The Best Youth Group Halloween Party Ideas

Pro Tips:

  • Go all out, this is not your average harvest party.

  • Share this article with your leaders - pick and choose together what works for you!

No matter what you call it (harvest party, fall festival, Halloween party, fright night, or anything else on the spectrum) Halloween is an awesome opportunity to throw a party and give your students something worth inviting their friends to. Here’s the deal… we know what happens when you plan a party - you open 50 tabs on your browser and try to compile the best list ever and it takes you hours AND on top of that you have to do some shopping - well, we’ve tried our best to bring all of that goodness right here in one place. You can help us do that even better by dropping a comment with your best ideas at the bottom of this article. Thanks!

There’s four ingredients to every great party… Here’s how to nail them.

1. Atmosphere:

Decorations

I say, work with what you’ve got. Ask your leaders and church members for their extra halloween decor. I’m also not beneath making a last minute Walmart run and thinking creatively as I go through the aisles. If you’ve got a budget and some time to think about it I’d encourage you to choose some theme colors and stick to it. We live in the age of Instagram and Snapchat and our students appreciate a visual feast. Events are better if you can provide a space that students love to take pictures in and spend time in plus – it’s free advertising for your youth group every time they tag the location.

Pro Tips:

  • If you can afford it, choose a color scheme and stick to it.

  • Keep things fun and high energy (avoid anything overly grotesque or horrific that might get you in trouble with parents or glorify death and suffering)

  • Don’t forget lighting – whether you buy string lights or work with your existing fixtures… a bright room doesn’t scream “Halloween” so be sure to think through your current lighting options.

Here are some of my favorite room decoration ideas. Not all of them are strictly for Halloween which means you can get more value out of them after your Halloween party is over.

Use this cinema light box to advertise your social media accounts and get new students connected.

This spiderweb is huge, cheap, and will look great in your room.

Again, a cheap decoration that takes up a lot of room.

Seriously - cheap decorations that looks great and fill space are a no-brainer. I couldn’t help but include more in this list. The green spider web is my go-to every year. The only thing this list is missing is some solid purple string lights.

This is by far my favorite Halloween decor item – Flourescent green spider webs keep your room fun and bright while still being “Halloweenesque.” We bought several bags and covered our walls/ceilings.

Here’s another cheap way to cover a room. You don’t even need helium. Scatter them through the room. They’ll add to the excitement and energy of the room as students kick, throw, pop, and toss them.

This Giant inflatable beachball counts as a decoration and an activity all in one. Who wouldn’t want to throw a giant eyeball around? And the good news is - it’s not gonna hurt!

Music:

Every youth group has different standards when it comes to music so feel free to check out these songs but do what works for you. Here’s 30 songs to get you started!

  • The Unicorns – Tuff Ghost

  • Crystal Stilts – Graveyard Orbit

  • Harlem – Friendly Ghost

  • Tom Waits – Satisfied

  • The Specials – Ghost Town

  • Misfits - Night Of The Living Dead

  • Thee Oh Sees  - Ghost In The Trees 

  • The Ventures:Out Of Limits

  • Michael Jackson – Thriler

  • Ghostbusters Theme song

  • Scooby Doo Theme Song

  • The Addams family theme song

  • Oogie Boogie’s Song

  • Boby Boris Pickett & the crypt kickers - Monster Mash

  • Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Stranger Things

  • Rockwell - Somebody’s Watching Me

  • Twilight Zone Theme Song

  • The Citizens of Halloween – This is Halloween

  • Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

  • Rhianna – Disturbia

  • Andy Mineo – Ghost

  • Bow Wow Wow – I want Candy

  • M83 – Midnight City

  • Outkast – Dracula’s Wedding

  • Duran Duran – Hungry like the wolf

  • Creedance Clearwater Revival - I Put a Spell on You

  • Disney Studio Chorus - Heffalumps and Woozles

  • Bill Lee - Cruela De Vil

  • Nan Vernon - Mr. Sandman

  • The Aquabats - Fashion Zombies

You can check out our spotify playlist here. We made it special for you!

Random Activities

Get kids off their phone and leave awkward downtime to a minimum by providing some random self-starting activities scattered throughout the youth room. Consider having a deck of cards out and whatever other cool or unique or interesting items that you have. Someone gave me a set of magnetic Buckeyballs for Christmas several years ago and they make an appearance at many events. Set up your Connect 4 or your Jenga and whatever else you can contribute. Here are some other ideas. Some of these ideas get pricey though so only buy them if you were wanting it for other reasons.

DON’T MISS THIS: Set up a tattoo bar with water bowls and sponges and washcloths

This is seriously my favorite idea on this list. How sweet is a temporary tattoo bar? You don’t even have to plan it into the night. Just have the supplies out and let your students take it from there. Each of these packs seem super worth it.

Lighting

Black lights are always a hit – consider “zoning” off different areas of your youth room with different theme ideas. Just in case you missed what we said about lighting before, it’s worth repeating: Whether you buy string lights or work with your existing fixtures… a bright room doesn’t scream “Halloween” so be sure to think through your current lighting options.

