick the Fangs on the Vampire
Players: 4+ Age: 2+
Draw or print a poster of a cartoon vampire and separately cut out a set of fangs for each player. What happens next depends on the age of the child(ren) playing: sticky-tape or Blu-tack the back of their fangs and ask them to close their eyes or cover them with a blindfold; spin them or don’t; and then ask them to stick their fangs as close to the smiling mouth of their bloodsucking poster as they can, guiding them or not as they walk towards it. Write each child’s name under their set of gnashers and leave them up until everyone’s had a turn – the closest teeth win the prize!
Game: Unravel the Mummy
Players: 4+ Age: 3+
We’ve given Pass the Parcel a hair-raising twist for Halloween: use white fabric or paper for the wrap and add funny faces in fabric pen or felt-tip and you’ve got an ancient mummy to unravel. Between the layers, tuck or tape themed treats – and tricks, if they’re old enough – from plastic spiders and bats to gummy worms and chocolate vampires. In the middle: a larger prize for the luckiest little devil!
Game: Toilet Paper Mummy
Players: 4+ Age: 4+
This is a great game if one or two children haven’t won any of the others despite trying their hardest, since the winner is really up to you. Put your players into pairs, hand round toilet rolls and tell them the team who creates the best mummy by wrapping their friend in toilet paper is the winner. Keep things friendly by instigating rules including not covering eyes or nose and not tying too tightly – anyone who breaks them can be disqualified at any time. Judging can be based on the ‘best’ mummy – the subjective option – or on who wraps their friend up the quickest, or who has left the least of their friend visible (besides their nose and eyes).
Pick your prizes
Something to tuck between the layers of your ancient mummy? A staring eyeball to balance on their spoons? A prize worth hooking the best cauldron for? Step into our little shop of horrors and take home some creepy Halloween treats for kids…
Eye and Spoon Race
Oozy Eyes – Milk Chocolate and Oozy Eyes – White Chocolate each filled with gory red molten caramel, £3.85 for a pack of six (or three or more Selectors for £3.15 each).
A spooky little something
Tiddly Vampires – Milk Chocolate and Tiddly Vampires – Dark Chocolate solid shapes, £5.50 for a pack of eight.
Yikes! Milk Chocolate or Yikes! Caramel Chocolate solid shapes, £2.50 per pack.
Skull Lick – Milk Chocolate or Skull Lick – White Chocolate solid lollies, £1.95 each.
Yumpkin in 40% milk chocolate, £5.50.
Beastly Bites filled with scary caramels and spooky pralines, £5.
BOO! Dark Chocolate, BOO! Milk Chocolate and BOO! Caramel Chocolate solid shapes, £8 or three or more for £7 each.
*We recommend parental supervision throughout all of these activities.