Little Jules and Corrine have convinced you to let them invite over the entire fourth grade for a Halloween bash. Now you have a gaggle of ghouls who are about to start digging through your record collection unless you find a way to entertain them. If your kids have already decorated enough cupcakes this year, try one of these engaging afternoons. These parties take just a little prep work, but will be frightfully fun experiences for the gang. You can base which theme you choose on your own job or hobbies, and what’s already in your house.
Mad Scientist’s Kitchen
Everyone knows the vinegar-and-baking-soda volcano. But did you know that if you soak a highlighter in bubble solution, your bubbles will glow in the dark? (Especially good under a black light.) You can set up a lot of containers and ingredients and do many more weird experiments, especially if you have a stocked kitchen. Turkey basters and colanders are surprisingly creepy props. Kids can make their own mad scientist goggles out of paper cups or toilet paper tubes and some elastic. Use some hairspray to give them all crazy ‘fros, and set them to work creating colorful, fizzing reactions, and learning about science. Here’s a great recipe for a rainbow density column that kids can drink afterward: http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistrydemonstrations/ht/rainbowinaglass.htm
Soundtrack to play: Man or Astroman, Ratatat, bubbling and burping liquid sounds.
Additional fun props: Dry ice, Pop Rocks
Frankenstein’s Voodoo Doll Laboratory
This is a good one for people with sewing, knitting or quilting supplies lying around. You can tell stories about Dr. Frankenstein or Voodoo lore, tailoring the scare factor to the age range. Little monsters can stitch simple figures and stuff them with rags or batting. You can help by prepping some fabric or felt shapes, like heads, arms and legs. Get in the Halloween spirit and sew together mismatched sizes and colors to make weird humanoids. Littler children can glue body parts and facial features—precut by you—onto backgrounds. To get them in the mood, use an eyeliner pencil and draw stitches all over their limbs. Crazy hair is also a plus. If you want to get really macabre (and legit) have kids dig up “bodies” in your yard first, and then piece them together.
Soundtrack to play: The Voodoo Organist, The Slow Poisoner, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Additional fun props: A plasma globe, jelly donuts to stick with toothpicks
Zombie Super Groups
If you could create a band out of dead musicians, whom would you choose? If you have extensive music trivia knowledge, a huge album collection or especially a lot of instruments in your abode, this party is for you. First talk about whom everyone’s favorite musicians are. If the tykes like live people, steer them toward similar sounding dead ones. Prepped photos and playlists will help immensely here. Once kids decide who they want to be, the most important thing you need is makeup. Gray, blues and blacks will be the best, along with some fake blood.* Have kids bring their rattiest clothes so they can get zombie-fied more easily. Gross them up, style their hair to resemble their chosen rock idol, and put some guitars (or tambourines) in their hands. Zombie Joe Strummer and zombie Beethoven rockin’ out will be a Halloween present to yourself. If you have Rock Band, you just cinched this party up.
Soundtrack: Your favorite albums by any rock n’ rollers no longer with us.
Additional Fun Props: Mics, cottage cheese with jam, or any food that looks like brains
* Easy, Washable Fake Blood
½ cup chocolate syrup
5-10 drops red food coloring
2 tablespoons dish washing liquid
If you have a group of kids who are less into creep and more into haute couture, this “Project Runway” style party might be the ticket. If you are a clotheshorse, a hoarder of materials or a shopping junkie, perfect! Get these kids to create a Halloween runway look. Start with piles of resources—cardboard, tape, paper, plastic containers and maybe some Halloween décor, such as plastic spiders. Blood and gore, as part of an ensemble, is not out of the question. Bring out clothing you’re willing to part with, like old T-shirts, socks and too-small dresses. Fashion magazines the kids can browse and rip up will be great inspiration. To prepare the little divas, have them spend time doing their hair and makeup in some kind of extreme, fashion-forward way. Encourage ripping, cutting and securing materials back together, and you’ll not only end up with some novel outfits, you’ll impress on them the value of individual taste.
Soundtrack: Ladytron, Mexican Institute of Sound, Hercules and Love Affair
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