Brooms and jack o'lanterns at the ready... spooky season is here at last! And whether you're hosting a chilling monster bash with friends or looking for trick-or-treat alternatives, we've got you covered with these frightfully fun Halloween party ideas. Scroll down for devilish decorating tips, gruesome games, and scarily good snacks.
The best thing about Halloween is you don't need to reinvent the wheel – kids LOVE party game classics like apple bobbing, and a simple scary movie night (complete with popcorn) goes down a treat too – you'll need our cinema role play printables for that one. Happy Halloween!
1 Decorate your windows
Make sure your party venue looks the part with some Halloween window-decorating designs. You'll find loads of amazing ideas on Pinterest, or print and decorate these free Halloween colouring pages to send a spooky message to passers-by.
2 Cook up some spooky snacks
What better time to indulge in some jaw-droppingly tasty sweets? Head to the kitchen with your child and make these Halloween-themed bites – like these alien biscuits. Or how about turning mealtime into an event and feasting on a delicious spider web pizza?
3 Host a Halloween costume competition
Challenge everyone in the house to a Halloween fancy dress contest with one rule – they have to make their own outfit! We love a simple costume idea that uses stuff you’re likely to have at home (who wouldn’t want to wear this jellyfish costume?).
4 Have a pumpkin–carving contest
Treat everyone in the family to their very own pumpkin and see who can come up with the best design. A safe way to get little kids involved is to do the cutting for them, and let them scoop out the insides with a spoon. This how to carve a pumpkin beginners’ guide from Gathered is a great place to start.
5 Watch a spooky movie
Snuggle up together for a spooky movie night. Make some tasty Halloween treats and wear your Halloween costumes or some cool Halloween PJs. This list of the best family films to watch at Halloween from Made for Mums has ideas for all ages.
6 Tell ghost stories
Halloween is the perfect time for a little bit of scary storytelling. Pop to the shops or raid your bookshelves for suitable stories (supermarkets often stock them in October) – we love Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s Funny Bones from memories of our own childhood. Turn off the lights and don’t forget to hold a torch under your chin for extra spookiness.
7 'Boo' your neighbours
If you’ve never heard of ‘booing’ your neighbour, you’re in for a treat – not a trick! Simply leave a Halloween treat on a neighbour’s doorstep with instructions that they’re to hang a spooky picture on their front door to let everyone know they’ve been booed. They can choose a neighbour to boo as well.
8 Throw a Halloween scavenger hunt
Hide treats around your house or garden and challenge children to see how many they can find within a certain period of time. If you don’t want to hide sweets, cute satsuma pumpkins make a fun alternative – add faces with a black icing pen.
9 Create your own haunted house
Fill a bucket – or, even better, a toy cauldron – with shaving foam and pop some Halloween-themed items inside, like toy snakes or spiders or even eyeball bouncy balls. Dare the children to plunge their hands into the bucket of doom to see what they can find lurking beneath the scary goo.
10 Trick or treat each other
If your child can’t bear missing out on the excitement of trick or treating, try this game. One person is the trick or treater, while everyone else hides behind a door in the house. The trick or treater has to knock on each door in turn until they find everyone. When each person is found, they jump out and hand out a little prize.
11 Play some Halloween games
Do you remember these classic games from your childhood? Revive them for your own lockdown Halloween party!
Give each person their own apple in their own bowl of water and challenge them to take a bite without touching it. Make it a race and give the winner a prize.
The chocolate game
Ask everyone to put on as many of their own jumpers, gloves, scarves and hats as they possibly can. Sit everyone in front of a big bar of chocolate (the kind with all the squares), and hand each person their own knife and fork. They can eat whatever they manage to chop off.
The After Eight game
Give each person an After Eight mint. Take it in turns to put your After Eight on your forehead. Using only the muscles in your face, the challenge is to wriggle it down to your mouth and eat it without it falling off.
Divide your family into two teams with one person in each team volunteering to be the mummy. The others have to wrap them in loo roll from head-to-toe. The fastest wrappers win.
Give each person their own doughnut tied onto a string. Take it in turns to dangle a doughnut for each other. The challenge is to eat it with no hands.
Words by Heidi Scrimgeour / Images via Getty