Halloween Party Theme and Activities

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Halloween can be one a fun holiday to celebrate with young children. Careful planning is the key to a successful party. Here are some basic tips.

Set the Stage

Your best source of decorations is artwork and projects that the children have made. There are also many places online to find clipart, patterns, and decorations for your inspiration. Here are some places to get started:


A selection of background music can also help set the mood. There are many Halloween CDs available or you can find music online:



  • Skeleton, Skeleton, Where's Your Bone? - This is a simple variation of the old favorite, "Doggy, Doggy Where's Your Bone."
  • Pin the Nose on the Jack-o-Lantern
  • Ghost, Ghost, Boo! - This is a fun variation of "Duck, Duck, Goose."
  • Pass the Pumpkin - Play Hot Potato but with a small pie pumpkin.
  • Candy Corn Relay Race - Designate a starting line and a finish line. Set up a bowl of candy corn at the starting line and an empty bowl at the finish line. Each child must use a spoon to pick a piece of candy corn and walk to the finish line, then drop the candy in the empty bowl. Continue until each child has had a turn.

Trick-or-Treating in a Child Care Program

The idea of trick-or-treating at child care has gained popularity as more communites have discontinued trick-or-treating at night and many parents have safety concerns about younger children trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In larger child care centers each classroom can serve as a post where aides, parents or volunteers give out treats while the teachers take children from room to room. If there is one classroom housed in another facility such as a community center or church you maybe able to recruit secretaries or others to set up treat posts within the building.

If you are going to ask parents to bring in treats you may wish to provide them with a list of more nutritional/fun alternatives to candy. Popular items include; stickers, finger puppets, raisin boxes or noisemakers. Be sure to limit smaller objects for children under age three.

If you are going to have a masquerade party, it is best to ask parents to bring in the costumes to be changed into later. This helps to avoid costumes becoming soiled, losing accessories or children being uncomfortable in a cumbersome costume for the remainder of the day. It is also wise to discourage masks. Not only for safety reasons, but also many younger children may be frightened. You may even wish to show younger children mask photos and make masks to remove some of the mystery and fear associated with the masks.

Pumpkin Fun

Jack-O-Lantern carving, is a fun and traditional party activity. The children can help plan the face maybe by drawing and designing prototypes, while the teacher can do the actual carving. Everyone can participate in the fun of removing the ooey gooey pulp, a great sensory activity. For safety purposes, you may wish to light up your new friend with a flashlight instead of a candle. For other pumpkin ideas, visit our Great Pumpkin Theme and Activities page.

Craft Projects

Songs and Rhymes

Five Little Pumpkins
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate (hold up fingers for pumpkins)
The first once said "Oh my! It's getting late"(slap face ala Home Alone)
The second one said, "There are witches in the air"(point)
The third once said " But we don't care"(shrug shoulders)
The fourth once said "Let's have some fun" (throw hand in the air)
Then " Ooooooh" went the wind (say softly)
And OUT when the lights (clap hands to the word "out" and say loudly)

Eight days of Halloween
On the first day of Halloween my true love gave to me:
An Owl in a dead tree
2 trick or treaters
3 ghosts a booing
4 shaky skeletons
5 scary spooks!
6 bats a flying
7 ghouls a groaning
8 witches cackling