Not-Too-Spooky Halloween House

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Just in time for Halloween, a homemade “not-too-spooky” house will spark your child’s imagination and can help calm any fears they might have around the holiday. It’s also a great project for collaboration between older and younger children – adults welcome, too!

What We’re Learning & Skills We’re Building

  • Collaboration – working together with adults and other children to create something
  • Fine motor skills – using the small muscles in the hands to paint, hold scissors, and place decorations
  • Storytelling – coming up with a story to aid in playing with the house
  • Creative expression – using your imagination to create something unique


Optional Materials

  • Klever Kutter or Exacto knife/box cutter (adult use only) for cutting out windows and doors 
  • Adult scissors (adult use only) for cutting thicker materials 
  • LED string lights and other LED lights (they don’t get too hot)

Before Building

The idea of a “Halloween House” might be really abstract or scary for younger children. Reading a children’s story that features a haunted house, friendly ghosts, or friendly witches before starting is a good idea. Here are some book recommendations: Silly Haunted House: A Not Too Spooky Pop Up Book by Janet Lawler, and Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara.


Building & Decorating the House

  1. Decorate the outside of the box using washable paint, markers, or crayons. If you’re using paint, let it dry before moving on. 
  2. Add windows and doors to the house using paint, markers, crayons, and/or paper cutouts. (Optional) Or, older children and adults can cut windows and doors out of the box using a Klever Kutter or an exacto knife/box cutter (adult use only). 
  3. Decorate the rest of the house. Use paint, old Halloween decor, cotton balls, and more (see Materials list for suggestions). Attach decorations with school glue or loops of tape. 
  4. (Optional, if you already cut out windows/doors) Once the outside of the house has dried, line the interior with tissue paper to cover the windows but still allow light through. 
  5. (Optional) Place string LED lights and/or other LED lights inside the house so it appears lit up. 
  6. Continue to work on the house throughout October, or make a few more houses to create a neighborhood of not-too-spooky houses! 

Pretend Play for Halloween

If Halloween can be an opportunity for children to engage in well-supported pretend play, then it has the potential to support children’s development. As you and your child build a not-too-spooky Halloween house, come up with a story. Invite your child to invent new characters, or to include familiar characters in the making of the house and imaginary play. Does your child have toys, stuffed animals, or other objects that they can include in their play with the house? Ask, “Who or what lives (or lived) in the house? What might the inside of the house look, smell, sound, and feel like?” Allow your child to express their storytelling creativity freely!