Updated: Oct 21
It is October, and there are a ton of fun activities for kids to enjoy in preparation for Halloween! There are crafts to be made, decorations to hang up, spooky places to investigate, costumes, scary movies, parties and delicious treats. The air is starting to turn cold, and leaves are falling. My girls and I all love Halloween the most out of every holiday, because it is so fun, crazy and scary to celebrate.
We spend the month watching scary movies, doing Halloween activities, and listening to "This is Halloween" from the Nightmare Before Christmas on repeat.
I hope that you and your kids can have as much fun with these Halloween activities as we do!
Kids love to make decorations for the house. My daughter has already made some to put up in our house. You can have your little ones make all types of pumpkins, bats, witches or leaves. All of these decorations were made from construction paper, and cut out easily by little hands.
We also got a bunch of pipe cleaners at the dollar store to make pipe cleaner pumpkins, spiders and spider webs (again, my toddler's idea). It is great to let kids explore their creativity and display the results around the house.
Make Halloween Snacks.
You can make all kinds of yummy Halloween-themed snacks. There are the usual fall snacks like caramel apples, popcorn balls, or pumpkin bread. You can also make some fun sugar cookies with Halloween cookie cutters, and frost them to look like cats, bats and pumpkins.
Since I am not much of a cook myself (I cook about well enough not to starve) I reached out to some friends for some creative recipes. I love knowing people that love to cook, because I am a big fan of yummy snacks. Halloween is also a great time for snacks, because of Trick or Treating. Here are some ideas for snacks you can make for a Halloween party or your kids school class.
Mom The Lunch Lady has a ton of great snacks on her blog for Halloween! My favorites were these cute little Rice Krispie Ghosts! I love rice krispie treats, and these are dipped in delicious white chocolate and decorated. I bet the kids will love these too!
Melissa Traub from Plant-Based Nutrition also has a great recipe on her site for 5 Minute Double Chocolate Pumpkin Mug Cake. In addition to being delicious, this recipe is also health, and fast to make. This looks like a great snack for you and the kids!
Try out these great snack ideas with your kids, and you can even let them help cook. My kids love to help with making snacks, and then they have a sense of pride when they share the snacks with friends and family.
Shrunken Heads Craft
Kids will love to make their very own shrunken heads out of apples, perfectly spooky for Halloween! All you will need is a bag of apples, permanent marker, small pairing knife and apple peeler.
Let the kids have fun drawing creepy faces onto the apple peels with the permanent marker. Then, you can cut out the faces and peel the apples. Once that is done, let the apples sit out for a couple of weeks to let them dry out like raisins. Once they get all shriveled up, they will look just like shrunken heads! Then, you can hang them on strings from the stems to decorate your house for Halloween!
Tissue Ghost Craft
These cute little ghosts are easy for toddlers to make. All it takes is a tissue, cotton ball, and a piece of yarn, and a marker. Simply wrap the tissue around the cotton ball to make the ghost's head. Then, tie a string around the tissue right below the head, so it will stay. Last, draw a face on the head.
Even little ones can do this craft by themselves, although they may need some help to tie the yarn. You can use another long piece of yarn to hang up the ghosts to decorate the house.
Have you ever gone on a hay ride? Big and little kids alike will love it! It is great to sit in a wagon full of hay pulled by horses to feel like you are back 100 years ago when people would ride in wagons all the time. Kids can also have fun petting the horses before or after they go on the hay ride.
We have gone several times when we go to the pumpkin farm to pick out our pumpkins, and the kids love it. Many other neighborhood farms will offer a hay ride as well, depending on where you live. They may even go on a tour of somewhere scary.
Going to the corn maze is a fun activity for kids. Over the years, we have been to several different types of corn mazes. There are corn mazes that are set up with a treasure map, sometimes there is a card that you will have to stamp at different places throughout the maze.
The second type of corn maze is a haunted corn maze. We went to one of these a couple of years ago, and my older daughter really liked that. It was set up similar to a haunted house, only we had to find our way through the maze full of scary actors.
The first type of maze is great for any age group, but the haunted corn maze is better for older kids or teens. Younger ones might not be up for something that is going to be too scary. Always be sure to check what the recommended age is before you take your kids for haunted fun.
Jump in Leaves
Kids love to jump in giant leaf piles to hear the crunch. It can keep them busy for hours!
My kids like to help me rake all the leaves into a giant pile, then they will jump into the big leaf pile and fall into the crunching leaves. Once they jump a few times, they pile them back up and do it all again.
There are also fun leaf bags out there for sale that look like pumpkins. You can put the leaves into the bag when the kids are done jumping, and use them as a decoration for the yard.
This is a favorite with kids every year too! Making spooky jack-o-lanterns can adorn your porch to gives your house a spooky feel.
My kids love to go every year to the pumpkin patch to pick out their own pumpkins, so that they can get the biggest and best pumpkins. If you have a pumpkin patch you can go to, I highly recommend this. Even my teen daughter still goes with us every year to enjoy the tradition.
Once we have the pumpkins, we go home and start to carve them. We always just used to make the faces with a big knife, but a couple of years ago my friend brought over a carving kit, and it was so much better! The little knife let us carve the designs much more easily, if you can find a kit in your supermarket, I would highly recommend this as well.
Every year we have fun making our pumpkins to display out in front of the house. If you are inspired, you can also bake up the pumpkin seeds with some sea salt to eat for a snack on your pumpkin carving day.
Weather you decide to tour real haunted houses, or go to the more commercial version, kids are sure to love it. Looking for ghosts or zombies can make kids afraid, in a good way, and inspire their creativity.
Many towns have lists of haunted places you can go to and explore. My daughter really likes learning legends about haunted places, and looking for signs of ghosts. If they are older kids or teens, you can go at night too and see if you can find any ghosts.
We have gone to a haunted graveyard with a supposed vampire grave, and my daughter also went with some friends to a tour of the haunted Stanley Hotel, since we live in Colorado. It's the hotel where they filmed The Shining.
If your kids aren't old enough to go to a real haunted house, you can also go to commercial haunted houses. There are some in every town, with actors dressed up as ghosts, zombies, skeletons and more.
We have gone to haunted houses that were outdoor and indoor over the years. There was one with an asylum theme, a couple had a zombie theme, and one had a clown theme. Others are the typical ghost theme that has been around for years. My daughter and I are big fans of haunted houses, and always try to be the first in line to get in when they open.
If your kids are anything like mine and like scary things, a haunted house is always a great bet! Sometimes you can also get discount coupons at Costco or Sam's Club. If they have a fast pass to get to the front of the line, I highly recommend that too!
Dress up in Costumes.
Costumes might be one of the most fun and well known parts of Halloween. My kids love costumes and cosplay, and would wear costumes all year long if I let them. You can buy costumes in a shop, or make them yourself with a sewing pattern if you are crafty or good at sewing. Pro tip - even if you are bad at sewing, you can make your own costumes using hot glue and felt. They won't last as long, but they usually get you through the night!
It is also fun to make matching costumes to go with a theme! I have done these quite a bit with my girls. Last year, we were zombie Disney Princesses. Atlantis was Ariel, I was Elsa, and River was Moana. Then Atlantis painted our faces with zombie makeup. Since it was COVID last year, we were all wearing masks too, which actually added to the look.
Other years, we have dressed up as video game characters, pink fairies, blue princesses, tigers, mermaids and fish, and one year we were Alice and the Red Queen. Theme costumes are fun, since you are getting involved with what the kids are doing.