How to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers

Looking for something family friendly to enjoy with your family this Halloween? I have ten fang-tastically fun filled activities that are perfect for babies and toddlers. Halloween is another special time of year that offers us a chance to celebrate, socialise and let our hair down. I have jam packed this blog post with activities to suit everyone so keep scrolling to discover the best ways to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers!

Whether you are a die-hard Halloween fan and want to know how to tame down your horrifically scary ways now that you are a parent, or if you have never been that into it and just want to find a way to teach your toddler about the tradition – I’ve got you covered! There are plenty of ways you can enjoy celebrating Halloween with your baby or toddler.

Where did Halloween come from?

Halloween is a tradition which actually originated in the church. The festival of ‘All Hallows Eve’ was for prayer and preparing for ‘All Hallows Day’ when the church celebrated saints. It’s thought to have been planned at this time of year, to encompass the pagan rituals already happening for Samhain. This is quite a lot for young children to understand so it’s important to start with the basic concepts – like exploring scary things in a safe and fun way!

Why is it important to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers?

Halloween is a great way to introduce the idea of ghosts, ghouls, monsters, witches and other scary things in a friendly way which doesn’t intimidate your child. You can explore emotions and use fun games like peek-a-boo to encourage responsive, turn taking interactions. These are fantastic social skills for your child to learn and it will also give them a strong foundation for understanding Halloween as they get older.

What if I don’t celebrate Halloween?

Some people choose not to celebrate Halloween for religious or other personal reasons. That’s absolutely fine and you will find that many of these activities include recipes for play materials that can be enjoyed as a celebration of Autumn instead. So it’s still worth reading the full blog post to find all of my exciting activities!

Spooky spaghetti and pumpkin pie messy play with the Crafty Toddler Company

Number 1. Spooky Spaghetti & Pumpkin Pies

Number 1 on my list of activities to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers is my Spooky Spaghetti & Pumpkin Pie messy play tray! This gruesome cooking tray is perfect for little hands to explore a variety of textures. If you are a fan of the blog, then you already know how much I LOVE Messy Play! And this messy play activity is packed with colours, textures, smells, sights and sounds that are guaranteed to stimulate all of your child’s senses. To make your own Spooky Spaghetti & Pumpkin Pie messy play tray, follow the link to my blog post with all the instructions.

Spooky salt dough Halloween decorations to make with your toddler

Number 2: Spooky Salt Dough Ornaments

Number 2 on my list of ways to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers is Spooky Salt Dough Ornaments. Why not make something you can cherish for years to come? Babies and toddlers love to be hands on and Salt Dough is a great option for hands on play materials. The dough is very similar to playdough, but once modelled it can be baked so that it dries and becomes hard. This means you can keep your creations as ornaments. We had loads of fun creating Halloween ornaments to decorate our living room with this year. To find the recipe and instructions, click here.

Number 3: Spooky Snap

Number 3 on my list of ways to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers is Spooky Snap! Halloween has lots of great vocabulary for young children to learn. You can introduce it using a fun, visual and engaging activity like Spooky Snap. Just print my FREE Halloween Flashcards to use as snap cards and create lots of spooky fun for your baby or toddler.

Spooky Snap can be played using any Halloween pictures you have at home. But I have actually created a FREE Halloween Activity Bundle for you and your child to enjoy. Download it now to get the Halloween Flashcards pictured above as part of your bundle. Spooky Snap isn’t the only way to play – there are loads of fun ways to use these flashcards.

 I also used our set of flashcards to play a Halloween version of ‘Search and Rescue’. Bury the flashcards in oats, lentils and cornflakes and then have fun finding the pairs. I have also included word cards which demonstrate the written word as well as the image.

I use these word cards as our list of items to find and then encourage my toddler to find the flashcard and match it up. The bundle also has a set of colouring pages and draw-to-match activity included. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy and get ready to teach your toddler all about Halloween now!

Halloween sensory rice for babies and toddlers

Number 4: Halloween Sensory Rice

Sensory Rice is another wonderful messy play material. It is long lasting, inexpensive and super easy to make. That’s why I have included as number 4 on my list of ways to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers! I first used Sensory Rice when I discovered the Happy Hooligans recipe and loved making the pastel version for us to use in our Easter activities. It lasted for 6 months before I decided to make this second batch!

Halloween themed messy play for babies and toddlers with the Crafty Toddler Company

This time I decided to alter the Sensory Rice recipe so we had bigger batches and spookier colours! You can find my Halloween Sensory Rice recipe here. It’s perfect for pouring, scooping, sprinkling and burying. We made a Halloween Sensory Rice exploring tray by setting up orange and black Halloween cookie cutters, bowls, scoops and toy bugs to play with.

Messy play outside with Halloween sensory rice at the Crafty Toddler Company

It was a lovely Autumn day too, so we wrapped up warm and headed out into the garden to play. The orange rice represents the orange pumpkins. The black rice represents night time. Purple and green are vibrant, spooky colours that will spark your child’s imagination. Why not use your rice for a bit of potion making or pour it into bottles and create a Halloween Sensory Shaker? Use your imagination with this versatile play material and celebrate Halloween with your baby or toddler.

Halloween decorations to make with your toddler. Make these ghosts out of a cardboard tube!

