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In my yard the idea is to aim for kids who enjoy some scary, spooky, creepy, and icky things.

But I was talking with our Rec Director last night and he said they have really struggled to have fun, interactive things for the 6 and under set who do not like scary stuff. That does seem like a tall order, and I could only think of a couple ideas. Singing Pumpkins (preferably a song that has some sing along parts like Ghostbusters, and never Baby Shark). And maybe a teeter totter prop that has a witch and a ghost alternating who is lighter. Like ... a Casper sort of ghost and a fluffy sort of witch. Super non-threatening, but if the ghost lit up while it was rising, and the witches broom lit up when she was rising, that would be cute.

But sheesh ... what else would be appropriate for this age group? If you had a walk thru haunt aimed at little kids who are not okay with scary stuff, what would you think about doing? No zombies, no horror movie main characters, no giant werewolves or demented scarecrows ... it's HARD.
 

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In my yard the idea is to aim for kids who enjoy some scary, spooky, creepy, and icky things.

But I was talking with our Rec Director last night and he said they have really struggled to have fun, interactive things for the 6 and under set who do not like scary stuff. That does seem like a tall order, and I could only think of a couple ideas. Singing Pumpkins (preferably a song that has some sing along parts like Ghostbusters, and never Baby Shark). And maybe a teeter totter prop that has a witch and a ghost alternating who is lighter. Like ... a Casper sort of ghost and a fluffy sort of witch. Super non-threatening, but if the ghost lit up while it was rising, and the witches broom lit up when she was rising, that would be cute.

But sheesh ... what else would be appropriate for this age group? If you had a walk thru haunt aimed at little kids who are not okay with scary stuff, what would you think about doing? No zombies, no horror movie main characters, no giant werewolves or demented scarecrows ... it's HARD.
Do you have room to build a pumpkin arch? I made one using a Cattle Panel fence from Tractor Supply ($24) Then I planted mini pumpkins at the base & wove the vines up it. Little & big kids love it. Parents like to take pictures of their children inside
 

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-Some sort of comedian monster. Maybe a skeleton or a kid-friendly zombie cracking spooky jokes on a stage.
-Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Maybe the Peanuts gang are checking their haul after hitting a house. Maybe they're at the Halloween party. Maybe Linus and Lucy are witnessing "the great Pumpkin" rising from the sincerest pumpkin patch.
-A monster vehicle. Maybe a train or hot rod. Make sure the driver or passengers fit the theme.
 

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Something semi-spooky bobbing for apples?

I remember a display from when I was little in which a ghost was being chased by either a ghost dog or skeleton dog, where the ghost's sheet is being tugged by the dog and the ghost is trying to free itself. Think the old Water Babies sunscreen label.
 

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-I agree with @Jeremy7 about the Peanuts theme.
-I run a window projection of "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" in a loop that's so popular with the tots, I've thought about putting out lawn chairs. This year I'm going to borrow an idea from @pmllfwst and create Peanuts tomato cage ghosts, but I'm hoping to have mine light up as the kids approach. Here is the post:
-You could also do something with pirates and in interactive cannon. Providing the pirates are more cartoonish than scary. I have a small cannon that shoots smoke from a fog machine. I have it on a remote, but you could use a step pad. Mine has a pint size pirate skeleton and I haven't seen any young ones scared by it yet.
Plant Vertebrate Grass Lawn ornament Calabaza
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Themes that would be fun and could be done as cute with just a hint of spooky would be:

~ Carnival/circus, and the added bonus on that one would be you could have a few fun midway games aimed at children with candy and prizes.

~ Haunted Pumpkin Patch, with lots of cute JoLs and some fun ghosts and skeletons and skelly animals and have some themed games as well.


Definitely could use skeletons/ghosts/witches (similar to the pirate theme above) as the performers as long as there's not jump scares or gore, and look friendly.

Suggest you review Dave Lowe's blog as he was an expert at hitting that mark of cute/fun with a lovely bit of spooky for his television production/personal home decorations.



Games wise, I did a really fun easy game using a coffin shaped beer cooler and those little floating ducks (both purchased cheaply from Oriental Trading) and just put tiny little black duct tape X over their eyes and it was a game that even a small child could have fun with as there is no reading or skill involved. Would be way cool if you could find a way to do the actual lazy river flowing effect like at actual carnivals.



There's also the Basket Case game, and all you need for that is a few fall/harvest baskets with beach balls.

Could also use plastic pumpkin buckets and cut the handles off, call it a "Pumpkin Toss" suggest using those smaller ball pit sized plastic balls. Line 2-4 of them up, nail/glue the JOL buckets down to a wide board, and have the child come up to a line, and toss X amount of balls and they win a prize - candy for the closest, bigger prize for farther away.

Splat the Rat also pretty easy for kids of all ages and fun and looks to be a very basic build with lots of ways to spice it up for halloween
^there are lots of great ideas for kid friendly games that could be cuty spooky themed

Also would be fun to have a black light area - a tent/marquee that you could put in lots of silly glow in the dark pics/paint some goofy ghosts and have a very small maze area inside (with a person monitoring any littles that might be overwhelmed).
 

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My local nursery has had a walkthrough since I was a kid. The star of the show is Otto the ghost. It’s really cute and well done. You should google it to get some cute ideas. Little kids and adults love it. They do a story and the walkthrough is scenes from the story. I am 43 and still drop by around Halloween to check it out.
 

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As our display has become increasingly "disturbing" with a bit of gore and disturbing imagery we have decided to separate the display from the trick or treaters. We set up a canopy in the driveway, decorate it with "happy Halloween" stuff like bright lights, pumpkins and other less threatening decorations. The little ones can bop right up to the canopy to get their treats while the older ones, parent and other adults can walk along the fence out front to check out the more adult/scary aspects of our display. So far it seems to be working well.
 

