Match scary to size. If the party features a younger bunch – under eight – keep the spooky to a minimum. Older ones look forward to being scared.
Take a look at the two very different Halloween tables below. One is for the littlest bunch, with non-threatening pumpkins and unrealistic gummy worms. The main goal at these parties is to maximize the fun and minimize the crying. Activities such as decorating their own fake pumpkins with plenty of glitter glue, a trick-or-treat adventure inside the house by having them go to every door – including closets if possible – and picking up different candies and prizes given by adults or older children, and pinning the broom on the witch are good ways to make the party special.
Now let’s consider the older ones – ten years old through pre-teen. These children are hoping to be scared silly. This is the time to pull out the jars of peeled grapes as eyeballs, oily spaghetti as people innards, and any other combinations you and your kids can discover. Ghost stories are always a hit, and go wild with your Halloween table. Blood soup with more realistic gummy worms combined with a real-looking non-alcoholic Bloody Mary provides snacks that can make them shiver.
Once they hit the teen years, it’s pretty hard to scare them. You might want to organize a trip to one of the local haunted houses and leave the frights to the professionals. Hand out several digital cameras, or encourage photos with their camera phones. Then round them up and bring them back for some hearty late-night munchies and a chance to laugh and compare notes on the experience and the photos.
Whatever the age, be sure to include a nice variety of Halloween candy – you’re never too young or too old to enjoy the tricks and treats of Halloween.