 

A Legit Black Light. This is powerful and directed which makes it easier to “zone” off certain parts of the room. Real Black Lights make a huge difference. Don’t get conned into buying a purple bulb and mistaking it for a true black light.

These lights get screwed into any light fixture and then become their own light show. Great for parties. They come with remotes and there’s a variety of lighting settings - they can strobe, change colors, and more.

 

Alternative Atmosphere

Consider having it at a home - who doesn’t want to go to a house party on Halloween? You can still bring the decor (and everything else in this article) but this could provide an opportunity to meet new students who would rather go to a friend’s house OR if there’s someone in your church who owns a huge home - consider asking if you can use it for a Halloween party. There’s a great skit that I’ve seen Young Life do where an angry neighbor pounds on the door, storms into the room, and threatens to call the police for a party that’s getting out of hand.

Food:

Food, drink, and dessert are essential party categories to keep in mind. Here are some great ideas!

Halloween Candy

A giant bag of Halloween candy can be used to fill candy dishes that you set out around your youth room OR they’re also great for throwing into a crowd of students while you’re doing announcements. Seriously - it’s Halloween, give the people candy.

I’ve also seen churches that opt for fair trade candy - if you’ve got the budget or the conviction consider looking into it. We’d love to know what you find out.

Caramel apple bar

Cut a whole bunch of apples into slices. Soak the apple slices in some lemon water (Squeeze a whole lemon into a bowl of water and then throw the apples in). It’s not rocket science but this step will help the apples not brown too quickly. Soak for about 5 minutes and then pat dry. Put the apple slices in a bowl with a pair of serving tongs or somethin’.

Buy some Caramel sauce and some chocolate sauce. Fill some bowls up with various candies and toppings: Sprinkles, M&Ms, Crushed Pretzels, Crushed Oreos, Chocolate Chips, Mini Mallows, You get the idea. Have students lay the apple slices on a plate and then pour their toppings on. Some call this a caramel apple nacho bar.

Cider &/or Hot Chocolate

This is just a super easy way to stay on theme - hot cider, cold cider, hot chocolate, or both. You could even make a hot chocolate bar if you wanted to - provide some fun toppings and whipped cream and you’ve got something your students will enjoy and remember.

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes

Check out this super simple pumpkin spice latte recipe that you can (probably) do right from your youth room. Click here.

“Jack O Lantern” Floats

Fanta & Vanilla ice cream is all you need! Or go all out and buy orange dreamsicle ice cream. Make a small sign that says “Jack O Lantern floats” and you’ll be set. For an added touch get some orange and white stripey straws.

Check out these Pumpkin Face cup clings for some added flair. Seriously - it’s not a Jack O Lantern unless it’s carved but we get it if you opt out of the “production value.” No one is going to complain about Fanta Floats!

Side note: I really want a Jack-O-Lantern Float now.

Spider Ice Cubes

Put these in some standard ice cube trays and you’ll have spider ice cubes in no time. Perfect for Goblin Juice! Just remember to plan ahead - it takes a while for ice cubes to freeze!

This ought to be enough AND they ought to fit your ice cube trays. They sell skull ice cube molds too - if you’re into that sort of thing.

Goblin Juice - SUPER EASY AND CHEAP AND FUN

Make lemonade and add some blue food coloring to it for a green beverage. Then give it a fun label. This is super simple. Of course, if you want to add Sprite or Gingerale to it that’s up to you. You can also buy Green Kool Aid mix if you’d rather go that route!

Graveyard Dirt Cake

Make a dirt cake! You can google it if you don’t know what it is! Cut Milano Cookies in half for gravestones to add on top. Woot! I’ve never made dirt cake before but I’ve eaten it and it’s definitely in my top 10 list of favorite cakes (I don’t have one, but if I did, I think it’d be in it). Why do people like dirt cake so much? Because it’s fun! Create some memories with your students. Eat dirt.

Entertainment:

Obviously this part is essential. Our site has quite a few Holiday games but here’s some stuff to get you started.

Halloween Would You Rather

This is a great game to warm students up - it’s low energy and doesn’t involve an enormous amount of enthusiasm. Definitely a good icebreaker. Click here.

Baked Bean Bobbing

You know, or normal bobbing for apples. Either one works! Click here.

Halloween Costume Party

Make your Halloween party a costume party and then award superlatives to everyone you can think of a category for! (Least Scary Costume, Funniest, Scariest, Weirdest, Punniest, etc). A fun way to come up with superlatives is to make them up with your leaders once everyone gets there. This way you can tailor it to what your people are wearing (Purplest, Least Effort, Most likely to scare grandma, etc).

Fear Factor

I have a rule when it comes to asking youth to do gross stuff – don’t make them do anything that you wouldn’t do yourself. As a matter of fact - consider having your students vote on which leaders are the bravest and then see who is by testing their ability to eat gross stuff. It’s a lot more fun for students to watch leaders suffer than it is for students to suffer themselves. That being said… here’s some truly frightful stuff.

Pumpkin Olympics

If you check back later we’ll probably make graphics for these sweet games BUT in the meantime consider all the games that you can play with pumpkins - pumpkin shotput, pumpkin seed spitting, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin carving, etc.

