Crafts, Halloween, Holidays, Kids, Party

Easy Halloween Activities & Snacks for Families with Toddlers to Tweens

Have you ever tried to have a Halloween with activities and snacks for all ages?

I was getting ready for a Halloween party while trying to do the regular Halloween activities with my kids. We ended up doing a mish-mash of Halloween activities to get ready for the party while still doing our pumpkin decorating, with me the constantly behind house-keeper trying to clean up enough clutter so that no one was tripping on boxes during the party.

My goal was to set the older kids up with mostly independent Halloween activities while trying to keep my toddler entertained so she wasn’t destroying the other kids’ projects or making a massive mess while I was trying to clean.

Entertaining the Toddler-Monster During Pumpkin Carving

I didn’t have time to help her paint while I was helping my son get his pumpkins ready for carving so we gave her non-toxic washable markers to color her pumpkin.

While I was helping my son prep his pumpkin to become a kitty masterpiece…
My toddler drew half a moustache and part of a goatee on herself. Thank goodness it wipes off easily!

Then she got super upset because she smeared all the marker off her pumpkin and she really wanted someone to “open” her tiny pumpkin cause she wants to be just like the other kids.

So we tried a pumpkin sticker activity to entertain my little Halloween Monster but then the stickers wouldn’t stay on the pumpkin either!! Some kids wouldn’t get upset about this but my child was ready to throw her pumpkin.

So since I was already using the printer to help the kids figure out patterns to cut out of their pumpkin I just printed out a pumpkin coloring sheet because I knew colors and stickers would stick to paper.

The coloring sheet worked! It was enough of a distraction to cut the tantrum short but I was laughing when dad came in later and she handed him her pumpkin and wanted him to open it.

My kids are suprisingly committed once they get their mind set on something. When she was told we don’t open the small pumpkins from him too, she nodded and agreed. I guess she had to hear it from him?

Pumpkin Carving

So dad is the pumpkin carving expert in our house but he was cleaning the yard for the party while having an arthritis flair up, fun stuff. I had the idea to clean out the 3rd pumpkin for him so he didn’t have to do a lot to carve it. My son was so sweet and decided he wanted to prep the pumpkin for dad. Billy looked at a few designs but just wasn’t feeling up to it this year. So I got to do some carving and guess how our carvings turned out?

My witch design in process.
2 Kitties and a witch!

We were 0-3 on trying to carve out the patterns we printed! So we tried but we were in a hurry. My son was super upset when his 1st design didn’t work out and I said just turn the pumpkin around and try again!

This made him feel better but I think it made him feel even better than that when I messed up my design and free-handed this other witch. I told him you can’t win them all! Plus one of the reasons I love Halloween is because things can be ugly and imperfect and that’s OK!

Our carved pumpkins! Plus what was left of the yummy caramel apple bites that Autumn made!

Getting Ready for our Halloween Party!

So the goal for the Halloween themed foods was to get as many things that the kids could prep themselves. I intended for my kids to just tape decorations on the Hugs but that wasn’t very fast. They asked to use the glue gun so I ended up helping with decorating the drinks but they did end up doing most of the other snacks themselves. We made Monster Hugs, Cheesy Puff Jack-O-Lanterns, Spooky Cheeses, Pumpkin Cuties, and Graveyard Pudding Cups.

Supply List: Monster Hugs

I found Hugs cheaper at our local Walmart.

I already had cheese cloth, clear tape, orange duck tape, googly eyes, puff balls, decorative edge scissors, and several glue guns. If I had to buy all of this for one party it would be expensive, but since I have most of it on hand already that saved me a lot of money creating themed snacks for this party.

I really wished I had had yellow duck tape that night. I used orange as caution tape because I didn’t have anything else but I do plan to buy a duck tape pack like this to have a variety of colors on hand.

