October sees one of the year’s biggest traditions in the form of Halloween, which arrives on the 31st. Halloween, which is short, in effect, for “All Hallows’ Eve”, has it’s historical roots in Christian and, many believe, Celtic, Gaelic and Pagan festivals. Broadly speaking, these festivals were events to remember the dead, including saints (a.k.a. “hallows”). However, for virtually all children these days, it’s simply a traditional time for some themed fun. And what fun it can be! Today we’ll therefore take a look at the activities and opportunities that Halloween has for little ones at this time of year.
Halloween Activities for Children
Today, in the modern day, there are many non-religious Halloween activities that children can enjoy in late October and they can be enormous fun and a time of great excitement for children. For really little ones, however, a balance will need to be struck so that things are entertainingly ‘scary’, but only in a fun way. We do not want to give them nightmares and therefore care will be needed to get the balance just right. Getting them involved in preparing the activities will help.
Halloween Costumes — Dressing Up Fun!
Children, adults and even pets can dress up in spooky outfits to look like witches, ghosts, ghouls, skeletons or any one of the many horror figures they’re familiar with from films. Children will absolutely love getting involved in this activity, particularly when they get together with friends. Dressing up is a fantastic activity for all age groups. Shop-bought costumes are easily available but it doesn’t have to be an expensive activity. Home-made costumes are also completely viable, for example:
- A plain white sheet with holes cut in it for eyes makes a brilliant ghost outfit.
- An orange t-shirt can be painted by the child or supervising adult to resemble a pumpkin outfit.
- A favourite Halloween lookalike is Elliot, the young boy from ET. This look can be copied easily with a hoodie and a doll or teddy wrapped in a blanket, especially if your child is old enough to have a bike or tricycle with a basket on the front.
- Edward Scissor Hands is another favourite. Try taping teaspoons or kitchen foil to your little one’s fingers to simulate Edward’s hands — but only if they’re old enough to be able to control movements so they don’t hurt themselves or others.
- A spider costume can be made with several pairs of black tights that have had the legs stuffed, then attached to a black t-shirt. This makes a brilliant spider outfit!
- With suitable black clothing and a pointy hat made easily with black card and some concealed tape, a witch’s outfit is also pretty straight forward. For extra effect, adults can make clothing look ragged by multiple cuts along clothing edges using sharp scissors (not to be attempted by little ones) and with the addition of a home-made witch’s broom.
- And, of course, outfits for characters from Harry Potter and Ghostbusters give families plenty of scope to find something fairly easy to achieve, without breaking the bank.
Dressing up is a great opportunity for both children and adults to use their imaginations and really have fun!
Why not arrange a Halloween party for children, so they can all congregate in a supervised, safe space (inside or out) that’s been decked out with fake spiders, cobwebs, Halloween pumpkins and some spooky lighting. Here, they can show off their outfits, socialise and play Halloween-themed games.
Cotton wool can be stretched to simulate cobwebs and plastic spiders are easily obtainable online or in shops. Some of the toy spiders look very realistic!
Halloween Food for Kids
Parents and children can prepare for such parties, or when staying at home for the evening, with a range of Halloween-themed party food. This is also great fun and may even encourage little ones to eat foods they may not normally try (as appropriate for their age, of course). Try baking plain biscuits in Halloween themed shapes. Some can be made to look like pumpkins, bats and ghosts, for example, with suitable icing. Use whichever recipe is your favourite for the actual biscuits. Children will love the theming, which will make the food fun!
If hollowing out pumpkins suitable for eating, perhaps Mum or Dad can use the flesh to make pumpkin soup, which can be served to family and friends along with some hot crusty bread, perhaps. Small orange bell peppers are even easier to hollow out (by a supervising adult) so they have a face, just like mini Halloween pumpkins. These are also small enough to fill with some hummus for dipping and of course may be eaten entirely, with no wastage. Even their seeds can be retained to grow into new pepper plants next year.
