Halloween night is less than two weeks away so now is the time to stock up on trick or treat sweets and candy to hand out on the big night. You could just be like everybody else and give out lollipops and haribo but if you want to be a little different, there are some really cool and unusual options for Halloween sweets this year.
All kids love trick or treating at Halloween but for their parents it can be more a time of dread, knowing that they’ll have to deal with hyped up children later who’ve eaten too much sugar, sore tummies and rotten teeth. Halloween is only once a year and even strict parents tend to relax their rules on this night thats known for sweets and candy as much as it is for pumpkins and ghosts, but there are also some great alternatives that kids will like just as much. Sales of trick-or-treat confectionary were way down in the UK last year as the public awareness of healthy diets continues to grow and the trend is set to continue for this year If you’re concerned about the amount of sugar that your kids eat on Halloween night or how you’re going to ration it out over the coming weeks, it might be worth having a word with your neighbours and suggesting some alternatives. Or even if you just choose to hand out another kind of treat to kids who knock at your door, you’ll still be reducing their overall sugar consumption and their parents are sure to thank you! So if you don’t want to give out sweets but don’t want to risk being ‘tricked’ with toilet paper and eggs and flour, what are some other options:
Halloween Cookies and Cupcakes
You can still give out sweet treats but home-baked goods are much healthier than sweets and chocolate and you can make them even healthier if you wish by reducing the sugar, using wholemeal flour or even making raw versions of your favourite cakes out of fruits and nuts. You can make these just as fun as Halloween candy by decorating them with spooky designs like spiders, witches hats, pumpkins and so on – get some ideas at our spooky food page here.
Popcorn can be a healthy treat if you make it salty instead of sweet and you can even make some little Halloween paper bags or cups to hand it out in (photo from One Charming Party)
Toffee apples are traditional at Halloween after all and they’re mostly apple with just a thin coating of sugar or chocolate, so they’re much healthier than a handful of sweets.
Glow Sticks or Mini Torches
You don’t have to give out food – anything that lights up at Halloween is sure to be a big hit and glow sticks and small LED torches are cheap to buy in bulk. This pack of 100 glowsticks that can be turned into bracelets is less than a tenner. This pack of 12 LED torches works out at less than £1.50 per torch.
These fun temporary tattoos will be eagerly received by both boys and girls and are really cheap. They also make an excellent goody bag filler for Halloween parties.
Fake spiders, rubber snakes and bats, little witches and pumpkins can be bought really cheaply in discount shops in the run-up to Halloween and make a great alternative to giving out sweets to trick-or-treaters.
Want other parents to love you on Halloween? Give out books to trick-or-treaters! Actually kids love these too. There’s a selection of Halloween themed books on Amazon including Peppa Pig and Mr Men books for around £3, or you can check out your local discount book shop which often sell children’s picture books for 99p. Even if they’re not Halloween themed, they still make a great Halloween treat!
Halloween can be a scary time of year for young children. Until about the age of 5, children can’t distinguish fantasy from reality so the idea of ghosts, witches and things that go bump in the night can be terrifying for little ones.
Halloween can also be lots of fun if you celebrate it in the right way and it’s a great opportunity to have fun playing with your kids, getting dressed up, doing fun craft projects and making tasty Halloween food together. One of the best ways you can help to prepare young children for Halloween so that they see it as something to get excited about and not something scary is to read books with them.
Halloween themed books for young kids are a great way to prepare them for everything they might experience and to introduce ghosts, ghouls, bats and other spooky creatures as being funny rather than scary!
Here is my pick of the best for kids aged around 2-5
Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski
This was one of my favourite books when I was little and we actually have a signed copy somewhere. The detail in this book is just incredible with illustrations even behind the pop-ups (where of course little kids love to look). My kids love pop-up books and I’m definitely going to get this one for them now they’re old enough not to destroy them! This book is a bit creepy but i think kids are just so in awe of the pop-up illustrations that they forget to be scared!
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
You can’t go wrong with Julia Donaldson and Room on the Broom is almost as big a hit with my kids as The Gruffalo. It’s on a witchy theme but it’s not at all scary and there are lots of funny rhymes that children love to repeat. This is one of those books that they’ll soon know off by heart and be able to “read” themselves.
