If you ask children what their favorite holiday is, the most likely response from most children will be Christmas, with Halloween coming in a close second. Some children will choose Halloween as their first favorite. But this holiday, with all its goblins and ghouls, likely makes the top two favorite holidays on most children’s’ lists.
For younger children how about a game of pumpkin bowling? Find some of those inexpensive plastic pumpkin treat buckets and stack them up on a hard floor. You can stack them as high as you like, but you have to start with at least three buckets. If you get many buckets, you can make a pyramid out of them. Find some lightweight plastic balls – plastic bowling balls are excellent for this. And let the kids go bowling! The kids love knocking over the pumpkin heads and all the kids who play should get a prize for this game.
Kids of all ages enjoy making mummies out of themselves and their friends. Here’s how this works. You bring in toilet paper, lots and lots of toilet paper. Divide the kids into teams of 2. When you begin timing the kids, they must wrap their friend up in the toilet paper, mummy style. The first team who is all wrapped wins. The child who’s wrapped up like a mummy can then break out of the toilet paper wrap with a scary “roar” and the game begins again so the other child can also be wrapped. Be sure to play some spooky Halloween music while this game is being played to add to the atmosphere.
Circle time! Have all the kids get in a circle and begin a spooky story. The story can begin with the classic, “It was a dark and spooky night…” and then the person next in the circle continues the story. Each child adds something to the story as it moves around the circle. If the children are young, you can keep the story on the straight and narrow by indicating no gruesome elements will be allowed. If the kids are older, you can decide how scary the story can be. Be aware that children in higher elementary grades will not only like their stories fairly scary and gruesome, but some might even add “booger” and “snot” and “throw up” elements to their story. You can set the rules ahead of time to prepare for this type of storytelling.
No game has held onto children’s interests for more years than the classic “musical chairs”. This version includes playing Halloween music (think “Monster Mash” or “Thriller” by Michael Jackson) and asking the kids to act as spooky and scary as they can while they race around the chairs. You can up the rules depending on the ages of the children. For example, for children in the lower grades you can tell them to just walk around the chairs until the music stops. As they get older, you can add challenging elements, such as make scary faces as you walk around the chairs, do the monster mash (whatever that means to the individual kid) and other things like that. You’re sure to get some creative responses.
Kids love cakewalks, but they aren’t practical in the classroom. You could, however, have a treat walk. Save enough space in the classroom for this one. Again, play some Halloween-themed music and have the kids walk around in a circle as they do for cakewalks during other school events. Instead of having them walk onto number squares or circles, however, you can have them walking onto cardboard discs that include pictures of ghosts, monsters and the like. The person running the cakewalk will stop the music and pull a matching picture out of a pumpkin head. Instead of calling “#14”, for example, as the winner of the cakewalk, it will be “ghost head” or “monster mouth”.