Halloween Party Ideas
A Halloween party is a great way to celebrate the Halloween season! Children are excited at the idea of dressing up in costumes, playing games and trick-or-treating.
For our Halloween parties at Knock Knock English, we like to have carnival-style parties with a variety of activities. This allows us to accommodate large or small groups. For small groups, everyone can progress through the different carnival games together. For larger groups, children can visit the different carnival games at their own pace. Our parties tend to be large with students from all the classes joining together for the event.
Each student receives a stamp card which they can wear around their neck listing each of the activity stations. When a student has completed one of the activity stations, s/he gets a stamp next to that activity. When a student has completed all of the activities, s/he can return to their favorite activities for another try, time permitting. This style allows students to try a variety of activities and communicate with the teachers at each of the activity stations.
Here is an outline for a 90 minute party and lots of activity station ideas. Depending on the size of your party, you'll need to adjust the time estimates...the following is for a group of about 50 kids.
A Sample Party Plan
Mingling - 5-10 minutes
One of the highlights of Halloween is, of course, the costumes! Make sure to leave time at the beginning of the party for children, teachers, and parents to mingle and greet each other. The mingling time also allows any late-comers to arrive in time for the main activities. This is a great time for taking pictures as well! Before the party, set up a nice area with many Halloween decorations for taking pictures, and as students arrive with their families, take some nice family photos!
Group Picture - 5 minutes
If you are planning to take a group picture at your Halloween party, make sure to do it at the beginning of the party! Many children will get hot or tired of wearing their costumes, and many costumes may fall apart a little by the end of the party. So to ensure that you get a nice group picture with everyone wearing their costumes, take your group picture at the start of the party. To help organize all of the children for your picture, play "Say Cheese! (Let's Take A Picture)" from Super Simple Songs Three.
Greeting and Hello Song - 5 minutes
Gather everybody together. ("Please Sit Down And Storytime Music" from Super Simple Songs One is a great song to get the children seated quietly). Welcome everyone to the party with a big "Happy Halloween!" and introduce all the teachers. Tell all the children how great their costumes are and that you are going to have a great time today! Next, make a circle and sing your favorite hello song. "Hello, My Friends" from Super Simple Songs - Halloween is a nice choice for Halloween parties.
Halloween Songs - 10 minutes
You've been singing the songs in class all month, now it's time to sing some of your favorite Halloween songs! There are several ways to do this:
The teachers can lead the students (and maybe even do a little performance).
The students can do performances of the songs. For example, in the weeks leading up to the party, you can select some of the classes to practice and perform, "Go Away!" some of the classes to practice and perform "Five Little Pumpkins," and some of the classes to practice and perform, "Knock Knock, Trick or Treat." The students will really enjoy preparing for their big performance at the Halloween party! On Super Simple Songs - Halloween, you'll find songs appropriate for all levels of students.
You may also want to space the songs out throughout the party to signal transitions between activities.
Costume Parade - 5 minutes
Play some fun Halloween music and have the students line up and march across the front of the room. If you have a smaller party, stop each student and ask, "Who are you?" and encourage them to answer, "I'm a witch/princess/pirate/superhero/etc." If it's a very large party, you may not have time to interview each student but comment on each costume as they march by.
Activity Stations - 30-40 minutes
This will take quite a bit of preparation before the party, but it's well worth it! To minimize waiting and lines, you should try to have one station for every 10 students attending your party. For activity station ideas, check the list of ideas below.
Number all of the stations with a large number sign that children can easily see. Make sure all of the stations are supervised by an adult.
To start, divide the children into different groups. The easiest way to do this is to write a number on their name tags/stamp card. The number on their stamp card is the number of the activity station at which they will start.
When everyone is ready, let the students go to their first station. After children have finished their first station they can stamp their stamp cards (or the supervising adult at that station can give a stamp), and then they can choose another activity station. Any station is okay. If a long line begins to form at one station, children will naturally choose a different station with a shorter line, so the lines manage themselves.
You may also choose to give each student a treat upon the completion of each station.
Trick or Treat - 10-15 minutes
Many countries don't actually celebrate Halloween so going around door to door in the neighborhood might not be an option. Send some teachers/staff/parents to doors around the room with bags of candy or other treats, and have all the students move about the room trick-or-treating. (You can provide the students with trick-or-treat bags, have them bring their own trick-or-treat bags/buckets, or use bags that you created in class that month).
Be careful of doors that may be dangerous for young children. You may need additional adults helping out the candy-giver and opening the door for very young children.
If you don't have enough doors, make some! You can make simple doors with big pieces of cardboard and some markers.
The children should knock on the door, and, when opened, say, "Trick or Treat?" The teacher can comment on their costume and ask, "Who are you?", encouraging the child to answer, "I'm a cowboy/monster/ballerina/etc." For treats, the teacher can give out pieces of candy, or other treats like erasers, stickers, pencils, etc.
