5 non-scary ways to celebrate Halloween

Published on Wednesday, 27 October 2021
Last updated on Monday, 25 October 2021

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Halloween comes but once a year, and although the spectre of a sugar crash or ghoulish door-knocker might fill young families with dread, there are lots of ways to get into the spirit of things and transform a frightful night into a fun day.

Here are five sweet ways to celebrate Halloween with your toddler or preschooler.

1. Raid the dress-up box

Pretending to be a frolicsome kitty, magical witch or swashbuckling pirate is entertaining, and simple accessories, like cat ears, a homemade witch’s hat or a red bandanna will encourage your child to get creative with dramatic play.

You can also spark the imagination with some simple face paint. A black nose and long whiskers transforms kid into cat, shadowy eyes and dark lips spell ‘witch,’ and your pint-sized pirate will look the part with a painted moustache and eye-patch.

On-theme activities, like physical challenges, potion-making and treasure-hunting can be added to the mix, and if your child prefers to be a puppy, mermaid or mini-monster, follow their lead and tailor the pretend play to their preferences.

2. Serve an inventive meal

Halloween is often associated with bucketloads of sugar, but there are plenty of savoury alternatives for tiny tummies.

A freakishly good feast could include:

Your child learns key skills when they cook with a care-giver, and there’s also the option of getting crafty with the table décor.

Spider or pumpkin shapes stamped onto A4 paper make arty placemats (with drawn on, not stuck on, eyes), and a ghost garland is a cute twist on the classic paper chain decoration.

3. Make a small world

When we think of carved pumpkins, we think of Jack O’ Lanterns, but another creative idea is a pumpkin house for fairies, gnomes or animal figurines.

Hollowing out the pumpkin is an adult job, but once that’s done, you and your child can kit out the tiny home with a handmade swing set, ramp, garden and other dreamy DIY additions.

This pumpkin house is perfect for small world play, which brings lots of developmental benefits [link to small world play article pls] for your under five.

4. Play a fun game

Halloween-themed games give your child’s body and brain a work-out, and here are five ideas for October 31:

  • Halloween Freeze (aka Musical Statues) is always a winner and it involves dancers stopping dead when the music does
  • To play Ghost Toss, you draw a ghost face on a white balloon and see how long your child can keep it in the air, either on their own, or passing it between the two of you
  • A Mummy Sack Race is great fun if your child is good on their feet. Players’ legs are loosely wrapped in white crepe streamers, and they have to fast-shuffle to the finish line without tearing their ‘bandages’
  • A Spider Race exercises players’ lungs as they blow through straws to move their plastic spider towards the finish line, and
  • Halloween Bingo will get your preschooler jumping for joy when they fill every picture on their board!

5. Read a Halloween story

As day fades into night, there are lots of not-too-scary stories to share.

For starters:

Further reading

6 tips for a healthier Halloween

6 Halloween craft ideas to build fine motor skills

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