Get Ready for a Skele-Ton of Fun This Halloween!

Gather all your ghosts, ghouls, and frightful friends because it’s Halloween.

Halloween dates back thousands of years to the Celtic people of ancient Europe, who recognized October 31st as the last day of autumn with crop harvesting and celebratory festivals. They also believed this was the time that the regular world and spirit world were most closely connected, so people wore masks and costumes to fend off unfriendly spirits.

Over time, the holiday has evolved into a secular one, with trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, scary movie marathons, and parades full of costumed revelers. Halloween is a great time to embrace your spooky—and silly—side with friends and family.

Keep scrolling to learn about the science behind what scares us, and try out fun crafts and costume ideas! And don’t miss a weekend of spooky fun featuring some of your favorite PBS KIDS characters with a Halloween themed PBS KIDS Family Movie Night!

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Make Halloween a Real Treat for Little Ones

Make Halloween Fun, Not Frightening!

Grades PreK-3
There’s a lot that can make Halloween (and all the days leading up to it) a little scary for under-fives. If your preschooler is unsure about joining in the Halloween festivities, here are fun ideas to help make the month of October not (even slightly) scary.

No Tricks, Just Treats! Being a Good Neighbor at Halloween

Grades PreK-3
Halloween is a great time to help your kids feel a part of the community and learn to be a good neighbor.

Happy Halloween! 6 Tips to Prep Kids for Trick-Or-Treating

Grades PreK-3
Halloween is a time when we participate in spooky activities. Here’s how to prepare your kids for an evening of Halloween fun.

The Science Behind Scary

Halloween Spooky Science Special | Sid the Science Kid

Grades PreK-K
Bats may be spooky, but they’re also helpful creatures! In these Sid the Science Kid resources, children learn all about the amazing abilities of spiders, cats, skeletons and slime!

What Is Fear? | Spot on Science

Grades 3-8
Why do scary movies make you jump? Or snakes make you run? Margaret’s got the details on why we have fears and how our body responds to scares. 

This Video May Give You Goose Bumps | Braincraft

Grades 6-12
Learn about the weird and wonderful science of goose bumps… Hope you didn’t get the chills!

Gross Science | Is Fear Contagious?

Grades 6-12
Learn how fear may be contagious, in this video from NOVA’s Gross Science series. Animals give off bodily secretions called pheromones that can communicate information, such as potential threats, to other members of the same species. Similarly, humans release chemosignals in sweat when they are scared or stressed.

Why I’m Scared of Spiders | It’s Okay to Be Smart

Grades 6-12
Here’s a look at the science of why some of us are afraid of spiders, snakes, roaches, and other creepy crawlies. Did we evolve to be this way, or did we learn to be afraid of them? It seems to be an open question…

Activities, Books & More

Dress Up Time Game

Grades PreK-K
In this Dress Up Time Game from Sesame Street, Elmo and Abby want to play dress up. Your child can choose pieces of clothing to complete the outfits Elmo and Abby want to wear.

Monstrously Good Books for Kids

Grades PreK-4
Some monsters seem scary, some sympathetic, while others can only be described as supremely silly. Whether they’re hiding under the bed, or going bump in the night, monsters may be all around! Get crazy with some monster madness using this list of recommended books for children ages 0-9.

Spooky Paper Plate Eyes

Grades K-3
Turn ordinary paper plates into super Spooky Paper Plate Eyes for Halloween with this fun craft!

Watercolor Resist Spider Webs

Grades K-5
Experiment with watercolor resist techniques while making some less-than-creepy Halloween decorations.

Candy Chromatography: Lesson Plan

Grades 3-12
Have you ever wondered how different the color pigments are in Skittles versus M&Ms? Explore candy chromatography in this fun science lab lesson for Halloween!

Gothic Tales | Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive

Grades 6-12
Explore the terror of gothic tales in this video from the American Masters film, Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive. Poe’s legacy centers on his horror stories and his ability to tap into the fears of his readers, like the fear of being buried alive. Engage students through discussion questions and teaching tips that ask them to explore why some literature is timeless, analyze the tales featured in the video, and to create their own dramatic reading of a famous Poe story.

Masks, Costumes & Pumpkin Carving

Daniel Tiger Watch

Your child can make her very own Daniel Tiger watch out of toilet paper rolls and cardboard.

No-Sew Donkey Hodie Costume

What is your child planning to dress up as for Halloween? Your kid will love transforming into the playful and cheerful Donkey Hodie with this easy and “Hee-hawesome” craft activity.

Easy “Arthur” Costume Ideas

Quickly transform your child into their favorite character from Arthur with these costume ideas.

Odd Squad Masks

You child can dress up as their favorite PBS KIDS characters, like Ms. O, Otis and Olympia from Odd Squad with these easy, printable masks!

Pumpkin Carving Stencils

It’s time to get carving! Create unique PBS-themed jack-o-lanterns by printing out your favorite stencil, tracing it onto your pumpkin, and carving carefully using a kitchen knife. These templates will make carving Halloween pumpkins a breeze!

Looking for even more Halloween fun for your little ones? Visit the Happy Halloween Collection on PBS Kids for Parents!