Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

The Playlist: Halloween-themed family fun

Ideas from a former school teacher for Halloween crafts, science, field trips and more


Hello! I’m Leah, the Seattle’s Child calendar editor, a former K-8 school teacher and a mom to three young boys. Welcome to The Playlist, a hand-curated guide (by yours truly) to themed family fun all around Seattle .

For 12 years, I was a teacher at a wonderful K-8 private school in Shoreline, where I learned firsthand how to manage and care for my own kids, while providing meaningful learning experiences for them. And, let’s be real – keeping small children busy requires all the help a parent can get, so I’ve had to come up with some strategies. For a few years now, I’ve been doing a DIY summer camp each year with my boys, where they get to pick a theme (like construction, ocean, or bugs) and we explore it! (Learn more about what we do at

In this monthly playlist you’ll get the inside scoop on what’s happening in the Seattle area, and how you can tie local activities into themed learning with your kiddos at home.

Let’s jump in!


The Playlist: October

Halloween crafts, science, field trips & more


For our inaugural Playlist we’re kicking off the fall season with a Halloween-heavy focus, because how could we not? Along with all of the harvest festivals, Halloween carnivals, haunted houses and other boo-tastic festivities, there are awesome opportunities for crafts, cooking, science, reading and more. 



Monster Mash Dash: City of Shoreline


They like to move it, move it! At least my kids do. This month, there are lots of great ways to stay healthy and let your littles get their wiggles out. Several kids runs and dashes are happening in October, many that involve dressing up in costume! 

  • The Monster Mash Dash in Shoreline is family friendly, and participants can choose to walk or run, in costume, along the Shoreline Interurban Trail. Prizes may be awarded for the most impressive costumes, and you and your family will be helping to raise money for the Food4Kids Weekend Backpack Program

  • The West Seattle Monster Dash is another great option that includes kiddie runs as well as games, crafts, prizes and more. Don’t feel like running? Wristbands for the Fun Zone are available to purchase for $5, and all proceeds with benefit South Seattle Cooperative Preschools

  • The annual 5 & 10K Run Scared event at Seward Park boasts a free Kids Dash, treasure hunt, candy corn bar, and more costume contests, and will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

  • If you’re not so into the Halloween thing, University of Washington’s annual Dawg Dash is sure to be a hit with its kid- (and dog-) friendly Husky Pups Run through UW campus. 

There are even more fundraising run and walk events this month, all of which are raising money for great causes, so check out the Seattle’s Child Events Calendar to see what’s happening in your area. 



Oh, there are so many fun, Halloween-themed art projects out there! I’m a former art teacher, and art is my favorite thing to do with my kids, but it doesn’t have to be hard! I admit, just like most parents out there, I’m looking to Pinterest for most of my inspiration. And it works! I’ll share some of my favorite art projects, and all you need are a few supplies and a kitchen table. 

  • On this Halloween Paper Plate Crafts page, you’ll find instructions for a swirly ghost, a handprint-hair witch, and more. Just click on the links! You only need construction paper, scissors, glue, and markers. 

  • This list of 22 Halloween Crafts for Kids has some great ideas, and I love the paper plate mummy, which involves simple yarn-sewing and is great for those developing fine motor skills. 

  • If you’re feeling ambitious and want to break out the paint, I love this No-Mess Pumpkin Painting project, for which preschoolers can pour tempera paint into a plastic bag and spread it with their fingers over the pumpkin cutout. 

  • My favorite on this Halloween Crafts page is the Pumpkin Apple Stamps. Cut an apple in half, stamp it in orange paint, print, and add Jack-o-lantern details once it dries. So simple and cute. 

  • Speaking of Jack-o-lanterns, I love this super-fun take on the traditional carving. I’m not a fan of digging out pumpkin guts, and this Glowing Sugar Skull Pumpkin project avoids the mess and scores major points for the glow-in-the-dark puffy paint. 

  • Perhaps my favorite of all is this wonderful Dia de los Muertos Collage, which is an opportunity to learn about great artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. I always think of collage as a chance to upcycle, so save up those old newspaper, magazine, and construction paper scraps and, as Matisse would say, “paint with scissors!” 

  • Finally, for some extra-special Halloween art making, head to Kids Quest Museum’s Mysterious Monsters ARTober Workshop, or the Sugar Skull Decoration Art Workshop at the library. There are plenty more creepy crafting events on our calendar.


