Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The spookiest night of the year is fast approaching. Are you thinking of throwing a little Halloween party for young children but are not sure if everyone (including yourself) is going to end up in a blubbering mess? Halloween is an ideal time for firing up our little ones imaginations with spooky tales on a dark night but how do you have fun without it being too scary? I’ve put together three party game ideas aimed at 4 to 7 year olds which (unbeknownst to them) help vocabulary, letter or word recognition and pronunciation too. Endless tears and restless nights shouldn’t be on the agenda with these story games. Younger children may need a little prompting or help at times but generally the trick is to keep the games as simple as possible.
Halloween Word Hunt
This is a simple letter hunt game which can be played in teams or individually. Adjust the amount of cards required depending on the amount of children being catered for and use the shorter words for younger children.
- Choose one Halloween related character, animal or object for all the children or teams e.g. Tombstone, Cat, Witch, Skull, Bat, Ghost, Pumpkin, Spider, Devil, Broom, Scorpion, Vampire, Web, Owl, and Zombie etc.
- Now print out each letter of the chosen word in large capital letters, enough times for each child or team to find each letter of the word. Stick each letter onto a piece of card. So for example if you choose OWL and there are six children at the party, you should end up with 6 letter O’s, 6 letter W’s and 6 letter L’s.
- Hide the letters around the house or garden placing all the same letters in the same place. So for OWL, the O’s in one place, the W’s in another etc.
- The idea of the game is for each child to find a hidden letter each (you tell them how many there are to find) and once they have them all they need to work out what the word is.
- The winner is the first one to show the right word.
Scary Story Tag Game
The aim of this game is for the children to create their own story as a group. Don’t worry too much about it making sense; it is more about getting their imagination going and a few giggles.
To prepare make four piles of cards labelled Spooky Characters, Animals, Places or Things and Sounds. Each card has a different Halloween related word printed on it (for example as below):
SPOOKY CHARACTERS: Skeleton; Witch; Devil; Zombie; Frankenstein; Ghost; Warlock.
ANIMALS: Bat; Owl; Black Cat; Spider; Scorpion; Worm; Newt.
PLACES / THINGS: Graveyard; Coffin; Tombstone; Pumpkin; Cauldron; Skull; Poison.
SOUNDS: Boo! Arghhh! Eeek! Yikes! Screech! Ouch! Yuk.
- Sit the children in a circle and place the 4 piles of cards in the middle.
- The adult starts the story with something like, “I was alone in the woods on a dark, rainy night when………”
- The party boy or girl goes first by picking up a card from the spooky characters pile and making up a sentence to continue the story. For example “when…..a SKELETON jumped out from behind a tree….”
- The next child then picks up a card from the next pile (animals) and so on. The game continues until all the cards have been picked up.
- The person who picks up the last card has to say THE END after their sentence.
Bubble, Bubble my Cauldron’s Trouble
- All the children sit in a circle whilst an adult stands in the middle and tells them the inside of the circle is their cauldron.
- Each child is then given a piece of card with a picture of an animal or character and the corresponding word below it, for example BAT written under a picture of a bat. These animals or characters can be Halloween related or anything you like only try and keep to simple words for the age group.
- The adult has a bag of matching cards but only with the words on, so no picture.
- The adult, whilst walking round the inside of the circle, says “bubble, bubble my cauldron is trouble, I need a……” (pulling out one card from their bag, holding it up and reading out the word) e.g. “BAT to add to the muddle”. The child with the corresponding card then has to come into the centre of the circle and everybody mimes the character or makes the animal noise.
- The child with the correct card then follows behind the adult walking around the circle repeating “bubble, bubble my cauldron’s trouble” pulling out the next card and so on.
- Once all the children are following the chain round the circle behind the adult who says “bubble, bubble my spell is done, now I’m coming to get you so you’d better run” and then chase after all the children who start giggling, screaming and running away!
Wind down the party by reading your favourite friendly spooky story, with the lights down low giving each child a small torch to hold to make it exciting rather than scary.
See my next blog “10 (not so) Scary Picture Books for Halloween”.