Make your own Halloween sensory rice

Halloween is coming and it’s a great time of year for babies and toddlers. There is so much to explore! Halloween offers young children the chance to learn about big, scary things in a safe way. There is also new language to explore and lots of bright, vibrant colours. Perfect for sensory play! So why not get pouring, scooping, sprinkling and shaking with some Halloween sensory rice? I have the perfect DIY recipe for you! So keep reading to make your own spooky sensory rice for Halloween messy play. 

Sensory Rice is another wonderful messy play material. It is long lasting, inexpensive and super easy to make. 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 we decided to make this second batch!

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

What is sensory rice?

Sensory rice is just plain old rice that has been dyed to give it some exciting colour. It makes a versatile play material that can be used for all kinds of play setups. This time I decided to alter the recipe so we had bigger batches and spookier colours! You can find my Halloween Sensory Rice recipe below.

How did you choose the colours?

I chose classic Halloween colours for this spooky sensory rice. 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 and invoke images of witches and monsters.

How do I play with the rice?

My spooky Sensory Rice is perfect for pouring, scooping, sprinkling and burying. You can see from the photos that I made a Halloween Sensory Rice messy play tray for my toddler. It included:

  • Orange and Black Halloween cookie cutters
  • Bowls
  • Scoops
  • Toy bugs

 It was a lovely Autumn day, so we wrapped up warm and headed out into the garden to play. But a messy play tray isn’t the only way to play with this versatile spooky sensory rice! Why not use your rice for a bit of potion making or pour it into bottles and create a Halloween DIY Shaker? Use your imagination with this versatile play material and teach your toddler about Halloween.

Spooky Sensory Rice for Halloween

So here it is, my recipe for spooky Sensory Rice to enjoy with your toddler this Halloween. I made four colours, so I followed this recipe four times in separate bags / trays. I also used Arborio Risotto Rice for my green sensory rice to give it a frogspawn quality and I loved how it turned out! Adapt the recipe to your needs and repeat as many times as necessary. I made 1 batch per colour. This equated to 1kg bag of rice.


  • Ziplock freezer bags
  • Baking trays

Ingredients (per colour):

  • 3 cups of white basmati rice
  • 3 tsp of distilled malt vinegar
  • 1 tube of Dr Oetker’s gel food colouring


  1. Pour your 2 cups of rice into in a ziplock bag
  2. Add 1 tsp of distilled malt vinegar into the bag and shake it about gently
  3. Squeeze the tube of gel food colouring into the bag (use a whole tube for a dark and vibrant colour).
  4. Seal the ziplock bag then shake and rub the gel food colouring into the rice
  5. Once all of the rice is coated in food colouring, pour the rice onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
  6. Place the tray in a warm, dry place out of your child’s reach overnight or until the colour is set.
  7. Check the rice by running your hands through it and dispersing any clumps. If it feels damp or colour transfers onto your hands, then it is not yet ready.

Reuse your spooky sensory rice

When the rice is dry, you can start playing or transfer it into a container. The spooky sensory rice is a great play material because it can be reused again and again! I kept our batch of pastel Easter rice for 6 months before creating this Halloween batch. Each time we played, I simply scooped it back up and popped it into a ziplock bag.

Top tips for cleaning up Spooky Sensory Rice

I love to play with Spooky Sensory Rice for Halloween messy play. It’s perfect on the tuff tray and so easy to clean up! You can use a clean dustpan and brush or simply use your hands to scoop the rice up when playtime is over. Some rice will likely end up on the floor, but it only takes five minutes to clean with a hoover!

What if I don’t have a tuff tray?

If you don’t have a tuff tray, why not place a towel or blanket underneath the play area. Then you can lift the blanket in a v-shape and pour the rice back onto a baking tray when you are finished.

How will you play?

So that’s it! I hope you enjoy making my Spooky Sensory Rice for Halloween messy play. Please tag me in your posts @craftytoddlercompany or email me to let me know how you get on! Do you have any other Halloween activities planned? Grab my FREE Halloween Activity Bundle below for even more homemade Halloween fun!

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