When it comes to safety for Halloween, the focus tends to be on the candy or other treats the children are receiving from strangers. However, the costume the little ones are wearing are just as important to be aware of. Keep them safe by following these 9 halloween safety tips for your kiddo’s costume.
Make sure your child’s costume is not too big or loose for him or her. If the costume is too long, it is not safe and your child may trip over it. An airy, flowing costume can tangle with objects and people and can present a fire hazard around open candles that are usually present during Halloween. Your best bet is to choose a costume that is the correct length and fits well.
Choose Nonflammable Materials
Check on the label of the costume and make up for flame-resistant materials. This is very important since jack-o-lanterns, candles, and other ornamental flames are common for decoration during Halloween.
Keep the Neck Area Clear
Avoid costume elements that are too tight around the neck, such as cords or sashes, that can present a choke hazard. Be very cautious and safe about jewelry that can tangle around the neck as well.
Capes With Caution
Capes are fun, but unfortunately and not as safe as it is commonly assumed, may pose a choke-risk or may be easily be tripped over by the child if it is not the right length.
Use Masks Wisely
If your child is wearing a mask, make sure that it is worn just for photos or when he or she is not walking (more likely running). Some masks are not safe and can block a child’s vision, which is even more of a concern during night time. Make sure that the mask fits snugly on your child’s face, but not too tight around the neck. The larger the holes around the eyes and nose, the better for seeing and breathing for your child.
Double Check Paint Labels
Instead of using masks, face paint is a great option. Check that the paint is FDA-approved and can be used on skin. “Non-toxic” does not completely mean that it is safe to be used on the face. Also check the ingredients of the make up to make sure that it is nothing that your child is allergic too.
Choose Accessories Carefully
Make sure that costume accessories such as swords and knives are soft and flexible. Wands, staffs, and canes should have no sharp edges or points.
Light and Reflection
Attach reflective materials onto your child’s costume to make sure that others can see him or or her at night. Accompanying adults should carry a flashlight to light the path and make it easier for drivers to see trick or treaters.
Should your child choose to wear the shoes that come with the costume, make sure that is has traction to prevent slipping and falling. If the footwear is a shoe-cover, check that it fits snugly. More than often though, these shoe covers tend to slip off while walking, being safe with regular sneakers is better.
It’s getting to be that time of year again. The time of year when kids are back in school, leaves are falling off the trees and kids look forward to going out trick or treating or to Halloween parties with their friends. What’s that? You say you have the decorations and food ideas but don’t have any clue what to do for Halloween games? Well, let’s see, there’s always bobbing for apples—but, yes, you’re right, we should have some fresh, new games for the kids. The Halloween games described below are just the thing you’re looking for and you can alter the difficulty of each game according to the age group at the party.
Halloween Pumpkin Hunt
Before the party begins, cut out as many different pumpkin shapes as you desire from orange construction paper and design every shape to look like a jack-o-lantern. On the back of each shape, jot down a point numbered from one to ten and then hide all the pumpkins around the room. When all the kids have arrived, allow them twenty minutes to seek out the pumpkin shapes that you’ve placed around the room. Once the twenty minutes have elapsed, ask the children to total their points from the pumpkin shapes that they found. The child that has the highest number of points wins a door prize.
Frankenstein Relay Race
Draw a starting line and, about twenty feet away, draw your finish line. Strew pumpkins amidst the start and finish lines, creating an obstacle course. The children should be divided into two or more even teams and lined up on the starting line. It’s best to keep each team under six children so that the game will be fairly short and they won’t get bored. Once the kids are all lined up and ready, you can say, “Go!” The first child from each team should run through the obstacle course of pumpkins to the finish line, then back again and tag the next person in their team to run. This continues until every child has run the obstacle course. The catch is that all the kids have to run like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster—arms straight out and stiff legs! If you catch a child bending their legs, you need to send them back to the starting line to begin again. The first team to complete the relay race wins and all the members of that team get a prize. This Halloween game sure will test their Frankenstein skills!
