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A Spooky Halloween Party for All Ages

Posted Oct 07 2008 6:21pm

It’s that time of year again…spooks and ghosts and haunts galore. It’s the perfect season for throwing a ghoulish Halloween party fun for the entire family!

A Creepy Hand Invitation
Creepy Hand Invitation

  1. Take clear rubber gloves and fill each fingertip with a gum drop.
  2. Fill the rest of the glove with popcorn. (The popcorn makes the hand look like it has knuckles.)
  3. Using black and orange card stock, create an invitation card with the party details written inside.
  4. Hole punch the card and thread orange and/or black ribbon through and attach to the glove by tying the glove off with the invitation card and its ribbon.
  5. Hand deliver these invitations to the guests.

Spooky Decor Ideas:
Construction Paper: Use construction paper to create ghosts, pumpkins, bats, spiders, and other spooky creatures. Make half ghosts that peek out around corners as an example. For the pumpkins, orange paper would make the body, brown for the stem, green for the leaves, and black for the cutouts to make the face.

If you are using black construction paper for the bats and black cats use chalk rather than gel pens. If you want to make the bats and ghosts fly, punch a small hole at the top of the creations, and thread a fishing line through the hole and hang over vents or near a door that is opening and closing frequently so that they “fly.”

Ghost Balloons: Blow up orange and black balloons, place material, such as a small white sheet over the balloon, tie the neck with a string, and use a black marker for a ghostly face. Suspend the ghosts using fishing line attached to the ghosts’ necks.

Old Clothes: Take an old pair of jeans, plaid shirt, work gloves, shoes, and hat and a brown paper bag to create the victim of a terrible Halloween accident.

Stuff the victim with autumn leaves. The face can be the brown paper bag stuffed with the leaves and the hat pulled down over the bag to hide that there isn’t a face. Place fake blood (white Karo Syrup with red food coloring.) all over the victim’s wounds as well.

Either place the victim in a chair on the front porch or sitting under a tree in the front yard.

Cardboard Boxes: Make a graveyard in your front yard by using old cardboard appliance boxes. Cut them down to tombstone size, spray paint them black, and then use white paint to outline the headstone. Using a small paint brush, paint different, spooky, funny, and anything goes epithets on the tombs. Place them in the front yard, weighing them down with a brick.

Spider Web: A spider web goes a long way in decorating any corner area of your home and/or front porch. They often come with some plastic spiders for further decorations.

Candles: Orange and black candles illuminating your home would also be an additional decoration. The small votive candles can often be purchased in bulk as well.
Place orange and black candles on a reflecting mirror to add a spooky, Gothic touch.

Bales of hay add a festive autumnal touch to your yard.

Mini-pumpkins, gourds, and corn husks always look festive this time of year. Have the kids decorate the pumpkins or stuff a mini scarecrow to add to the seasonal feel.

Purchase a black plastic cauldron and add dry ice and a submersible light to make a spooky Witch’s Cauldron.

Using different sizes of jars, fill them with water and place “body parts” such as hands, eyeballs, hair, fingers, etc. into the different jars. They will look creepy!

Have a large punch bowl in the center with a brain ice mold floating in green slime punch. Ghoulish!

Fill a pumpkin bowl with lots of bright candies and goodies.

Play little games at the table for the kids to reach in and have a candy prize. Or, after dinner, the kids can dip their hands in for dessert. You can also use this bowl to hand out candy to your trick or treaters as well!!

Serve a Creepy Menu:

01. Baked Skeleton Bones (Pretzel Sticks)
02. Bat Brains (Popcorn)
03. Bloated Ants (Raisins) - see picture.
04. Boiled Lady Bugs (Red Jelly Beans)
05. Braised Beetles (Milk Duds)
06. Candied Spider Eggs (Gum Drops)
07. Cheesy Owl Eyes (Puffed Cheese Balls)
08. Chocolate-Dipped Houseflies (Chocolate-Covered Raisins)
09. Compressed Cobwebs (Chex Brand or Similar Cereal)
10. Crumbled Bat Wings (Blue Corn Chips)
11. Deep Fried Fingernails (Bugles Brand Snacks)
12. Dehydrated Dragon’s Wings (Doritos)
13. Dirty Shoelaces (Black Shoestring Licorice)
14. Dried Seaweed (Chow Mein Noodles)
15. Earthworm Knots (Miniature Pretzel Twists)
16. Flattened Slugs (Corn Chips)
17. Freeze Dried Drops of Blood (Red Hot Candies)
18. Ghost Guts (Mini Marshmallow)
19. Goblin’s Belly Button Lint Balls (M & Ms, Any Style))
20. Plops of Pigeon Poop (Yogurt Covered Raisins)
21. Rat Claws (Shelled Sunflower Seeds)
22. Roasted Snack Eyes (Peanuts)
23. Shredded Lizard Gizzards (Coconut)
24. Splintered Turkey Bones (Shoestrings Potato Chips)
25. Toasted Cat’s Eyes (Blanched Almonds)
26. Vulture Toenails (Candy Corn)
27. Witches’ Warts (Chocolate Chips)

