Sometimes when you have young children it can be hard to find Halloween decor that’s not too gory or scary. So I’ve done the hard work for you and picked out the best costume ideas, props, decorations and activities suitable for all ages. You’ll find lots this Halloween on Etsy, and quite a few treats for yourself too. They have their own suggestions on their Halloween page but here are my favourites.
Monsters for your Mantlepiece
When it comes to Halloween decor you can go cute or gory. Maybe it’s because we have small people in our house that I like Halloween to be fun and decorations to be tasteful but not too ghoulish. These mantlepiece decorations are so simply spooky but stylish too.
If you want to have a go at making your own, or need to choose your colours to fit with your theme then these craft shapes would be a good place to start.
There are three really great things about photo booths. First they don’t cost much to do. Second they can be enjoyed by all ages and lastly they mean lots of photos and fun memories of your party or get together.
These props will provide plenty of opportunity to be creative with your snaps. And if someone comes to your party and has ‘forgotten’ to dress up (you know there’s always someone) then you can oblige. After all we wouldn’t want them to feel left out would we?!
Sometimes the simplest decorations are the best and these pompoms were too cute to ignore as well as being very reasonably priced.
If you’re more of a fabric person than a yarn lover then you will love this Halloween banner.
I hope you’ve found this useful in your Halloween preparations. Please let me know in the comments if you did and if you see something on Etsy that you think I should include here please let me know in the comments.
When I was young we went Guising at Halloween. Basically we dressed up, scary or not scary, went round the town knocking on doors and performing some party piece in return for some sweets, a tangerine or two or a handful of monkey nuts. Then we returned home and my mum had arranged a halloween party in the house. Usually it was just me and my neighbour. Even with just two of us, it was great fun and those halloween memories have stayed with me. We didn’t have a lot of money, though we never lacked for anything but with everything being so commercialised today I thought it was worth compiling some ideas for Halloween. Ideas that won’t cost the earth but will be fun for all and leave memories that will last a lifetime.
I think for a first rate Halloween party all you need is food, some decorations and games. And to be honest you don’t really have to have the decorations but I’ve added a few ideas anyway.
Halloween Party Food
My mum hates cooking! We didn’t have fancy halloween snacks we had regular food but it was all labelled. Nothing looked gruesome or oozed with fake blood. It was all food we knew but every plate was labelled. Crisps became ‘witches toenails’, sausages became goblin toes and jelly became slime. It doesn’t have to take hours of culinary prowess to conjure up a Halloween spread. If you do want to go a bit out of the ordinary then here are some simple ideas.
At a time when the children bring home sweets and chocolate in abundance there are loads of ways to dress up fruit in to Halloween themed treats.
Take some oranges or satsumas and one black permanent marker. A little creativity and you’ve got lots of tasty mini pumpkins to eat.
Use cocktail sticks to cover a pumpkin in fruit skewers/kebabs. If you can’t be bothered carving the pumpkin, draw a face on with a black marker pen. Result, one pumpkin with a wild and scary but very healthy hairdo.
Buy some sausages and some ready to roll puff pastry. Roll out your pastry and cut in to strips and wrap round your sausages. Hey presto some sausage mummies. Add some eyes with writing icing.
Rock painting has become somewhat a craze here in the UK. When my 2 year old and I were doing some recently I discovered I could paint rock monsters really quickly and keep his interest. I’ve since seen a suggestion for using these for Halloween. What’s more you could paint your rocks, use them for your party and then hide your rocks later for others to find. You could even have monster rock painting as an activity at your Halloween party. All you need are some rocks, some paint (acrylic is good) and some permanent markers. You don’t have to give your rocks a background colour. With just a couple of marker pens you can do eyes and teeth on any rock and they look really fun, cute and so quick to do. I found that a white marker pen was a lot quicker and less messy than paint!
Use old sheets or towels draped over a balloon and hang up to make ‘ghosts’. Add eyes if you like or just leave ghostly shapes hanging (especially if you want to reuse your sheets!).
Everyone likes colouring in. You could colour in this giant poster/tablecloth over the days leading up to Halloween or have it out as an activity at the party. Either way it will provide some much needed therapy on a scary night.
Halloween Party Games
You’ll need your black marker pen again for this game and some toilet rolls. Draw black eyes and ghostly mouths on your whole toilet rolls. Stack them up and then play knocking them down. Use a pumpkin as a bowling ball. I’ve seen this game done with plastic cups too but you can always reuse the toilet rolls after.