I think it’s hilarious to stick googly eyes on random things and we use these for way more crafts then you would think! Have you notice googly eyes are now mostly self-adhesive? I checked mine, they definitely don’t have the sticker back and required tape or glue. Not sure the sticker back would work well on the Hug barrels anyway. I would still be expecting to glue them or secure them with an extra piece of tape.

We bought a bunch of these puff balls last year to make Christmas lights on a cardboard gingerbread house we made for a parade my daughter was in for dance class. These puff balls are great for making monsters and they also make super cute dinosaur magnets!

I definitely need to re-stock my pipe cleaner collection. These would have been so fun for alien antennas or so many monster legs. Alas we used construction paper because I had zero pipe cleaners.

I love decorative edge scissors. The textured edge adds a lot of depth to projects really quickly.

These mini glue guns are nice for kids hands. That being said hot gluing eyeballs is a challenge and my daughter decided she liked clear tape better than burning herself. I just kept on burning myself but I got better (and safer) with practice!

I have an old house and few outlets. If I want to comfortably use my glue gun in my house I need at least a little extension cord. I still need to be careful where I place it so my kids don’t trip but the extension cord makes my life easier.

It’s good to have band aids for when someone injures themselves while crafting. You are using tools, it’s gonna happen. Be thoughtful and reduce injuries but be prepared for when they do happen.

I imagine most of you have first aid stuff but this is just a helpful reminder if you haven’t re-stocked lately.

Supply List: Cheesy Puff Jack-O-Lantern

If you already had permanent markers and zip baggies like I did, this is a pretty inexpensive party snack. I found this container of cheese puffs cheaper at Walmart.

Supply List: Spooky Cheeses

Yes you probably already have sharpies but I can’t help but be amazed at how much better these sharpies would fit in a pocket. This would come in so handy for all kinds of things, I can see these in my Amazon cart in the near future.

Supply List: Pumpkin Cuties

I purchased our cuties from Walmart and I just used regular sharpies we had at home. I thought maybe that having a fine tip would give you more design options. We kept it simple but these could easily become crazy intricate mini jack-o-lanterns.

Supply List: Graveyard Pudding Cups

I got these same pudding cups at Walmart, and a similar shortbread cookie and the teddy bear cookies at the Dollar Tree. I meant to also pick up gummy worms at Dollar Tree but I made a mistake and picked up gummy bears. They were a big hit though and were all gone by the end of the night!

We pick up Black Forest Gummy bears pretty often. Billy is gluten free and it’s one of the best gluten-free gummies we have found so far. We are still waiting for the perfect gluten free licorice.

Our Tips on Making Monster Hugs

I was inspired to make monster hugs by this pinterest pin. My advice? Be creative with all your materials. I love Halloween because their are no rules! Though safety is still a concern. Since I had the hot glue gun out we had our toddler monster strapped in the high chair (with dad in the living room) with cheese balls, string cheese, and a hug drink to distract her!

Not an experienced crafter? Well 16 eyes are OK and ugly crafts are cool at Halloween!

We spent more time on these monster hugs than anything else (besides cleaning lol). Kids leave drinks everywhere and these at least looked cute sitting around at the party. Another benefit is that the kids mostly remembered what drink was theirs. Except my youngest who kept trying to steal whichever one was the closest.
We had lots of fun making both classic-inspired and original monsters.
My kids were great at using the different items in interesting ways.
My 11 year old started out using the hot glue gun but decided tape was safer after she burned her finger pretty good. Band aids and triple antibiotic are good to have on hand, especially if your kid pulls hot glue off her finger and finds that it also removed a few layers of skin with it.

I was concerned the hot glue might melt the plastic container and the Hugs would leak but that didn’t happen. I didn’t apply the glue directly to the bottle though because I was concerned it would. I just applied the hot glue to the item I wanted to stick on and then pushed it onto the bottle. I have no idea if this was necessary and it did make the process a little more challenging, especially when it came to applying tiny eyeballs.

