The devil makes work for idle hands, and nothing is worse than a restless child stuck at home at Halloween. So get to grips with these Halloween activities before they are bored out of their brains!
These DIY Halloween activities (opens in new tab) for kids are easy and fun alternatives (or additions) to traditional pumpkin carving.
From potion-making to pumpkin decorating, we've gathered the best Halloween activities for kids so that you can all do together at home. Suitable for kids aged five to 105 (with a little adult supervision needed at some stages), for a well-needed sprinkling of fun and laughter. There are even Halloween activities for preschoolers so no one in the family misses out!
Halloween activities for preschoolers, kids and adults
With climate change and sustainability all over the news and internet, you may be looking for easy Halloween activities for children that won't have you spending your hard-earned dollars on tonnes of plastic that will only be thrown away soon after so if you're looking for an eco-friendly solution to celebrate - paper is a viable solution for vampy activities.
'Paper crafts allow kids to create lots of fun things. Halloween is a great time for kids to unleash their creativity and the possibilities are endless,' says Rebecca Marie, creative marketing team member at Cricut (opens in new tab).
'From spooky cupcake toppers, personalized 'trick or treat' tote bags to Halloween paper straws, kids will have so much fun getting in the Halloween spirit this year.'
1. Create fun and healthy fruit snacks
This delicious (and nutritious) Halloween treat recipe from Pink Lady® (opens in new tab) makes the perfect snack and activity for fright night, and is a little different from your conventional toffee or chocolate apple on a stick. Your little Frankensteins will have fun creating different expressions and of course, eating their creations.
If you're worried that a whole fruit activity might not come under suitable Halloween activities for preschoolers, you could also slice the apple lengthways into create apple 'faces' or slice into smaller, bite-sized segments for easier eating.
You will need:
- 4 Pink Lady® or PinKids® apples
- Splash of lemon juice
- 50g icing Sugar
- 1-2 strawberries, sliced
- 28 flaked almonds
- 8 white chocolate buttons
- 1 tube of coloured icing
- 12 lace sweets
- Cut a wedge out of each Pink Lady® apple to form the monster’s mouth. Brush the exposed apple flesh with lemon juice to stop it browning.
- Stick the flaked almonds into the edge of one of the cut sides of the mouth to form the teeth.
- Mix the icing sugar with just enough water to form a thick paste. Put a blob of the paste in each ‘mouth’ on the bottom side to the teeth. Top with a strawberry slice to form the tongue. The icing will hold the tongue in place.
- Blob some icing paste onto the backs of the white chocolate buttons and stick two onto each Pink Lady® apple above the mouth to form the eyes. Use the colored icing to draw on pupils.
- Cut the lace sweets into smaller lengths and use the icing paste to stick them to the head of each Pink Lady® apple to form hair.
- Leave the Pink Lady® monsters in the fridge for the icing to firm up, then they’re ready to eat.
2. Repurpose your Christmas trees at Halloween
'If you too are excited for the most horror-full time of the year, we’ve got a home decoration idea that will knock your long striped socks off – Halloween Christmas trees,' says Jenny Mudgridge, blogger at Party Delights (opens in new tab).
'Now you might be thinking, Pink?! That’s not very Halloweeny! Well, we care to disagree. The best thing about Halloween is that it is what you make it. We went for a fun, feminine theme for our Halloween tree by building monochrome details onto a cotton candy-pink base.'
3. Get the kids involved with pumpkin pottery
Tactile, (slightly) messy and fun, shaping pottery is something that can be educational and therapeutic to calm your little devils after all the candy they've eaten! So, in true style why not create some clay pumpkins as candle holders, paperweights or decorative ornaments? These pumpkin decorating ideas can be displayed on a shelf, taken to work as a reminder of your children, or styled in their bedroom. But if you can't get your hands on the pottery putty and all the rest - don't fear!
At-home clay pottery legends, Sculpd (opens in new tab), have launched a Halloween pottery bundle. Learn to sculpt, carve and decorate clay pumpkins, which unlike traditional pumpkins, will last for many more Halloween’s to come!
Complete with special air-dry clay, it also comes with a step-by-step illustrated guide and a video tutorial, hosted by an expert potter, on how to carve and make the pumpkins look their best. It's ideal for hosting a crafty Halloween party, creating a special Halloween themed tablescape, or for a fun Autumnal activity at home.
Each Halloween bundle includes enough equipment for two people to get involved, plus four autumnal Halloween paint colors, so there won't be any fighting over who can decorate the gourds.
