From candy to costumes, there’s a lot to love about Halloween. But with ghosts, goblins and even some (fake) gore, it can be a pretty scary night for toddlers. If you’re planning on skipping trick-or-treating this year or you just want to add some more age-appropriate fun to your Halloween weekend, here are 8 ways to scare it up on Oct. 31st—without the fright. These games can be played indoors or out, and during the day or evening for maximum flexibility with your schedule.

photo: Freestocks.org via Pexels

1. There’s a Pumpkin Hiding in the Patch

Play hide-and-seek with pumpkins, ghosts, cats and bats. Print out these free Halloween templates, cut them out, and then hide them around your home or yard for a toddler-friendly Halloween hunt.

2. Pumpkin Hunt

Forget Easter baskets; this “egg hunt” lets little ones fill up their trick-or-treating bag without going door to door. Grab these pint-sized pumpkins and fill them with Halloween candy and tiny toys. Hide them indoors or out, depending on the weather.

3. Glow-in-the-Dark Ring Toss

You don’t have to wait for nightfall for this activity. Grab some glow-in-the-dark necklaces, turn off the lights and fling these rings for some spooky fun. Aim at the stem of a pumpkin, the point of a witch’s hat or the tops of milk jugs (painted with a ghost face, of course). You don’t have to ring a pumpkin to win the game; the player whose rings are closest to the target wins!

photo: Craig Adderley via Pexels

4. Let It Rain…Candy

Sweets take center stage on All Hallows’ Eve, so take it up a notch (literally) by hanging a ghost or goblin piñata and let the sugar pour down! Use a trick-or-treat bag to store the loot or go old school and let the kids scoop the treats into a pillowcase.

5. Pumpkin Putt-Putt

Turn your backyard or basement into a miniature golf course with this great idea from Dollar Tree. Carvable craft pumpkins, the styrofoam kind that make carving pumpkins easy and mess free, make great props for toddler-friendly games. Carve an oversize mouth for kids to knock their golf ball into. Hole-in-one!

6. Put the Boo in Boo-wling

Spook up a spare with a game of pumpkin bowling. Make the “pins” easy for little ones to knock down by sticking ghostly grins (we love this printable) onto empty toilet-paper rolls. To knock down the pins, use a small pumpkin (plastic or real) that’s roughly the size of an adult hand.

photo: Pinch of Parsley

7. Host a Pepper Carving Contest

Hacking into a pumpkin can be tough on little hands. Use peppers instead, and let the youngest of your bunch draw on faces with edible marker. They will need some help cutting the faces, but they can hollow out these vegetables on their own with a spoon. The best part: You can stuff the peppers and cook them after the contest for a festive Halloween dinner! Here’s an awesome recipe for taco-stuffed peppers from Pinch of Parsley.

8. Get Caught in the Spider’s Web

Fluffy, miniature black pom pom balls become creepy, crawling spiders in this fun toss game. Spin a spider web by criss-crossing painter’s tape or masking tape between a door frame.  Once you’ve created a sticky trap, let your littles take turns tossing their spiders to see who can get the most 8-legged insects caught in the web.

—Meghan Yudes Meyers

 

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