Frightfully Fun for Kids

Cast a spell on traditional kids' games to magically transform them into Halloween fun.


What will your kids be doing this Halloween? Keep tabs on their safety -- and fun -- by hosting a terrific party for kids.

We've come up with four tons-of-fun games to get the party rolling. These brightly colored contests -- Pin the Tail on the Cat, Witch's Ring Toss, Twist-and-Turn, and a Ghostly Pinata -- do double duty as party decorations. Orange, black, green, purple, and yellow in bold geometric patterns give extra punch to the easy-to-make game boards and pieces.

Make the games a week or two ahead of the party so you'll be able to concentrate on the food, the costumes, and the fun of the event.

Pin the Tail on the Cat

This is no ordinary Halloween black cat. Our cool cat is jazzed up with orange, green, and purple polka dots; a yellow star marks the spot for pinning on brightly colored craft-foam tails. Repositionable tape, instead of pins, makes a game of Pin the Tail on the Cat safe and kid-friendly. Wide green scallop trim and orange foam stars finish the playing board.

Make blindfolds from Halloween-theme fabric, then give each child a twirl. Whoever gets the tail closest to the star gets a big round of applause. Remind your youngsters: No peeking!

Supplies
  • 2 large sheets of black artist paper
  • 20-x-25-inch piece of white foam-core board
  • Spray adhesive and glue stick
  • 2-inch-wide green scallop trim
  • Foam die cuts: four 2-3/4-inch orange stars and one 1-inch yellow star
  • Graph paper
  • Craft foam: black, green, orange, and purple
  • Card stock: green, orange, purple, and white
  • Large circle punch
  • Permanent markers: black and white
  • Repositionable tape

Pin the tail on the cat pattern

Instructions
  1. From black artist paper, cut two 3-x-25-inch top and bottom borders, two 3-x-14-inch side borders, and four 3-inch corner squares.
  2. Mount the black borders along the corresponding edges of the foam-core board with spray adhesive, aligning the outer edges. From green scallop trim, cut two 20- and two 15-inch lengths. Use spray adhesive to center the 20-inch trim pieces along the outer edges of the top and bottom borders.
  3. Center the 15-inch trim pieces along the outer edges of the side borders with spray adhesive. Glue a corner square at each corner of the border, covering the ends of the trim and border pieces. Glue an orange foam star on each corner square.
  4. Enlarge the body, tail, and face patterns (including the facial features) onto graph paper; cut out the patterns. Draw around the body and head patterns on black artist paper. Draw around the tail pattern one time on each color of craft foam. Transfer the mouth and eye patterns to white card stock and the nose pattern to a scrap of green trim. Cut out the shapes.
  5. Use the large circle punch to make circles from green, orange, and purple card stock. Randomly glue the circles onto the cat's body and head, occasionally extending the circles over the cut edges of the shapes; trim away the portion of the circles that extend over the edge.
  6. Referring to the photograph and the pattern mount the body and then the head on the foam-core board with spray adhesive. Glue on the mouth, eyes, and nose. Use a black marker to draw in the teeth and color in the pupils. Add whiskers and smile lines with the white marker.
  7. Glue the yellow star on the cat's body, indicating the tail position. Use pieces of repositionable tape on the tails.

Who will be brave enough to capture the starry, spooky witch's hat?

Line up the kids so they can try their hands at this bewitching version of the classic ring-toss game. Trim a purchased witch's hat with self-adhesive stars and moons and weigh it down with a plastic container filled with dried beans or rice. Make a ring from white foam-core board with a different pattern of brightly colored electrical tape for each child. For added fun, construct and toss rings of various sizes.

Supplies
  • Purchased witch hat
  • White foam-core board
  • Electrical tape in assorted colors
  • Poster board
  • Masking tape
  • Self-adhesive crafts foam star and moon cutouts
  • Large plastic container with lid, such as a frozen whipped topping container
  • Dried beans or rice
Instructions

Draw around the brim of the witch's hat to make a large circle on foam-core board. Draw a second circle 2 inches inside the first.

Cut on the drawn lines, making a ring. Randomly wrap various colors of electrical tape around the ring to completely cover the foam-core circle. Repeat to make more rings as desired.

Bend the poster board into a cone to fit inside the hat. Cut off any excess board and tape to secure the shape. Insert the poster-board cone inside the hat; tape in place.

Embellish the outside of the hat with self-adhesive stars and moons.

