Although Halloween is over, I can’t resist posting about our insanely popular Halloween Spooktacular program in case you want to try it at your library next year. It was a relatively easy program to plan, pretty inexpensive, popular (there were around 100 attendees!), and a lot of fun.
Here’s the basic summary of the program: It was geared at toddlers and preschoolers, so we had it the morning of Halloween. We asked people to come in costume. We decided we would read a book or two, dance to the Monster Mash, make some crafts, and then trick-or-treat around the library. Below is a breakdown of all the parts of the program:
Book: First we read my favorite Halloween or “spooky” book of all time, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. We had originally talked about reading two books for the program, but we underestimated how popular it was going to be. There was just too much energy in the room to read a second book. This was a great choice, though, as it’s such an interactive book and we could stand up and CLOMP, CLOMP, SHAKE, SHAKE, and WIGGLE, WIGGLE to our hearts’ content. It was also a nice book for me and my coworker to read together. I read the book and she stood next to me and did all of the movements for the story. It worked well and the kids loved it.
Monster Mash: I feel like no Halloween party is complete without the Monster Mash. This was another part of the program where a last minute change of plan worked in our favor. Originally, we were going to dance with instruments or maybe scarves, but my coworker had done the Monster Mash in storytime the day before and had mentioned it was really long. So we decided to do the Limbo instead, as that seems to hold their attention a little longer. With our big turnout, I’m so glad we had changed the plan. I’m pretty sure we would have run out of scarves or instruments if we hadn’t.
If you haven’t done the Limbo in preschool or toddler programs yet, here are a few tips: use a long ribbon rather than a stick for your kiddos to walk under (toddlers will bonk their heads if you use a stick). Have an adult lead the kids around the room. Otherwise, they will try to run back and forth under the ribbon and chaos will ensue. We are so lucky to have an awesome volunteer who comes to our huge programs and helps out, so my coworker and I held the Limbo ribbon, while she led the kids in a circle around the room. Everyone loved this part of the program.
Craft: We had two crafts. One was making a pumpkin bag to trick-or-treat around the library. This was a simple craft to prep for. We have a die-cut machine, so we cut out a bunch of pumpkins the day before and then set out a lot of paper lunch bags, crayons, and glue. That was it–an easy, fun craft.
Our second craft was “make your own monster.” I’m a huge fan of crafts that require inventiveness and don’t have a lot of structure, and this is a craft I use every time we have a monster-themed storytime, to great success. All we do is put out a bunch of glue, feathers, pom-poms, googly eyes, tissue paper, crayons, and scrap paper and tell the kids to create their own monster. I love seeing what the kids come up with!
Trick-or-Treating Around the Library: This was probably everyone’s (including staff and patrons who weren’t attending the program) favorite part. We had bought some bags of candy the day before and gave them to people at our front desk, the children’s desk, our tech services department, and our adult services department, and we took the kids around to trick-or-treat. For a lot of kids, this was their first time trick-or-treating, so they learned about how it all works, and they got candy. Staff loved handing out candy to the kids, and it really fun. Because we had such a crowd, we went in two groups, which worked well.
That was it! The program ended up being about 45 minutes long (originally we thought 30, but the trick-or-treating took a long time). Prep-wise, this program only took one or two hours, and cost wise, it was just the candy and a bag of lunch bags. Everything else were things we already had on hand. And the amount of compliments we received about this program was amazing. Parents and kids LOVED it, and told us so over and over. Have you ever had a Halloween program at your library? What worked for you and what didn’t? We are definitely planning on trying it again next year and I’d love to add anything we missed this year!