Throwing a Halloween party for children

Halloween isn’t spooky any more – unless you’re scared of getting on the scales the following morning, after a night of great food and drink. It now rivals Bonfire Night as  the perfect evening for a party involving both children and adults – if you plan it right.
So, here’s our guide to keeping the kids amused…

Do you trick or treat?

child holding sweets
If you’re happy for trick or treaters to call – give them a sign, such as a pumpkin lamp in the window (and make sure your kids know the signs for others!)
Remember – not everyone enjoys Halloween and trick or treating so it’s a good idea to only call at houses you know your children will be welcome. Obviously they should be accompanied by an adult.
Why not make your house a little spooky: When my daughter was young, we mapped out a route that included adults willing to do more than just hand out sweets. I once created a spooky ‘body’ on the kitchen table  using sheets, wellington boots, tomato ketchup and peeled grapes for eyes.

Costumes and face painting

devil costumeClare’s come up with a fantastically easy Halloween costume. It’s basically a tail added to a pair of leggings that can transform your little angel into a little devil.
Find the step by step instructions with photographs here
Face painting: Masks are great but for young kids scared by some of the more ghoulish ones, try face painting (even Mum & Dad!). You don’t have to be Van Gogh…
Dracula: paint the face white, put a small drip of red paint on one side of the mouth, add arched black eyebrows and add a pointed V shape in a dark colour at the centre the forehead where it meets the natural hairline .
Frankenstein: paint the face green, put a scar on one cheek and square off the natural hair line using a dark face paint. Draw a bolt on the side of the neck.
And thinking outside the box. Lions are scary too! Lion: paint the face orange, add whiskers and some stripes. Paint the nose black.


Sausages cooked indoors or on the barbecue are a Halloween and Bonfire Night staple but it’s all about setting the scene:

  • Decant tomato ketchup into a small plastic witch’s cauldron
  • Dress the table with pumpkin lanterns
  • Use yellow freeze paper painted with ghosts instead of a tablecloth

You can also fill a plastic cauldron with my Scarily spicy Halloween relish: Dice a large tomato and half a peeled cucumber, then add 3 finely sliced spring onions, a deseeded medium heat or hot chilli (as you prefer), salt, black pepper and the juice of a lime.
Pumpkin soup: If you’ve been hollowing out pumpkins for lanterns you’ll have lots of flesh to use up. » Some great pumpkin recipes Even more Make it and mend it pumpkin inspiration – carving, recipes and more
Party cake pops: These are all the rage now and Clare O’s been experimenting with some special Halloween cake pop designs » Find out how to make brilliant Halloween cake pops

And games!

Keep the kids entertained after the trick or treating. How about a couple of simple Halloween games.
Halloween pass the parcel: Spooky music on the CD. Wrap the parcel as usual but use “creepy crawly sweets”, such as spiders and snakes.
Scary musical statues: Everyone has to freeze in scary positions when when the music stops. Judges can try to make them move but without touching participants.