As the air becomes crisp and the leaves turn from bright green to burnt orange, we prepare for a holiday unlike any other—Halloween. Halloween marks the only time of the year when it’s not only acceptable to dress up in costumes and ask for free candy from neighbors and friends, but encouraged. It’s the stuff a kid dreams of.
This year, to celebrate all the chilling, thrilling, and sweet treats Halloween has to offer with the little ghouls and goblins in your life, take a look at our 17 haunted Halloween party ideas for kids.
How do you throw a Halloween party for kids?
Before you start planning your kid-friendly Halloween party, consider the age of the children you’ll be hosting. For example, typical Halloween party ideas for adults are probably too intense for your kiddo audience. For a successful party that doesn’t frighten or upset anyone, you want to find the perfect balance of exciting and spooky Halloween fun.
For younger children, it’s best to keep the monsters to a minimum. Instead, lean into the more kid-friendly side of the holiday by playing silly games and encouraging non-scary costumes, such as superhero or animal costumes. The age of your guests can also help you determine what time of day to throw your party and how long it should last. (Never underestimate the importance of naptime.)
Once you’ve determined the appropriate time, duration, and level of hauntedness for your Halloween bash, you can choose decorations, treats, entertainment, and of course, invitations to match.
Decorating your kid-friendly Halloween party
Halloween isn’t just about dressing yourself up in a costume. It’s also about dressing up your home with boo-tiful Halloween decor. In fact, decorating your home is one of the best ways to set the tone for your kid-friendly Halloween party. Start with your front yard so your guests can see they’re in for a treat even before they enter. Then, transform the inside of your home with a few of the following Halloween ideas.
1. Classic decor
When we think of Halloween, we often think of green-faced witches, orange pumpkins, and black spiders. With this timeless Halloween imagery and these classic Halloween decoration colors, you can create a frightening yet fun Halloween vibe for your event. Local arts and crafts stores are often filled with this type of decor that’s perfect for throwing a classic Halloween party.
Consider purchasing items such as:
— Plastic spiders
— Stretchy cobwebs
— Posable skeletons
— Black cauldrons
— Pumpkin string lights
— Halloween window clings
2. Themed decor
Choosing a theme for your Halloween party can help focus your decor and encourage a more interactive event. A few of our favorite kid-friendly themes include:
— Haunted house – Place fake tombstones in your front yard alongside a few protruding skeleton hands to dare guests to enter your haunted house. Inside, hanging ghost decor can float along the ceiling, and posable skeletons can make themselves cozy on couches and chairs. For younger children, add a bit of humor by dressing skeletons in their own silly Halloween costumes or placing them in hilarious poses. (Who says skeletons don’t love doing yoga?)
— Monster mash – A monster mash-themed Halloween party is all about, well, the monsters. Purchase cut-outs of your favorite monsters, such as Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, mummies, or werewolves, and hang them around your space. By choosing a bright green and orange color palette with the rest of this decor, your party will feel lively, even despite your living-dead guests.
— Mad scientist – For a mad scientist-themed bash, decorate your space with beakers and test tubes filled with food coloring-dyed liquids or neon green slime. You can also use brain-shaped Jell-O molds to create creepy (and delicious) decor your guests can eat. To drive this theme home, consider dressing up as a mad scientist with a lab coat, glasses, and wacky hair-do.
3. DIY decor
By crafting your own Halloween decor, you and your younger kids (and older kids, too!) can immerse yourselves in the Halloween crafts and fun even before your party begins. DIY decor can include:
— Decorate pumpkins – Gather your ghouls for a fun afternoon of pumpkin decorating with a BYO pumpkin decorating event. While guests bring their own gourds, you can supply all the necessary crafting materials, including:
— Paint and paintbrushes
— Googly eyes
— Pipe cleaners
After the event, your guests are left with personalized pumpkins they can use to decorate their own homes for Halloween night.
