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Halloween Storytime Crafts

Updated on September 11, 2016
Virginia Allain profile image

A librarian through and through, Virginia Allain writes about book topics, researching, and information for library users and librarians.


Preschool Crafts for Halloween

Every year you try to make your Halloween story times extra special. Kids love making a craft and showing it to Mom after the program is over. What to make?? It needs to be super-simple for the preschoolers.

We know your budget for craft supplies is really, really limited. I've been there and know it isn't easy. That's why I rounded up some cheap but fun crafts that will make your Halloween story time spooktacular.

When I took my first job as a children's librarian, I provided storytimes weekly for 4 branch libraries in northern Ohio. My supplies budget was quite limited, so crafts in storytime had to be simple and use low-cost supplies.

Fast forward 20 years and I was a library director in South Texas. Children's Services were quite important to me and over a ten year period, I developed positions for a children's librarian and one assistant. They loved craft programs and turned a small, unoccupied office into a well-stocked craft supply room.

Even so, the budget was limited for the crafts. They overcame that by having all the staff and even the patrons collecting empty plastic bottles, paper towel cardboard tubes and yarn for their craft ideas.

That's why the Halloween crafts showcased here use easily found, relatively inexpensive items. I've provided online sources for the supplies but you'll want to check discount stores and dollar stores too for good buys.

Skeleton Laughing Card from Zazzle

Make a Paper Plate Ghost

Use a white paper plate and let them draw a ghost face on the plate. You can use a poster board or black board to demonstrate big eyes and different mouths for the ghost's expression. Here are some examples of ghost cartoon faces.

  • Have the children glue white crepe paper streamers to hang down from the ghost face.
  • They can glue a loop of the crepe paper to the top so it can be hung up.
  • If you want to get fancy, cut out arms for the children to glue onto the sides of the paper plate. Use white construction paper for the arms or shorter pieces of crepe paper.

Here are the simple supplies you will need for this craft: paper plates, crepe paper, markers, glue

Get Paper Plates for the Base of the Ghost Craft

These don't need to be fancy. You can get them from Amazon or pick some up at your nearby discount or dollar store.

Basic Paper Plates for the Ghost Craft

Nicole Home Collection 100 Count Everyday Dinnerware Paper Plate, 9-Inch, White
Nicole Home Collection 100 Count Everyday Dinnerware Paper Plate, 9-Inch, White

This kind of paper plate would work fine for making a ghost in storytime. The children can mark the face on the plate and attach the white streamers. Don't get the more expensive plates with the plasticized finish on it. They won't work as well for marking on.


Video Tutorial for Making a Paper Plate Ghost with Streamers

Pre-Cut Crepe Paper for the Streamers

A roll of crepe paper like this goes a long way. Count how many children you expect to make the craft and multiply that by the number of feet per child. That gives you the total number of feet you need.

Tips for Using Glue with Young Children

  • Be sure to cover the tables with newspaper before story time.
  • I don't recommend glue sticks for gluing crepe paper. It won't stick that well.
  • Pour a dollop of inexpensive white glue into paper condiment cups. Give each child a cardboard stick or popsicle stick to spread the glue. Children love smearing the glue around with the stick.
  • This avoids all the issues with individual small bottles of glue which tend to get clogged and dried out.
  • Afterwards the condiment cups and glue sticks go straight into the trash. Clean up is a breeze.

Glue Recommendation

Elmer's Glue-All Multi-Purpose Liquid Glue, Extra Strong, 1 Gallon, 1 Count - Great For Making Slime
Elmer's Glue-All Multi-Purpose Liquid Glue, Extra Strong, 1 Gallon, 1 Count - Great For Making Slime

You can get this is a large quantity like this if you are working with children's crafts a lot for a library or preschool.


Use Pinterest to Find Halloween Crafts for Kids

Find links to hundreds of crafty projects for kids on Pinterest
Find links to hundreds of crafty projects for kids on Pinterest | Source

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Keep It Easy

Try to prepare anything that requires advanced skills ahead of time. For instance, on the paper plate spider (shown in the video) punch the holes in all the paper plates before story time. Also punch the hole in the center of the plate.