  • Bat Wings, using one dozen chicken wings, create a marinade using 1 c. soy sauce, 1/3 c. honey, and 1 tsp. ginger. Marinate overnight and grill or BBQ.
  • Chocolate Spiders, melt some chocolate chips in the microwave. Add dry chow mein noodles to the melted chocolate and mix together. Spoon onto grease-proof paper as little blobs and add two mini M&Ms for eyes. Place in the fridge to cool.
  • Dip pretzel rods into chocolate and rolled in orange and black sprinkles for a special Halloween Wand.
  • Rice Krispie Pumpkins: Add orange food coloring to the Rice Krispies and make a batch. When cool, roll into balls and decorate faces on them. Use shoelace licorice for a mouth, green gumdrop for the stem, mini M&Ms for the eyes, and a “red hot” for the nose!
  • Edible Swamp. Make a bowl of Jell-O and before it sets, add in gummy worms, bugs, and fish for a swampy treat.
  • Jack-O-Lanterns. Toast English Muffins, add orange food coloring to cream cheese to make a pumpkin spread. Spread the cream cheese on the English Muffin and have the kids take raisins and make pumpkin faces on them.
  • Jell-O Jigglers Make a batch of Jell-O Jigglers using orange and lime flavors. Use pumpkin, witch, and bat cookie cutters for a quick festive treat.
  • Scary Sugar Cookies Use these same cookie cutters to make a batch of sugar cookies. A party activity can include having the kids decorate these Halloween characters.
  • Spooky Sandwiches. Halloween cookie cutters can also be used to cut out spooky sandwiches. Fill them with blackberry jam and cream cheese. Add chocolate chips for eyes!
  • Serve all sorts of gummy candies, i.e. worms, spiders, etc. You can throw these into a mix of popcorn and chocolate chips for Bugs in a Bowl.

Ghouls, Ghosts, and Vampires Unite and Delight in this Freaky Fun
Create a Haunted House for All Ages to Enjoy!

  1. Decide upon the space you want to use. This could be your yard, your home or just one area of your house, i.e. the basement.
  2. Plan your entrance and exit and think through what types of spooks and scares you want to include in your plan.
  3. Get help to not only transform the Haunted House, but also to participate in spooking it as well.
  4. Don’t forget to add eerie lighting, scary sounds, and darkness. Throw dark sheets or black garbage bags over the windows so that no light will be able to show through.
  5. Replace your outside bulbs with orange bulbs. Also, have a black light bulb for your porch light if you have some glow-in-the-dark decorations hung close-by.
  6. If you have some leftover Tiki torches from your summer parties, use those to light the path to the front door of your haunted house.
  7. Hang spider web netting throughout that your guests will get entangled in!
  8. Hang a “dead guy” in the front entrance, i.e. stuff a pair of jeans, shirt with newspaper, and use an old bleach container cut out into a face. Top with an old hat.
  9. Decorate your doors to look like coffins.
  10. Using large appliance boxes, you can make coffins, fake walls, crypt chambers, etc.
  11. Set up a spooky dinner table, have a silver tray with a Jell-O brain mold atop or a severed hand or head. Set a Monster dummy or a real person at the table about to eat the feast. Creepy!
  12. Hang wet yarn from the ceiling for your guests to walk through.
  13. Have bloody hands lying around, fill surgical gloves with sand and tie it off with a rubber band. Add the effect of blood with red paint on the fingers. Creepy!
  14. Spritz cold water on the guests as they enter the Haunted House.
  15. Use dry ice to make a boiling cauldron or for a foggy effect, but be very careful to not have the dry ice touch anyone!! A better option would be a fog machine…it is a bit pricey, but you may be able to rent it out to others throughout the year!
  16. Dress up your participants in scary costumes!
  • Play Pass the Pumpkin, have kids sit in a circle and pass small pumpkins and gourds to music. When the music stops, whoever isn’t holding a pumpkin is out!
  • Mummy Fun: Break up the kids into two teams, provide several rolls of toilet paper to both teams, choose one person to mummify. The team to wrap the mummy in toilet paper the fastest wins!
  • Build a Scarecrow: divide the kids into two teams and provide old clothes, pillowcases, newspapers, and markers. Give them 20 minutes to build their scarecrow.
  • If older kids are attending, and you have a video camera on hand, give the kids the chance to make their own “Blair Witch” Halloween film. Give them 5 minutes to shoot the film on a Halloween topic.
  • Have a Halloween Candy Hunt.
  • Sit in a circle in the dark with only flashlights and/or glow-sticks. Begin the tale of a scary story and go around the circle with each kid adding the next portion of the story until the end of the circle has been reached.