Thank yous and Goodbye Song - 5 minutes
Gather all of the students together and thank everyone for coming. Make a circle and sing one big version of your favorite goodbye song. "Goodbye, My Friends" is a nice close to the party.
Funny Photo Booth
Apple computers have built in cameras and software (called "Photo Booth") that are great for taking fun, silly pictures of your students at Halloween. If you don't have a Mac, ask around and see if any of your staff have one and would be interested in setting up a "Phunny Photo Booth" for the party. It works great as a carnival station or as something that can be done any time during the party.
Plug your Mac into a TV or second monitor. Create an area where students will take their pictures. You can separate this area from the rest of the students with a curtain or partition. Then, make a second area where other students will wait their turn while watching the student who is taking a picture on the TV/monitor. Children love watching their schoolmates take funny pictures.
Give the students a choice of different kinds of pictures (funny, scary, silly, alien, etc.) and when it is their turn, the student can ask, "I want a funny/scary/silly/etc. picture please.
This activity takes a good amount of preparation, but it will be a big hit at your party and you can make some great souvenirs for the students as well!
Create a "plank" by placing a long piece of wood on top of some phone books or some other flat, sturdy objects. If possible, place the plank on top of a blue tarp or sheet to simulate the ocean, and put some paper fish or stuffed animals in the "water". The teacher (preferably dressed as a pirate) stands as one end of the plank and quizzes the student on a few Halloween themed flashcards, or other language that has been practiced in class recently.
If the student can answer the questions, s/he gets a chance to "walk the plank". If s/he makes it safely to the other side of the plank, s/he can take a piece of the pirate's treasure (fill a box with some candy, pennies, or some other treats...chocolate coins make great treasures.)
You can easily adjust the difficulty level for different age groups. For children under 4, just balancing on the plank should be enough of a challenge. For older kids, you can make the task harder by having the child close his/her eyes, wear a blindfold, walk backwards, spin in a circle 10 times before stepping on the plank, or stop in the middle and stand on one foot while counting to ten!
Plinko is a fun, pachinko-like game made popular by an American game show. Making a Plinko board takes some time and effort, but once you have it, you'll be able to use it at all of your parties...just decorate it differently to suit the season!
The Penny Drop is simple to set up and allows each student a chance to talk one on one with the teacher. You'll need a lot of pennies (or other small coins), and 6 glass containers (3 large ones, and 3 small ones). Attach some halloween-themed pictures to the small glasses and put them in the larger ones. Fill the large glasses with water.
The object is for students to drop a penny into the smaller glasses. It's harder than it looks! First ask the student to name all of the pictures on the glasses. Then, quiz the student with some simple questions or flashcards. For each correct answer, the student gets a penny to drop in the glass. Award stickers, stamps, or treats when students are able to drop pennies into the smaller glasses. Enjoy!
Using a large piece of posterboard or cardboard, draw a large jack-o-lantern and color or paint it orange and black. Cut a hole where the mouth is. You are all ready for a simple beanbag tossing game!
Set up the jack-o-lantern against a chair and place pieces of tape 1 meter, 2 meters, and 3 meters away from the jack-o-lantern. If you have the time, you can make some "bat" beanbags with black cloth and beans! Or, use some simple beanbags or soft balls.
The youngest students can stand at the one-meter line and try to throw the beanbag through the jack-o-lantern's mouth. Older students can stand at the two-meter line or three-meter line.
Before each student gets a chance to throw the beanbags, quiz the student on some flash cards or other simple questions. For each question the student gets right, they get a beanbag. So if a student gets 3 questions right, she'll get 3 beanbags to throw. If she gets one question right, she'll get 1 beanbag to throw.
You can award students who get three beanbags through the jack-o-lantern's mouth by giving them a piece of candy or an extra sticker or stamp for their nametags.
Prior to the party, collect ten 1.5 or 2 liter plastic bottles (fewer is okay). You are going to turn these bottles into ghosts by draping white plastic bags over the bottles and drawing on a face OR painting the bottles white and drawing on a face. For the bowling ball, you can use a mini-basketball and draw a jack-o-lantern face on it, or buy some mini-pumpkins.
Fill the bottles up with a little bit of water or sand so that they tip over easily, but not too easily! You'll want to test this game out before the party to make sure the bottles aren't too easy or too hard to knock over.
At the party, line the bottles up like pins at a bowling alley and let the students take turns trying to knock the ghosts over with the ball or pumpkin. Each time students knock over ghosts, count them together! For more English practice, draw different faces on all the pumpkins and ask the students to name the emotions as you are setting up the pins. "This is a happy ghost. How about this one? How does he feel?"
