For many early education centers, Halloween is one of the best times of the year to get families participating in program celebrations and activities. Although your party plans may look different this year due to COVID-19, that doesn’t mean your students and parents can’t still have a ton of fun this October!
We’ve rounded up 5 tried-and-true Halloween tips from childcare and preschool providers that are fun, COVID-friendly, and ensure that parents can still safely join the festivities. We hope you find some new ideas to try at your center!
1. Door decoration contest
With Halloween decor, not even the pandemic can stop the festive spirit! Invite your students to help make developmentally appropriate decorations that each room can put on their door.
Here are some ideas for fun and spooky decorations you can make with the materials you already have at your center:
- Coloring pictures of pumpkins and scarecrows
- Cutting out construction paper bats and witches
- Paper ghosts with googly eyes
- Sticking stickers on bright orange poster boards
- Orange and black paper chains
- Paper plate spiders
Once each classroom has its door decorations up, take photos of each one and send them to the parents in your program so they can vote for their favorites. You can even ask them to vote for specific categories, such as cutest, spookiest, or most creative!
To bring the festivities online, you could also host the contest on social media. Upload all your door photos to your center’s Instagram or Facebook account, and ask families to vote by liking or commenting on the photos. This also doubles as a fun way to boost parent engagement on your social media platforms!
2. Virtual family costume contest
If the parents in your program love to dress up, this activity is a perfect way to celebrate Halloween from home! Ask your families to send in photos of their family costumes, and have your staff members vote on the best costumes for a variety of different categories.
Some category ideas are:
- Most artistic
- Most heartwarming
- Most unique
- Best group costume
Make sure to share the photo entries (including the winners) with all your families, whether on social media or in your program’s newsletter. For a fun bonus activity, you can print out the photos and have your students decorate frames or make Halloween collages using their families’ photos.
Tip: With brightwheel, you can easily share Halloween activity photos and keep everyone updated on all the festivities with the newsletter tool! Your families can also send their costume photos to you and your staff team through the parent photo uploads feature.
3. Outdoor Halloween fair
If you have a large parking lot or yard at your center, you can turn it into an outdoor Halloween fair with different stations and activities! Make sure you have enough space outdoors so all families can maintain comfortable social distance from each other.
Here are some low-cost ideas for stations that both students and families will enjoy:
- Painting pumpkins
- Decorating cupcakes (make sure that each child has their own portion of frosting and sprinkles to keep things more sanitary)
- Mask decorating with stickers, markers, and glitter paint
- Having an onsite “pumpkin patch” by bringing your own small-medium sized pumpkins
- Using pumpkins to play large-scale tic tac toe on the ground (you can use masking tape to make the grid)
- Halloween-themed dance contest using songs like “Monster Mash” and “Thriller”
- Pin the stem on the pumpkin (like pin the tail on the donkey)
If you have an outdoor or Bluetooth speaker (or one of your families can bring one), remember to play some kid-friendly Halloween tunes, like this playlist on Spotify!
4. Halloween photo backdrop at pick-up
Even if you can’t host a gathering for the families at your center, you can still provide them with some Halloween cheer—through a photo opportunity with their little one! During the week before Halloween, set up an outdoor photo backdrop that families can visit right after they pick up their children.
Remember to notify parents beforehand so they can prepare if needed, and assign a staff member or two to be the official photographers. If your students will be dressing up this year, make sure to set up your backdrop on the same day.
To make the backdrop, all you need is a blank wall outside to decorate. Here are some ideas for what to include:
- Spiders made out of pipe cleaners
- Fake cobwebs
- Orange and black paper garlands
- Long orange and black streamers
- A chalkboard easel that says something festive, like “Happy Halloween!” or “Boo!”
5. Family boo'ing game
To help your families continue the Halloween festivities outside of the classroom, start a “family boo’ing” game! This can be especially fun if most of your families live close to one another.
Starting with a few families, ask them to anonymously “boo” another family at your center by leaving a bag of treats at their door. Once a family has been “boo’d,” they can “boo” another family by leaving treats at their door—until every family has been “boo’d”!
- To organize this, you’ll need to share your family directory with everyone beforehand, especially if you’ve had new families recently join your program. You can also send them “boo’ing” instructions and a “We’ve been boo’d” sign to put on their doors, so other families can keep track of who still needs a treat package. You can download our boo’ing instructions and signs here!
Have a happy Halloween with brightwheel!
You can also use brightwheel to communicate with families at any time about your Halloween plans, such as safety precautions, invitations to contribute supplies and decorations, and answers to their questions about your Halloween activities.
We hope everyone at your center has a fun and safe Halloween!