How to Throw a Kid-Friendly School Halloween Party:
Congratulations! You’re now a homeroom parent! For the first time! Which means you get to plan your kiddos’ school parties. Starting with the Halloween party (or Harvest Party, if that’s what your district prefers). Meaning you need to come up with a bunch of kid-friendly school Halloween party ideas ASAP.
I am right there with ya, Busy Mama. This is my first school year as Co-Homeroom Mama for Essie’s third-grade class. (Between work and our other volunteer commitments, my co-mama Cate and I both said we could do it if no one else volunteered. So here we are!)
Which means that a couple of weeks ago, Cate (who’s director of the preschool my girls attended) and I were both spending our work breaks hunting for school Halloween party ideas.
Fortunately, one of the advantages of blogging is that I have lots of other blogging mamas to reach out to in situations like this. So, I’m thrilled to share with you some of the fabulous school Halloween party ideas they’ve shared with Cate and me. We got tons of great ideas from their suggestions, and I hope you find some that will work for your next school party, too!
But first, one quick note:
You’ll notice I have NOT included lots of snack ideas. How come?
Because in our public school district at least, homemade goodies aren’t allowed. Anything we bring for kids’ parties has to be store-bought and individually packaged, so everyone can see potential allergens in the ingredients list and avoid cross-contamination.
But don’t worry, I’ve tucked in a few ideas for “homemade” goodies at the end. Just in case your district is more lenient than ours on this front.
So let’s dive in to our
Busy Mom’s Guide to School Halloween Party Ideas
There are Halloween crafts galore out there! From quick-n-easy to longer and more involved, from toddler/preschooler up through grade-school age, here are some of the cutest ones I’ve seen:
a) Easier crafts for younger kids
- I think this mummy string activity from Angela at The Inspiration Edit is adorable. Wrapping the string is good fine-motor skills practice for little hands. And if you did it several years in a row at home, you’d have a whole family of mummies that show how your child(‘s foot) has grown over time!
- I also love how simple but cute this paper-plate spider web from Emily at Hunny I’m Home DIY is. And not only is it a decoration, but the kids can use it for imaginative play when they’re done making it!
- Mary Leigh’s shape monsters at Live Well Play Together are just plain fun for preschoolers and early-elementary kids alike. BUT I love how much learning potential there is in this activity, practicing color and shape recognition as well as counting. Older kids can also practice their fine-motor skills and cut shapes themselves. (And like many of these party ideas, it’s easy to adapt this to other holidays. Kimmie’s first-grade class decorated their Valentine’s candy bags with “love monsters” along these lines.)
- With a little adult advance prep (painting the clothespins), these coffee-filter bats from Darcy at Darcy and Brian are quick, easy, and fun. (And older kids love them, too!)
b) Craft ideas for the elementary-school set
- This Halloween bat variation on cutting paper snowflakes from Wendy at Daisies & Pie is a fun idea that works for both younger and older kids. (Shh: it’s great fine-motor-skill practice!)
- Another creative activity that involves cutting practice is these mix-and-match DIY paper jack-o-lanterns from Kristina at Planes and Balloons.
- Handprint zombies, an idea from Sam at Simple Everyday Mom, is a fun craft that older kids can do themselves and will love making unique. (Younger kids can also make these, with a little more adult help.) The same is also true of Sam’s cross between a mummy and a jack-o-lantern.
- These mummy toilet-paper-tube candy holders from Lisa at Drugstore Divas are also fun just as a decoration. (And the fact that they’re upcycled is bonus!)
- While younger kiddos could just enjoy coloring this, I think using this Happy Pumpkin Printable as a line study, the way Valerie at Mama Likes This suggests, looks REALLY cool. (Her printable Haunted House craft also looks pretty cool, and is another great fine-motor-skills practice activity. Younger kiddos could also practice their cutting, or get some help from grownups.)
a) Printable Activities/Games
- Britni at Play. Party. Plan. has a cute jack-o-lantern dice game; whoever “rolls a jack-o-lantern” first wins!
- Older kids will have a blast with this Halloween edition of Would You Rather from Stephanie at Spaceships and Laser Beams.
- And when you can do it right*, kids love a good game of bingo, using seasonal candies (candy-corn kernels) as their markers.
*From the annals of something-I-learned-the-hard-way:
The most important thing when you’re doing bingo at a kids’ party is to make sure you have DIFFERENT bingo cards for each kid. The poor class mama at Kimmie’s first-grade Harvest Party accidentally made 25 copies of the same page. The kids were all wondering why none of them was getting “bingo!” And meanwhile, the parent helpers were starting to laugh quietly amongst ourselves, once we realized what was happening. Needless to say, eventually the whole class got “BINGO!” all at once.
