It’s that time of year when children’s minds turn to thoughts of costumes and candy!  Throw a Halloween party that’s more treat than trick with our family-friendly Halloween party tips.

What to Wear to a Halloween Party

Make sure you invite guests to wear costumes!  Nothing adds to the magic of a Halloween party like costumed party goers.  If young children will be attending, you may want to request that costumes not be too scary; you don’t want preschoolers crying at the sight of a teenager in a Freddy Krueger mask.

Halloween Party Decorations

Kids love Halloween decorations!  You really can’t overdo it.  Copious twists of black and orange crepe paper streamers make a great start. For a not so scary Halloween party, use lots of pumpkins and paper plates with smiling jack o’lanterns.  For slightly older kids who don’t mind a little spookiness, drape fake spider webs from corners and use poster putty to stick fake spiders to the wall. (The more the better!  Clump them or place them one behind the other in a curvy trail.) Hang rubber bats or paper ghosts from the ceiling.  Have fun with it!

Halloween-Themed Food and Drink

There are plenty of festive Halloween snacks you can serve that aren’t candy!  Make deviled eggs creepy by topping them with spiders made from olives—half a black olive for the body, plus halved olive slices for the legs (recipe).

halloween party snacks

Thanks to LaJolla Mom for the photo. See post here.

Add more spiders to your buffet with cracker spider sandwiches!  Spread peanut butter (or sunbutter, for guests allergic to nuts) on a Ritz cracker, place four pretzel sticks on each side for legs, then top with another Ritz cracker.  Use more peanut butter to attach raisins for eyes.


For an adorable fruit platter, peel clementines and place a celery stick inside each so it pokes out the top to make little pumpkins!  Banana halves with chocolate chips for eyes and mouths make healthful ghosts (recipe here).

monster dougnuts

Thanks to Thrifty Fun blog for the photo. See post here.

Impress your guests with super easy monster doughnuts!  Place plastic vampire teeth in the doughnut hole and candy eyes above.  The vampire teeth make a fun party favor as well!

Make any punch spooky by getting creative with the ice.  Freeze water in a latex glove, then remove the glove to create a frozen hand.  Freeze plastic spiders in ice cubes and toss them in as well (recipe here).

Fun Halloween Party Games and Activities

Guests young and old will enjoy the classic touch and feel mystery box game!  You likely remember this one from your childhood.  Place innocuous items in bowls, then cover each with a box with a hole cut out through which party-goers stick their hands, and tell them they’re touching something creepy. 

halloween games

Thanks to the MumsyBlog for the photo. See post here.

Try peeled grapes for eyes, fresh green beans for witch’s fingers, a soft flour tortilla for skin, a boiled tomato with the peel removed for a heart, cooked and cooled spaghetti for worms, and twisted chenille stems for spiders.  (This may be too scary for the very young.  Use your judgment.)

Don’t forget another classic autumn party game: bobbing for apples!  Make sure to use apples with stems so your guests have a fighting chance, because this game is hard.  An easier version that children in particular may appreciate is bobbing for doughnuts, where you tie doughnuts to a tree branch so they hang below, and guests try to eat them with their hands behind their backs!

Elementary school aged children will enjoy a mummy relay race. Teams split in half on either end of the racing path, and teammates at the starting end wrap one player’s limbs and torso in toilet paper so she looks like a mummy.  Once the “mummy” is thoroughly wrapped, she runs to the finish line, where the teammates on that side unwrap her and start to wrap the next mummy.  This game makes a great photo op! (game instructions)

Even younger guests will enjoy a broom and pumpkin relay race!  Each team gets one broom and one pumpkin, and the players use the broom to “sweep” the pumpkin to the finish line, where another teammate takes over and “sweeps” it back.

Pumpkin decorating is another fun, cheap, indoor/outdoor activity for all ages!  Provide small pumpkins for each guest (the tiny ones work fine) and an assortment of art supplies with which to decorate them.  You may want to include paint, wiggly eyes, glue, colored feathers, chenille sticks, glitter, Sharpies, and stickers.  You could even have a contest with categories for “scariest,” “cutest,” “most colorful,” etc. Young guests will love taking these home as party favors.

Whether you’re throwing a Halloween party for preschoolers or middle schoolers, there should be some party ideas on this list that your guests will enjoy.  Have fun making a Halloween-themed buffet (and hearing your guests ooh and aah over the cute snacks!) and take plenty of pictures of the party games.  This will be a Halloween party to remember!