We had our second annual Spooky Halloween party last week for our kids and a few of their friends. Our kids love Halloween and all the 'spoooooooky' talk, but it always doesn't take much to go from spooky to scary for their ages either. So we try to make our Halloween party fun, age appropriate, and not crossing into 'scary' territory.
About two weeks before we had our party, I sent a Red Stamp text invite to the guests' parents. Our party guests ranged from ages 1.5 to 4 years old and each child had at least one parent attend as well.
After pizza and snacks, we made our way to our first game of Pin the Nose on the Jack 'O Lantern. Earlier that afternoon, while I cut out the pumpkin face, eyes, and mouth; Grey was in charge of cutting out the noses, so he was proud to have helped get the game ready. The kids were blindfolded with a handkerchief and spun around three times before trying to pin the nose. This game was a huge hit and we played it several times in a row. Even our < age 2 guests (Gem & Lila) enjoyed playing this game!
Our next game is a pinterest-halloween favorite, The Dangling Donut Game: so we'd thought we'd give it a try. With a menu of pizza, snacks, cookies, and loads of candy - the last thing I wanted to do was give the kids full size donuts to eat. So we tied mini donuts to strings to have the kids try to eat through them on a string. This game was a lot harder for them than we thought it would be and for a long while all the grown ups were cracking up while the kids just bopped the donuts off their faces over and over. We might try this again when the kids are a little older (5+) but for now, it seemed a little tricky and an unnecessary addition to their already major sugar consumption for the evening.
Then it was time for our 'Witch's' Broomstick Limbo game. We had the kids sneak under the broomstick for a little while and then moved to the much preferred preschool version - Reverse Limbo by having them jump over the broomstick instead.
Reverse Limbo (preschooler preferred)
Then it was on to cookie decorating in at the dining room table. The kids and I had made a batch of sugar cookie dough the day before and made Halloween shape cut-outs to have them ready for the party. I also used my Grandma's famous boiled icing recipe. Each kid got five sugar cookies to decorate as they liked - which ranged from no decor (and just straight into their bellies, hah!) to a ton of icing and even more sprinkles.
We made our way back into the living room to jam to a Pandora Halloween station, turn off all the lights (except we kept the hall light on, keeping it just spooky!), and handed out glostick bracelets. The kids ran and danced all around making spooky noises and screams. A Spooky Glo-stick Dance Party = wild child mayhem fun!
Our last event of the night came straight out of our last year's Halloween party playbook. We filled a styrofoam cooler up with water in the kitchen and lay a moving blanket underneath it. First the parents get a crack at Bobbing for Apples and have you done this recently? It is always significantly more difficult than I remember in my teenage years. Serious water up my nose this year.
The kids think its funny (and sort of cool still, yay!) to watch us grown-ups bob for apples. Grey and Sophia tried to do the same and Grey actually grabbed an apple by it's stem with his teeth! Soph went for the more traditional preschooler move of the secret hand-grab (hehheh).
But the real main event (as was last year) is the Apple Splashing game. The kids maniacally grab apples from the water and slam them back in with huge splashes. This is hilarious, long-lasting fun for preschoolers and toddlers. If it was warmer, we would ideally play this game outside (as it make quite a water mess in the kitchen), but with our tile floor, clean up is fairly easy to just take towels or a mop to the floor. This game also makes for a good final game, as children remove their costumes (happily as they are now wet) and put on their jammies for the car ride home (and hopefully to fall asleep before getting there)
The two main points to keep in mind for a successful Halloween party with very young children are:
1. Keep it short: our party was only scheduled for an hour and half. So we had to keep the party moving along.
2. Be flexible: with varying abilities for this age group of kids, don't expect that every kid will be able to -or more importantly want to - participate in every (or any) activity. And that's totally fine. As long as kids are being safe - who cares if you have to skip a game or too and play something else again and again.
We had a great Spooky Preschool Halloween party again this year. Thank you to my family that helped set up and to all of our spooky, funny little guests and their parents!