As I’ve learned from helping with LOTS of kids’ school parties, it’s also a good idea to have totally different pictures for each square. As in, only ONE monster picture, instead of six or twelve different-colored monsters. (Especially since not all schools or homeroom parents have budget for or access to a color printer!) This way, you can just say “Jack-o-lantern!” or “Turkey!” rather than “Blue monster – no, the one with only one eye. Make that the SMALL blue monster with only one eye.”
Along the same lines, pictures that work in color OR black-and-white is also a plus.
So since my co-mama and I couldn’t find any previous sets of bingo cards – and given our school’s insistence on its being a fall/”harvest” party versus a Halloween party – I put together a new 25-card bingo set.
Which you can get for FREE, by clicking ✅right here.
b) Printable Worksheets
There are tons of super printable coloring pages, word searches, scrambles, and crossword puzzles out there too! Great for when you need a quiet activity, something for kids to take home with them, or something to keep kids busy for a few minutes while you set up the next activity:
- There are SO many adorable Halloween tic-tac-toe printables out there! I thought the ones by Carrie at Ideas for the Home by Kenarry and Teresa at Moms Who Save were especially cute.
- And Jaclyn of Crayons and Cravings has free downloads-to-print of a Halloween crossword puzzle, word search, and word scramble.
- Of all the coloring sheets out there, I especially liked the educational value of this sight-word recognition coloring sheet from April Go Lightly.
c) Actual Games to Play (Non-Printables)
Games that involve tossing or rolling things are always a good, easy bet – especially for younger kids. For example:
- This is more an activity than a game, and requires adult prep – BUT: This magnetic jack-o-lantern activity from Mary at The Flying Couponer makes a perfect station for a preschool Halloween party.
- I LOVE these creative (yet simple!) ideas from Shannon at Joy in the Works for simple games using plastic eyeballs.
- Cassie at Get Your Holiday On has TONS of great ideas for easy 5-minute party games. One of my fave things about her ideas? They’re easily adaptable to pretty much any school party, no matter the season. The spoon game is a staple of our year-end outdoor field days, and kids LOVE the Saran ball game at the December party. (Though it definitely takes longer than five minutes!)
- If you’re planning a preschoolers’ party, you can keep the games really simple, as Stephanie at Sonshine Kitchen reminded me. She’s right – kids love trying to toss things into a basket or bucket. For older kids, just add more targets (buckets). For a variation on the theme, get witches’ hats or something else that “sticks up” and have the kids toss glow-rings onto the points.
- And if you have use of the hallway outside the classrooms, tape or Magic Marker some simple ghost faces onto a half-dozen rolls of toilet paper, get some mini-pumpkins, and have your own “boo bowling” alley (stack the rolls into a pyramid for best results).
3. (A Few) Snack Ideas
As I noted above, our district plays it extra-safe on food allergies, and doesn’t allow anything homemade or home-prepared for school parties. Even our apple slices have to come in individually pre-wrapped packages of pre-cut slices.
But I wanted to share a few cute ideas with you anyway. Some of them I rediscovered when going through old pictures from the girls’ preschool Halloween parties. Others are inspiration from other mama-bloggers I know.
So here goes:
- Back when the girls were in preschool, one mama really knocked it out of the park with her treats for Essie’s pre-K party. These spider cookies and witch hat cookies each only require a few ingredients (and no baking!) to transform ordinary into super-adorable.
- My friend Angie over at The Peachee Pear loves healthy snacks – and I love her cute idea for banana ghosts in the (pudding) graveyard! And best of all, it’s way healthier than you might imagine.
- For Essie’s Halloween party this fall, we’re combining snack with craft. Namely, store-bakery-made sugar cookies (which pass school muster), several tubs of store-bought frosting, candy eyes, and assorted cookie-decorating toppings (sprinkles, colored sugar, etc.). This DIY cookie-decorating bar is always a hit with the kids, and each one loves creating their own unique snack.
Have you been a homeroom parent before? And/or helped plan a class party at your kids’ school? What games, activities, crafts, and/or snacks were the biggest hits with your crowd? Let us know in the comments!
And don’t forget to ✅grab your FREE pack of printable bingo cards! Perfect for your kids’ next Halloween, fall, harvest, or even Thanksgiving party, no matter their age!
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