Sensory & Science

sensory bin

Spider Web Fine Motor Skills:


For the little ones, sensory is one of the greatest ways to explore science. This Spooky Noodles Sensory Activity is so easy to set up and just requires a large container, spaghetti noodles, food coloring, and oil. Let your tiny tots (and bigger kids too!) try different utensils to grab, and describe the slippery sensations on their fingers. 

  • This Spider Web Fine Motor Activity allows for younger children to concentrate and problem solve as they try to avoid the “web” and grab the spiders. 

  • My oldest son, a second grader, LOVES science (a close second favorite after recess) and engineering, and this Pumpkin Science page has us covered from candy towers to pumpkin catapults. 

  • And if you have vinegar and baking soda lying around, your kids will go nuts over this Pumpkin Volcano Experiment, for which your pukey Jack-o-lantern ends up looking like he ate too much Halloween candy. 

  • Want to get your little scientists out of the house? Check out this free Haunted Science event at Boulevard Park Library in Seattle. 

  • One of the best places for kids to get their science on is no other than the Pacific Science Center, and they throw an awesome trick-or-treat bash on the 31st, complete with hands-on activities and live science shows. 




Books are always the go-to when it comes to (print) media in our house. When we start learning about a theme, we head to the library and stock up on that topic. 

  • Here is a list of 20 Halloween Books Your Child Will Love, covering various reading levels, and another created just for toddlers

  • That said, parents need a break. And it’s more than okay to plop the littles in front of the old telly every now and then. Do it guilt-free when you’re integrating theme learning into their viewing pleasure. This month, I’m referring often to this Ultimate List of Kid-Friendly Halloween Movies, which covers the classics (Charlie Brown, Hocus Pocus, and…The Witches!!! Anyone?!) and some more modern gems like Coraline and Halloweentown. 

  • Older kids can attend the Booktoberfest Halloween Movie Marathon at Central Library in Seattle, where festive cult classics will show on the big screen on Halloween night.

  • Finally, I’ve really gotten on board with kids podcasts recently. They are so great in the car when I need my wild boys to just chill, and there are tons that offer fun learning, which we all love. Brains On is my #1, and their new spin off, Smash Boom Best, has two topics battling it out for the title of “favorite.” Some great Halloween listens are Snakes vs. Spiders and, of course, Zombies vs. Werewolves on the Mega Mini-Boom Bonanza.




I don’t know about your family, but this is my kids’ favorite topic, period. They love to think about it, talk about it, and of course, eat it. And truly, food can be a great tool for learning. There are a ton of recipes out there, and I’ll share some of my favorites both for making with kids and for being a cool parent and surprising them with a festive treat. 

  • Here is a great list of 15 Healthy Halloween Recipes, my favorites being the Veggie Skeleton and the Silly Apple Bites. Don’t be afraid to let the little ones put these together themselves! My kids have a blast helping with food prep, and who cares how it turns out anyway, as long as everyone enjoys the process (and the food)? 

  • Another staple for the fall is roasted pumpkin seeds! Here is an easy recipe, and a list of delicious ways to season them – let your kiddos chose, or make a variety and sample them all! Our favorites are “Sweet” and “Italian.” 

  • If you’re going to do ANYTHING Halloween-themed with your kids this month and you want to win points, you’ve got to do some baking. Try these Monster Brownies, which have peanut butter cups mixed into the batter and are smothered in colorful frosting, sprinkles, and eyeballs – what more could a kid ask for? 

  • Another cute idea is this Maple Cinnamon Mummy Cookies recipe, which is both adorable and delicious. 

  • If you want a combo sweet and savory treat, this 5 Minute Halloween Snack Mix is irresistible and a perfect addition to your Halloween family movie night (see above). 

  • Want to take the tastings on the road? Head to a fall festival for kettle corn and pumpkin spice, or the Vashon CiderFest, where the family can get into the spirit of fall by tasting sweet or hard cider and learning about apple pressing.


Out & About

Halloween Train. Photo:


This month, there are countless Halloween and fall-inspired events in the Puget Sound area and beyond, so pick a few that you’re family will love, mark your calendars, and go try them out! We’d love to hear about your adventures, so let us know on Facebook or Instagram, or send us an email.


Don’t forget to check our roundup of the best Halloween events happening all around town and the Seattle’s Child Events Calendar for even more to do. Have a howlin’ good time this Halloween season! 


The Playlist archive

October 2019