While you’re buying toilet roll in bulk anyway, you can play wrap the mummy. Choose one or two ‘volunteers’ to be the mummies. See how long it takes to wrap them in toilet roll, please do leave a space for the mouth and nose! Or split in to teams and race to wrap, or give a time limit and see who wraps the most in, say, 5 minutes.
If you can get pumpkins with stalks still on then set them up for a ring toss. Use glow sticks in the dark for extra spook fun.
Of course there is also dooking (or dunking) for apples, also called apple bobbing. Not sure it passes health and safety requirements these days but it’s a classic. Do have a towel on hand!
We used to make treacle scones and hang them up on a string. We had to try and get one in our mouths with our hands behind our backs. I have to say that jam doughnuts are my children’s preferred food to stretch for.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas for how to run a Halloween Party without great expense and without too much time to prepare. Your children will love it. I’d love to hear what other simple, low cost Halloween ideas you have or how your party went. Do leave your ideas in the comments below.
…comes with stickers and matching envelopes and you could even write your invitations in code!)
Recommend guests dress up to fit the theme
For a suave James Bond look, style black trousers, a white shirt and bow tie with slicked back hair and a briefcase
Alternatively, go for all black – trousers and a T-shirt or polo neck – with sunglasses
A utility belt full of toy gadgets completes the look
Take a photo of each child as they arrive (or ask parents to send one in advance) and put them in plastic name badge holders to give each child their own spy ID cards
“We also got the children to add their fingerprints to the cards using an ink pad.”
Buy or make some fake moustaches and search charity shops for a selection of hats, coats and glasses for children to perfect their disguises when they arrive at the party
Make children enter the party venue through a secret passageway – direct them round to a back entrance or put up a pop-up tunnel
“I hired a hall and made a camouflage tunnel that the children entered by”
Have a few spies lurking ominously in the shadows: cut life-size silhouettes out of large sheets of black paper or card and stick them to the walls for a really effective decoration. A cartoon-like spy can be easily mastered, or if you’re especially artistic or overambitious, aim for a classic Bond figure.
Put signs on doors reading ‘Restricted Access’, ‘Agents Only’ or ‘Top Secret File Room’
Make wanted posters from photos of the birthday child or your guests
Use crime scene tape on banisters, across doorways, and to decorate the table
Create a playlist of theme tunes from your favourite spy films
Activities and party games
All spies need a secret mission, so get creative dreaming one up
A spy-themed treasure hunt with plenty of clues will guests occupied for a while.
For cryptic clues, take photos of really obscure parts of your house – a corner of a bedroom, or a close-up of the top of the TV, perhaps – and send the kids to find them
If the party is for older children, consider a trail of code-breaking exercises. You can find plenty of examples online, or pick up a book fairly cheaply
Hide sweets or other small items around the place and get the children to scour the room for hidden ‘bugs’
Get the kids to decipher a secret message revealing where their lunch is, or lead them to a ‘safe’ (a cardboard box covered in tin foil) containing their party bags
Test your spies’ stealth with large games of sardines or hide and seek.
Laser beam maze: create a course of ‘lasers’ down a hallway with red wool or streamers zigzagged from wall to wall. The children have to get from one end to the other without touching a beam. “We put the tea table at the other end for an added incentive!”
Test the kids’ spy instincts by blindfolding them in turn, and getting them to guess who is standing in front of them just by touch.
If it’s a warm day, hand out water pistols or water bombs and send guests outside for a shootout – or get them all involved with target practice.
Train older children for secret agent missions with this simple memory game:
Draw or print out a map with plenty of landmarks and keep it hidden from the children
Split the group into two or more teams
Each team sends one person at a time to look at the map. They have ten seconds to memorise as much as they can, before returning to their team and drawing as much as they can remember
The next player adds to the drawing, and so on
Whichever team has the most information on their map, wins
You can also give well-known party games a new twist:
Pin the disguise on the spy
What’s the Time, Mr Wolf, where children are on the trail of a supervillain
Chinese whispers, with secret spy messages
Pass the parcel, with a spy mission in each layer – eg. dressing up in spy gear in less than 30 seconds, or creeping around the room without being heard while everyone has their eyes shut
…you’d better be prepared for a party as it’s Teddy Bear’s Picnic Day! So I thought I’d share some ideas for a Teddy Bear’s Picnic. First of all you’ll need invitations, these by Laura Stone are perfect! Secondly you’ll need food and I’ve put some ideas on my Pinterest site but anything with honey is obviously a must! I’ve put a couple of ideas for activities and games on there too, love the idea of pin the bowtie on the teddy! Finally, you’ll need to send a thank you card, and this by Paula Bowles is probably my favourite, just because it’s so cute!
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