Kids love Halloween – dressing-up, sweet treats, carving pumpkins and trick or treating. Of course, not all adults share this enthusiasm, but with our guide to fuss-free food, games and crafts it’s possible to make sure everyone enjoys a horrifically happy Halloween…
To trick or treat… or not?
This can be controversial, and there are some people who do not enjoy Halloween at all. If you’re thinking of taking your grandchildren trick or treating, be sensitive to your neighbours. Ask in advance if they’re happy to take part and avoid those you don’t know.
Pumpkins outside houses often indicate that the household is open to callers, but always accompany children when trick or treating and be quick to move on if need be.
For a spooky day out try these creepy National Trust properties
Halloween party food
Head to the supermarket and you’ll find aisles dedicated to Halloween sweets. Avoid dramatic sugar crashes by limiting these to a few each, especially if you have younger children. Instead, prepare some themed treats together…
- Banana ghosts and satsuma pumpkins – these are super easy to make, healthy and look fantastic lined up on a plate!
- Marshmallow eyeballs – bright and colourful and a yummy treat for little ones.
- Jack O’Lantern cheeseburgers, mini pizzas or pies – so easy, but so effective. Just cut pumpkin faces into cheese slices and top a burger and bun or mini pizza base, or cut into ready-made pastry to make mini cheese and ham pies.
- Spooky sandwiches – all you need is some cookie cutters in the shape of ghosts, pumpkins, bats etc to transform a simple sandwich.
Try this recipe for spooky ghost flapjacks
Halloween decorations and crafts
Creating some creepy crafts together will help everyone get into the party mood:
No Halloween is complete without a pumpkin lit up with tea lights. Younger children can help draw the design on paper – then cut out their design and tape it to the pumpkin. Adults can use a skewer to make small holes around the template and cut out the pumpkin with a sharp knife. The children can help by hollowing out the middle with spoons.
Read our tips for pumpkin carving and knife-free alternatives
Paper plate pandemonium
Perfect for younger children, you can turn a paper plate into just about anything and then hang it up to decorate the house. We love pumpkins and spiders – googly eyes compulsory!
Turn a toilet roll into a troll – or a bat, or a cat. Just like paper plates, the options for these small tubes of cardboard are endless.
Halloween party games
Most party games can be given a Halloween twist with little effort – try these for starters:
Spooky spaghetti lucky dip
Give lucky dip a spooky touch by cooking up a big bowl of spaghetti and when it has cooled down, use food colouring to turn it green. Bury a few wrapped treats at the bottom and decorate with small plastic spiders. Each child has to take a turn to dip their hand in and find a treat! Also works well with jelly.
What’s the time Mrs Witch?
A fun take on ‘What's the time Mr Wolf?’ One player wears a witch’s hat and stands with their back to the other players, who are on the other side of the room. The players call out: “What’s the time Mrs Witch?” The witch replies with a time and the players take the equivalent number of steps towards her. When the witch calls out ‘midnight’ she turns and chases the players – the player who is caught becomes the next witch.
Pass the pumpkin
Fill your carved-out pumpkin with small prizes or treats and pass the pumpkin around a circle of children. Each time the music stops they get to pick out a prize.
Do the monster mash
Find some themed music (The Monster Mash, Thriller and The Time Warp all work well) and play musical statues, musical bumps… or just have a disco!