Will you be throwing a Halloween party for your children this year? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. It’s almost like I planned this just for you.
Last weekend Belle and I hosted a small spooky gathering for five friends and their children. I say small – I did have to shift the furniture about to get everyone in, but then my house is pretty teeny. It has been a while since I had a house full of so many young children and have got rather used to Belle just sitting quietly watching Poirot or doing a spot of colouring, so I was probably unprepared for the amount of noise even a small number of boys can make. Still, it is Halloween, it’s supposed to be scary.
Fortunately our party was held in partnership with Tesco, who very kindly sent me everything I needed to turn my house into a terrifying grotto, along with more Halloween chocolates than you could shake a stick at, which was handy as they also sent us a piñata and we did actually shake a stick (in the form of a broom) at that.
Speaking now from my lofty position then as a Halloween party expert, I want to share with you my top seven tips to help your Halloween party go with a bang:
Can I just say first off that I could not have had the party without Belle. She is, in my totally objective, unbiased opinion, amazing. She has incredible patience with younger children and always throws herself wholeheartedly into making things fun for them. A perfect example of this is the amount of effort she put into our Halloween face-painting. Days before the party she invited some friends round to practice various designs on, taking pictures of every one they did.
She then spent pretty much the entire day last Thursday, when her teachers were striking, creating and laminating a book of Halloween face paint designs.
Unfortunately the smaller children weren’t terribly keen on having their faces painted at first, so thank you to all the grown-ups who saw the effort that had been made and took one for the team.
Quick tip: If you don’t have a Belle of your own, Tesco have lots of fantastic Halloween face paint tutorials, like this scary skeleton.
Get plenty of crisps
I don’t know what it is, but no matter how much food you lay on, kids always just want to eat crisps. Be warned though, the damn things get everywhere.
Quick tip: If you find a salt and vinegar crisp under the sofa the day after the party, don’t be tempted to eat it just because you can’t be bothered to go into the kitchen and put it in the bin. It will be soft and unpleasant.
Plan some activities
I had forgotten that children aren’t like grown-ups. I thought that everyone would arrive, we’d have a cup of tea and a chat, perhaps play a game after half an hour or so. Apparently though that’s not so much fun if you are five. Children want to do something straight away, so it was a good job I had been on the Tesco website beforehand to get some inspiration for Halloween games. We had the traditional apple bobbing of course but another favourite was the Mummy game, where you had to wrap (un)willing volunteers from head to toe in toilet paper. (We are quite
cheap environmentally aware, so we saved all of the toilet paper to use in our en-suite.)
We also printed out some of Tesco’s Halloween colouring in sheets, which were lovely, but to be honest the vibe of the party was less ‘let’s sit down and do some quiet colouring’ and more ‘let’s run around screaming’, so Belle’s very nicely put together craft area was a little neglected.
Quick tip: Musical bumps definitely count as a Halloween game if you play them to the Ghostbusters theme tune.
Make a trick or treat pass the parcel
I was rather pleased with this one. I was inspired by Tesco’s idea for a ‘petrifying pass the parcel’ but took it one step further and turned it into a trick or treat pass the parcel. I hid a little something between each layer – sometimes a chocolate lolly, sometimes a spider or rat (plastic not dead) – and you never knew which you were going to get. Genius! (If I do say so myself.)
Stand well back from your piñata
Give a gang of kids buckets full of chocolate eyeballs, a witches broom and permission to bash stuff and they go bonkers. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Don’t choose drinks that look like blood just because you think it might be fun
I must say I was extremely lucky and no drinks were spilt. Well done to everyone for that. I feel I got off lightly though – choosing tomato juice and red grape juice as the drinks of choice for a gaggle of under 8s felt like a fun idea when I was in Tesco but not such a great plan when I got home and remembered that our rented house has cream carpets throughout. A lucky escape this time, but be warned…
Never underestimate the amount of chocolate nine small children can eat
I don’t think this one needs any further explanation. Kids love chocolate. They don’t even care apparently if it still has the foil on, they just shovel it in.