Brainy Halloween Activities for Kids

Giant Pumpkin and First Grader

Pumpkins, bogeys, and creepy crawlies abound. These fun Halloween activities for kids will harness youngsters' natural fascination for all things spooky.

Hands-on explorations will let kids dive into Halloween fun with zest and vigor, while exercising their brains and learning all about their pumpkin friends.

Perk and Petey Pumpkins

Needed: one big and one small uncarved pumpkin, measuring tape, scale, bathtub or large tub of water, Perk and Petey worksheet.

Pumpkin Activities for Kids

Start off by introducing your kids to Perk and Petey. Perk is the big pumpkin. Petey is little.

  1. Let kids get to know Perk and Petey. How old is Petey? How old is Perk? What do they like to do when they are not sitting around the pumpkin patch? Are Perk and Petey related?
  2. Have kids guess how much Perk weighs. Then put him on the scale to weigh him. How close did they get? Now do the same with Petey. You can even weigh both of them together.
  3. Guess how big around Perk is. Then measure. Use a measuring tape, or measure with a string and see how long the string is. Do the same with Petey. (Measuring around the thickest part of the pumpkin is called the circumference.)
  4. Can Perk and Petey float? Have kids guess. Then put each (uncarved) pumpkin in a large tub of water to find out.

Perk and Petey are almost always a favorite in Halloween activities for kids. They can later be carved as jack o'lanterns, if you like. Kids can even repeat the experiments to see what changed.

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

Needed: pumpkin seeds from inside pumpkin, butter, salt.

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

At some point, most kids will open up a pumpkin and scrape out the insides in preparation for the carving. Don't just throw away those goopy pumpkin guts in your carving haste; there is cool science in those seeds!

  1. Ask lots of questions about the pumpkin goop and the seeds. What does it feel like? Is it hard or easy to clean out the pumpkin? How did the seeds get inside the pumpkin? What will happen if you plant one?
  2. Help kids separate the seeds from the goop. This can be more easily done in a colander by running water over it all.
  3. Let seeds dry out on a cookie sheet or flat pan.
  4. Mix dry seeds in a bowl with about 3 teaspoons melted butter and salt.
  5. Roast in 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through.

Spooky Halloween Snacks

Scared Little Girl

There are lots of spooky Halloween recipes out there, but here are a few super quick and easy favorites for kids to make themselves.

Ghostie Toasties: Let kids cut toasted bread into a ghost shape. Soften cream cheese for kids to spread on their toast. They can finish off their creations using raisins for eyes and nose.

Monster Pizza Faces: Give each child an English muffin half and some spaghetti sauce. Cut up skinny carrot sticks, cheese slices, olive slices, and other vegetable pieces and invite kids to make scary monster faces. Toast in the oven, and enjoy!

Sweetly Spooky Spiders: Give kids a marshmallow body, pretzel sticks, and some chocolate chips for eyes, and let them make an edible spider.

Blood Punch: Let kids pour one or more red or purple juices into a punch bowl: grape, cranberry, or raspberry are all good choices. Float a few plastic spiders in the punch bowl and tell everyone it's blood punch.

Halloween Jokes for Kids

Do jokes qualify as Halloween activities for kids? I include them here because jokes are a great way for kids to stretch kids' language skills—and they are practically guaranteed to practice them over and over! Here are a few silly kids' jokes for Halloween:

  • Why do ghosts moan and groan? (They have boo-boos.)
  • Why are there fences around cemeteries? (People are dying to get in.)
  • What is a mummy's favorite music? (Wrap.)
  • Why didn't the zombie cross the road? (He had no guts.)

Even More Great Halloween Activities for Kids

  • Play a match game with Halloween picture words. Print the word cards onto sturdy paper, cut them out, and turn them face down. Turn two cards over to try and find a match. If you get a match, keep the cards and take another turn.
  • Halloween Trick or Treat Kids
  • Estimate how many pieces of candy are in a jar. Or, sort candy by color or type.
  • Have kids count the different kinds of candy they received, and put them in order of their favorites.
  • Read or tell some slightly scary stories for kids as you sit together in the dark with a flashlight under your face. (If this is just too spooky, sit in a dimly lit room to do this instead.) Kids tend to be less scared if they can do flashlight face too.
  • Have kids help make part of their Halloween costume. Or, make face paint by mixing 1 teaspoon corn starch, 1/2 teaspoon cold cream, and 1/2 teaspoon water with food coloring.

So go enjoy some fun Halloween activities for kids. It's learning in disguise!

Share your own spooky activity or kid's story!

Halloween can bring out the super-cute or downright hilarious in kids. Share a story about your kids' Halloween adventures, or tell us about a cool spooky activity your kiddos love!

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“Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself. ”
~John Dewey