“Lil-o’-Lanterns” by Hello!Lucky for Paperless Post
— Carve jack-o’-lanterns – Carve up some fun by throwing an outdoor jack-o’-lantern carving contest. Ask guests to bring their own pumpkins and carving tools, but make sure to have a few on hand in case you need extras. You can also print stencils in advance to help your kids carve their pumpkins with ease. (Depending on the age of your guests, you’ll want some adults to stick around for this one to make sure everyone stays safe.)
For an added treat, collect all the pumpkin seeds and roast them in the oven for a delicious, post-carving party snack.
— Bat garland – With black construction paper, string, and tiny clothespins, you and your children can easily create your own bat garland. Simply print out a bat stencil, trace the shape onto your construction paper, cut it out, and clip it to your string.
Tasty treats to serve at your Halloween party
Just as the perfect Halloween cocktails are key to adult Halloween parties, the best kid-friendly Halloween parties are all about the treats (not the tricks). When planning your party menu, be aware of potential food allergies, and make sure to include some healthy options. That way, none of your guests fall victim to the Sugar Crash Monster.
Take a look below at some ideas for Halloween party treats.
4. Frightening foods
Trick your kids into eating something other than Halloween candy by using cookie cutters to create Halloween-themed sandwiches. With bat, ghost, or witch hat-shaped cookie cutters, your standard PB&J, ham and cheese, or turkey and swiss creations transform into exciting Halloween party food.
For another mummy-approved Halloween treat, make mummy pizza bites. Cover mini bagels or English muffins with pizza sauce, then place mozzarella strips horizontally to create a mummified look. For the finishing touch, add two sliced olive “eyes” on top.
Left: “Hungry Eye” by Paperless Post | Right: Photo Credit: Chelsea’s Messy Apron
5. Terrifying treats
Along with bowls of candy corn, lollipops, and your favorite fun-size candy bars, consider serving your party guests a few of these unique Halloween-themed treats:
— Spider cookies – Place pretzel sticks along the sides of an Oreo cookie to create creepy crawly spider legs. Then, use icing to place M&M eyes on top for a delicious 3-in-1 treat.
— Puffed rice pumpkins – Halloween-ify traditional homemade Rice Krispies Treats by adding orange gel food coloring to your melted marshmallow mix, then shaping your treats into spheres. To complete your pumpkin look, place a pretzel stick on top as the pumpkin stem.
— Witch finger cookies – For scary sugar cookies, add green food coloring to your sugar cookie mix, then roll your dough into “fingers.” Place an almond sliver at the tip (where a fingernail would be), and use a knife to create creases along where the knuckles would be. Once these cookies are baked, you can add strawberry jam along the almond fingernail edges for an even more eerie effect.
Halloween party games for kids
If there’s anything kids love more than treats, it’s games (or maybe the split is an even 50-50). Either way, when it comes to entertaining your petite party-goers, you can introduce a little competitive fun with one or more of the following Halloween-themed party games.
6. Bobbing for apples
There’s a reason bobbing for apples has remained a popular fall party and Halloween game for generations. Not only is it challenging and hilarious (for both participants and spectators), but it’s also ripe with Halloween-themed possibilities. Make the game a bit more sanitary by challenging guests to grab apples using plastic skeleton bones rather than their mouths.
To put a spin on this classic competition, you can draw scary faces on your apples with edible markers, or even replace your apples entirely with fun-size candy bars.
“Horror Strikes at Midnight” by Paperless Post
7. Mini masquerade
Invite guests to come to your party wearing a Halloween costume that includes a mask. Then, host a mini masquerade filled with monsters, ghouls, and goblins. For this party theme, our guests can vote on who they think has the coolest or scariest disguise, and the winner can be crowned best masquerader. Even the adults can get in on the fun!
8. Kiddo-sized maze
For the ultimate backyard adventure, set up a kiddo-sized corn maze. Don’t worry—you don’t need to plant and grow a field of corn beforehand to take advantage of this fun pastime. Instead, purchase bales of hay to use in place of cornstalks. You can even stack them on top of each other to better suit the height of your guests.