Halloween Word Game
This game is better for slightly older children, age nine to twelve. To start this Halloween game, give each child a piece of paper and a pencil. You would’ve written ahead of time on each piece of paper the phrase “Trick or Treat”. When the kids have each received their pencil and paper, ask them to write down as many words as they can find from that phrase “Trick or Treat” in a span of five minutes. The child who has the most words on their list is the winner. You can also play this game using the word “Halloween”.(Note: The words have to be actual words, not made-up words.)
Candy Corn Catch
A fun game that can be played together by adults and kids. Create teams of three to five members; one child or adult on each team has to tie a toy pumpkin around their waist—like the ones that you’d use for trick or treating. All the other team members get fifteen pieces of candy corn. Mark two different throw lines with a Halloween decoration like a witch or tombstone—one throw line will be for the kids and the other line will be marked further back for the adults. On the word “Go”, one member of a team tries to throw their candy corn into the pumpkin, one piece at a time. The person that has the pumpkin tied to them should move about to try and catch the pieces that are tossed off target. The game continues until every individual on that team and every team has had their turn. After all the members of each team have thrown their candy corn, the candy corn is tallied up in all the toy pumpkins. The team that has the most candy corn wins the game and all of the candy corn is divided evenly among that team as a take-home prize.
What child doesn’t like to play tag? Using rope, you’ll need to create boundaries so that no one can run outside the play area; remember to pick up any debris such as sticks or rocks in the area so that the children won’t trip or get injured. Choose one child to be the zombie, blindfold them and then have them put on a zombie mask. The “zombie” is taken to the center of the play area and all the children need to be in the play area at this time; once the game begins no one is to step outside the boundaries. The game begins with the zombie shouting “Brains!” All the other children instantly scream and run around the play area. The zombie moves about trying to tag someone while continually shouting “Brains!” and listening for the screams. When the zombie tags someone, that child becomes the new zombie.(Note: If the game goes on for a while and no one has been tagged, you’ll need to shrink the size of the play area. But if kids are being tagged quickly, you’ll need to expand the play area.)
This Halloween game calls for a little more preparation. You can either buy some ping pong eye balls or just paint bloodshot eyes on the ping pong balls yourself. Split the kids up into two or more even teams. You can give each child their own ping pong eyeball or, for a more difficult game for older kids, you can use one ping pong eyeball per team. This is a great game for any age because you can make it an easy game for little kids or a challenging game for teens by placing obstacles in their path. Create a starting line and place a skeleton, ghost or cone at the other end of the yard or room to mark the finish line. Ask the teams to line up at the starting line and hand each player that’s first in line a spoon with an eyeball on it. On your word of “Go” the first kids will run or briskly walk down to the finish line, around the skeleton or cone and come back to the start where the next teammate in line will be handed the spoon and take their turn. They can’t touch the eyeball while it’s on the spoon! If a child drops their eyeball, they can pick it up to place it back on the spoon, but they must go back to the start and begin again. Whichever team finishes first wins a prize.
Costume Scavenger Hunt
This Halloween games starts before the party, write up a list of types of costumes that each team will be obligated to find people wearing around the neighborhood. Allocate points to every costume on the list on the basis of how challenging you believe it’ll be to spot each costume. Divide the kids into even teams and provide one individual on every team with a digital camera. Give a copy of this list to each team and tell them to go out and take pictures of one person dressed in a costume on that list. None of the party-goers can be dressed in any of the costumes on your list. Provide the teams with two hours to accomplish the scavenger hunt. When the two hours are up, examine the pictures and grant points for every costume that the teams took pictures of. The team that has the most points wins the game and each team member receives a prize.
Halloween Mask Trivia
This game is best for older children. Get pictures of various Halloween characters like Chucky, Dracula, Michael Myers, Freddie Kroueger, Carrie, Headless Horseman, Jason Voorhees, Frankenstein and Leatherface. Provide all the kids with a pen and piece of paper. Show the photos to the kids one at a time and ask them to write down the name of each character. When you’ve shown all the pictures, announce the answers. The child with the most correct names wins the game and a prize.
