Halloween Party Ideas for Kids
Conjure a Spellbinding Scene
Start with an elegantly eerie alternative to those stick-to-everything cottony spiderwebs: gauzy black fabric draped over the windows and trimmed with faux ivy spray-painted black. It all hangs from small suction-cup hooks stuck to the glass. Shroud your table in the same sheer black fabric (leaving edges raw and ragged), cover with a longer swath of black netting, then add a thick orange felt topper cut with pinking shears. In advance, paint the ivy outdoors on a plastic tarp: Stretch out the vines and spraypaint in matte black, rotating the ivy until it’s covered. Off-kilter accents, like black slanted glassware (Rocks Barware highball glasses, $32 for four, zgallerie.com), bright orange candlesticks (Maren orange candleholders, $25 and $35, blisslivinghome.com for info), and a glittering gold pumpkin (see the how-to), contribute to the haunted—but not hokey—vibe. Behold: one seriously spooky boo-ffet.
Scatter Skulls and Snakes
A Franken-setting of mix-and-match plates makes the table come aliiive!
Find more Halloweeen party supplies here.
Pick Your Poison
Set up a bar away from the main buffet, stock it with dark bottles (beer, red wine, a pitcher of Bloody Marys), and add a moody backdrop (Laudanum Poison poster, $19, the Evolution Store, 212-343-1114). Arrange a cider station for the kids in the kitchen, where sticky spills are easy to clean.
In the mood for spirits? You can find our Halloween cocktail recipes here.
No need to overthink the food. A hearty autumnal meal is the best medicine for a candy coma.
Used up all your creativity on the kids’ costumes? Go classic. You probably have everything but the witch’s hat in your closet already.
Fire Up the Cauldron
A make-ahead menu calls for very little toil and trouble. Fill the table with corn bread, a big green salad, and a batch of tortilla soup. Provide an extra pair of (disembodied) hands to serve it up. Skeleton Hand serving set, $20, potterybarn.com. GraniteWare stockpot (similar to shown), $16, target.com. Glass cake stand, $25, zgallerie.com. Micro Vince skull, $35, cardboardsafari.com. Serpent platter, $220, patchnyc.com. Claw tongs, $49, michaelaram.com. Crystal Skull shot glass, $12, gentsupplyco.com. Krenit small bowl with orange interior by Normann Copenhagen, $32, aplusrstore.com.
A Candy Co-op? We Dare You
Whether kids want to hang on to their own bounties or swap for favorites, give them a place to take stock and revel in their riches. A low table contains the action, and haunted sheet music or playful place mats mark territory. Be sure to supply a bucket or bin for rejected treats (a.k.a. raisins) to be donated to the adults. Okio B Designs Spooky Halloween sheet music, $4 each or $6 for three, okiobdesigns.etsy.com. Dropp! bowl by Menu, $50, aplusrstore.com.
Build Your Own Photo Booth
Sure, you’ll snap some photos of your kids’ getups early on. But the shots they’ll take on their own in a DIY photo booth are bound to be a real scream.
How-to: Cordon off a corner of the living room and hang a solid-color sheet as a backdrop. Dress the set with real or plastic pumpkins.
The Devil Is in the Details
Get the kids to string garlands of postcards adorned with bugs, bats, or other creepy-crawlies; all it takes is a hole punch and ribbon (insect postcards, $1.50 each, johnderian.com).
Scare Up Some Costumes
Invite adults to wear all black, and provide masks and other accessories. (Surplus disguises can become photo-booth props.)
Find homemade Halloween costumes here.
Mixing in a few spray-painted pumpkins in matte black and shiny gold turns a patch of ordinary gourds into an enchanted scene. (Cover the stem with painter’s tape, then spray-paint the pumpkin; let it dry before spraying the bottom.)
See more no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas here.
When sugar highs wane, be ready with soft throws (Mongolian lamb throw, $250, B&J Fabrics, 212-354-8150), comfy mats (Cortina Nerro Half Throwbed, $150, hedgehouseusa.com), and some “thrillers” (Casper, Hocus Pocus, and Beetlejuice, anyone?) so your little zombies can zone out.
Stage a Hearth of Darkness
You don’t have to turn the whole house into a carnival attraction. Concentrating your decor efforts on the table and one other spot—like a mantel, a sideboard, or a deep windowsill—is just as effective (and a lot less hassle). The key is amassing affordable multiples: here, a row of pumpkins and a cluster of monochromatic candleholders made from wine bottles. (There’s that matte-black spray paint again!)