Pretend Play: Trick-or-Treating

Practicing Trick-Or-Treating!

Halloween brings opportunities for some amazing language and pretend play activities.  Pretending to go trick-or-treating with your child has the added benefit of making Halloween night a lot more predictable and fun for you and your child.  Here are some simple ideas to help you get started and enjoy some quality play time with your child.

  •  Set up – Have as many of the items that will be around on Halloween night as possible.  Have your child’s costume,  some other costumes if available, a costume for you, a bag or pumpkin for candy collection, and some candy or small toys in a bowl to give out. If your child is able, have him/her help you set up the activity by helping you collect the materials.
  • Activity Step 1: Let your child choose a costume and put the costume on.  While it is good to practice in the costume that your child will wear, this is also a great time to provide choices if you have multiple costumes.
    Putting on a costume, if the child is motivated to wear it, provides lots of natural opportunities for your child to ask for help.
  • Activity Step 2: Knocking on doors.  If you have 2 adults or another child, one person can be waiting behind the door. Or you can hold hands and walk up to a door (with no one behind) together.  Practice knocking, saying, “Trick-Or-Treat” answering simple questions if appropriate (What are you? How old are you? What is your name?), then give the child a treat or prize.  If your child is able to wait for reinforcement, play a few times before pretending to go home and eat your candy.  If this is a new skill for your child, at first pretend to walk home and then eat your candy.  After you play a few times, increase the wait time before eating the candy.
    Remind your child to hold hands, talk to your child about things you see or sing The Halloween Walking Chant together.
  • The Halloween Walking Chant
    (To the tune of 10 Little Indians)
    Walk, walk, walk together.
    Walk, walk, walk together.
    Walk, walk, walk together.
    Then we trick-or-treat!
  • Wrap Up- After walking to several houses tell your child it is time to walk home, eat a piece of candy, then take off costumes and clean up together.  Talk about what you did and how much fun you had.  Let your child know what they did well.  Put everything away together.
  • Variation Idea 1- Play “Trick-or-Treating” with stuffed animals, or with a toy house and small figures.  You could even play with toy cars or have a train stop and knock on a door or two on it’s way around the track.  Make it fun.  Using a similar item to the toy that your child has, imitate what your child is doing. Try to have your toy stop and trick-or-treat; use an excited voice and look for a smile. If you don’t get one, imitate them a little bit longer then try it a little bit differently the next time.
  • Variation Idea 2: Go trick or treating to collect all the parts of a toy, the pieces of a puzzle, or the materials for a fun activity.  Give your child choices of what they want to collect or ask them what they still need.  Play with the toy, put the pieces together or do the activity after wrap up.

    Trick or Treating Visual
    Trick or Treating Visual
  • Visual
    Click on the picture on the right for a handy visual.
  • Voice Output Sounding board is a great iPad app to create a simple voice output page for trick or treating.

Do you have other variation ideas that were fun for your family?  Share them in the comments section!