Easy Spooky Halloween Crafts and Activities
Creepy Sensory Food Tricks
Which of us has not, at some point, stuck our hands into a bowl of guts or eyeballs?
That is, those cool sensory tricks people bring out every Halloween, using various food items to create a creepy bowl of organs or body parts. It’s pretty common at this time of year to create some kind of haunted house or festive, spooky activity for kids to do. While some scares are best saved for adults, the “food body parts” trick is more about gross-out factor, which lots of kids seem to enjoy.
For a fun game, you can use closed containers with an opening for a hand to reach in, or blindfold the tester, to see if they can guess the item (real item or the thing it’s pretending to be, up to you!). You can also have the containers openly visible, allowing all to see what’s inside, and label what they’re supposed to be. You still get the sensory, gross-out fun, but it works better for those who do not want to reach into something they can’t see.
What should you use?
There are classic hacks that you might already know. Some time-honored favorites include peeled grapes for eyeballs and spaghetti for guts. And of course, there’s Jell-O (brand name or generic, doesn’t really matter), which can represent all kinds of innards. I think it makes good brain matter–perfect for a zombie feast, right? Some people might choose to make spaghetti the brains and gelatin guts. Do whatever makes most sense to you!
Another possibility for guts (or brains -- again, go with what works better for you) is to use all that stringy goodness that you scoop out of a pumpkin to prepare jack-o-lanterns. If you were planning to make one anyway, you could use those parts to make an icky, gooey bowl of guts! If you don’t have your own jack-o-lantern plans, maybe you have a friend or neighbor who can give you their lantern leftovers if they aren’t going to use them. No need to remove the seeds, if you don’t want to go through the trouble. They can represent any number of bits, from teeth to bone shards that got mixed in with the guts. Of course, some people might not love the smell of a bowl of pumpkin guts, so stick with spaghetti if it’s going to be an issue.
If you’d rather try using candy, red vines or sour straws could make fun guts, or try gummy worms for – you guessed it – a bowl of worms!
A fun idea that is NOT made of something edible is using cotton balls (or marshmallows, if you did want to stick with food) for ghost poop*! Isn’t that hilarious?
Want to increase the ick factor of your bowl of eyeballs or guts? Use a little water and food coloring to make it look extra creepy, like your bowl o’ body parts came from some kind of mad science lab. If red feels a little too realistic, go with green, blue, or purple. Any of them would look spooky and festive.
- Note that these creepy bowls of guts and eyeballs will be perishable. You don’t want to do them too far in advance, or you’ll have a real problem on your hands (literally!).
- You probably want some paper towels or napkins handy, as most people will probably want to wipe their hands after touching a bowl of eyeballs!
- You can get fake eyeballs and put a few in the grapes to help sell it!
- Keep in mind that some people have sensory aversions, and these Halloween hacks are not for them.
Spooky Themed Craft Ideas
Not feeling the food prep? There are also some really easy creepy crafts you could do with kids for a cool Halloween activity that works for a wide range of ages.
These are classic and simple to make. If you do have lollipops on hand they can be the base, but you can pretty much use anything round (like a small ball of foam from a craft store, or a ping-pong ball), or even ball up a tissue and drape the ghost over that. Maybe it’ll look lumpy, but that just adds to the creepiness of the ghost, right?
Some styles call for tying the tissue around the base with a small length of yarn or ribbon. Of course, you can do it that way. You could also secure the flowy outer layer with some glue, allowing it a little more wispy movement to look particularly ghostly. You can use regular old tissues, or if you have access to some white tissue paper, you might want to opt for that. It’s usually a little more translucent than tissues (also noisier, if you don't mind a rustling, crinkling ghost) and allows for some shaping.
Draw on a standard latex balloon and create a classic Halloween creature to play with!
Use light colored balloons (which will show the details better) and permanent or washable markers. Permanent will most likely work better, but even damp erase markers should work in a pinch! Some fun design ideas are an eyeball, vampire, ghost, or monster. Decorate with care – you don’t want the balloons to pop! *Do NOT use a pen, as it’s the most likely thing to pop the balloon.
When drawing your spooky balloon design, use a light touch with your markers and try not to fill the balloons all the way to the limit (also makes them more likely to pop!). Most balloons will last around 12 hours. If you have a cool place in your house to store them it can help them last, but this is a short term project.
DIY Spooky Signs
All you need for this is cardboard (or some wood planks, if you have them) and paint! Markers will work okay too, but paint is much better for adding textures onto the cardboard like stone or wood, to make them more convincing. Imagination is the limit for these. Haunted house, warning signs, creepy street names, maybe even a gravestone! This activity is one kids or adults can do any time without concerns of food going bad, or anything deflating or getting squished. You could even make signs for this year and bring them out again next Halloween!
There are many Halloween crafts and haunted house ideas out there, and these are just a few that are easy and use common materials. Any of the activities in this list are sure to give you a little family-friendly Halloween fun!
*Ghost poop idea from https://www.kcedventures.com/blog/halloween-touch-and-feel-game-mystery-bags