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Published by Riverside Training (Spalding) Ltd

Celebrating Halloween is huge across the Atlantic and there is no doubt that here in the UK we are fast following in our American cousins' footsteps.

Last year Halloween was the third biggest 'event' for retailers behind Christmas and Easter, with Britons estimated to have spent in the region of a staggering £400million on related items.

This year we are expected to splurge even more.

There's something about 31 October which really captures the imagination of children.  I'd hazard a guess that the sugary treats and dressing up are a big part of its popularity.

Even very young children are likely to be invited to Halloween parties or carve pumpkins at home.

And, truth be told, most children love being just a little bit scared, provided it's within a safe environment.

If you are considering Halloween-themed activities within a childcare setting, here are our spooktacular suggestions to ensure some not-too-scary fun:

Fancy Dress

Inviting children to come in fancy dress to celebrate Halloween is a great way to get into the 'spirit' of the day's activities.

Pumpkin Decorating

Pumpkin carving is a traditional Halloween activity but there are some fun alternatives which may be better suited to Early Years children.

Painting a pumpkin, using a 50/50 mix of PVA glue and washable paint, or using stickers - spooky or otherwise - to decorate are both simple activities even the youngest children will enjoy.

Magic potion

Let children unleash their magical talents by making a super-sparkly magic potion.  You'll need clear plastic bottles, water, food colouring, jugs, glitter and sequins.  Allow children to explore the different 'ingredients' and quantities and ask them to explain what magic powers their potions possess.  Remember to seal the finished bottles very firmly with tape to avoid spillages.


There are lots of fun Halloween-themed books and we've picked three of our favourites.


'Halloween ABC' is a fun first alphabet book by Jannie Ho and features bats, eyeballs, pumpkins and monsters in underpants - all the essentials for a fun spooky story.

Based on the CBeebies animated show, 'Peter Rabbit Animation: Pumpkin Party' has a fast-paced storyline that sees Beatrix Potter's much-loved characters chase a runaway pumpkin.

While Maurice Sendak's classic 'Where The Wild Things Are' is not Halloween-themed its beastly characters and picture-led story make it the perfect choice for this seasonal celebration.  Although Max misbehaves, the message is one of parental love and provides the perfect reassuring ending for young children.


There are plenty of free printable colouring sheets available online featuring every imaginable spooky subject.  And with a vast array of cute and funny Halloween imagery you are sure to find one that is age-appropriate.

Batty Biscuits

Decorating biscuits with writing icing and sprinkles is always popular with young children.  Think spiders' webs, witches hats, pumpkins and bats but, if you need inspiration, you'll find plenty of photo examples online.

Mummy Wrap

Let the children go to town with toilet rolls or Halloween-coloured crepe paper. Either working in groups or in pairs let them take it in turns to wrap each other up.  Cheap, great fun and always a big hit with children (and adults).