Guys, it is happening! Halloween is here. Once October hits, it is like a holiday whirlwind and I gotta be honest,
I have a ton of Halloween Party resources for you today! Some kiddos only have the Club as their Halloween celebration, so we should try to make it the best experience possible. Here are some tips for a stellar, spooky party!
Plan Early. If you haven't already, get the planning process started. You can use the Big Event Checklist to stay on track if you would like!
Get Donations. If you make an ask for candy or costumes, oftentimes, people are willing. Especially if you say that you work for the Club!
Be Aware. I will never forget something that happened to me during our very first Halloween party at the Sertoma Unit. I planned a party just like any other. As I made my way around the Club checking on staff and snapping some photos, I saw a member crying in the corner. I went up to him and asked him what was wrong. He just put his head down and didn't speak. I asked him to come in my office so we could chat. I asked him again, "Buddy, what is wrong, I can try to help." Through tears he pointed to his bag of candy. It was then I put it all together. He was recently diagnosed with diabetes. The family was still adjusting to everything and it was such a difficult time. I felt horrible for not realizing how a celebration for most can be terrible for some. We worked out a plan and he earned small prizes throughout the party. I tell you this story to just be aware of members who might not be able to partake in the traditional Halloween custom. You can still find ways to make sure they are having an awesome time! Be creative. Offer toys or snacks approved by the family!
No Kid Left Out. When we think of Halloween, we can often think of costumes. Some kiddos, though, don't have the luxury of dressing up like their favorite Disney princess or Minecraft character. Have a back up plan so members don't feel left out. Have a stash of face paint or toilet paper (mummy). jewelry or wigs and random stuff around your Club. One year, a member was upset because she didn't have a costume. She said her mom couldn't afford anything and she was really sad. She decided she wanted to dress up like a Club staff! We gave her a small staff shirt, popped some face paint on, and she was thrilled as could be.
Begin with an Assembly. I love starting big events with a round-up or assembly. It helps review expectations and sets the tone for the day. For Halloween, we always start with a costume contest and members can show off their looks! Our categories are scariest, most creative, funniest, cutest, and best staff! Sign below if you would like!
Offer Fun Competitions and Games. Members love to stay busy. We usual host a carnival-type event where members can play games, earn prizes, create artwork, make a delicious food, and more. See sample schedules and activity descriptions below!
Trunk or Treat. If you want to limit the number of dollas you spent on candy, host a trunk or treat. Invite Board members, partners, local organizations, parents, local fraternities and sororities, and businesses to host a trunk. Offer a prize for best decorated trunk. Ask that participants bring candy for members and to dress up! You can shoot an email to potential participants and it could look something like this: Hello (insert name)! My name is Brandy Harris and I am the Director of Programs and Sertoma Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Springfield. On Monday, October 30th from 5:00pm-6:15pm, we are hosting our annual Halloween Party and Trunk or Treat! I was reaching out to see if you or anyone from (company name) might be interested in hosting a trunk this year?! We will be handing out an award to the best trunk and are asking for trunks to provide candy and dress up if they would like. Please let me know if you are interested. Thank you so much for your continued support for the Club and I look forward to hearing from you!
Encourage Excitement. As most of you probably know, if staff members are excited, kids are excited....trickle down excitement.
Offer incentives for staff to go all out! They will make the experience better for members!
Adapt or Die.
Chances are, everything you plan is not going to work out. I actually don't think anything has ever gone exactly to plan. That is not the kind of atmosphere we work in. And it is ok...I think it makes us really special. Not everyone can adapt quickly. Therefore, I like to reiterate my mantra as often as possible because sometimes it can help understand that things will change and you can be as ready as possible.
Have Fun. This is so important. While you're planning a fun day for kiddos, you too can have a ton of fun! Dress up, encourage participation, and have a ton of fun!
OK, there ya go! Please let me know if you have any questions or need help! You can shoot me a message here!