Fun and Safe Ideas for a Tween Halloween Party

tween Halloween celebration

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Celebrate Halloween with your tween by throwing a kid-friendly Halloween party. They'll enjoy the chance to spend time with their friends and show off their costumes. Add a scary movie, games, and some snacks, and you'll have a party to remember.

Here are some tips for throwing a spooky and fun tween Halloween party. Don't forget to involve your tween in the planning process.

Set a Halloween Party Theme

Pick a theme for your party, such as a haunted house, vampires, or a favorite scary movie. The theme will help you pull together the party, making decoration ideas and planning the details easy. For example, a pumpkin-carving theme will easily lend itself to pumpkin and orange-colored decorations, food, and more.

If your tween guests can handle a more mature theme, a fun twist on a typical Halloween gathering is to make it a murder mystery party. Although it's usually a theme for an adult party, a murder mystery can be adapted for tweens. Use a ready-made kit or create your own, ensuring that the puzzles are challenging but not impossible to solve.

Provide Music

Get the kids up and moving with some fun Halloween music. A dance-off will allow guests to get a little exercise while having fun and working up an appetite for some snacks. 

In addition to spinning popular music—with some Halloween tunes thrown in—you can up the fun ante by incorporating a few challenges and games set to music, such as musical chairs, a dance contest, or even limbo. Adapt the freeze dance game by having the kids freeze as a vampire, werewolf, or other Halloween creature when the music stops.

Watch a Halloween Movie

A scary movie can make your kid's Halloween party a hit. Many Halloween movies are appropriate for the tween age group, such as cult favorites "Hocus Pocus," "Practical Magic," and "Beetlejuice." Older tweens might be able to handle the more psychological themes of scary movies like "The Others," Signs," "The Sixth Sense," and "The Village."

Throw down cushions or air mattresses in the backyard, and project the movie once it gets dark. Or designate the garage, den, or another room as the movie theater for the party. Of course, movies just aren't the same without snacks, so have plenty of bowls of popcorn, candy corn, and other treats available.

Decorate Pumpkins

'Tis the season for pumpkin decorating. Guests can either bring a pumpkin to decorate, or you can provide the pumpkins—along with the carving and decorating tools—for all. If you're not comfortable with the idea of tweens using pumpkin-carving tools, provide plenty of craft materials, such as felt, yarn, glitter, foam, and paint, for your guests to use to decorate their pumpkins.

When the children have finished their masterpieces, take a picture of each guest with their jack-o'-lantern. Give the children their pictures, along with their pumpkins, as a keepsake.

Play a Game

Tweens aren't so old that they won't appreciate a fun group game. Try these Halloween games at your tween Halloween party:

  • Halloween memory game: Fill a tray with objects you associate with Halloween, such as a small pumpkin, candy bar, plastic spider ring, picture of a black cat, or small plastic skeleton. Try to find roughly 15 to 20 items. Cover the tray with a cloth, so the children can't see the objects. Give each child a scrap of paper and a pencil, and place the tray before them. Remove the cloth. Allow everyone to look at the items on the tray for about 30 seconds, and then cover the tray again. Then, the children have 20 seconds to write down as many items as they can remember. The one who remembers the most wins.
  • Ghost and witch game: One child is a witch and must leave the room. The other children sit on the floor in a circle. Give one of the children a paper ghost, and have them hide it somewhere in their costume. Then, invite the witch back in. The witch must try to figure out where the ghost is. The closer the witch gets to the ghost, the louder the children should make ghost-like "ooo" sounds. Have the children take turns being the witch and the ghost.

Make a Halloween Snack

While it's always fun to munch on a snack, it can be even more fun to make something yourself. Create a Halloween trail mix snacking station at your party with bowls of pretzels, popcorn, candy, and other ingredients. Give the tweens a plastic cup to fill with the ingredients of their choice.

Another idea is to bake a few dozen cupcakes and let the children turn them into Halloween jack-o'-lanterns. Provide orange and green frosting for the pumpkin and its top, as well as black licorice and black jelly beans for the face. Once the cupcakes are decorated, let the children feast.

Have a Costume Contest

It wouldn't be a Halloween party without a costume contest. Ask guests to dress in costume for the party, and offer prizes for categories such as the most colorful costume, the funniest costume, the most creative costume, and more.

Another idea is to give prizes for the best group costumes. The tweens can coordinate their costumes by dressing as their favorite music group or characters from a TV show or movie. Make sure everyone at the party wins something for their costume.