How to Throw a Halloween Party for Tweens

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If you're the parent of tweens, you might be asking if there's anything boys and girls of that age will enjoy doing together. But take heart: A Halloween party that tween girls and boys will both enjoy is not only possible but more fun to put together than you might think. All it takes is some understanding and a little planning.

Things You'll Need

  • Cool invitations
  • Plenty of food (pizza, chips, cake, cookies and trick-or-treat candy are all good options)
  • Games
  • Prizes
  • Treat bags (so guests can take home candy)
  • Prepare invitations. Don't go with "kiddie" invitations, but don't make the invitations too staid or formal, either. It might be best to prepare the invitations on the computer using an online or program card template. That way, you can also incorporate your tween's personality into the invitation.

  • Plan your activities. This can be as elaborate as setting up a murder-mystery party or as simple as finding a few games your tweens will enjoy. I've found that my boy/girl twin tweens (try saying THAT three times fast!) can entertain themselves and their friends much easier than I can. Still, I wanted to have a few activities to have on hand. In planning the party activities, I ran several ideas by my children. I threw out suggestions and chose the ones they both embraced most enthusiastically: fortune telling (where guests draw "fortunes" from a box); an eyeball obstacle-course race (where guests race with a painted ping-pong ball "eye" on a spoon); and Last Comic Standing (where guests - one at a time - try to make each other laugh). The fortune telling was by far the most popular activity at the party. Little did the guests know that I had simply printed out quotes and pithy platitudes, such as "You'll find adventure and excitement in the coming year."

  • Buy a variety of small "prizes" the kids can win for participating in games. Prizes can include pens, playing cards, note pads, calendars and trading cards. On a whim, I included party-favor versions of the popular game Mad Libs. Many of the children at the party were unfamiliar with these, and they (particularly the girls) had a wonderful time filling in the blanks and making up outrageous stories.

  • Prepare the food. We had our party at a local pizza parlor, so the pizza and drinks were already on hand. I made a cake with a spider-web design on the top, complete with fuzzy tarantula. Since tweens love anything remotely gross, I made peanut butter candy covered in white chocolate and dubbed it "ghost poo." Another funny, tasty treat consisted of sugar cookies shaped like feet, covered in white icing, sprayed with canned green frosting and green sprinkles, and topped off with candy-corn toenails.

Tips & Warnings

  • A Halloween party helps you get acquainted with your children's friends and their parents without the gift-buying burden of birthday parties.
  • Tween parties give your children the opportunity to grow socially in a safe, comfortable environment. While many middle schools are beginning to incorporate dances into their extracurricular events, most tweens feel awkward the first few times they're placed in this situation. Although some are developing their first crushes, they may not want to admit it; and they certainly don't want to be teased about friendships with the opposite sex.
  • Keep in mind that children between the ages of 10 and 12 mature at different rates. What might be fun for one could seem babyish to another. And what might seem fun for one could be traumatic for another.
  • If you're hosting a co-ed party, it might be best to have it in a public place. Tweens are easier to chaperone if they're clustered together under fluorescent lighting!

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  • Photo Credit Image Courtesy of Gayle Trent
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