Video Tutorial for a Paper Plate Spider

Make a Q-Tip Skeleton


Bad Skeleton Cards from Zazzle

Cover the tables with newspaper before the story time. Set up each work space with a handful of q-tips (both full ones and ones cut in half). They also need one sheet of black or purple construction paper, one skeleton face and the small cup of glue with an applicator.

See my suggestion above for using condiment cups and popsicle sticks or cardboard sticks for the glue.

To see the finished craft and further instructions, check out the Q-Tip Skeleton here. It's a fun craft with lots of room for creativity in the arrangement of the "bones."

Q-tips Cotton Swabs, 750-Count Boxes in 2-Count Packages (Pack of 2)
Q-tips Cotton Swabs, 750-Count Boxes in 2-Count Packages (Pack of 2)

Look for a good buy on these. A no-name brand will work just fine.


Video Tutorial for the Q-Tip Skeleton Craft

Choose the Background Paper

SunWorks Construction Paper, Black,  12" x 18", 50 Sheets
SunWorks Construction Paper, Black, 12" x 18", 50 Sheets

It needs to be a fairly heavy paper like construction paper. Black, purple and orange are favorite Halloween colors. The white cotton swabs will show up fine on those backgrounds.

You could get one color if you want to avoid arguments among the children vying for a favorite color or give them several colors and let them make more than one skeleton with the Q-Tips.


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My Storytime Experience

Here I am, leading a storytime stretching activity (back in my first years as a children's librarian). Smaller groups work better when making crafts.
Here I am, leading a storytime stretching activity (back in my first years as a children's librarian). Smaller groups work better when making crafts. | Source

My Experience as a Children's Librarian

After receiving my master's degree in library science from Emporia State University in Kansas, I took my first job as a children's librarian in Geauga County, Ohio. The library system had 4 branches and I was their first children's librarian. I provided 2 storytimes a day, 4 days a week so that each site had activities once a week.

Since I had a very limited budget for supplies, the crafts had to be simple and inexpensive. Years later, I was the library director in Weslaco, Texas and was able to establish children's services for that library. I had marvelous staff who used a lot of creativity to provide themed-storytimes throughout the year.

Here I Am in the Children's Department at the Weslaco Public Library

A local volunteer with theater experience painted the dragon and castle to make our children's department more appealing.
A local volunteer with theater experience painted the dragon and castle to make our children's department more appealing. | Source

Story and Craft Suggestions from a Librarian for a Halloween Storytime


Bonus Activity: Pumpkin Bowling

Cathleen Grossman of Storytime Underground (a Facebook group for librarians) had this fun activity for her Halloween storytime.

"I did pumpkin bowling at my Halloween program last year. I bought a carvable (fake) pumpkin on Amazon and carved a simple face into it, then spray painted 2-liter soda bottles white and drew ghost faces on them. The bottles were the bowling pins, and the pumpkin was the bowling ball. The bottles were empty when I did this because the pumpkin was very light...however, you might want to weight the bottles just a little bit."

More Ideas for a Halloween Storytime at the Library

Librarian, Jill Hutchison, shares her tips for a fun Halloween storytime:

" I read a not-too-scary story like "Mrs. McMurphy's Pumpkin," and then lead the children in that traditional Halloween song "Skin & Bones" by Raffi.

Let them craft a fancy treat bag and one other simple craft, then trick-or-treat indoors through the library with all the lights on. It's perfect for younger kids who aren't ready for a late night out in the dark or a scary haunted-house type of party.

My teen volunteers help w/ the craft stations & trick-or-treat spots around the library. I draw friendly ghost faces on white balloons and put them above each treat spot, and tell the kids how many to find."

© 2013 Virginia Allain

Share Your Ideas for Preschool Halloween Crafts

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    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      3 years ago from Canada

      I love that craft skeleton for kids. Even I would have fun making a few of those for Halloween. Great ideas for kids.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      These are such cute ideas for preschoolers! It's been a long time since I've worked with that age group.


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