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How to Host a Kids' Halloween Party

Kids' Halloween parties range from silly to scary. Just be sure your entertainment isn't too intense for little ones. See more pictures of Halloween.
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Halloween is upon us and nothing says party like a slew of little people in costumes running around your house all hopped-up on sugar. Halloween is a great holiday to host a kiddie shindig because what child doesn't love to dress up and play with friends?

When sitting down to plan your party, try to start at least a month out. The first thing you need to do is pick a date and plan your guest list. How many kids do you want to invite? Use your child's age as a guideline. If your daughter is 5, invite five of her BFFs. If your son is 9, ask him which of his nine best buddies he wants to come. And so on. Of course space is an issue, so be sure to limit your guest list to the number of kids that is manageable in your space. In addition, you'll need enough chaperones to keep an eye on your guests, so plan ahead.

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Invites for kids' parties are best sent via snail mail, giving you the opportunity to include important information. Be sure to set a firm start and end time, and give parents a good idea of what activities will be going on, so they can choose appropriate costumes.

Before you send the invites out, give a thought as to whether or not you want a theme party. For younger children, Halloween is theme enough, and often, specific themes may be lost on young children. Just the opportunity to dress up, eat sugar and run around with their friends constitutes a party, so keep the decorations simple and spend your budget on food and activities. But older children may enjoy a theme and the opportunity to plan their costumes accordingly.

A good way to choose a theme is to pick something that piques your child's interest. Does he or she like superheroes? Well, why not put a Halloween twist on it and have a superheroes versus goblins theme. Let guests know there will be a prize for the cleverest costume. Or create a haunted house and decorate each room with spooky Halloween props. You can get other parents involved as some of the characters -- just be sure the spookiness is age appropriate. Kids like to be scared, but you may want to limit the super scary stunts. You never know the temperaments of all of your guests, and you don't want to give them nightmares.

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Kids can be picky eaters, so don't go to the trouble of making special foods or getting your event catered. Little items like hot dogs and pizza bites are good to have on hand to keep hungry mouths satisfied. If you want to serve something healthy, make sure the food looks fun. Hardboiled eggs become eyeballs and guacamole becomes Halloween slime. Even just coming up with a new name for kids' old favorites will help. For example, pizza could be called a brain pie and hotdogs could be fingers in a bun. You get the idea.

If you don't want a room full of hyperactive witches and warlocks, be sure to dole out the sweets rather than leaving them on the table, and be sure to monitor their intake.

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It's a good idea to have a well-scheduled party with activities and games that will keep kids occupied. Plan active games for the beginning of the party and quiet games to help the kids calm down before their parents come to pick them up. Schedule enough activities to keep the kids entertained so they don't run amok. Younger kids may enjoy bobbing for apples or playing pin the stem on the pumpkin. You can mix up games with crafty activities, like making Halloween masks or decorating trick or treat bags.

Scavenger hunts keep older kids focused and occupied. And don't forget the old gross-out box that always keeps kids laughing. Fill some boxes with things like spaghetti for intestines, ketchup for blood and peeled grapes for eyeballs. Blindfold players and have them stick their hands in the box and guess what's inside. Spooky music helps rev up the anticipation.

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Goodie bags are a must for kids' parties, but you don't have to blow the budget. A trip to the dollar store in October will yield plastic spiders and other fun Halloween props that make great bagged party favors. If you're going to include food, don't forget that parents appreciate sugar-free snacks.

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Sources

  • Aiger, Alexis. "Kids Halloween Party: Planning." Bright Hub, Inc. Aug. 22, 2010. (Sept. 3, 2010) http://www.brighthub.com/parenting/grade-school/articles/83367.aspx
  • Aiger, Alexis. "Kids Halloween Party: Themes." Bright Hub, Inc. Aug. 22, 2010. (Sept. 3, 2010) http://www.brighthub.com/parenting/grade-school/articles/83495.aspx
  • Disney. "Halloween Party Ideas for Kids." Amazing Moms. June 1, 2009. (Sept. 3, 2010) http://www.amazingmoms.com/htm/halloween_party.htm#halloween%20games
  • Halloween Web. "Halloween Trivia and Fun Facts." Jan. 1, 2010. (Sept. 3, 2010) http://www.halloween-website.com/trivia.htm
  • Holidays on the Net. "How to Host a Halloween Party for Kids." 2010. (Sept. 3, 2010) http://www.holidays.net/halloween/party.htm

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