Pumpkin Carving & Decorating
Carved pumpkins are, of course, a great tradition for Halloween and one that children will love. For the safety of little ones, though, parents/adults will need to do the carving. Children can get involved in emptying out the pumpkin flesh and perhaps saving seeds, which they can later grow into new pumpkin plants for next year. They can also get involved in decorating outside of the carved pumpkins with paint or Sharpie pens. Red or green food dye can also be used to paint the inside. A good hand wash will be needed after all of this. A lit candle (or an LED equivalent) can be placed inside by the adult and this will shine through and illuminate the design or face. Then the finished pumpkin can be placed somewhere safe — where little ones cannot endanger themselves if a real flame is used — for example out in the garden or on the front drive.
Pumpkins can be purchased from supermarkets during October, or from local farm shops and suchlike. However, there’s a more fun way of obtaining them…
Pumpkin Picking Locally
This is another fun activity for children of all ages. Many farms offer pumpkin patches where children and families can enjoy the natural environment and get to see hundreds of pumpkins, squashes, gourds and Halloween-themed areas that many farms lay on each October. Children will love picking their own pumpkin or sitting amongst pumpkins for a great photo opportunity for the family album. In the Clayton/Chorley area, several farms currently have such pumpkin activities that are open to the public:
- Paul’s Farm Pumpkin Patch in Leyland is only about 4 miles away from our Clayton-le-Woods nursery. It’s at 382 Dunkirk Lane, Leyland PR26 7SY and will be open to the public on 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th October 2022, from 10am-4pm. Telephone 07973 218 108 or visit their website for further details.
- Another pumpkin farm that’s open to families is also in Leyland, again less than 4 miles away from Clayton, at Moss Lane, Farington Moss, Leyland PR26 6QD. To pick your own pumpkin there (weekends only in October), call 07701 082 482 or get more information and directions here.
- Pumpkin Alley is at Downholland, just West of Ormskirk, only 30 minutes or so away from Little Acorns Nursery in Clayton-le-Woods. They’re in Delf Lane, Ormskirk, L39 7JJ and are open all week during October. Telephone 07791 707 038 or visit their website for up-to-date information.
- Another pumpkin farm is Holmeswood Pumpkin Place off Holmeswood Road, Holmeswood, near Rufford, L40 1UA, which is less than 13 miles from Little Acorns Nursery in Clayton. Call 07823 329 410 or 01772 815 491 or click here for more information about opening times etc.
Please check opening times etc. before setting out as details may have changed since these details were published (correct at 13 Oct 2022).
Trick or Treating
Trick or treating is the Halloween tradition of knocking on neighbours’ doors, shouting “trick or treat?” and hoping that some sweets or similar will be handed over to children by kindly neighbours. That would be the ‘treat’ element. The ‘trick’ element is more rarely used today, especially with the younger children. However, it still occasionally involves funny tricks being played on those neighbours who didn’t offer sweets. This ‘trick’ element is to be used only with particularly friendly households, though, and perhaps only with those that have been forewarned by the parents involved. If not handled with care, it can backfire and cause terribly bad feeling or even be thought of as antisocial behaviour. For that reason, forewarning neighbourhoods about any group trick or treat sessions is wise, including agreeing a way for them to opt out if they prefer.
We hope this article gives parents and carers or guardians some ideas for Halloween on 31st October, particularly as some preparation may be required. Please remember, though … safety first at all times.
Safety first, at all times.
An Outstanding, Award-Winning Nursery/Pre-School in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley
In the mean time, if you are looking for the best nurseries or pre-schools in Clayton-le-Woods, Clayton Green, Clayton Brook, Chorley, or Central Lancashire, then do take a look at Little Acorns Nursery. Ofsted has graded it an outstanding nursery and it also won an incredible National Award for best Individual Nursery. Childcare simply does not get any better than this. To register for a nursery place or to request a guided visit, please use the contact buttons below. We are also happy to answer any questions that you might have.