Entertaining toddlers at Halloween without scaring them can be tricky. Treat them to a fun party with games and activities geared to their interests and attention spans. Schedule the party for a time when the children are awake, energetic and ready to play.
Little artists like to decorate things -- such as walls. As children arrive, give them crayons and Halloween coloring pages or paper to decorate while they wait for the party to begin. Give awards for the fanciest picture, most colorful, most expressive, most lines etc. To encourage creativity, give them sturdy Halloween-shaped shortbread cookies, little cups of frosting with wooden spreaders and candies to decorate.
Create a simple treasure hunt outdoors with five or six clues that lead to a treasure hidden in a fairy house, which can be a dollhouse decorated for Halloween, or a real or foam pumpkin made to look like a fairy cottage. Place Halloween decorations around the yard to hold the clues, such as a stuffed black kitty with the clue in its mouth, pumpkins, signs and pennants. Fill the dollhouse or cottage with prizes appropriate for the age group, such as felt puppets or bubbles. Blow up orange balloons and draw jack-o-lantern faces on them with a permanent marker. Little ones who are just learning to run and kick may like to boot and bat the balloons around.
Five Little Pumpkins and Finger Play Fun
Toddlers like rhyming, active finger plays that allow them to move around. Finger plays that have Halloween-friendly themes include "Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate"; "Eensy, Weensy Spider"; "Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater"; and "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." Use the finger plays between games or when the children get tired and need a rest.
Most little ones like to throw things, so give them a target and a prize for hitting it. Make a target out of a cardboard box decorated to look like a pumpkin with poster paint; give it big cut-out eyes and a large mouth for targets. Or buy one from a party supply retailer, tilt it at a slight angle and let the kids stand fairly close. Sew square pockets of fabric and a fill them with a handful of dry beans or use small bean-bag dolls or squishy balls.
Like its bigger cousin, the cake walk, the cupcake walk gives children the chance to win a treat. Have a few Halloween pictures on the floor in a circle and have each child stand next to a picture. When music plays, they walk around the circle and stop when the music does. You may have their guardians walk with them and hold their hands. The host picks a picture and whoever is standing next to that picture wins a treat. For simplicity, you could have just pumpkins and scarecrows. Whichever group wins, chooses first, then the others pick their treats.
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Halloween Party Games for Kids
Learn Halloween games to play at kids' Halloween parties in this free Halloween planning video.