Fill a plastic container with dried beans or rice to use as an anchor for the hat. Cover with the lid, and securely tape the lid on top.

Invert the container and set the hat with the poster-board cone over it.

With plenty of twists, turns, and tangles in store, kids will delight in a close-up look at the stars, spiders, jack-o'-lanterns, and ghosts lined up on this themed Twist-and-Turn game board. Make the mat from pre-primed canvas and paint the figures using the patterns below.

Coat the finished game board with a layer of polyurethane for extra protection, and secure it to the floor with a rug pad or temporary spray-adhesive product.

Supplies
  • 40-x-60-inch rectangle of preprimed canvas
  • Straightedge and pencil
  • Acrylic paints: black, green, lavender, orange, purple, white, and yellow
  • Assorted paintbrushes
  • Masking tape
  • 5- to 6-inch plastic-foam block
  • Craft foam: orange, purple, white, and yellow
  • Foam glue
  • Tracing paper
  • Permanent black marker
  • Polyurethane (optional)
  • Rug pad (optional)

Twist-and-Turn game patterns

Instructions
  1. Use a straightedge and a pencil to draw 10-inch squares on the canvas in a grid pattern, making four rows of six squares.
  2. Using a photocopier, enlarge one each of the ghost, jack-o'-lantern, spider, and star designs from the patterns.
  3. Transfer each pattern six times onto the canvas, referring to the diagram for placement and centering the designs inside the squares.
  4. Referring to the photograph and the pattern, paint the ghosts, jack-o'-lanterns, spiders, and stars. Mask around the outside of the ghost and star squares; apply black paint inside the tape and around the designs.
  5. When the paint is dry, mask around the outside of the jack-o'-lantern and star squares; apply white paint inside the tape and around the designs.
  6. Measure the sides of the plastic-foam block. Cut a square for each side, making two each of orange and purple and one each of white and yellow.
  7. Glue a square to each side of the block with foam glue. Enlarge, then trace the foot and hand patterns onto tracing paper; cut out.
  8. Draw around the foot pattern onto three sides of the block. Draw around the hand pattern on the remaining three block sides. Trace the lines with a permanent black marker.
  9. To protect the design, coat the canvas in polyurethane, and use a rug pad to prevent it from slipping.

Make this ghost pinata the centerpiece of the party. It's crafted of common materials: newspaper, balloons, aluminum foil, thick craft glue, and liquid starch. Floating crepe paper streamers give a ghostly presence to the figure.

Fill the pinata with Halloween goodies, then let the fun begin. Blindfold the guests one by one and see who has the most accurate arm. To keep overeager partygoers at bay, hang the ghost out of reach until it's time to play.

Supplies
  • Newspaper
  • Round balloons
  • Liquid starch
  • Wrapped candies
  • Masking tape
  • Thick craft glue
  • Aluminum foil
  • String or yarn
  • Cord
  • Acrylic paints: black and white
  • Foam brush
  • White crepe-paper streamers
  • 34-inch length of 3/4-inch-diameter wooden dowel
  • Various colors of electrical tape
Instructions
Enlarge Image From left to right, Diagram 1, Diagram 2, Diagram 3, Diagram 4.
  1. Tear the newspaper into narrow strips. Blow up and tie one large round balloon. Dip each strip of newspaper into liquid starch and smooth it onto the balloon. Cover the entire balloon with a layer of paper strips, alternating the positioning of the strips. Repeat for two smaller round balloons. When the first layer of papier-mache is dry on each balloon, apply a second layer. Allow to dry.
  2. When the second layer of paper strips is completely dry, pop and remove the balloons. Cut a flap opening in the back of the large papier-mache shape and fill the shape with wrapped candies. Close the flap and secure with masking tape.
  3. Stack the papier-mache shapes for the ghost's head and body, positioning the large shape between the two smaller shapes as shown in diagram 1. Use glue and masking tape to secure the shapes into position.
  4. Referring to diagram 2, use foil to make arms, a curved head, and tail pieces. Glue and wrap string or yarn around all the pieces to secure as shown in diagram 3. For the hanging loop, attach a length of cord to the back of the ghost.
  5. Apply another layer of papier-mache over all surfaces, taking care to completely cover the foil shapes. Allow to dry overnight.
  6. Paint all surfaces of the ghost white. Use black paint for the eyes and mouth. Glue crepe-paper streamers to hang from the arms as shown in diagram 4.
  7. To make the pinata bat, randomly wrap various colors of electrical tape around the wooden dowel to cover the wood completely.

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