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In my yard the idea is to aim for kids who enjoy some scary, spooky, creepy, and icky things.

But I was talking with our Rec Director last night and he said they have really struggled to have fun, interactive things for the 6 and under set who do not like scary stuff. That does seem like a tall order, and I could only think of a couple ideas. Singing Pumpkins (preferably a song that has some sing along parts like Ghostbusters, and never Baby Shark). And maybe a teeter totter prop that has a witch and a ghost alternating who is lighter. Like ... a Casper sort of ghost and a fluffy sort of witch. Super non-threatening, but if the ghost lit up while it was rising, and the witches broom lit up when she was rising, that would be cute.

But sheesh ... what else would be appropriate for this age group? If you had a walk thru haunt aimed at little kids who are not okay with scary stuff, what would you think about doing? No zombies, no horror movie main characters, no giant werewolves or demented scarecrows ... it's HARD.
 

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I used to be a Pediatric nurse in a clinic setting, we had to be kid friendly, not scary. The best thing we ever did was a combination of friendly characters from movies and Sesame Street characters. We created a ship with big white sails and down in the painted paper waves were Scarface the fish from Pixar, Nemo, etc and on the ship were Elmo, other characters dressed as pirates. Even the fish were pirates. It was a huge hit. Just check what cartoon characters are in right now, SpongeBob, etc. and the littles will be comfortable with it.
(We went on to change costumes on all characters to Pilgrims and Native Americans for Thanksgiving.)
 

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Do you have room to build a pumpkin arch? I made one using a Cattle Panel fence from Tractor Supply ($24) Then I planted mini pumpkins at the base & wove the vines up it. Little & big kids love it. Parents like to take pictures of their children inside
In my yard the idea is to aim for kids who enjoy some scary, spooky, creepy, and icky things.

But I was talking with our Rec Director last night and he said they have really struggled to have fun, interactive things for the 6 and under set who do not like scary stuff. That does seem like a tall order, and I could only think of a couple ideas. Singing Pumpkins (preferably a song that has some sing along parts like Ghostbusters, and never Baby Shark). And maybe a teeter totter prop that has a witch and a ghost alternating who is lighter. Like ... a Casper sort of ghost and a fluffy sort of witch. Super non-threatening, but if the ghost lit up while it was rising, and the witches broom lit up when she was rising, that would be cute.

But sheesh ... what else would be appropriate for this age group? If you had a walk thru haunt aimed at little kids who are not okay with scary stuff, what would you think about doing? No zombies, no horror movie main characters, no giant werewolves or demented scarecrows ... it's HARD.
We had a haunted garage for 10 years, with a different theme every year. My one rule was to not have blood/gore. It is too easy to just put bloody guts everywhere, and not everyone thinka that's amusing. Some rooms we had were a "dot room" with glow in the dark toy spiders (you could just use dots), a walk through Egyptian tomb with hieroglyphics on columns made from concrete-tube forms, a glow in the dark under-sea walk-through, hanging pool noodles that you had to push through, a pirate treasure chest that kids could take Mardi Gras beads and chocolate coins from, a walk-through gold mine complete with gold nuggets, sticks of dynamite, and a silly prospector, a ruined Greek temple with living actor statues, a fortune teller room
 

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Yes, that is a special age, and you really don't want to be responsible for giving kids nightmares. Personally, I would avoid anything that would appear in a horror film. They are still at an age where imagined monsters could still be as real to them as anything that is actually. If something may be scary, one aspect that may help, is to be sure they have a place that is safe to observe from, and can feel free to get closer if they want, but can retreat back to mom if they want to. Little ones do that, they build up their bravery, and then test the waters a little before jumping in. DEFINITELY do not have any surprises. I.e. don't leave them feeling deceived.

Some other things that may help include;
  • Avoiding total darkness anywhere.
  • Consider it more of an adventure trail, or exploration place.
  • Don't necessarily try to hide all the mechanisms. It both allow the kids to see it is not a real monster, and how things operate if they are moving. (but make sure no curious fingers can get into danger).
  • UV Light is a fun interesting thing to experience, but total darkness is not good. Still, it does have interest even if there is a lot of ambient light.
  • Kids love fog. Heavy fog is especially fun. Though, you need a fairly small area that will hold it.
-Joe
 

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Just thought of another issue. I hate parents who want to push their kids into something that they are terrified of. They are perhaps starting a trend where the kids know their parents are not necessarily looking out for their best interest. That may have repercussions later in life, when parents want their kids to trust their advice.

So, that is part of why I tend to want to avoid anything truly scary. It is the misbehaving parents that I am concerned about.

-Joe
 

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-I agree with @Jeremy7 about the Peanuts theme.
-I run a window projection of "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" in a loop that's so popular with the tots, I've thought about putting out lawn chairs. This year I'm going to borrow an idea from @pmllfwst and create Peanuts tomato cage ghosts, but I'm hoping to have mine light up as the kids approach. Here is the post:
-You could also do something with pirates and in interactive cannon. Providing the pirates are more cartoonish than scary. I have a small cannon that shoots smoke from a fog machine. I have it on a remote, but you could use a step pad. Mine has a pint size pirate skeleton and I haven't seen any young ones scared by it yet.
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Thanks for the shout out Fred🥰I can't wait to see your display. Great idea for lighting them up. We used spotlights but I can't wait to see your tomato cage ghosts😍

I'm actually thinking of doing a pirate theme if I can get it to all come together. I was thinking PeterPan in the front yard, for the littles 😌And scarier pirates in the backyard. Love your cannon idea🧡
 
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