Play Hanging Tree

  1. Supplies - 13 Apples (12 red and one green) you will need extras, string, blindfold, and a tree branch.
  2. Tie each of the apples to a tree so they can swing freely. To keep observant kids from memorizing where the green apple is just loosely tie the strings together.
  3. Take a child and tell them to close their eyes and make a wish. As they do you blindfold them. Once blindfolded, spin him around and say this rhyme with them.
  4. 13 Apples hanging from a tree,
    12 dark red and one bright green
    Blindfolded, spun around, and then set free
    Is that green one meant for me?

  5. You then release the apples and point the child in the right direction. They then will stumble about and pick an apple. If they get the green one their wish will come true! Before the next child goes, replace the apple and move the green one. If you want you can place a tag with a number on each apple, then each number will correspond to small gift or prize.
  • Play Pin the Wart on the Witch
  • String donuts on a clothes line, blindfold the kids and/or tie their hand behind their backs and enjoy eating the donuts off the line.
  • Carve pumpkins. Older kids will love to actually carve the pumpkins, and smaller kids can either use markers to draw their faces on to small pumpkins or use various candies and frosting as glue to decorate your pumpkins.
  • Candy Corn Guessing Game, fill a large jar and have everyone take a guess at how many there are inside.
  • Make a green Jell-O, and place slimy plastic spiders, etc. inside. Have the kids reach in to find their prize!
  • Hold a Costume Parade.
  • Play Candy Corn Catch
  • Divide guests into groups of 3 teams, 4-5 per team. Tie a plastic pumpkin around one team member’s waist (use a man/boy). Give the remaining team members a basket of candy corns. Play music. When the music begins, Yell, G0! Each team tries to toss the most candy corns into their pumpkin from a certain distance. Stop and start the music to give team members a chance to change turns. When the song is over, count the candy corns and the team with the most wins!
  • Make little ghosts using Tootsie Roll Pops, small little squares of old white sheets, some colorful string, and a black marker for the eyes. Easy and festive.
  • Make Slime.
  • Make Spiders, using Styrofoam balls, black spray paint, and black pipe cleaners. Have the kids assemble the legs and attach a smaller ball as the head.
  • Organize a Halloween Treasure Hunt:

    Happy Halloween to You,
    Get Your Glow-Sticks to Look for the Clues
    Don’t Get Scared When the Ghosts Go Boo!!
    Look Under ______ for Clue #2!!
    Jump for Glee
    When You Find Clue #3
    Under the _____-
    It Will Be!!
    Are You Ready To Go,
    Outside the Front Door,
    Sitting On _____ is Clue #4
    To The Back Yard We Go,
    Under the ____,
    Let’s All Look Alive
    As We Find Clue #5
    Clue #6 Is Under ______ In The Front Yard
    Don’ t Worry About Finding It,
    It Really Won’t Be Hard!
    Are You Getting Tired Yet?
    Clue #7 is Under _______
    Be Careful When You Look,
    So You Don’t Bonk Your Head!
    Finally, you must find the treasure itself, but first you must pass through the witches and ghosts!

