Parenting Guru: Last-Minute Halloween Party Ideas for the Classroom

Eek! You're the designated homeroom parent for your child's classroom but forgot all about it until a few days before the school party. Pretty scary, isn't it? Here are some last-minute Halloween party ideas, including games, food, and things to make that will have that pesky know-it-all mom think you have been planning this party for weeks.

To get started you will need a few things. First, you will need access to a printer, you will need to make a quick run to the drug store or grocery store, and you'll need to send out a quick email to the other parents in your classroom to enlist some help. There are usually eager moms who are more than willing to help out. Most just don't want to plan the party.

Take your pick from this list. You can pick one, some, or all of these ideas if your current plans are a blank slate.

Games

Halloween Bingo

What you'll need: Dixie cups (1 per child), 6-8 bags of candy corn, printer to create BINGO game cards and a call sheet.

Year after year, from grades K-5, I would always have Halloween BINGO cards ready for action. All you will need is access to a printer (the link above provides around 8 variations of BINGO cards and prints 4 cards to one sheet of paper). Next you will need some Dixie cups filled with candy corn (to act as markers for the board). Pass the cards and Dixie cups around to each child and start playing. And don't forget there are lots of variations of the game, it doesn't just need to be a row to win. You can play 4-corners Bingo (where each of the 4 corners has to be covered), Blackout (the entire board has to be covered), and "X" where you have to have intersecting diagonal rows to win. Use candy corn to mark the spots you've called out so you don't forget and so you can cross check the winning player(s). Have a few prizes on hand such as a bag of candy - or a toothbrush!

Make-a-Mummy

What you'll need: Lots and lots of toilet paper. Get the cheapest you can find. Estimate about 3 rolls of toilet paper per child.

This activity will get the kids out of their seats and release some of their pent-up excitement over the big candy day. All you need is lots and lots of cheap toilet paper to play this styling game. Basically, this is "Mummy Fashionista" where one child is the fashion designer and the other is a mummy-to-be. The fashionista takes the rolls of toilet paper and has to wrap up their teammate in toilet paper. Only the eyes and nostrils can be exposed. Choose from a list of winning designs: "Best Design," "Best Coverage," "Scariest," and "Neatest" to name a few. Come up with your own variations. And don't forget to take some photos to post to Instagram.

Halloween Word Game

What you'll need: Classroom chalk or white board. Split the classroom into teams of 2-3 kids.

If you have just a few minutes to kill, this makes a quick fun and competitive game. All you need to do is write the word "Halloween" on the board and see which team can create the most words in one minute. You can play variations of this such as most 3-letter words, most 4-letter words (better be careful with that one) and so on. The winners get a prize (if you had time to get some) or a nice round of applause.

Food

Edible Spider Cookies

What you will need: Oreo or similar type of black and white cookies, mini M&Ms, chocolate frosting, black licorice ropes, paper plates and small popsicle sticks. Each craft consists of one cookie, 8 red licorice legs (cut the licorice ropes into 2 inch lengths), 2 M&Ms per cookie and some frosting to act as glue.

This edible craft is good for grades K-3. Decide how many cookies each child will get to make these edible Halloween spider treats. To create the spider treat take one cookie and insert the 8 licorice legs into the frosted cookie center being careful not to pry apart the cookies. Add a dab of chocolate frosting to glue the M&M eyes and there you have it, edible spider cookie treats.

Smoky Cauldron of Blood Punch

What you'll need (please have adult supervision for this): For the smoky effect you will need a large plastic cauldron, a smaller punch bowl that will fit inside the cauldron, a brick of dry ice, tongs and/or thermal gloves, a pitcher with a spout and water. Then find your favorite punch recipe for the punch bowl.

To set this up you will first line the bottom of the cauldron with broken up pieces of dry ice. Next, insert the empty punch bowl into the cauldron. Just before the party starts make the punch and pour it into the punch bowl which is now sitting inside the larger cauldron. When the party starts add a little of the water you have on hand and add it to the dry ice (between the two bowls). Add the water between the cauldron and punch bowl. This will create the smoky effect and get a lot of 'oohs' and 'aahhs' from the kids. Maybe even a from a few parents. For an adult version of this you can make a nice wassail punch! (Note: for photos and recipes do a search using "cauldron," "dry ice," and "Halloween" and you will get a load of ideas and photos.)

So there you have it. Just a few of these quick tips will make you look like a classroom parent pro.

Tina Case is a Yahoo Shine Parenting Guru. When she's not writing here she can be found on her own blogs Moms Who Click and Parent Grapevine. She is also an established photographer in the San Francisco-Bay area. Find her at Tina Case Photography and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.