Halloween Party for Preschoolers: Games



I love playing with preschoolers!  They get so excited and have so much fun with simple things. They are there purely for fun!  Prizes are totally optional and can be as simple as being the first “it” for the next game.    For preschool parties, plan for some active games and vary the pace with a few quieter games. Younger kids don’t always pick up on directions when they are excited. Have at least two or three games that are familiar to them and alter them just a bit to the season. Here are seven Halloween games that preschoolers love!

Cat, Cat, Spider. To Play: Follow the rules for duck, duck, goose. “It” goes around the circle saying “cat, cat, cat, cat . . spider.  When touched, the “spider”  jumps up and runs to get back to his/her spot in the circle before “it”  slides in. You can use any two Halloween creatures – ghost,ghost, witch for example

Musical pumpkins. You will need: a piece of orange paper for each child – minus one. Halloween themed favorite music and a device to play it, ready to go.

To Play: Make a circle on the floor with a piece of paper for each child – minus one. Play a Halloween song such as “Monster Mash”. When the music stops the children set down. Remove a piece of paper before starting the music again. NOTE: For a small group, rather than having children stand on the sidelines, let them share seats. The more rounds, the fewer the seats and kids are still in the game if they are touching a child on a seat. At the last round all children are clustered in one spot.

Ring Around the Pumpkin. To Play: Circle up with children holding hands. All move in the same direction singing to the tune of Ring Around the Rosey: “Ring around the pumpkin. We are spooky munchkins. Hop scotch, pumpkin. We all fall down.” Children all fall to the floor when the group sings “we all fall down.”  Repeat

Ghost Hunt: You will need: A package of cotton balls.  A flashlight and a container (an open brown paper bag or small pail will work)  for each child.  A dimly lighted area that is outside the party area

To Play:  Place cottonballs all over the area, before the party starts or have a helper hide them while other games are being played.   Hide some cotton balls in easy places, but leave most out where they can be seen.  Give each child a lighted flashlight and an open paper bag (or a small pail) As children walk into the dimly lit room, steer each one to a different area.  They find ghosts by shining their flashlight on them and putting them in their bags.

Alien Toss: You will need 10 containers (plastic cups, decorated or not empty cans, plastic pumpkins) Enough large marshmallows for each child to have five.

To play:  Number the containers from one to ten and  then set up the cups in a triangle with number one at the front for the point of the triangle and the largest point numbers in the back. Line kids up so everyone is equal distance from the cups and let them start tossing the marshmallows into the cups.  This can get really noisy and exciting.  If your group is quite young,  you might  consider letting the children take turns instead.

Monster Freeze Dance: You will need: Halloween music such as The Monster Mash. (If you are using your phone, find the app and the song ahead of time!) 
To Play: When the music stops the players  freeze in their monster positions. 
The first person to move is out, and the game continues until only one child is left.

Pin the Heart on the Skeleton – You will need: A good sized cardboard skeleton or a drawing of a skeleton. Cut heart shapes from red paper, one for each guest. Place double sided tape on the heart or a loop of masking tape on one side of each heart.

To Play:  Blindfold each child in turn and point them toward the skeleton.  The one who comes closest to the correct heart location on the skeleton wins.

Tips for successful preschool party games

  • Have easy to follow rules, clearly spelled out by leader (repeated as necessary!)
  • Keep things moving without rushing.  Pauses mean you WILL lose control.
  • Always have a helper or several!
  • Prizes aren’t always necessary. Little kids are pleased with just the game itself!
  • Plan for one or two more games than you think you will need. You will be prepared if kids lose interest. Don’t be offended some games just don’t “click” with some kids. Or you may need to fill a few more minutes while the snacks are being set up.

Need more Halloween ideas?  Check these links:  Preschool Party Snacks    How to Make Pom Pom Spider   How to Make a Halloween Wreath  Elegant Halloween    Fun Foods for Kids Halloween Party    Grasshopper Guts     Smashed Frogs    Zombie Brains   Candy Corn Fudge   Dirty Bones        Witch’s Brew Cider Smoothie 

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Balsamic Grilled Chicken

Balsamic Grilled Chicken -- A Pinch of Joy

Balsamic Grilled Chicken -- A Pinch of Joy

Grilled Balsamic Chicken can be prepared and frozen for serving at a later date – a great make ahead meal.  Or it can be made a few hours ahead of time and left to marinate in the refrigerator for an evening meal.  It has a little bit of balsamic tang to liven up the flavor of a nicely balanced mixture of herbs.  Leftovers (if there are any!) can be sliced, warm or cold,  atop a bed of salad greens for another meal.

In a time crunch?  Or missing one of the herbs?  You can substitute 2-3 teaspoons of Italian seasoning for the herbs.   Parsley, basil and oregano are basic in Italian seasoning.   Depending on the brand you will find a combination of other herbs so the flavor will be somewhat different.  But . . .   in a pinch that works!   Measure dried herbs    into your hand and crush them with the back of a spoon to release more flavor .

Do not substitute the vinegar, however.  Balsamic vinegar is made from grapes, not fermented, and put through a cooking process that darkens the juice through carmelization.  The liquid is called “must” and is aged before bottling.  The more complex and longer the aging process the  more expensive the vinegar.  It can only be produced in one area in Italy, using a specific type of grape.   Balsamic vinegars have a very distinct flavor.   The vinegars on the grocery shelf are generally what are called salad vinegars and fall into a different category than the aged Italian vinegars.  They may have another vinegar added and are also much less expensive.  While they may not be as flavorful as the “real deal” produced in a specific area of Italy and aged to perfection, they still have bring a very distinct flavor to your dish.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken can be prepared and then frozen for up to three months.  Great to have a make ahead meal in the freezer, ready to thaw and cook.  Or it can be made, marinated and grilled the same day.  If you can only find chicken breasts that are the big chunk of meat variety, slice them into  “fillets” about ½ inch thick.  This ensures that all the meat will take about the same time to cook evenly.   Do not overcook or the chicken will be tough and dry.  A thermometer will help prevent this.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Tender grilled chicken with a little bit of balsamic tang to liven up the flavor of a nicely balanced mixture of herbs. Make ahead and freeze. Marinate and cook the same day. Place slices, warm or cold, on a bed of lettuce for a great salad.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4 servings
  • 4 chicken breasts cut about ½ thick (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in large zip lock bag. Close and shake to combine.
  2. Add chicken and close bag again.
  3. To cook without freezing: Let chicken marinate for 2-3 hours turning occasionally.
  4. To freeze for cooking later: Insert bag with marinade and chicken into a second bag and close tightly. Label and place in freezer for up to three months. Thaw chicken and marinade in refrigerator for about 24 hours before cooking.
  5. Grill chicken over medium heat about 6-8 minutes per side until done OR 8 minutes in countertop grill (Foreman, etc) until cooked. Internal temperature will be 165 when done.
  6. Serve hot.

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