Pumpkin Penny Pitch
Before the Halloween party, sculpt a jack-o-lantern and keep the top off. Provide each child with ten to twenty pennies and ask them to line up at the starting line which should be about fifteen feet away from the jack-o-lantern. Every child will take a turn throwing their pennies at the jack-o-lantern and the child that throws the most number of coins in the jack-o-lantern wins a king-size candy bar.
This is a favorite game among teens! Fill up a big bowl or bucket with ice and marbles. In a one minute time frame, each teen will take their turn at sticking their feet in the bowl attempting to pull out as many marbles as they can with their toes. As they grab the marbles, they’ll try to successfully transfer it to a plate beside the bowl. When one minute is up, the plated marbles are counted and the total is written down on a piece of paper. When all the teens have had their turn, whoever has the most number of plated marbles wins the game.
For this Halloween game you’ll need to gather ten empty 2-liter soda bottles, paint them white with two black eyes in the center and let them dry overnight. You’ll also need a mini basketball or pumpkin and you can paint a face on it if you wish. Pour sand or pebbles into each soda bottle until it’s about a quarter full. Arrange the bottles in the normal ten-pin set-up—one pin in the first row, two pins in the second row, three pins in the third row and four pins in the back row. Don’t forget to have a pad of paper and pencil handy to keep score for all the kids. Pair up the children into teams; give them each two turns to stand fifteen feet away and roll the ball toward the pins. With younger kids, you can let them stand a little closer to the pins or use less pins. After the first roll, clear away any pins that were knocked over then let the child roll again. If a child knocks over all the pins in one roll, a strike, they receive fifteen points; knocking down all the pins after the second roll will earn them thirteen points or else every child is awarded one point per pin that’s knocked over. After every child takes their turn, tally the points for every team; the team with the highest score wins and they receive a prize.
These are just a sample of the Halloween games that will bring life and a lot of fun to your Halloween party, but just make sure that you keep the scare factor age-appropriate. With these games or ones you create on your own, everyone is sure to have a great time. Happy Halloween!
So, you’ve decided to turn off the tablets and smart phones, unplug the television, hide the video controllers, and take a holiday from tech. Yeah, we know it’s hard. But you are a parent, and you know that great families require real time and real interaction.
But what if your kids aren’t quite so psyched to hang out, low-tech, with the family? It’s hard in this age of social networking and instant technical gratification to encourage children to just relax, play, and interact with the family.
Costume play, or cosplay, is a hugely popular pastime. You don’t need to know how to sew to cosplay–all you need is imagination. You can take the kids to a thrift store and let them design their own characters–either based on their favorite book or movie, or a character of their own creation. If you want, you can set a theme, like “Create Your Own Superhero” or “Backyard Aliens.”
Of course, it works much better if you get into the action, yourself. “Danger Dad” or “Meteor Mom” will have a whole lot of fun when they jump into the cosplay with everyone else. Everyone can help design costumers, especially if there are younger players involved.
When the costumes are finished, get out the camera and take some action photos with your characters! You may even want to create a scrapbook of your adventures for future memories.
Family Game Night…with a Twist
Board games and cards are all fun and good, but why night take game night one step further? Why not let your kids design their own games for the whole family to play? Whether it’s a home-made board game, family trivia, or an indoor obstacle course, these games can a hilarious way of bringing everyone together.
If sports are your family’s thing, why not set up a volleyball or badminton net in the back yard? Or build your own back yard cornhole game as a family project?
Storytelling: Really Retro Videos
You don’t need a campfire to tell really great stories. Every family has a treasure trove of stories, and children love hearing about when they were very little. Stories of the Day I Was Born (or the Day I Was Adopted, in some cases) can become treasured family memories if told often enough with love and humor.
Let the children take turns telling stories too. They can be true-life stories they remember of family vacations, overcoming obstacles, or hard-earned successes. Or they can be complete fiction, woven from the child’s fertile imagination. What better way could there be to really get to know your children?
In the end, there are a lot of ways you can turn off the world and really connect with your children. But it isn’t easy, and it may take a bit of coaxing to get the kids on board. Quality time comes in all shapes and sizes depending on your family, ask your kids what interests them, let them help you design your best family day ever.
You never know what those little dickens will come up with!