I will be testing a few to see if I can apply the glue directly to the plastic barrel and will let you know if it springs a leak. Being able to directly apply glue will save some time but either way I’ll be making these again. I can see these being fun at all kinds of parties. If you have a cricuit you can print out some hug drink sleeves, that would be fun too!

Our Tips for making Cheesy Puff Jack-O-Lanterns

This is the inspiration, I found it on pinterest. Shocking I know! Draw faces on the bags, use a giant spoon to fill the bags with the cheesy puff balls, don’t over-fill, zip bags closed. My 8 year old prepped most of these although I think these were the few that were drawn by my daughter. The original design uses twisty tie bags but I figured the zip closure would make for faster prep, Plus it’s one less thing for kiddos to lose. They opened and closed their snack bags all night and I had surprisingly little cheeseballs to clean up!

Spooky Cheeses

Pin-spiration right here! We all love cheese, these are individually packaged foods, and it took like 5 seconds or less to draw a ghost face on the cheese wrapper. The marker does smear some if these get moisture on them.

Dry your cheese stick thoroughly before drawing on your ghost face. I didn’t move the cheese sticks around a lot and that reduced the amount of smearing. If you were more careful and didn’t stack them at all you could probably keep your ghostly faces from fading.

Pumpkin Cuties

Here is where we spotted a similar idea. These were so fun to make! I told my kids less is more because sharpies aren’t food safe. Since this is a rind I felt pretty comfortable but had them draw fast designs with less coloring just in case.

Graveyard Pudding Cups

The original design for this is so much cuter but ghosts were already sold out, the pumpkin marshmallows I found also sold out before I got to the store, and candy corns are gross!

I bought shortbread cookies, teddy bear cookies, gummy bears (that were supposed to be gummy worms, whoops!), and snack pack pudding cups. I didn’t get icing for headstone labels and I didn’t do anything for dirt.

I let the kids assemble their puddings themselves because kids are picky and they love a food activity. The whole bag of gummy bears disappeared and we still have a lot of cookies left. I wonder what graveyard pudding ingredients will disapparate at your party?

All Wrapped Up on Halloween Day

Our house was decorated and we were ready for a Halloween party! The main foods at the party were nachos, buffalo chicken dip, meatballs, veggie pizza, and hot dogs. No one went hungry! I only made the foods I mentioned and the nachos. I am blessed to have good cooks around<3
We had soaked pumpkins’ seeds in a salt solution over night. We had to pull them out and cook our pumpkin seeds so the party leftovers would fit in the fridge!
We sure had a lot of fun doing Halloween activities this year! We did it to celebrate this guy’s birthday! (Also cause trick-or-treating wasn’t guaranteed to happen this year and we felt safer celebrating with people we see on a regular basis).
My son had a fantastic Halloween party/birthday and talked all about it the next day while he put his new Minecraft lego set together with his cousin! His Aunt knows him so well, she also got him a Dogman book that he practically finished before the party was over!

Anywho I hope your Halloween celebration was great this year. If this seems extravagant to you just wait until the years where we set-up a haunted woods! We were going to try to set up a mini haunted woods this year but we were all struggling with homeschool and kids staying on task. So we took some pressure off ourselves and had a party instead.

I’m hoping for next year to be more normal than this one but we aren’t postponing fun until next year. We are just making our fun a little safer by keeping our community of people a little smaller. I am glad we live near so many good friends and family members this season. It makes it easy to see loved ones without risking travel. My heart goes out to those of you living far away from your families, and I hope you are using social media to stay connected and have fun together.

Do you have a favorite Halloween snack, costume, or decoration you can’t imagine Halloween without? Share it in the comments. I’d love to see what makes everyone else’s Halloween’s special. No answer is too simple or too extravagant!

Thanks for reading with me today! If you found something helpful in this post, please share it to friends or pin it to your Halloween boards. Thanks so much!

Kat

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