Tonight the last thing your kids want to hear about is the origin of Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, or the druidic overtones, the Celtic threads that we Irish are good at weaving into every holiday (just sayin’, Halloween, Dracula – the author of the first Dracula book, Bram Stoker, was from Dublin, etc), and how pagan rituals have become intertwined with some of the modern religious ones. No, tonight kids want costumes, fake blood, and lots of sweets. But what they might also like are some of the more traditional Halloween party games too.
Growing up in Dublin Halloween was about home-made costumes – what else are old sheets for anyway – door-to-door trick or treats, and you wanted the treats, and then back to your house or your neighbours to pool the haul of apples, nuts and sweets and have fun and games.
One of the best fun and easy games to organise is dunking for apples. All you need are apples, a basin of water, bobbles to tie back young hair and a laid back attitude to messy wet floors, and away you go, hands behind your back, get the apple with your teeth!. Join in, you’ll probably have more fun than the kids. We also used to hang apples from something – a tree, the banisters, and then each person, hands behind their back again, would try and take a bite. There were no prizes, just howls of laughter.
Another fun idea was turning every day stuff into gruesome ghastly ghoulish something. Divide the kids into two groups, then one from each group is blindfolded and has to touch something horrific – and guess what they really are. Peeled grapes could be eye-balls, cooked cold spaghetti is worms, teased cotton wool is a giant spider’s web, diced peeled fruit in some juice or syrup is the guts of a witch, wet mushy muesli is zombie brains – let your imagination run riot…
Invent or adapt party games – if you have water balloons get some harmless food dye, colour the water red and tell the kids they’re blood balloons and whoever gets splashed will turn into a zombie – this is probably best played outside!
Most games can be adapted to a Halloween theme – there’s always face-painting and or a costume competition – and in fact tonight in the Parque Urbano (which used to be called the Ika Gardens) the Adeje council are hosting a free party for under-13s, from 5pm – 8pm, another great option.