9. Mummy race
Don’t just walk like an Egyptian—run like a mummy. To hold a mummy race, wrap your guests’ legs in white tissue or toilet paper. Then, have them race toward a finish line without ripping their tissue paper. Whether or not your little mummies make it to the end intact, they’re bound to have an unforgettable experience with this Halloween party game.
10. Mystery box
This game will leave your guests shrieking (with laughter, that is). Start by cutting holes into the side or top of closed cardboard boxes. Then, have your kids reach inside and guess what’s hidden in each box. Surprise your party-goers with strange, slimy, or gooey hidden items such as:
— Peeled grapes
— Cold, cooked spaghetti
— Mashed banana
— Baby carrots
Halloween party activities
Along with games, you can add more thrills to your Halloween bash by treating your guests to unique Halloween party activities. Many of these activities can even be enjoyed by guests who can only attend the party in spirit as they can still participate through a video chat platform.
Take a look below at some of our favorite Halloween party activities.
“Crystal Ball” by Paperless Post
11. Host a magic show
For a Halloween party that’s truly full of tricks, hire a magician to perform a magic show in-person or online. Your guests can delight in the real-life magic happening right before their eyes and may even be able to assist with certain parts of your magician’s act.
“Party Monsters” by Paperless Post
12. Do the Monster Mash
Get all your mini monsters moving with a haunted Halloween dance party. Inspire Dracula to Dougie, Wolfman to wiggle, and Frankenstein’s monster to floss with a soundtrack of groovy Halloween songs, including:
— “Monster Mash”
— “This Is Halloween”
— The Addams Family theme song
13. Walk this way
Encourage your kids to show off their Halloween costumes by planning your own outdoor costume parade with neighbors, classmates, and friends. This unique group activity lets all guests share the spotlight and make the most out of their festive looks.
“Trunk or Treat” by Paperless Post
14. Go trunk-or-treating
Get creative with a classroom costume party by organizing a trunk-or-treat event in the school parking lot. Parents can decorate the trunks of their cars with classic, themed, or DIY Halloween decor, while kids trick-or-treat from car to car.
Trunk-or-treating also provides a fun alternative for those who may live in neighborhoods where houses aren’t close to each other or areas that aren’t ideal for walking from house to house.
15. Show and tell
For both in-person and virtual Halloween parties, show and tell gives each child an opportunity to show off their costume and talk about why they chose it. Kids can also present a favorite Halloween item, such as a toy, a costume prop, or a scary book or movie.
Halloween party invitations for kids
Choosing the right decor, food, games, and activities for your kid-friendly Halloween party will guarantee a fun, safe, and not-too-spooky event. But to ensure all the members of your boo crew experience the thrill for themselves, you’ll need to spread the word with kid-friendly Halloween party invitations.
At Paperless Post, you can find invitations to fit all of the month’s festivities, from Halloween bashes to pumpkin carving contests to October birthday parties. Plus, you can customize your invitations’ text, style, and backdrop to better match your party’s vibe.
Not sure how to word your Halloween invite without causing a fright?
We have invitation suggestions for a variety of occasions. Check them out below:
“Afternoon Parade” by Paperless Post, “Pumpkin Club” by Paperless Post, “Black Cat” by Paperless Post, “Little Treats” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post
— For an afternoon affair – Please Join [Name] for an Afternoon of Tricks, Treats, & Spooky Sweets.
— For a pumpkin carving contest – Sharpen Your Knives and Join [Name] for a Pumpkin Carving Contest!
— For a traditional costume party – Grab Your Favorite Spooky Outfit and Join [Name] for Costumes & Candy.
— For a Halloween masquerade – Calling All Vamps and Vampires: It’s Time for [Name’s] Annual Halloween Masquerade.
Paperless Post: The Trick to Finding Your Perfect Party Invitations
Gather your boos and ghouls for all your spooky, kooky, and unforgettable events this October with Halloween party invitations from Paperless Post. With our customizable options, you can change your card’s text, style, and backdrop to better match your party’s unique theme. Plus, with Paperless Post, you can make or import a guest list, and send all your invites with the click of a button. It’s so easy, you’ll think it’s magic.
For Halloween invitations sure to be a scream, choose Paperless Post.