Okay, y’all…I know I’m probably going to create some enemies here, but I’m going to say it anyway.
Halloween is, by far, my least favorite holiday.
I really do wish I enjoyed it more, but this holiday is a combination of some of my least favorite things: dressing up, scary movies, being startled, spiders, walking up to strangers, and haunted houses. The only thing that remotely saves this holiday for me is candy. I can always go for some candy.
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I distinctly remember watching Hocus Pocus for the very first time with my sister. When it was over, we looked at each other and said, “I can’t believe we watched that entire movie. It was so scary!” I blame my mom — she was afraid of Scooby Doo. 🙂
So, when this holiday rolls around every year, I’m 100% okay with sitting back and letting it happen without me. It’s just not something I enjoy…at all.
But, I’m a parent now.
I realize that I can’t let Halloween roll on by. My son is going to want to pick out costumes, get dressed up, and go out trick-or-treating to snag some of that holiday-saving candy. And I’ll admit, Halloween has gotten to be a little more fun now that I have a child. I love being able to make holidays a little more magical for my son.
So, I decided to create a list of toddler-friendly Halloween activities to do before the holiday is over next week. These are fun things you can do to celebrate the holiday without all the scary stuff.
Visit a pumpkin patch
We actually took JD on his first trip to the pumpkin patch this year. We would have done it sooner, but we had some other major life events going on. So, we took a trip while we were visiting my parents and he had the best time!
The pumpkin patch we visited had a corn maze, hayrides, a petting zoo, kid activities, and, of course, lots of pumpkins. So many fun things for little ones!
My son is all about pumpkins this year. We decorate with a lot of chalk paint pumpkins and have them in just about every main room in the house. I’m never surprised to find a pile of them sitting in the middle of my living room where he has gathered them all up.
So, any activity with pumpkins is sure to be a hit. Obviously carving pumpkins is a little dangerous for toddlers, but there are plenty of ways to decorate pumpkins!
Paint the pumpkin
We always have plenty of paint and paintbrushes around the house, so the easiest thing is to hand our toddler a paintbrush and let him go crazy. We usually sit him at the table in his booster seat and put one of our old t-shirts on him so he doesn’t get paint on his clothes. Be sure to add some glue to the paint so it doesn’t flake off after it dries.
Sticker the pumpkin
Looking for a relatively mess-free option? Let them cover the pumpkin in some festive Halloween stickers or a pack of sticky googly eyes. Smaller stickers work better since your dealing with a round surface.
Hammer things into the pumpkin
Grab some golf tees or cookie cutters and let them hammer them into the pumpkin. They’ll have a blast and may even create some fun patterns or cutouts for lights to shine through later.
Make monster treats
One super easy way to make some Halloween treats is by using candy eyeballs. You can add them to just about anything sweet and it makes it super festive and fun.
This is a great idea for breakfast on Halloween morning. Add some food coloring (we used this) to pancake mix and make crazy-shaped pancakes. The good thing about this activity is you can’t really mess it up! The uglier the pancake…the better, right? They are monsters after all.
Add some candy eyeballs to the pancakes and you’ve got yourself a fun, pancake monster that your little one is sure to love and squeal over.
Pro tip: Cook the pancakes at a low temp for the color to show up vivid and bright.
Monster rice krispies
When it comes to making rice krispies, we always follow the recipe on the box…but we always add a little more butter. 🙂
After you’ve mixed together the marshmallows and butter, add some food coloring. Once you’ve stirred in the cereal and spread the mixture in a pan, place a bunch of candy eyeballs on the top of the rice krispies while they are still a bit warm. Super easy to do, but so fun and festive!
Watch a Halloween movie
There are so many great toddler-friendly Halloween movies to choose from. We decided to go with the classic, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Grab some popcorn or make some Halloween treats and watch this movie together as a family!
Last, but not least, take them trick-or-treating! There are some great toddler-friendly options that don’t require staying out super late.
Participate in a trunk-or-treat
Every year, our church puts together a trunk-or-treat complete with a bouncy house, cotton candy, popcorn and a photo booth. The kids have so much fun and, best of all, it’s safe!
If you don’t have a trunk-or-treat option at your church, plan one with your family and friends! Have everyone come with a bag of candy and a decorated car and make a fun evening out of it while keeping your little ones safe in one location.
Find a community event
Our local library hosts an event where kids can come dressed in their costumes and trick-or-treat around the library. Such a fun idea that allows younger kids to trick-or-treat and still get to bed on time!
Start early in a safe neighborhood
If you want to go with the more traditional method, find a safe, well-lit area in your neighborhood and enjoy an early evening out together as a family. Most cities will “officially” kick-off trick-or-treating between 5:00 and 6:00 which can still give you plenty of time and daylight! Of course, every location is different so be sure to check with your city on your official start time.