4. Create a personalized trick or treat tote bag
If you've been tasked with taking the kids from door to door to ask for candy, it can be hard to keep up with which bag belongs to each child. So getting them to make their own bespoke tote is not only a practical decision, but also reduces the risk of tantrums, tears and arguments.
Trick or treating Halloween activities can be made easier this year is a personalized tote bag from Cricut (opens in new tab). With fun vintage options, kooky kid-friendly designs, and playful personalized bags, these totes alone are almost as enjoyable as what’s inside.
5. Say 'bone-appetit' with a Halloween grazing board
Trick or treating is hungry work, so make sure children and adults can fuel up before or after the night's festivities with a themed crazing board like no other. Perfect to fill with (trick or) treats to enjoy at your Halloween party.
Create a creepy sweet table, impress your guests with a scary spread, or just this table decor by Ginger Ray (opens in new tab) as a Halloween skeleton decoration. While younger children can help take food out of packages, the older kids can chop and prepare the final buffet.
Go the whole hog and gross out your guests by including lots of healthy treats to depict a live surgeon's table. Cooked sausage links look great as intestines, carrot rounds are great as eyes, celery works for bones. This spine-tingling skeleton with moving arms and legs is a great alternative to your traditional grazing board, and will spook your guests silly as they reach for a snack!
6. Decorate baked goods with DIY cupcake toppers
One of the best times to get creative is Halloween, and cupcakes should always be on the menu. Whether you choose a classic flavor like chocolate or vanilla or are wondering what to do with pumpkins after Halloween (Hint: pumpkin pie flavored treats), these Halloween cupcake toppers are the perfect addition to making those spooky sweet treats even more delightful.
From monsters to pumpkins, bat and ghosts, there's a whole host of scary toppers to choose from. What's more, the assembling is easy to do - all you need to do is layer and adhere the images, then place them in the cupcake using wooden sticks. Just be careful as they can present as a choking hazard, so dispose of them carefully after use.
7. Make a googly eye wreath to ward off evil spirits
Scary doesn’t have to mean complicated as this Halloween craft idea for kids shows. Created by Hobbycraft's (opens in new tab) ideas hub experts, this googly eye wreath is as gruesome as it is great! All you'll need is a polystyrene wreath, some black satin ribbon and an assortment of googly eyes to gaze at your guests.
Position around the peephole of your front door for full-effect that your guests are being watched.
8. Store out of pumpkins? Use a butternut squash instead
Despite the demand for pumpkins in the supermarkets, farm stores and local pumpkin patches, weather, pests and other variables can mean that some customers and homeowners are left disappointed. But if you're without a conventional gourd this year, look to vegetables in the same family and get creative.
This butternut squash 'mummy' idea by Dulux (opens in new tab) uses white and grey paint to bring it to life with some googly eyes for visual effect. Plus, with no cutting involved, it's another viable solution if you were initially looking for no-carve pumpkin ideas - especially if you're scared of little hands getting hurt.
Use shades White and Warm Pewter (opens in new tab) to accurately mimic the same idea as shown.
9. Make a spooky 'Boo' sign for your shelves
If you're looking for spooky 'shelfie' or shelving ideas, this DIY design from Dulux (opens in new tab) is frighteningly fabulous. You can buy the lettering from a craft store, or alternatively make them from scratch using Papier-Mache.
You'll then hand-paint black polka dots and stick on the eyes using a glue gun or super glue. As with all Halloween activities, safety must come first, so parents and guardians should supervise at this stage as hot glue and solvents can be dangerous.
10. Have fun icing and glazing gory doughnut designs
Doughnut walls aren't just for pretty baby showers and wedding events, so turn up the gore and have fun decorating these fried (or baked) goods.
Sticky and sweet, kids will love to pour icing, sprinkles and other candy decorations onto their raised dough. Set up a bar with glazes (we suggest red, black, orange and green), toppings and treats and let children (and adults) go wild with their imagination.
To style, we love this Halloween coffin and zombie hand donut stand (opens in new tab) and can be used to create the centerpiece for your Halloween snack table. It's a great alternative to a cake, and is sure to be a hit with your party guests!
Jess Martin, decoration expert at Ginger Ray (opens in new tab) adds: 'Halloween is also a great opportunity to get the kids involved and try out some baking- the messier and more gruesome the better! For a fun take on the ever-popular donut stand, why not try this scary 'hand stand' and let people help themselves... if they dare.
11. Get crafty and decorate your own pumpkin
Love the idea of pumpkins but hate all this mess? Go for a wooden version instead! Halloween is the perfect excuse to get all crafty and this kit from Not on the High Street (opens in new tab) comes with all you need to paint a cute decoration that'll last for years. Including all the good stuff like stickers, pipe cleaners, glitter and even string for hanging - it's a great afternoon activity that'll give you a keepsake too.