    Potions to Serve Up

  • Take a plastic goblet…either decorated or the kids can decorate by gluing on gems. Pour a colorful soda into the goblet, cherry or orange are great choices. Plop in a grape juice ice cube. Sprinkle in Pop Rocks (kids will love to hear the pop, fizzle, fizz!) and, finally, throw in a gummy snake or a marshmallow eyeball.
  • Ghostly Slime Juice: Berry Blue Kool Aid Packet, 12 ounce can of OJ concentrate, and spring water. Mix together and watch it turn green!
  • Serve chilled Apple Cider with cinnamon sticks.
  • Enjoy Ghoul-Aid, Mix one packet of orange Kool-Aid with one packet of grape Kool-Aid, add the sugar and water. Right before serving, add one bottle of Sprite.
  • How about serving a Warm Witch’s Blood? Bring to a boil in a saucepan: 4 c. Apple-Cranberry Juice, 2 c. OJ, 1 tsp. whole cloves, 1 Cinnamon Stick, 3-4 Allspice Berries, Sugar to taste. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Make sure it is not too hot for the goblins. Add an orange slice for an additional decoration.
  • For a Halloween Favor: Send guests home with an over-sized ghoulish cookie placed into an orange cellophane bag and tie a black tag to the cookie bag using an orange and black ribbon with a donation tag stating that a “Donation has been made in your name to X Charity.” Festive and charitable all at once!

    Top Tips on Throwing a Fabulous Halloween Party:
    1. Check with friends before inviting: Halloween lands on one day each and every year, October 31st. It’s a short season, and many people will be planning All Hallows Eve bashes. Check with your friends and family BEFORE sending out party invitations to see if the date you choose runs into someone else’s party plan. If so, try and work out an arrangement so that both parties can still take place.
    2. Leave Party End Open: When you are hosting a family Halloween party, in your invitation, leave the finish time open-ended to accommodate your guests. Keep in mind that people who are bringing their kids will want to know when the kids’ activities will take place so they will be there for this fun part and then they may need to leave for another party or because someone is tired. Other guests, especially those without children, may miss the kids’ party altogether, and enjoy arriving late and staying even later. Keep this in mind when you set the time frame for your party.
    3. Get Help. At a family-style Halloween party, you will want to mix with the adults, stir potions with the kids, video the ghoulish mummy race, and take in the costume fanfare! With all of this and more, line up help. Do you have a babysitter or two available? They would be able to help you set-up, run the kids activities, and anything else as long as you have them on hand to help. Don’t assume that your guests will pitch in on this front!
    4. Announce Kids’ Activities when they begin: Make sure when the activities for the kids begin, you let their parents and other adults at the party know that the ghoulish fun is under way. Everyone hates missing out on the fun, and some adults may even want to be included. Make sure you have some games and/or activities where the kids and adults interact together. For example, stuffing a scarecrow relay race, eating donuts off a clothes line, and/or decorating pumpkins.
    5. Serve food that everyone will love. Adults will enjoy a more fanciful menu items, a delicious pumpkin soup or stew, an autumn pasta salad, corn muffins, apple and pumpkin tarts, etc. Make a few key items that your adults will rave about, but also keep in mind that the kids will be happy with a far simpler menu. Make up a batch of coffin sandwiches with popular fillings (simply use a cookie cutter), serve favorite snacks, but place name tags beside them with scary names, as an example Boiled Lady Bugs, (Red & Black Jelly Beans), and Blood & Guts simple pasta.
    6. Be Prepared to Unmask: Given the season, you may request that guests don their costumes for your party. Be sure to remember that small children may be afraid of guests in their costumes. Be prepared to ask people to de-mask themselves quickly if this situation arises!
    7. Supervise Pumpkin Carving or decorate the pumpkin instead of carving If you are planning on having adults carve pumpkins for a party activity, make sure to supervise carefully where the knives are placed. Little ones will be running around and can easily pick up something dangerous like a carving knife as the party excitement is underway. Supervise when the carving takes place carefully to make sure an unfortunate incident does not occur.

Lisa Kothari is the founder and president of Peppers and Pollywogs, a kids’ party planning company that provides parents with ideas, entertainers, and interesting web-based tools (customized rhymes and cards for your invitations!) to make kids’ party planning easy. She has recently written and published Dear Peppers and Pollywogs…What Parents Want To Know About Planning Their Kids’ Parties which is available at and Peppers and Pollywogs.

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