Halloween crafts & games (Part 1)
Here's a cornucopia of great crafts and games to make Halloween a festive time for kids at home and in the classroom. (We have so many that we've split them into three sections -- don't miss parts 2 and 3!)
Find an appropriate haunted house pattern. Make several copies and color, decorate and laminate them as placemats. Find white lima beans at the grocery store and turn them into ghost counters. Add eyes and mouth to the beans and you have a great math center for Halloween. Have the kids put the ghosts in the haunted house and count them as they go.
Black tag board
White lima beans
Cut tag board into circles, triangles and squares, about four or five inches across. Punch a hole in the top of each shape. Cut an 18-inch piece of yarn for each child. Explain that the black shapes are ghosts and the beans are ghost eyes. Let the children glue the bean eyes on their ghosts.
For a sorting activity, use various Halloween treats such as spiders and bat rings of different colors or pumpkin and ghost light covers.
Halloween sensory activity
Buy some small plastic jack-o-lanterns that are meant to be filled with treats. Fill them with cotton balls that have been perfumed with scents from the pantry (pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, peppermint extract, lemon peel, orange peel, etc.). Put these in the sensory center. Children can enjoy smelling the scents.
Put several mini pumpkins, small gourds and Indian corn in a basket with magnifying lenses. Put the basket in the sensory center. Children feel the different textures, look at a variety of colors and examine them close up with the magnifying lenses. Autumn leaves, pine cones and nuts can be added.
Mummy dress up
Let the children wrap each other in toilet paper and pretend to be a mummy.
Pin the tail on the cat
Cut out a cat shape from black felt. Use fabric paint to add the eyes, nose and whiskers. Cut out several tails from black felt and sew or glue the hook side of Velcro onto the end that attaches to the cat. The hook Velcro will stick to the felt anywhere the children put it. They play the game just like Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
Spray shaving cream on your carved pumpkin. Take turns shaving the pumpkin with safety razors that have the blades removed.
Ghost callers/ghost hunt
Two ghosts -- draw them or use two ghost figures.
Cut white construction paper into 4 x 5-inch pieces. Roll and tape to form tubes. These are the ghost callers. Make one for each child.
1. Go on a ghost hunt. Show everyone the two ghosts. Have children close their eyes an the teacher or parent hides the ghosts.
2. Children open eyes and count 1-2-3 GHOST! On the count of "ghost" the hunt begins.
3. The children who find the two ghosts sit by the teacher/parent. Give them a ghost caller and let them make ghost noises for the next ghost hunt. The noise helps call the ghosts from their hiding places.
4. Continue until all children are making ghost noises.
Pass the pumpkin
Sit in a circle. Provide a plastic pumpkin for children to pass while the teacher/parent beats on a drum. Children pass the pumpkin to the tempo of the music. Alternate between fast and slow. When the music stops the child who has the pumpkin stands and takes a bow. Continue.
Have the children paint their hands white and press onto black construction paper. When they dry have the children turn them upside down and add faces.
Have children glue down pressed leaves on construction paper for witches body. Then allow them to fill in their own features on the witch. Perhaps they would like to have the witch riding on her broom or standing next to her brew.
Provide large paper bags. Fold down twice, staple handle on and let children decorate front and back. I always provide stickers also for the children.
Provide small plastic pumpkins. Number each 1 to 10. Have the children count out the correct number of pumpin seeds to each pumpkin.
Provide wet sand, Halloween cookie cutters and kitchen utensils. You may also use orange and black clay for other days of week. After examining a pumpkin with your class leave the pumpkin flesh and seeds out for examining with miroscope and maganifying glasses. Children also enjoy the texture, so don't get upset if they get a little messy.
The Count's House...
Set up the Count's haunted house. Provide children with black capes and Halloween items to count. Ideas you could use include: Apples, plastic spiders, tiny pumpkins, etc. Have parents donate old costumes to cut the cost of this center. Provide pencils, paper, cash register and dressing rooms to try on costumes.
Discuss spiders (eight legs, webs, life cycle) and show pictures.
Discuss bats (radar, babies, sleeping habits).
Discuss the history of Halloween. Review the date and customs.
Discuss what a superstition is. Give examples such as rabbits foot, Friday The 13th, Broken mirrors, walking under a ladder, horseshoe, finding a penny heads up. Give examples of both good and the bad.
Discuss the life cycle of a pumpkin. Have the children estimate the circumference of a pumpkin by cutting a piece of string that they believe will fit around the pumpkin. Have each child test their string. Discuss the difference between a Jack-O-Lantern and a pumpkin.
Tell the children that each one of them will have a chance to show the others in the group a trick. Call on a child and lead the group to chant:
"Hello, (name), Spook-E-Do. What is the trick you are going to do? Will you hop, or bend or spin around? Stretch or wiggle or touch the ground?"
Continue until all the children have had a chance to show their trick.
Pin The Stem On The Pumpkin
Have the children paint a large cardboard pumpkin shape. When the pumpkin is dry, secure it to the wall or your bulletin board. Give each child a construction paper stem with a piece of tape looped at the top. Let each child cover or close their eyes and let them try to pin the stem on the pumpkin.
Make a ghost cut out of black construction paper and place in an old oatmeal canister with one teaspoon white paint and marbles and shake. Makes a really cute spooky ghost. Mount them on fun foam and add glitter and a magnet for a spooky fridge magnet.
Spooky spider webs
Put a paper plate in a pie pan and give the student a small dab of black paint. You can also paint a paper plate black and do the activity with the white paint to look more realistic. After the small dab of paint is placed on the student's plate, drop a marble in and let the child move the pie pan in all different directions to make a spooky spider web. After it has dried, punch a hole in the plate and attach a plastic spider ring or sponge paint a spider in the web.
Use white paper to form five paper chains, and then connect to make a skeleton. Trace children's hands and feet on white paper, cut and glue to the ends of the arms and legs. Cut an oval shape and draw on the face. These work best when made with small groups of children.
Tempera paint spider webs
Using runny black paint, allow the children to use a straw to blow the paint across the page to make a spider's web.
Have the child draw a ghost outline on a piece of waxed paper, and then have them fill in the outline with white school glue. Dry overnight, and then have the child add facial features. Place on a string and you have a spooky ghost necklace.
Have the children tear off a wad of the quilt batting. Have the children form the "ghost" any way they want. Next, have the children cut eyes, legs, arms, etc. from the construction paper and glue onto their ghost. Finally, cut some of the elastic and tape to the top of the ghosts and hang them from the ceiling. The kids love to watch them bob up and down.
Halloween pasta collage
Check out your local grocery store, Michael's, Trader Joe's, or Ben Franklin craft store to find pasta in Halloween shapes. Let your kids create a cool collage with the pasta and whatever else you decide to add.
Halloween cookie cutter prints
Buy an assortment of Halloween cookie cutters. Let the children dip the cookie cutters into paint and then press onto paper.
Halloween pasta necklaces
Find Halloween shaped pasta. Let your children string the pasta shapes on a piece of yarn to create a necklace or bracelet.
Paint each child's foot with white paint and print it on a black sheet of construction paper. When it dries add eyes to the heel part of the foot. That will be the ghost's head.