Last year's program was so popular that we filled up really quick. While I like that programs are popular, I wanted to give more people a chance to attend this year. This year we registered 100 kids, ages 2-5.
By having more attendees, I needed to rethink how I was going to run a program with no more staff. This year we cut out the story portion and had three craft stations. As kids came into the room, I directed them to our three craft stations and told them to stop by me again when they finished to pick up their trick-or-treat bag. The crafts had to be relatively easy to do in a short time period. We had two volunteers who kept replacing crafts on the tables as kids finished.
Craft #1 was a candy corn face made out of a Behr paint strip. We precut the candy corn shape and provided sticker eyes and crayons for the kids to make their faces.
Craft #2 was to make a spiderweb. The black paper plates were prepunched and one end of the yard was tied onto the first hole. Kids were ask to "sew" their yarn through the holes and to add their spider sticker to the plate.
Craft #3 was a pumpkin windsock. The pieces were precut and the kids were asked to make their pumpkin face and to attach the crepe paper streamers.
As kids finished their crafts, they stopped by my station by the door where they picked up their trick-or-treat bag. I gave them directions to our 5 trick-or-treat stations and sent them off. Since we were not trick-or-treating as a group this year, I added more signage by the elevator and stairs so parents could find their way. I also added balloons to each station so kids could look for the orange balloons to find their treats.
orange balloons weighed down by milk jug ghosts filled with water
Our treats this year included:
- Halloween stickers
- Halloween finger puppets
- Logoed crayons and a Halloween coloring book
- Halloween tattoos
- Halloween stampers
The feedback on this new format was excellent. Families loved being able to work at their own pace, both at the craft stations and trick-or-treating. We got a lot of compliments on not passing out candy. The parents really liked that the treats were activity-oriented and I heard back that kids were using them as soon as they got home.
For next year, I am already playing with the idea of staggering start times so we can allow more kids to participate. While I don't think that we can handle more than 100 kids at a time, it may be possible to start a second program 45 minutes later, which will give staff and volunteers time to reset the crafts.