Winnie the Witch
Another witchy book. This one’s a classic that recently was published as a special 25th anniversary edition. Winnie has a problem – being a witch, everything in her house is black. The chairs are blag, the floor is black and the stairs are black. The problem is that Winnie’s cat is also black so she keeps tripping over him. Winnie decides to do some magic on her cat with hilarious consequences. Pre-schoolers love reading this funny book and the illustrations are lovely and detailed. It’s not scary at all, just a sweet and funny story.
peppa’s pumpkin Party
Ah well we can’t suggest books for the toddler set without including Peppa Pig these days can we? If you have a young child then Peppa Pig probably needs no introduction and I don’t have to read this book to know that both my kids would love it!
Go Away Big Green Monster!
My kids have an interactive version of this book on the Kindle Fire and they love it! As you turn the pages, bits of the monster disappear until he’s completely gone! If your kids are scared of monsters, this is a great book to help them conquer their fears and the simple words and illustrations make it great for even the youngest of children.
Meg and Mog
I remember reading the Meg and Mog series of books when I was a child and they were some of my favourite books. This is the first book in which Meg goes to a Halloween party and things don’t go exactly to plan. Young kids love the simple illustrations and there are great opportunities to discuss things happening within the story.
This rhyming Halloween counting book is beautifully illustrated and is great fun for kids who are learning to count. If this is the first year your kids are going trick-or-treating, this is a lovely book to introduce the tradition to them, with lots of funny things happening as you go through the book.
Another classic! The Funnybones series about a family of skeletons (and their pets!) has been delighting kids for over 30 years. Children can quickly memorise the story due to the repetitive nature of the language… “On a dark dark hill, there was a dark dark town. In the dark dark town there was a dark dark street” and there’s even a little bit of a scare, which most kids love!
Halloween activities like parties and trick-or-treating can sometimes be a little too overwhelming and scary for the youngest members of the family but there’s no reason why they should miss out on all the fun of Halloween. Along with getting your kids dressed up, there are loads of fun crafts and activities you can do together.
I follow quite a few kids activities and homeschooling blogs and some of them have the most amazing and creative activity ideas and crafts for toddlers and young kids, most of which are really easy to set up and can be done with things you’ll already have lying around the house. There are so many good Halloween-themed activities out there for little ones, I thought I’d compile a post of some of my favourites.
Please let me know if you try any of these and if you have any more ideas – always looking for rainy day ideas to keep kids occupied, especially at this time of the year!
Halloween Sensory Bin
Sensory bins are always a hit with little kids and it’s a good way to keep them quiet and even calm down toddler tantrums. This one has a fun Halloween twist that the kids will love! See Kids Play Box for the full instructions.
These are so cute and easy to make and have lots of play potential when you’ve finished making them- my kids love playing with rocks! See No Time For Flashcards for the full post.
This one is so much fun! My kids love playing with vinegar and baking soda to make ‘magic potions’ and this is a really fun Halloween variation. See Growing a Jeweled Rose for full details.
Fingerprint Bat outlines
This is a fun art activity that even the smallest toddlers can enjoy taking part in and if you have small kids you’ll probably have these art materials in your house already. Check out Crafty Morning for full details
Papier Maché Pumpkins
This is a great alternative to carving real pumpkins for kids who might not be old enough to enjoy that activity. Small toddlers will enjoy sticking paper onto balloons and then you can have fun decorating them together. You can even cut out faces and turn them into lanterns just like real jack-o-lanterns, or cut the tops of and use them as decorative bowl for Halloween candy. If you want to do this, remember to make them a few days before Halloween so they have time to dry properly. See full details at Family Education.
My 3-year-old just LOVES playiing with sequins, glitter and confetti so I was immediately drawn to this craft. This is a fun pumpkin decorating activity however old your children are and the finished result looks so pretty! See The Imagination Tree for full instructions and ideas.
Make a Monster Mobile
I have about a million toilet roll tubes that I’ve collected for the kids to craft with so I think we’ll definitely be doing this craft this year to use them up! Plus they have pipecleaners and goggly eyes – all things that toddlers love! See Happy Hooligans for full instructions.
