Halloween, you either love it, hate it, or somewhere in between. Although, I can understand and respect why some families have chosen not to celebrate Halloween at all in their homes, we have chosen not to go that route. My husband happens to love Halloween, he calls it “his holiday.” During this month, I’ve also found a few activities that help me teach a few important concepts, such as, how to face fears, handle emotions and be polite. Of course, all of these activities are simple, inexpensive and take less than 10 minutes, according to my basic plan for teaching kids.
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6 Simple Activities:
Paint a pumpkin.
This year, we just got a little pumpkin while we were at the grocery store, brought it home and using the paints we already had on hand, spent about 10-15 minutes decorating it. This gave us a chance to talk about colors and letters (we wrote the word, Boo) and my son seemed to really enjoy it. This activity is great for anyone 2 and older, it is a little messy, as it involves paints, but if you stay nearby and give it a time limit, it isn’t too bad.
Practice trick or treating.
Sometime, before they go trick or treating, we have a practice session, this gives us a chance to learn about good manners. The kids all come to the door in their costumes and I’ll open the door so they can practice trick or treating. The main habit we stress is not necessarily the “Trick or treat,” but the “Thank you.” This is great for all ages, but they probably start to get the concept around 2 1/2.
Make a monster or a pumpkin maze.
These are two really easy art activities. For the monster, give them a bunch of googly eyes and a marker and let them decorate a plain piece of paper or a monster coloring sheet from a coloring book like this one.
For the pumpkin maze, you will need one green and one orange construction paper and a crayon. The child will cut or tear the orange paper and glue their little pieces on the green paper to make a pumpkin patch and then connect the pumpkins with lines drawn with their crayon or marker. Not a Picasso, but fun and simple and it gives them a chance to practice scissor and gluing skills. Both of these activities would probably work for kids 18 months or older, though you will have to be the judge of what is safest and best for your child.
Make some Halloween food:
Our favorites are:
Hot dogs, wrapped in dough to look like mummies.
A skeleton made out of whatever vegetable crudites we have at the time, celery and bell peppers seem to work especially well.
and good old-fashioned cupcakes:
Cooking with kids can usually start around 18 months or older and you can spread it throughout the month with whatever kid or kids you want to or you can do it all at once on Halloween day.
Make their own monster:
Using playdough, google eyes and pipe cleaners, challenge your kids to make their own monsters. Bonus points for figuring out a name and back story details for their monster. Even the big kids will enjoy this, even if they don’t say so out right. Here’s a cute monster playdough kit you could put together from Sarah at Becoming Martha. This is a great activity for anyone who won’t eat playdough.
Watch a classic Halloween movie
What was your favorite Halloween movie? We watch Charlie Brown’s Halloween special most years, which is fun, do you have any ideas on other non-scary Halloween shows we could watch?
Spread throughout the month, we also like to read books and sing or dance to music when we need a little brain break. Here are some of our favorites:
Favorite Halloween Books:
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler: Written in a sing-song poem, this is a cute story, with lots of opportunities for kids to predict what will happen next and repetitions, both are great for encouraging reading.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd: This is one of my favorite stories ever because my mom and my sister both love it and recommended it and it always makes me think of them. This is also one of my favorite books for talking to kids about how to be brave and handle fears, we use the concepts in it all the time during Halloween because “we aren’ afraid of anything” either.
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman: A witch is all ready to make pumpkin pie, but can’t get her pumpkin off the vine. Along come a ghost, a vampire, a mummy and a bat all who try to help her get it off the vine, see which one is the most helpful and how these unlikely characters become friends. Also, this is really fun for practicing your silly Halloween voices.
There’s a Nightmare in my Closet by Mercer Mayer: This is one of the books I remember reading as a child, although the details were a little fuzzy, until I read it again with my kids, I do remember feeling, as a child, that maybe, the nightmare in my closet wasn’t as scary as I thought.
A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown : A very first “scary” story. This is also great for learning that sometimes what we are afraid of isn’t so scary after all.
All of these books are engaging and short (Room on the Broom is the longest) and can be read with your child as soon as he or she is willing to sit with you.
“Three Little Witches”-this is a simple counting song, done with actions it can be a fun wiggle song for this month.
“Monsters Stomp Around the House”-set to the tune of “The Ants go Marching” we get up and march around for this one, which is always fun with preschoolers.
“Happy Monsters”-I can’t find a video for this one, but it is set to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know it.” It is one of my favorites because it goes through the different emotions and gives me a chance to talk about how we can handle emotions like anger or sadness. You can find this and many other monster songs at Preschooleducation.com
and our Halloween playlist includes:
“Monster Boogie” by Laurie Berkner you can find it on this CD with lots of other really cute songs:
and “Ghost Busters”, “Purple People Eater”, “Thriller”,”The Adams Family” and “Monster Mash,”
all of which, you can find on this CD:
We put these on sometimes and just dance around the house because it’s fun.
You can also, add all of these to your Amazon Music Library if you have Amazon Prime, if not click below to try it free for 30 days.
With all these plans in place, Halloween doesn’t seem scary or burdensome at our house, like it did at the first, it’s just fun.
What are your favorite Halloween activities, songs or books?
Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment below or on Facebook.