Number 5: Make a Ghost

Arts and crafts are always on the list when it comes to early years activities. So my fifth way to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers is to Make a Ghost! These cardboard tube ghosts are super easy to make and better yet you will be recycling rubbish into a beautiful Halloween decoration. We made two versions, one was painted and the other was assembled from a few bits and pieces. You can find my guide to make a Halloween Ghost here.

Parents and their daughter laughing and singing nursery rhymes

Number 6: Terrrrrible Tune Time

Does your baby or toddler love music? Mine too! That’s why number 6 on my list of how to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers is a Terrrrrible Tune Time! Nursery rhymes and songs are a fantastic way to boost your child’s speech and language development. I have found that it’s super easy to change up the words to popular tunes and create your own songs for any occasion.  You can find my Halloween themed nursery rhymes to sing with babies and toddlers here.

Homemade Halloween hand puppets to use with counting rhymes

Take your Terrrrible Tune Time to the next level with Halloween Hand Puppets! They are quick and easy to make and require very few materials. We have been using Five Little Pumpkins and Five Little Ghosts throughout October to liven up our rhyme time. So what are you waiting for? Find all the instructions you need here.

Room on the Broom Story Station by the Crafty Toddler Company

Number 7: Spooky Story Station

Next up on my list of ways to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers is a Spooky Story Station! This Spooky Story Station is what early years workers call an ‘invitation to play’. You don’t need to direct your child to read the story or act it out, it’s simply a familiar story being used to spark your child’s imagination. I love to theme my play setups. Firstly, because it can be hard to come up with novel play ideas from scratch every week. And secondly, because it really does bring the story to life and encourage your child to love the written word.

 This particular Story Station is inspired by Julia Donaldson’s book ‘Room on the Broom’. It’s perfect for Halloween because it features a witch and her friends riding on a broomstick. She even does lots of magic with her cauldron and wand! My son loves acting out the story using his toy mop as the broomstick. If you haven’t read it, check it out of your local library ASAP!

 I included puzzle pieces with words from the story on my Spooky Story Station, but you could use flash cards or simply draw some pictures and write the words underneath. To make it multi-sensory, try to include a variety of textures and colours.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Hard and soft textured toys
  • Colourful scarves that could be hidden under or waved in the air
  • Some recycled cardboard packaging material for the fire
  • A plastic cauldron
  • Bendy pipe cleaners
  • Craft leaves
  • A witch’s hat
  • And of course the story book itself!
Little red hen story station using toy farm animals, oats, vegetables and the book.

 You can do this with any story you have at home. Just look through the book for key words, characters or ideas and try to use items from around your home to represent each one. Which spooky story will you use? I would love to know! Tag me @craftytoddlercompany in your posts!

Homemade Halloween cinnamon biscuits to make with your toddler

Number 8: Homemade Halloween Biscuits

My eighth way to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers is to bake Homemade Halloween Biscuits! Gingerbread is always a popular recipe in the colder months, but why not try my new Halloween Cinnamon Biscuits? I created this delicious recipe by accident after running out of the ingredients for our usual gingerbread dough!

Halloween cinnamon biscuits to bake with your toddler

 The cinnamon dough is still perfect for rolling, shaping and cutting with babies and toddlers. And it’s extra tasty! My toddler loved icing the Halloween Biscuits too using lots of bright and spooky colours. You can find all the ingredients and instructions here in my Cinnamon Biscuit blog post.

Child's hand using Halloween cutters to cut biscuits from cinnamon dough

 If you’re not sure about baking with your baby or toddler, then check out my Great British Bake Off inspired blog post. It even has a link to my FREE Time to Bake Activity Bundle which you can get delivered straight to your inbox!

Number 9: Apple Print Pumpkin

Number 9 on my list of ways to celebrate Halloween with babies and toddlers is definitely fruity! Apples are abundant in Autumn so why not make the most of them and try making this Apple Print Pumpkin? Just cut your apple in half and dip it into orange poster paint. The apples make the perfect stamps and the shape is remarkably like a pumpkin!

Remember to add a little green stalk with a paintbrush and leave it to dry before you display the picture proudly. Babies and toddlers will also love some real life models, so grab a mini pumpkin from your local farm shop and use it as inspiration while you dip, stamp and splodge to your heart’s content.

Number 10: Pumpkin Sensory Tray

And finally, you can’t really celebrate Halloween properly without picking a pumpkin to carve! Babies and toddlers can’t handle the knives, but they can get involved with scooping out the pumpkin pulp and seeds. Last year we had lots of fun picking our pumpkins and then heading home for a messy play session!

 Why not turn your crafty carving into a pumpkin sensory play tray? Once you have removed the top of the pumpkin (and put the knife safely out of your child’s reach) you can get ready to play! Help your baby grab pulp and seeds with their hands. They will love looking at, patting, and pulling the lid off of your pumpkin too!

Toddlers can get even more involved using spoons or an ice cream scoop to help remove the pulp from the pumpkin. Talk about what you are doing and introduce new vocabulary. Descriptive words like slimy, sloppy, squashy, wet, orange and heavy are exciting for young children to learn.

How will you celebrate Halloween with your babies and toddlers?

I hope you have a Happy Halloween and find lots of way to celebrate with your babies and toddlers. Do you have some other terrrrrible traditions or fang-tastic family activities to share? Come and join the Crafty Toddler Community on Facebook and let other parents know! After all, it takes a village to raise a child and sometimes that village is virtual!

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