Jack-o-lantern squish bag
This is a great sensory activity for babies and young toddlers, with NO MESS! See Fantastic Fun and Learning for more details
Slimy Spaghetti sensory activity
Another sensory activity that toddlers are bound to love but this one is not quite so mess free so you might want to do it outside! See Hands On As We Grow for full instructions.
You can’t go wrong with slime, goo and play dough type squishy things to play with and you’ll probably love playing with this “Halloween gak” as much as your kids! See Mess For Less for full recipe.
Halloween sticky table
A fun Halloween art activity that’s easy to set up and you can buy the materials cheaply from the craft section in discount shops like Home Bargains and Poundland. See Fun A Day for full details.
Wrapped up like a mummy
it doesn’t get much simpler than this: wrap your kid in toilet paper for hours of fun! See Teach Preschool for more info.
Apple Pumpkin Prints
Ah good old potato prints. Or apple prints in this case. There’s nothing little kids love more than the chance to print with these cute little stampers and they’re so easy to make – an apple cut in half is shaped just like a pumpkin, making this ideal for Halloween. You can keep the prints and use it as wrapping paper if you want too! Visit Mom in Madison for full instructions.
Kid sized spider web
A fun game that can be played inside or outside by kids of all ages and a good choice for Halloween parties. See Makes and Takes for full details.
Make healthy Halloween snacks
They’ll be getting enough sugar on Halloween night so some ideas for healthy snacks that you can make and eat together are a great idea to keep your little ones busy in the run up to Halloween. Try these spooky ghost bananas and cute tangerine pumpkins (from Family Education)
toilet roll mummies
another fun toilet paper craft from Happy Hooligans. This is a really easy art activity for young kids to make and doubles as a cute Halloween decoration.
Halloween Night Lights
These little lanterns are not only easy for kids to make themselves (with a little help from mum of course!) but they also look great on the table at your Halloween party. See Kids Activities Blog for full instructions.
Spin art PUMPKINS
These are great fun to make and the end result is impressive. All you need is a salad spinner, some paper plates and some ready mixed paint. See Rainy Day Mum for more details.
Paper Bag Halloween Masks
This is one of the easiest Halloween costumes you can make for your child – just cut eye holes in a paper bag and let them decorate it however they want. For a slightly more polished result you can download templates and instructions for a variety of animal masks from Wee Society
I’ve seen a few different ideas for Halloween bowling but this is one of the easiest and the cutest – from Jeanetics
A fun science activity for young kids from Kids Activities Blog. All you need is water and food colouring!
witches hat drip paintings
A fun and messy art activity for young children that’s also a great activity for a children’s Halloween party. See Toddler Approved for more details.
Another great idea from Kids Activities Blog. This one could get messy so you might want to think about doing it outside!
There’s nothing cuter than a little chubby baby or toddler in a Halloween costumes. Some of the best kids costumes this year are for babies and it’s almost making me wish I had another one just so I could have fun dressing them up!
Most toddlers won’t really get the point of Halloween and while some like dressing up, others would rather be naked! You don’t want to have to deal with a grumpy screaming toddler on Halloween night so it’s important to make sure the costumes you buy are comfortable and easy to put on.
Luckily costume designers aren’t stupid and most fancy dress designed for young children is comfortable enough for sleeping in. If you don’t think you can get away with a full blown costume, there are plenty of Halloween-themed onesies and sleepsuits to choose from so you can get into the Halloween spirit with your little one with the minimum of fuss.
1. Skeleton Romper
This romper is made from 100% combed cotton so it will be soft and comfortable on your baby’s skin just like their normal clothing, but it has a spooky skeleton print on it, just perfect for Halloween. It comes in a range of sizes for children aged 3 months – 18 months. This is a really easy way to make a matching mummy and baby costume, as it’s really easy to make or buy a skeleton costume.
2. baby bat costume
This little bat costume is just so adorable! Even better, there is a matching dog costume! If you have a little dog and a baby it would be a crime not to buy these costumes and do a cute Halloween photoshoot together. This costumes comes in either 6-12 months or 12-18 month sizes and has non-slip soles for walking toddlers. It’s lovely and cozy, made of warm soft fabric and with a hood so a great choice if you’re going out trick-or-treating. This outfit will ensure your baby has full attention at your Halloween party!