The fishing game is a fun activity for any class or party. It's just a little bit challenging so it keeps the interest of all levels of students, and it allows you to review any kind of language with them you like. The object of the game is to catch fish with a magnetic fishing rod.
Make some paper fish and other sea animals (laminate them if possible) and attach a paper clip to where the mouth is. Try to use a lot of different colors when making the fish so that you can talk about colors wth the students as they are fishing. If you'd like to practice reading, write the name of each of the sea animals on the back, or attach vocabulary cards with tape or paper clips. Make a simple pond for the fish by surrounding them with rope or even making a small pond with cardboard and blue paper or a blue tarp.
Next, make some fishing poles. You can use any long object, but be careful about sharp points. Mini-curtain rods, unsharpened pencils, mini-rolling pins, or even chopsticks make good fishing poles. Attach a long piece of string to the pole, and then attach a magnet to the other end of the string. Now you are ready to fish!
For our game, we attached funny pictures of all of the teachers to the fish. We asked the students to catch three different fish and name the fish, their color, and the teacher attached to the fish. When a student was able to catch three fish, we awarded them a sticker and a small treat.
Spider Web Toss
Kids really love this game because it's fun AND it helps add a spooky atmosphere to your party.
Using some white yarn, make the base of your spider web. Hang the web base in a corner and then cover it with fake spider web material, which you can usually find in most shops that sell Halloween goods. Make some beanbag bugs and attach pipe cleaners to act as the arms.
Give each child a chance to win bugs by asking them simple questions. For each correct answer (try to ask some pretty simple questions), the student gets a bug. The child then gets to throw the bugs at the spider web and try to get them to stick. Award the children stamps, stickers, or small treats when they are able to get the bugs to stick to the spider web.
Balloon Basket Game
The Balloon Basket game is really simple to make and play. Decorate an umbrella with some streamers and Halloween-themed pictures. Hang the umbrella from the ceiling with some rope. Spin the umbrella around and around so that the rope gets twisted up. When you let go, the umbrella will spin on its own.
Using 2 long objects like drumsticks or flyswatters, children try to pick up balloons and put them into the spinning umbrella. For children under 5, this activity is just the right level...not too easy, not too hard. For children over 5, you can make it a little more challenging by giving them a time limit, creating some obstacles, or having two children play at the same time, racing to be the first to get 3 balloons in the umbrella.
It's a good idea to have a simple craft as one of your activity stations. This station can be supervised by a parent so that teachers can focus on other activities. Since the students won't have much time, you'll want to select a super simple craft. Here are a few simple ideas:
a) Ghost Lollipops
Students wrap tissue paper over the head of a lollipop and keep it there with a rubber band or string. Draw a face on the ghost and you are ready to go. If you'd prefer not to use candy, you can have students ball up some tissue paper, and wrap tissue paper over that instead.
b) Jack-o'-lantern trick-or-treat bags
Trick or treating may be a part of your party. Let the children make a trick-or-treat bag! Put out some small paper bags, crayons, markers, cut-up pieces of construction paper, and paste for the students to decorate the bag with. For example, you can cut out some orange circles and black shapes (triangles, circles, crescents, etc.) for students to make Jack-o'-lanterns with. They can paste the finished Jack-o'-lanterns on their trick-or-treat bags. It is recommended that you do all cutting prior to the party.
c) Monster faces
Very easy! Cut some circles out of various colors of construction paper. Next, cut out a variety of shapes from various colors of paper. Students can make "monster faces" by pasting the shapes on the circle. Make sure to ask the students to tell you about the monsters when they are finished. ("These are the eyes. These are the noses. He has 3 noses!!!")
Witch Hat Ring Toss
Prepare 6 witch hats before the party. You can purchase them at a discount shop, or make them using black construction paper. Decorate each hat with a different color (use ribbon, pipe cleaners, construction paper, etc. to decorate the hats.) Place each hat over a full two liter bottle of water or your favorite drink so that they stay standing.
Make some rings out of large pipe cleaners, or you can use other ring-shaped objects you might have (tambourines, frisbees with no centers, visors, etc.).
At the party, students take turns trying to toss the rings around the witch hats. You can give each hat a different point value and let students compete to see who can get the most points, or award some prize, such as extra stickers, to any students who get a certain amount of points. Each time a student gets a ring around a hat, ask them to name the color!
Count the Candy
After we sort and count all our candy for trick or treating (making sure we have enough for every student), we always have some leftover. Put your leftover candy in a large jar and make it one of your activity stations! Put a big sign on the jar or next to it that says "How many?" Leave some scraps of paper and pencils for students to write their guesses on, and an empty bowl for them to place their guesses in. Remember to have a space for students to write their names on the paper. You can ask a parent to help supervise this activity.
After the party is over, you can go through the slips of paper and see who came the closest. You can make an announcement at school the following week and present the candy to the winning student (encourage them to share!)