As a child, we never celebrated Halloween. We closed the door, turned off the light, and had a family night. I grew up knowing the roots of Halloween are not something to be celebrated, and I still agree with that sentiment. As a parent, I might continue in this tradition. However, I’m not just a parent — I’m also a Children’s Ministry Director, and as such, it’s my job to really shine the light of Jesus into the community.
I was listening to Children’s Ministry Talk last year and they advocated having a block party or driveway party with songs, puppets, and maybe a few games. It sounded like a great idea, but a little tough to pull off as far as drawing crowds in. Our church is pretty suburban and doesn’t draw a huge crowd of kids. However, when I found out that one of our congregation members lives in a cul-de-sac that has around 300 kids stop by on Halloween, I figured we had found our solution.
This year, we’re planning a block party. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous. When we’ve had a party at the church, we’ve gotten 5-10 guests. But meeting 300 new kids and their parents in one night? And trying to plan and pull off a great party (that leaves them talking) with a limited budget? This is going to be a task!
I picked up the latest issue of Oriental Trading’s Faith and Fun catalog to try to gather up some ideas (Bonus, you get a $10 gift card when you spend $59 or more right now!). At first, I thought about some of the craft kits, but with 300 potential participants, that will rack up the cost fast. Here’s a few other things I thought of:
Pin the Leaf on the Tree Game
Using these self-adhesive foam leaves (no tape, less trouble!), kids can try to pin leaves on a tree drawn onto some butcher paper. Mark an “X’ on one of the branches to give the kids something to aim for. At 500 pieces for $8.00, that a pretty good deal! Make several trees ahead of time in case the branches get too crowded.
You could set up craft table, and let the kids stamp with these leaf stamps. Ink pads might be a little pricey, but if you have leftover paint from other projects (washable!), you could have kids dip the stamps in that for a nice leaf place mat or other piece of art. Also at the craft table could be Halloween or Harvest coloring pages from Ministry to Children. I also searched around for some harvest crafts using toilet paper rolls (did I mention I have an abundance of these due to a little mis-communication?). I found some instructions for a kaleidoscope here and here, but it might be a little complicated for this venue. Binoculars might be a thought.
Matching Duck Game
Using these ducks, kids try to match numbers that are preprinted on the bottom. Grab your kiddie pool and this set for $10 and you’ve got a quick and easy festival game!
*Update: Looks like the original set is sold old. Try one of these sets instead.
They don’t call them classics for nothing! We might also include some of these games: Bobbing for apples, Ring Toss (using pumpkins as the target), Knock over the Can, Limbo, Eat the Dangling Donut, Guess how much candy in the jar, and other things like this. Family Fun magazine usually has some great ideas including this giant Twister game or giant Marbles game. Minute to Win It Games (at stations) might be good too. If you’re on Pinterest, you can grab some great ideas there too (maybe I’ll post on this later!)
They are $5 for 144 pieces, so it might not be too bad, and the kids would have some Scripture to take home, not just sugar. They also have “He Lives” coins, and Kindness coins if you’re looking for a little variety (same price).
Your Ideas Are Welcome!
What are you planning this year? I’d love to hear about it!