Simple Halloween fun…
There’s one thing you can be sure of – little kids hate being left out. So make Halloween exciting for your pre-schoolers, and enjoy yourself in the bargain.
Do dress up – if the little ones see the older ones dressing up and they don’t get the chance to, it could be bedlam in your house. They may not be tricking or treating, but a costume is still a necessity.
You can buy cheap ones online or at your local supermarket ( Woolworths have a good selection this year). Or you can make your own – a simple old pillowcase can easily be turned into a scary ghost, while pyjamas can be decorated with blobs or stripes to make monsters! Funny ears can easily be created using hairbands with foam/material ears attached.
The old favourites:
Even pre-schoolers can try and bob for apples. Just don’t make the water very deep (no filling up a bath!).
Instead put a few apples in a bowl of water, hold back their hair and encourage them to bob. But make sure you’re nearby and that nobody decides to push them further in…….As with all activities, smaller children need a close eye kept on them.
Noughts and crosses: Use pumpkins and leaves, or ghosts and witches and play the game as usual.
Fancy dress parade: Get the children to explain what they’re dressed up as, and maybe perform as their character – whether it’s a witch or a cat. This could be their version of tricking and treating, especially if they sing a song or tell a joke.
Pin the heart on the skeleton or pin the tail on the monster: Draw a huge skeleton and draw a large heart on it. Also draw and cut out a little red heart. Stick the skeleton up and then blindfold a child and ask them to stick the heart in the right place. You can either use bluetack or sticky tape for this one. Make sure you mark on the skeleton where each child put their heart – otherwise you won’t know who came nearest, and there will be no winner!
You can also do this with a monster or cat – and pin/stick the tail on.
Decorate your house:
Hanging bats or spiders: Pre-cut bats or spiders before the children arrive and get the children to decorate two each. Once they are finished (and dry, if paints were used), staple the two together, leaving a gap for a stuffing of wool, tissues or even crumpled up newspaper. Then staple that bit shut and hang with string.
(If your artistic skills don’t stretch to drawing bats, you can download this one from the BBC website)
Don’t forget that children of this age often love the simple things like colouring in and drawing. Make sure you have some pictures of pumpkins, skeletons and ghosts (you can download some here) on hand so that little ones can use their artistic skills to colour them in and then display them on the wall.
Decorate a pumpkin: No need to try cutting them – with young children, this would hardly be ideal. Instead, use markers, paint or stickers so that each child has a personalised pumpkin!
Decorate your child!
Finger ghosts: Wrap tissue paper around your little one’s finger and tie a hair band or rubber band around it (not too tightly!). Then draw a little face on it and your child can say hello to his or her own little finger ghost.
Make a toilet roll mummy: This is easy and young kids love it!
Pick one child to be the mummy and get the others to wrap him or her in toilet roll (avoiding the mouth, obviously). If they all want to get involved, they could all become mummies, while if you want to introduce a competitive spirit, you could split the children into teams and the first one to finish off their mummy will win!
Spooky spiders: Be prepared for some mess with this one – keep some baby wipes on hand to wipe messy hands afterwards!
Paint your child’s fingers and palm (but not their thumb) and press one hand onto a piece of paper with the fingers pointing out. Then paint the other hand and press that over the first one (in the other direction). Add some eyes, and you have your very own spider! Make sure you wipe up afterwards.
Their very own witch’s (or wizard’s) hat: You will need some black card, some stickers or cut out stars or moons for decoration, scissors, glue and staples.
Cut out a circle from the card and make a cone that will fit each child’s head. Get each child to decorate it before you stick it together – they can use stickers or draw their own ghostly creations.
Stick the circle together – using sticky tape or staples - to make a cone shape.
Scary biscuits: If cooking up some Halloween treats sounds too much like hard work, why not go the easy route? Buy some digestive (or other plain) biscuits and some writing icing and then decorate them with Halloween ghouls or spiders. The children won’t just enjoy decorating them, but eating them too…..
Touch and feel Halloween surprise! Cook some spaghetti, wash some grapes and make some jelly.
Then pass round a bowl with each of the ingredients in. This works better if the children shut their eyes!
Ask them to guess what foods they are feeling and then tell them they are touching monsters’ brains (the spaghetti), monsters’ eyes (the grapes) and monster slime (the jelly).
You can always try some other monster foods – eg carrot batons for monster’s fingers or nuts for the monsters’ teeth.
Above all, have fun and enjoy yourself. You could even try telling some ghost stories – if you think the children can cope!