There’s no denying that Halloween is an incredibly fun holiday for just about every age group. But after partying like an adult for so long, it can be hard to know what there is to do with toddlers for Halloween. You might be wondering what’s appropriate for your little one and how to make Halloween fun for a toddler.
Not to worry! This article will help jog your memory, get your Halloween creative juices flowing, and provide you with resources to make sure you and your toddler have a fun-filled celebration. It also includes advice for things like trick-or-treating with a toddler and what to do if your little one is scared of Halloween. Okay, let’s get started!
In this Article:
Halloween Activities for Toddlers
Even though carving pumpkins should be left to the adults, there are still a ton of things toddlers can do to get into the spirit of Halloween. From enjoying Mummy Muffin Pizzas to marching in a Halloween Costume Parade, there are so many things to do with a toddler for Halloween at home and in your local community.
Halloween Treats to Make with Toddlers
When it comes to Halloween treats, it’s easy to overindulge in the trick-or-treat candies. But that’s definitely not the be-all and end-all when it comes to Halloween treats. Actually, a fantastic thing to do with toddlers for Halloween is make (and eat) Halloween-themed treats. And the best part is that not all of them are sugar bombs.
Halloween Cookie and Cupcake Decoration
Kids love getting into the spirit of just about any holiday by helping to create homemade treats. So, it’s no wonder it’s one of the best Halloween activities for toddlers. Depending on your comfort level, your little one can help you at every step of the baking process or join you for decorating fun.
You can make your own fantastic decorations or easily get Halloween sprinkles that come with small ghosts, pumpkins, and eyeballs.
Mummy Muffin Pizzas
One of the easiest Halloween treats to make with toddlers has to be making Mummy (English) Muffin Pizzas. Super simple: just put marinara sauce on open-faced English muffins, add pieces of smoked ham if you like, then place strips of mozzarella on top (try to mimic a mummy’s wraps). To make it even better, add two slices of black olives as eyes peeking out from the wraps.
Pretzel Spider Web
One of the coolest Halloween treats to make with toddlers is a spider web made of pretzels and chocolate syrup. Create a web by placing thin pretzel sticks on a circular plate. Make sure they all radiate from the center with places between each one (resembling a pizza).
Then drizzle chocolate sauce (like Hershey’s) on the pretzels, making circles that get bigger moving from the center. To make it even more fun, place a plastic spider ring on the web and a few raisins as the spider’s unfortunate prey.
Halloween Arts and Crafts for Toddlers
Creating arts and crafts are some of the best things to do with a toddler for Halloween. We all know little ones shouldn’t be actually carving pumpkins, but that doesn’t mean they can’t create awesome decorations for Halloween to get into the fun. Here are some super simple and fun Halloween crafts for toddlers:
Make a fluffy ghost!
Materials: 1 piece of black paper, white pencil or crayon, liquid glue, loose cotton, black construction paper
- Have the adult draw a simple outline of a ghost in white pencil or crayon on the black piece of paper.
- Help your toddler cover the interior of the ghost with liquid glue, then cover all of the space with cotton.
- When dry, have your child glue on pre-cut shapes (ovals) made from black construction paper for the eyes and mouth.
Paper Plate Jack-o-Lantern
This craft is something even the most reluctant toddler can enjoy.
Materials: White paper plate, orange tempera paint, black and green construction paper, glue
- Have your toddler paint the entire plate orange, then let it dry.
- When dry, have your little one glue on the pre-cut shapes made of construction paper for the eyes, nose, mouth, and stem. Of course, you or the toddler can paint the eyes, nose, et cetera with black paint or a pen instead, as in the video below.
Fun Alternative: Use googly eyes instead of black construction paper
Paint a Pumpkin
Materials: Small pumpkin or gourd, tempera paint
Process: While grownups are carving jack-o-lanterns, let your little one get into the fun by painting his own. Remember, it doesn’t have to resemble an actual face, so let them have fun with as many colors as they’d like.
Paper Bag Jack-o-Lantern
Materials: Brown paper bag, twist-tie or pipe cleaner, newspaper or paper towels, tempera paint (orange, black, and green), black construction paper, glue
- Fill a brown paper bag halfway with newspaper or paper towels.
- Tie off the bag with a twist-tie or pipe cleaner.
- Compress the empty section of the bag into the shape of a pumpkin stem.
- Have your toddler paint the bag orange like a pumpkin and the stem green. (Or, of course, some other colors. Having fun is much more important than getting it “right”.)
- To put on the eyes, nose, and mouth, you can have your toddler paint them on or glue pre-cut shapes made from black construction paper.
Halloween Coloring Worksheets
Materials: Crayons, printouts from the internet
Process: It’s easy to find printable coloring worksheets of jack-o-lanterns or happy witches and cats online. Print enough for everyone in the family to color. When they’re done, post them around your home to decorate for the holiday.
Coloring is one of the easiest activities to do with toddlers for Halloween.
Things to Do With a Toddler for Halloween
Part of the fun of Halloween is getting out into the community, but it doesn’t just have to be for trick-or-treating. Many communities host events and programs that are ideal things to do with a toddler for Halloween.
Halloween Costume Parade
Great examples of community Halloween Parades take place in big cities like San Diego’s Boulevard BOO and small towns like Petoskey, Michigan’s Halloween Children’s Parade, and Downtown Trick-or-Treating, to mention a few.
If you can’t find a Halloween parade in your area, why not consider starting your own?
Visit the Library for Halloween with a Toddler
Head to the library. Community libraries are some of the best places to find awesome events perfect for toddlers at Halloween. You’re likely to find Halloween-themed read-aloud arts and crafts. And, of course, librarians will help you find Halloween books for your little one.