12. Create slime popcorn with mallow 'eyeballs'
Hands up if your kid loves slime! We know all those hands are raised, so what could they possibly enjoy more than edible popcorn monster slime?!
This gross gooey recipe is sure to be a winner, and it's as fun to make as it is yummy to eat. The set from Not on the High Street (opens in new tab) includes popcorn kernels, coloring, marshmallows and eyeball decorations for a disgusting-looking bowl of popcorn they'll love.
Keep the Halloween activities hazard-free by sorting through for any unpopped kernels before serving.
13. Go all Hocus Pocus and make your own potions
If your little ones are Harry Potter fans, they'll love nothing more than conjuring up their own magical potions and watching them bubble up!
This potion making set from Etsy (opens in new tab) comes with everything you need - magical ingredient stickers to stick on bottles, and a potion recipe for the kids to follow. If the recipe works and they make a colorful potion, it means they've got magical powers! A really fun and exciting idea.
14. Keep them entertained for hours with a classic game
An oldie but a goodie, you just can't go wrong with the bean bag toss game. And now it's even better with a Halloween twist! Hang this design from Amazon (opens in new tab) up in your garden, and the kids will be entertained for hours, while you get to put your feet up and keep cosy. Sounds like a winner to us.
15. Bake some spooky mummy cookies
Get your bake on with these cute little gingerbread man mummies! Simple but effective, this is one of many great Halloween activities to introduce your kids to the joy of baking.
Many cookie baking kits from Etsy (opens in new tab) come with all you need for the perfect bake, first time, including a gingerbread mix, cutter, icing mix, piping bag and even edible eyes. We must admit, those eyes are getting us nicely spooked already.
If your child is not a picky eater or doesn't have any allergies, you can even sneak in a bit of cinnamon and swap the refined sugar for maple syrup for that signature sugar-and-spice-and-all-things-nice flavor.
And, while we do love a bit of raw cookie dough, be careful if this is on the itinerary for Halloween activities for preschoolers as raw eggs can present a salmonella risk.
Make the festivities last even longer by creating a hand-painted cookie jar to store your goodies. That's if they haven't magically disappeared before then!
16. Organize a Halloween party on your doorstep
Halloween celebrations with kids might be challenging this year if you're in an area currently affected by social distancing measures, but there is a way for your kids to still enjoy hanging out with their friends while abiding by local state rules.
Throw a doorstep Halloween party! This way, they can still show off their amazing costumes and pumpkins to each other. It's a great excuse to get your front porch or decking ideas together after the summer holidays.
17. Create a 'spooktacular' indoor display
Don't want a pumpkin indoors? We bet your kids will love transforming your home into a haunted house with these lights and decorations (opens in new tab) from Lights4fun. All the fun, without any mess. And just as you can layer fabrics, apply the same rhetoric to your living room lighting ideas. So get the work with lanterns, fairy lights, LED candles and real candlestick designs.
How can I entertain kids indoors for Halloween?
'If going trick or treating is too much hassle/it’s too wet out/you’re a bit too old for it these days, create a treat station at home,' say the team at Dunelm (opens in new tab).
'Gather together some jars and bottles of different shapes and sizes and fill them with sweet treats. In the run up to the 31st the shops are full of Halloween themed gummy candy and chocolate shapes, but you can also fill them with other favorites and label them with spooky-themed names!'
How to decorate for Halloween cheaply
'Throwing a zombie apocalypse party is the perfect way to celebrate the most gruesome side of Halloween. Think blood, guts and disgusting decorations to make your guests squirm!' says Laura Maclean, content and social coordinator at Party Delights (opens in new tab).
'Setting up a zombie photo booth is really easy, and not expensive to do. It’s completely up to you which decorations you choose. Use a bloody canvas backdrop, footprint decor, zombie warning signage and a plastic cleaver. Once set up, make sure you have plenty of bloody props on hand and get snapping!'
And Martin adds: 'Halloween is the perfect excuse to dress up, decorate the house, and get the kids involved in some light-hearted fun. The spooky season is all about dark and moody colors, and with a few gruesome touches, you really can’t go wrong. It’s Halloween at the end of the day- there’s nothing too unsightly!'
'We don’t often get to completely transform our homes, but going all-out to spook up your living-room will not only impress the kids, you might also get that perfect shot for the Gram. Although blood and gore might be the go-to for Halloween decorations, why not try some iridescent bat balloons or fun bug bunting? Beastly decor can be glam too!”
Additional words by Anna Cottrell