Halloween is the perfect time to connect with your kids, no matter their age, but tweens can definitely be a tough bunch. They’re way too young for blood and gore and a bit too old for cute and cuddly party themes.
So what’s the compromise? Here are four Halloween party ideas that will help your tweens — and their friends — have a not-too-scary good time.
Hocus, Pocus, Toil, and Trouble
Halloween is the perfect time for a little magic with friends. Turn your living room into a witch’s lair for a mini spell demonstration, taught by you! Tweens can dress up in black clothing and tall hats — don’t forget the brooms! — and invite their friends over for a bubbly cauldron good time.
Every group of little witches need a good spell book or two so why not create your own? Before the day of the party, you and your tween(s) can embark on a do-it-yourself project to create a unique spell book to keep for years to come. Buy binded notebooks to start and then use craft foam, tissue paper, 3D letters and craft paint to turn them into something special. After your books are dry, go wild adding in “spells” that can serve as your recipes to create yummy potions (a.k.a. fun drinks) that your crowd will enjoy.
Since it’s Halloween, there are a ton of fun ways to make the party drinks you make even more creepy. Have fun with straws by adding Surf Sweets candy to them. You can even bug out and freeze Surf Sweets Spooky Spiders and Gummy Worms into ice cubes beforehand for an extra crawly treat.
For a classic Halloween favorite that never gets old, add in Disney’s Hocus Pocus for a spellbinding good time.
“Who Done It?” Mystery Game Night
It’s no secret that mystery TV shows like Pretty Little Liars are extremely popular among tweens. Tie in the fun that comes with trying to solve a mystery by having a “Who Done It?” Game Night, in which everyone has a part to play.
Watch Clue to get your tweens excited for the detective fun, and then play the Clue game or use printables to create your own version.
For your accompanying munchies, keep the theme going and decorate cupcakes with images such as question marks and police crime tape with natural food dyes — a perfect pre-game activity that the whole family can help out with before guests arrive.
Cake Up the Makeup
Halloween is a time where it’s actually okay for your tweens and their friends to pile on the makeup. So, why not make a night of it?
Take a trip to the dollar store for mirrors, eyeshadow palettes, lipstick, blushes, and traditional Halloween costume makeup.
After makeup is all applied, it’s time to hit the “selfie station.” Collect various costume pieces from family and friends. Lay accessories like crowns, masks, and jewelry out on a table and hand up clothing on a nearby stand. Print out fun photo booth signs and glue them on sticks. Create a background for photos by hanging fabric, table cloth, or curtain on a nearby wall.
You can always take photos of them on a digital camera or camera phone, but for an added touch, grab a camera that prints photos instantly in the old school, Polaroid-style way of printing, like Fujifilm’s Instax cameras. The dress up and photo-taking process will of course be fun, but the printed photos will serve as cool take-home gifts.
Allow tweens to play dress up and take photos as needed throughout the night until movie time. Classic movies such as Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer will help keep the mood light-hearted.
Study Like Harry Potter
Harry Potter parties are always a good idea, but for Halloween, the magical fun is perfect for a creative way to celebrate.
Your tweens will all become students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Before guests come, your family can make wands for everyone out of paper and glue and print out report cards listing all of classes (activities) for the night.
One class can be a potions class. Buy enough mini cauldrons for each of the students, and using baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap, show them how to do a simple experiment that will “magically” bubble up over the cauldrons.
Snacks can be equally as fun. Add edible “school books” to the mix as a special treat. Wrap homemade fruit leather around squares of white chocolate to create little snacks that look like leather-bound school books — perfect to get “students” in the Harry Potter mood.
Wrap up the night by watching the real Harry Potter and his friends in action. Any movie in the series will do!