Visit the Zoo for Halloween With a Toddler
The zoo might not be the first thing you think of when considering what to do with your little one during the Halloween season. But many zoos across the country host Boo at the Zoo, an event combining fabulous animal exhibits and the Halloween spirit.
Many vow to be “more merry than scary” making it one of the best things to do with a toddler for Halloween. Zoos big and small host this awesome event, including the National Zoo in DC, Bronx Zoo in NYC, Chattanooga Zoo, Idaho Falls Zoo, El Paso Zoo, and, of course, many more.
What to Read with Your Toddler for Halloween
A perfect way to celebrate Halloween with little ones is to sit down to read a Halloween-themed book.
Your little one will love reading books like Five Little Pumpkins by Natalie Marshal, It’s Pumpkin Day Mouse by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond, Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and Spooky Pookie by Sandra Boyton. Clifford’s Halloween is also a great book that can help toddlers prepare for trick-or-treating.
What to Watch With Your Toddler for Halloween
When it’s time to wind down, consider putting on a Halloween-themed TV show or mini-movie to watch together. There are so many options to choose from, like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Curious George: Halloween Boo Fest, Room on the Broom, and Super Monsters Save Halloween.
Some of the best shows for toddlers have Halloween episodes, like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peppa Pig, and Doc McStuffins. Netflix’s Super Monsters is based on a preschool for monsters, making just about any episode the perfect show to watch for Halloween.
What to Do if My Child is Scared of Halloween
It’s totally normal for a little one to be afraid of Halloween. With witches and skeletons around, it’s understandable. To lessen the fear, there are several things you can do to make Halloween fun for a toddler and less spooky:
- Be an active listener – If your child shows signs of fear, don’t dismiss it. Listen to them and connect by reassuring them that these feelings are okay. Try to help your child overcome these fears by explaining and showing the difference between reality and pretend.
- Choose the right decorations – Go for the happy little witch, jack-o-lantern, and ghost rather than mummies and zombies.
- Get into the spirit early – Get your little one excited about the big day by dressing up in costumes several times before the end of the month.
- Read Halloween-themed books like Five Little Pumpkins by Natalie Marshal and Clifford’s Halloween by Norman Bridwell.
- Role Play– Practice what it will be like to go trick-or-treating
What a Toddler Can Wear for Halloween
There’s no need to wait for the 31st of October to dress up for Halloween. To help demystify the spooky holiday, get into the spirit earlier in the month with fun t-shirts and Halloween-themed pajamas. Major big box stores begin stocking Halloween attire in September, which might make adults groan but can help acclimate toddlers to the spooky holiday.
Letting your child choose a costume is a great way to create excitement for Halloween. Whether it’s scrolling through options on a screen or in a store, it can help kids get excited for the big day. If you’re worried that there are too many options for your little one, consider pairing them down to only a few. Another option is to have them choose a costume you already have in the house.
Remember that Halloween costumes don’t need to be scary. My little ones also loved dressing up as ladybugs, bees, and dogs when they were small.
It’s important to keep in mind that when it’s time to dress up on Halloween, your little one might refuse. Sensory issues tend to flare up with elaborate costumes, making kids refuse to keep them on.
When this happens, don’t push it. Instead, offering Halloween-themed clothes can be a lifesaver in a pinch. Kids can still have a fun Halloween wearing skeleton pajamas (my youngest son’s favorite when he was two years old) or a shirt with a friendly ghost on it.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing a Halloween costume:
- Avoid long costumes that can be hard to walk in or cause your little one to trip.
- Avoid costumes with small decorations that can become choking hazards.
- Check the weather– make sure you can bundle up your little one under their costume if it’s cold, or make sure your little one won’t get overheated in a thick costume.
- Diaper changes and visits to the potty are inevitable, so make sure the costume doesn’t make this difficult.
Here are additional costume tips for babies that might be helpful when choosing a costume for your toddler, too.
Trick-or-Treating With a Toddler
An essential part of the Halloween experience is going trick-or-treating. So, why not do it with your toddler? Before you head out to go door to door, there are a few things to consider:
- Timing – As with just about everything we do with toddlers, it’s all about the timing. So, you’ll want to find the perfect window between nap time, eating, etc.
- Stroller Friendly – Yes, your little one may want to strut right up to each door looking for treats. But this is seriously exhausting for little ones. So it’s best to bring the stroller along for a well-deserved rest.
- Don’t be afraid to end early – No one says how many houses you must visit on Halloween. So keep an eye on your little one. If they seem like they’re done, then call it a day and head home.
- Let big kids lead – One of the best things to do is pair up with older kids for trick-or-treating. My nieces and nephews ranged in age from 4–13, making them the best role models for my little one. They even looked out for their little cousin, slowing down the pace and letting him get right in front of the door.
- Make it a playdate – There’s no better way to end trick-or-treating than continuing the fun with a playdate at someone’s house. So, when everyone’s tired from going door to door, head home, order pizza, let the kids play, and the parents relax.
- Toddler-friendly treats – It’s fun to collect tons of candies and treats while trick-or-treating, but it doesn’t mean you want your little one eating them all. Check for choking hazards like hard candies, and use your judgment to limit how much sugar your little one has. Some parents let kids have one Halloween treat a day.
As you can see, it’s easy to fill the entire month of October with fun things to do with a toddler for Halloween. Your little one will love creating treats and decorations at home and then heading out for community celebrations. With so many possible Halloween activities for toddlers, you’ll both be looking forward to the holiday year after year.
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Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing is based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians that you find here. They write or review all health-related articles.