Family Halloween Party Ideas

Kids carving pumpkins

Are you throwing a Halloween party? I love gathering with friends on Halloween, just a few families for dinner and wandering the neighborhood.

We have friends who live in a neighborhood that is crazy for Halloween decorations and lights. We arrive at their house when it isn’t quite dark, and we all eat dinner. As the sun goes down and the lights come up, we join the rest of the neighborhood in wandering from house to house.

I’ve pulled together a few ideas for games you can play while it’s still light then more traditional activities that ease your Halloween into a Samhain celebration of the end of harvest.

Finish the Harvest

Before party time, gather the last of the food from your garden and clean up the yard. Make a wreath from your own garden. Mine will include a lot of grapes from this year’s bumper crop.

Fun Halloween Games for Kids

You don’t need more than two or three games for kids. If they are in costume, they can make their own fun. Here are a few simple games to bring them back to occasional focus.

Bones relay. Cut out simple outlines of bones to create a full skeleton. Put a piece of tape on each bone. Depending how many children will be at the party, you could have more than one set of bones. Start each skeleton with a skull on a wall or a large board. Put the pile of bones at least 10 feet away. Have one child start by picking a bone and running to the board with the skull to add the bone. Then, the child runs back to touch the next person, who chooses a bone and runs to put it on the board. The relay continues until all of the bones are stuck on the board.

If the kids don’t know how a skeleton fits together, it’s OK. Guessing works just fine. The fun is in seeing how wild the final skeleton can get.

Any party game involving the harvest is perfect for this end-of-harvest-season celebration.

Bobbing for apples. Fill a metal tub with slightly warm water. The cold weather will cool it down, and you want people to stick around long enough to get an apple. Have kids gather around the tub. One at a time, have them hold their hands behind their back and bite at an apple using only their mouth. It gets very wet!

Squash bowling. Put 10 tall, flat-bottomed squash at one end of a lawn in triangular, bowling configuration. Butternut squash are perfect for this. Then, give each player a small round squash (like a pumpkin), small enough to hold with one hand, and let them roll it across the lawn to knock down the squash pins. You don’t need to keep score because everyone has fun with this one.

Carve a Traditional Jack-o-lantern

If your children are going to prowl the neighborhood for treats, how about using traditional jack-o-lanterns?

Carve jack-o-lanterns not just from pumpkins but from turnips and beets as well. You could do this activity earlier in the day or even the day before. (They dry out if you do them too far in advance.) Suspend the small lanterns by strings hanging from sticks. You can either put a tea light or a battery light in each. Carry these around to light your night. Leave them lining the walk when you get home to light the way for the ghosts who return that night to find their way home.

End with a Bonfire

When the kids get home and the parents just want to sit in a circle and talk, it’s a perfect time for a bonfire. Tell stories. They don’t need to scare the children, but it is traditional to tell stories about your own dead friends and relatives.

Be sure to leave an extra, empty place setting inviting the dead to join you. Welcome the dark half of the year with the fire. The fire is orange; the night is black.

Have a bountiful end of harvest.

© Ilona75 | Dreamstime.com - Boy Busy Carving A Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern For Halloween Photo

My Rules of the Eco-friendly Loot Bag

Child with birthday party loot bag

Has your child ever come home from a birthday party with a bag of candy and throwaway plastic toys? Is there really anyone who can say “No!” to that? I’ve even seen myself give out party gifts that make me groan and feel more determined than ever to improve the loot bag with each passing year. Every time I throw a children’s party, I manage to get a little closer to the ideal of a low-impact loot bag.


First Rule of the Eco-friendly Loot Bag

It you are actually going to include a bag, make it a reusable bag—and not just any reusable bag. Make it a bag a child will want to reuse. Try a purse or a snack bag.

Reusable Goodie Bag for children


Small but Lasting

Rather than a throwaway party favor that lasts no longer than the ride home, make your child’s party loot a lasting toy or treasure.

My children recently purged their rooms of fast-food toys, Christmas stocking stuffers, Scholastic sale items, and other little pieces of pointless plastic. (I know. Horror.) Their rejected pile of tiny toys was surprisingly huge. None of these items entered the long-term play stream. I’m glad to see them go, but what a waste. Don’t contribute to this!

Loot bags can get expensive. It’s much better to give one great gift than to pile up many little things that will never be touched or considered again except when they are finally thrown out. Most of the loot bag gifts at bynature.ca Celebrations department are under $10.

Wooden Mite Sports Car


Buy Sets

If you want to include a variety in each bag while keeping the cost low, buy sets of crayons or pencils or clay then break up the set with one item per bag.

Colorful Aromatherapy Play Clay


Follow the Party Theme

The gift will be more memorable if it is tied to the theme of the party. If your daughter has a fairy party, a fairy wand will remind guests of playing with their friends. If your son has an art party, taking home the art supplies will give guests many more hours of fun remembering their party projects.

Girls playing with fairy wand streamers


Activity As Gift

Sometimes, the activities can create the gifts. With a Wooden Truck Kit or Wooden Bug Kit, the toy a guest makes is the gift to take home. You could do the same with an All Natural Lip Balm Making Kit.

Make Your Own toy truck


What do you do for birthday party loot bags?

I’m so excited for a month of eco-parties. We will cover this theme from many angles this month. If you have questions about eco-parties or stories of what you have done to lower the impact of your child’s parties, please share.

It’s a virtual holiday potluck on Facebook!

virtual-facebook-party

Does the holiday season creep up on you, and before you know it, you’re completely overwhelmed? This year start planning early and have some FUN with other busy parents just like you.

Join parenting experts Tamara Champion, CEO of natural parenting store bynature.ca, and Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit AKA yoyomama and author of Healthy Mum, Happy Baby, as well as other parents getting prepared for the holiday season with a Virtual Holiday Potluck! Join us to kick off the holiday season, have fun, and, yes, enjoy shopping discounts and prizes throughout the evening!

When and Where?

Mark your calendar! The party date is Wednesday, November 10th and runs from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm but you’ll want to register beforehand to take advantage of our special savings offer. The more RSVP’s the greater the savings!!

If you live on the East Coast, RSVP to the Parenting By Nature Facebook page BEFORE Wednesday, November 10, 8:00pm EST.

If you’re on the West Coast,
RSVP to yoyomama’s Facebook page BEFORE Wednesday, November 10, 8:00pm PST.

What to Bring:

It’s a potluck! Everyone who shares has the chance to win prizes during the evening. We’ll be discussing:

• family traditions and the spirit of giving
• your favorite holiday music
• funny Christmas YouTube videos
• your tastiest holiday recipes (allergen-free, for bonus points!)
• green holiday tips
• links to online holiday planning resources or tools you may use
• anything else to help with holiday planning!

Why Pre-Register?

The more the merrier! Share our holiday event with friends as we’ll be offering a discount on anything at the bynature.ca Kids store based on how many RSVP/participants we have for each party (as of 8pm EST):

• Free Shipping over $49 for 200 RSVPs (Storewide! Canada only)
• 10% discount for 300 RSVPs
• 15% discount for 400 RSVPs
• 20% discount for 500 RSVPs

So tell your friends to RSVP! The more participants, the greater the discount! The discount code will be shared with participants during the potluck event and will be offered for a limited time (discounts apply to KIDS department only and may not be combined; see bynature.ca policies for full details when using discount codes).

We can’t wait to connect with our fantastic fans, supporters, and customers and meet new people. Most of all, we want to help you save time and money as you get ready for this special time of year with your family.

See you on November 10th!