When you think of Halloween, ghostly ghouls, scary skeletons and endless candy probably spring to mind. Although this vision can be fun for older kids and grown-ups, it can be overwhelming and downright terrifying for toddlers and preschoolers (minus the candy -- they love that). But you can make Halloween more about fun than fear for your tots. Little kids adore gross things like boogers and slime. Even though it may turn your stomach, a few gross Halloween activities can make the holiday a success for the whole family.
Guess the Goo
When things feel slimy and gooey, little kids don't even need to know what they're actually touching to be grossed out. For a real Halloween treat, set up a station where each child has to guess what they're feeling in order to win a prize, like a piece of Halloween candy. Fill different bowls with slimy-textured foods, such as slippery spaghetti noodles, peeled grapes, cooked gelatin or canned peaches. Cover the bowls with a cloth so your toddler or preschooler can't see what's inside. Prepare for a chorus of "Ewwww!" as they try to guess what they're grabbing.
If you have children who love to make crafts, create a gross craft or two that really captures the spirit of Halloween. For example, instead of simply decorating a pumpkin in the usual way, use green or blue paint to create gross goo oozing from its eyes, nose or mouth. Another idea: Insert candy shoelaces into jumbo marshmallows to create gross spiders. For a real "yuck" factor, squeeze glow-in-the-dark glue onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wait for it to dry, then peel it off to create a gross glowing booger.
Gross Mealtime Treats
A boring dinner on Halloween is just that -- boring! Turn mealtime into a celebration of all things gross and nasty. If you decide to serve soup for dinner, add green or blue food coloring to make it look like sludge or slime. Splatter a meatloaf with rivers of ketchup that look like blood. Create a dessert that looks like dirt with worms crawling through it by layering brownies, cookie crumbles, chocolate pudding and gummy worms in a clear glass cup or bowl.
Host a truly epic Halloween party for toddlers and preschoolers by turning your home into one that looks totally gross. Hang up garlands of toilet paper from the doorways and ceiling. Toss large plastic bugs, snakes and worms all over the floor and table tops. Smear washable green tempera paint on tile walls and steel fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom. You'll be the coolest -- and grossest -- parent on the block.
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