This little girl’s pumpkin costume is so pretty and cute for babies and toddlers at Halloween. It comes in different colours and designs including purple and orange or black and orange and there’s a cute skull version as well as pumpkin. It comes in three different sizes and will fit babies from newborn to 12 months old. I really wish this came in bigger sizes as I know my 4-year-old would go crazy over this outfit!
4. Halloween kitty
There’s something really adorable about babies in animal costumes and lets face it, you want them to look cute at Halloween, not scary! This sweet little cat costume comes complete with bow, collar and mouse bracelet. It would also be great to wear for fancy dress parties at any time of the year
5. little vampire
Ok here’s one for the boys! Just imagine how adorable your little man will look in this mini vampire baby costume! (Although that baby looks like he’s wearing eyeliner and I’m not sure I agree with that)! This costume comes with popper fastenings for easy nappy changes and is available in sizes from 6 months to 2 years. I am so tempted to buy this for my little boy right now, even though it would be too small for him!
6. rainbow witch
Witches are always a popular Halloween costume theme and this rainbow witch costume is ideal for toddlers when they get to that age where they insist on dressing themselves. In fact you might want to hide this outfit away after Halloween or you might find that your little girl insists on wearing it every day! This costume fits kids aged 2-3
7. cute pumpkin
Another adorable baby pumpkin costume for your little pumpkin! This cute unisex costume is perfect for both boys and girls. It fits kids aged approx 1-2 years and is made from lovely soft squishy fabric that your little one will love to wear.
8. not-so-scary spider
If you sing “Incey Wincey Spider” with your kids, they will love this costume! This is another great addition to the dressing up box and as the sizing is generous, it will be suitable for a couple of years at least. It comes in two different sizes: 1-2 years an 2-3 years.
This super soft and cuddly baby dinosaur costume is sized for babies aged 6-12 months and is just an adorably cute and funny costume for Halloween or any other occasion . Perfect for your little monster!
I know this cowboy costume is one that my little boy would love. He’s really into Toy Story so he would love the chance to dress up as Woody for Halloween. This costume is for kids aged 2-4 and little boys will just love to dress up in it!
Halloween can be a really fun time of year but it can also be a worrying time for parents. Antisocial behaviour increases at this time of year and there is an increase in the reporting of crimes. Teenagers may attend parties that get out of hand, engage in underage drinking and go trick-or-treating at strangers houses. With bonfires and fires around in the runup to Guy Fawkes night, the risk of injury is also greater and there’s also been a recent campaign to change the law regarding children’s costumes as many of them are highly flammable.
Luckily with a few precautions, Halloween can be fun and safe for the whole family and you can get on with enjoying the scary fun with your kids.
Trick or Treating Safety
When I was a child, it was common to see small groups of young children going from door to door on their own, but this is a rarity these days. As a rule of thumb, children under the age of 12 shouldn’t be out by themselves. Children should only trick-or-treat in groups and not by themselves. Always accompany younger children (don’t let them just go out with older siblings) and it’s best to stick to houses you know, on the streets around your house.
Many people, especially the elderly are afraid of trick-or-treaters so this is another good time to only visit houses you know. Make sure you give older children clear boundaries on the houses they may and may not visit and make sure they understand not to bother people inside the house if they do not open the door or have a “no trick-or-treaters” or “do not disturb” sign outside.
You should know where your children are going and when to expect them back. Give them a mobile phone or change for a pay phone in case of emergencies.
Children should never go inside houses if invited, unless they know the owner well.
Make sure your path is well lit – carry a torch as well as traditional jack-o-lanterns and go for artifical tea lights inside them instead of real candles to avoid the chance of your child’s clothing catching alight. Impress on kids the importance of road safety and always looking before they cross the road. Although there might be lots of people out, it’s important to stay on the pavement and not walk on the roads. You might want to sew some reflective strips on their clothing for extra visibility. Giving your kids glow sticks can be another fun way to make sure they stay visible.
Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween as on any other night of the year so if you’re driving, make sure you go slowly and take extra care to look out for kids on the road.
