As the host of a Halloween party for adults and young kids (2-year-olds), I searched online for games and activities that would be appropriate for the young preschool set. The results were slim, probably because it’s enough for kids that age to just play. However, I managed to put a few activities together that were easy, inexpensive, and fun.
1. Ghost hunt: Get lollipops, wrap them with tissue and tie with a black ribbon. I opted for Dum Dums since they are small and I had a feeling that the kids would eat more than one. I later discovered that you can make all sorts of things look like ghosts. On hindsight, I might have scrapped the lollipops. I bought a pack of little Halloween yo-yos at Target. Target has all sorts of stuff like mini Playdohs that would have worked (except then you risk Playdoh getting all over the place). They have bouncy eyeballs and parachute bats too, which all can be made into ghosts. We threw the ghosts all over the back yard, kind of like an Easter Egg hunt.
2. Decorate your own trick or treat bags: I had the kids decorate paper bags with stickers and crayons to collect their ghosts and other items in. Next time, I would put this on a separate adult table so that they can sit in a chair and color in a more orderly (if there is such a thing) manner, rather than on a low play table. They did color and sticker them, but it was chaotic.
We waited a little bit too long to start the ghost hunt, since some kids woke up late from naps. By the time we got around to the ghost hunt, it was getting dark, the ghosts were hard to see, and the kids were totally wound up and unable to focus on much of anything. It was still a success though.
3. Hot Potato “Pumpkin” or Pass the Parcel: I had a mini pumpkin on hand in case there was enough “calm” to play this. In Hong Kong, we played “Pass the Parcel” which also might have worked. You could get a small main gift and wrap it in many layers of Halloween paper. At this age, it’s best to wrap in as many layers as there are kids so that no one is left out. You can intentionally stop the music at each kid so that everyone unwraps a layer. Within each layer, wrap in something small (like a spider ring) so that everyone gets a prize.
4. Glow in the dark sticks: These, by far, were the biggest hit. They are about $1 for a pack of 15 at Michael’s. The kids went crazy for these. They have connectors to make them bracelets or necklaces. This is assuming that you have an evening party or a room dark enough to make it work.
Other than that, I think you can just let toddlers run around and play. La Jolla Dad wanted to fill La Jolla Girl’s kiddie pool full of red jello and spaghetti and have the kids stick their hands in or get in it. Uh… no, on about seventeen thousand levels. Also, see Halloween Party Food and Easy Hanging Halloween Decorations.