11 Tips for Throwing a Halloween Party for Kids

Host a spooky soiree this Halloween with our inside scoop on kid-friendly decorations, party food, and (of course) some ghoulish games fit for mini monsters.

Host a kid-friendly Halloween party that's sure to be spooktacular! Our must-have tips and tricks for party games, treats, and decor will have you in the Halloween spirit in no time. Plus, we're sharing easy ideas for festive invites and ghoulish party themes.

Have Fun with Invites

Catch the attention of even your busiest family and friends with a clever DIY invitation you can easily make at home. You can make the invite match your theme and follow up with an equally crafty take-home bag or trinket. In other words, begin and end on a high note!

yarn ball toss

Play It by Age

Factor in the age of party-goers to make sure your shindig doesn't frighten—or bore! This will help you decide what Halloween party decorations are appropriate for your group. Put a Halloween twist on classic party activities like bowling, pin-the-tail games, or cornhole. Even just using orange, green, and purple in your decor can signal the season.

Halloween decorations

Decide on Duration

Possibly the most important Halloween party tip of all: Determine how long your bash should last before the day of the party. For younger kids, an hour or two will be plenty. Older kids might be able to persuade you to stretch it into a sleepover. Either way, make sure the invitation states the time parents can pick up their kids.

Halloween party

Pick a Theme

There are plenty of Halloween party themes to choose from. Along with spiderwebs and black and orange decor—the standard, fun ways to turn your home into a haunted house—try focusing on a second theme. Kids will enjoy a spooky magical forest or a not-so-scary monster-themed bash. For a younger crowd, a circus theme is a fun idea, and a good way to let younger siblings in on the fun by having them be the animals! Ask guests to come in costume and then hold a costume contest, of course. Adult helpers should get into character, too. Get creative!

White wall with white mantel, decorated with white, pink and black candles and frames. Large faux spiders are placed on the walls and mantel.


Cast a spell on your home with handmade Halloween party decorations to set the scene for the party. Set aside a weekend afternoon to craft a few goodies and have the kids lend a hand. If you're in a hurry, use these easy-to-make Halloween decorations (three steps or less!) as a crafting activity the day of (or during!) the party. You can always hit up the local crafts store for ready-made options too.

Kids playing Halloween games

Put It to Music

Buy a CD of eerie and Halloween-appropriate tunes or pick a suitable playlist from Spotify. With the right background music, your decorations will seem to come to life. (We warned you!) Ann recommends playing "Monster Mash," "Witch Doctor," and "Ghostbusters" to get the party started. Set Halloween games to music, or use music to set the tone when guests arrive.

White table with Halloween decorations, pumpkins, and candy on it

Use Double-Duty Decorations

We're all about using party decorations that are easy, inexpensive, and versatile. Decorate the party with Halloween decor you're already using around your house, and accent with a few bold pieces—like this fun oversize balloon. To make one, purchase one large balloon and attach large stickers or use a permanent marker to spell out a spooky greeting. You can give out the homemade Halloween decor you used at the party as game prizes or as thank-yous for adult helpers. And choose easy black and white dishes from your kitchen to serve food that also complements the Halloween theme.

Orange pumpkin plate

Keep Snacks Simple

Kids will get a total kick out of these open-face bologna-and-cheese sandwiches. And they're a cinch to make: Use small cookie cutters to create the cheesy faces. A basil leaf and bread-crust stem complete the pumpkin-shaped snack. Do them ahead or let this be an activity for the kids to do at the party.

Marshmallow Pops

Make Monstrous Munchies

We know Halloween is synonymous with "candy," so have some fun with your dessert options. (And check with parents for food allergies and dietary concerns.) But make sure your Halloween party food includes some healthy offerings so you don't send little guests home on a sugar high. Sneak some healthy foods into a Halloween trail mix, or try monster mouths with apple, peanut butter, and candy corn!

Family playing Halloween party games

Play Some Games

Even though kids have a magical way of entertaining themselves, plan to fill some of the party time with easy Halloween party games for kids. Try a sit-down crafting project followed by a work-off-some-energy dance contest, or take kids outside to learn black cat croquet. A game of Halloween charades can be adapted to all ages and will get your group wiggling and giggling as they play pretend.

Halloween party photo booth

Snap Happy

Preserve the fun by taking lots of pictures! Designate a friend to be the photographer to take one thing off of your full plate, or keep your phone handy and snap away. In addition to candids, take a posed shot of each guest. Set up a festive "photo booth" in a corner of a room. After the party, mail photos to guests' parents, or upload digital photos and make an online slide show to relive the fun.

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