While poisoning of trick-or-treat sweets is extremely rare, you might want to check your child’s haul at the end of the night and remove anything that looks like it has been opened or suspicious. Ask your kids not to eat any of their sweets until they get home.
If you’re really worried by the idea of your kids trick-or-treating or you live in an area where it’s not safe for kids to be out after dark, or near a busy road, you might want to consider holding a halloween party at home instead.
Halloween costume safety
Always check children’s costumes are flame retardant. Claudia Winkleman brought the problem of insufficient safety standards for children’s halloween costumes into the public eye earlier this year when she relived the moment her daughter was badly burned after her costume caught fire.
This improved awareness forced manufacturers to improve costume safety and most of the costumes available in the UK this Halloween are flame retardant. It’s still a good idea to check the item description and label of any costume you’re thinking of buying meets the British nightwear flammability safety standard.
Masks can be a danger at night as they cut down on visibility which makes it dangerous when crossing roads. Consider facepaint instead.
Make sure costumes are not too long or have long trailing pieces, as this can be a trip hazard.
Wondering what’s hot and what’s not in Halloween fashion these year? Or would you rather buck the trend and come up with a unique costume so that your little one doesn’t turn up for trick-or-treating in the same outfit as his best friend.
Costumes have changed a lot since my day – it’s not enough to throw a white sheet over your kid for a ghost costume or a black bin bag for a witch. Scary costumes are not as fashionable as they once were and kids are now more into dressing up as their favourite cartoon characters.
Trends in Halloween costumes come and go just like everything else in life, so here’s a little preview of the children’s costumes you’re most likely to see out and about on the streets of the UK this Halloween:
1. Minions (despicable me)
The Minions movie has been a box office hit since its release in June and the whole uk has gone Minions crazy with products everywhere (including Minions haribo). So it’s not much of a surprise that minions costumes are likely to be one of the most popular for Halloween 2015
Disney Frozen Elsa
Love it or hate it, Frozen isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and every little girl’s favourite Disney princes is sure to still be a top-selling costume this Halloween.
Check out our Disney Frozen Halloween costume guide with lots of dresses and accessories that are perfect for any little princess.
Batman is a superhero who will never go out of fashion and there are lots of different variations on this costume including the new sleek Dark Knight Rises version.
A Batman costume is a must-have addition for the dressing up box in any household with a little boy in it. For some reason boys just have to charge around while wearing a cape. It’s the law.
The new Cinderella movie was another box office success this year and any little girl loves the opportunity to swan around in a pretty blue princess dress so it’s no surprise that the Cinderella costume is one of the most popular options for girls this year.
I don’t know what it is about Doc McStuffins but my daughter and most of her friends are just obsessed with it. There’s nothing new about playing doctor on your teddy bears but for some reason you have to do it in a Doc McStuffins costume now. Luckily there are plenty of costumes around and I must say, they are rather cute!
I have to confess, I had no idea what Monster High was. My kids are a bit too young for these dolls but it seems to be the current obsession with the tween set and obviously the spooky aspect makes it perfect for Halloween. There are loads of different Monster High characters you can choose to dress up as and it’s preferable to Barbie as far as I’m concerned
Sofia the first
This is another current obsession with my daughter and I’m not sure I see the attraction but she and all her friends certainly do! I guess it’s just another pretty princess dress so can’t blame them for wanting to look pretty really. I think we’re going to see a lot of Sophias in purple dresses walking around this Halloween.
Harry potter is always going to be a popular theme around Halloween. It’s not as scary as some costumes for those who are offended by vampires and zombies but there’s a definite spooky link with all the magic spells going on. The last Harry Potter movie came out ages ago but the trend shows no sign of going away – Harry Potter was one of the most popular costumes for book week this year and the Harry Potter costume is the number one best seller in kids costumes on Amazon. Also this year is a special year for Harry Potter as J.K. Rowling has told us it is the year that his son starts school. Does that make you feel as old as it does to me?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Another trend that I can’t believe has come back! I remember my brother being obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when we were kids. Now a new generation has discovered the delights of the “heroes in a half shell”.
It’s not just boys who get to be super heroes! The Spider Girl costume has become extremely popular of late and I think it’s very cute. Not only that but it enforces positive ideas that girls can be strong as well as boys and will stand out among all the princess dresses!