Pumpkin head

Option Number One: Up front game where students wrap heads of other students with orange crepe paper and then tape cut-out black construction paper shapes to their faces. The end result is photo worthy for sure.

Option Number Two: Same as before except use shaving cream and cheese puff balls and forgo taping on shapes. They still come out looking like a pumpkin!

Have the crowd vote for a winner by applause.

Blindfolded guess the candy

We’ve heard good things about this game - have students guess the name of the candy they’re eating while blindfolded. Here’s a great opportunity to also pull a prank on an unsuspecting leader by giving them the only non-candy item!

Halloween giveaways

Giveaways are a fun way to get students excited for the games you’re playing. Here’s a few ideas.

FORTNIGHT GRENADE KEYCHAIN

GIANT HERSHEY BAR (12 PACK)

GIANT SNICKERS BAR

Photo Booth - Don’t Underestimate This!

All dressed up and no one to take photos? What a shame! Every great Halloween party needs a photobooth and a box of props! Seriously! Buy a black sheet or something for the background. Beg your friends, neighbors, and other youth pastors/leaders in the area for every Halloween costume/prop they have. We did this several years in a row and it was always a big hit. Cowboy hats, wigs, giant sunglasses, paper mustaches on wooden dowels, etc… there’s no reason you can’t have an awesome photo booth. We’ve provided a link to one of the most reasonably priced instant camera’s out there (Film sold separately) and while we think it’d be cool to have one - we’ve always used our DSLR. If you’re on a tight budget - definitely use what you’ve got. Any smartphone will do! P.S. We had a bunch of these masks and they take up very little space and they’re pretty affordable. My advice: do a photobooth every year and keep adding to your stash!

People:

Every party needs people. Get your leaders on board, get your students on board, identify your key (leader-type) students and ask them to put the word out there. Update Instagram stories with your plans. Have some dope graphics. Give your event a sweet name. Go through your lists of students from previous years. Talk to parents. Send out newsletters and emails and text messages. Ask people to “share” your posts. You know what to do - you’ve done this before.

10 Ways Youth Pastors Can Make More Money

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1.      Guest Speaking/Preaching

Hey, you know what you might already do a lot of? Public speaking! You know what you might be great at? Guest Speaking at schools and churches or becoming a camp speaker. You just need a website and some networking. Show off a couple preaching videos and provide a short description of your typical “fees” and what you specialize in. YouthGroupCollective runs on Squarespace but my church uses Wix which tends to be more customizable (and in my opinion easier to use) and even has a free option if you just want to get your feet wet with a website builder. Click here if you want to check out wix templates

2.      Weddings/Funerals

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Honestly, I don’t super love doing weddings. It’s a high stress time for people and sometimes they’re pretty picky. There’s also a lot of premarital counseling sessions and just a good amount of work all around. Funerals on the other hand? I actually don’t mind doing funerals. I kind of like them. Insert Ecclesiastes verse. I’d talk to your local funeral director (either develop relationships while you’re on the field or send out an email blast to all your local funeral homes) and let people know that you’re available to preach at funerals if the family doesn’t have a church/pastor already.

3.      Sell Blood Plasma

I’ve had plans to sell blood plasma before but never ended up doing it. It sounds like a good way to pick up some side cash and get a few hours of down time while you’re at it. You can read, study, or watch videos, or listen to podcasts. Use google to see if there’s a blood plasma donation site near you. Generally, you can donate twice a week. It takes an hour and a half. It usually pays around $20 or $30.  That’s up to $240 a month although I’ve seen higher figures.

4.      Etsy

I know pastors that make handmade wooden pens, that print fidget spinners with 3D printers, and my wife even has an Etsy account. We’ll talk more about that later. If you have a crafty side, consider building an etsy shop. And take it seriously. Find inspiration by googling the most successful etsy shops. It’s cool to see what people are able to do.

5.      Craigslist/Ebay/Facebook Marketplace

My wife loves selling our things on Facebook Marketplace and we’ve definitely sold a few things on craigslist too. Go through your home one day (room by room, closet by closet) and make a list of all the things you’d be willing to part with. In the last two months we’ve sold some children’s boots ($10), a northface coat ($100), kids drums ($5), a lamp ($15), a slide ($30), a baby monitor ($20), and a French press ($10). That’s almost $200.

6.      Free Stocks

I’ve always wanted to learn about investing in the stock market. Thanks to smartphones it’s easier than ever to get your feet wet. Robinhood is an app that let’s you buy shares of stocks and doesn’t charge you any fees. That’s actually unheard of but it’s true. And right now you can get a free stock using this link: ROBINHOOD (We'll both get a free stock!) 

(most free stocks are worth around $5-10 but you can also get high value ones like Apple, Ford, or Sprint)

You also get free stocks every time you refer a friend. I’ve told 5 friends about it and they each signed up. Thanks to them I have 2 stocks in Groupon, one from Zynga (the company responsible for FarmVille), and two for SIRIUS XM Radio. So I’ve got a stock portfolio worth $24.47. It’s cool to watch stocks grow and to track other companies like Amazon, Tesla, and Google. Get your free stock here.

7.      Acorns

Acorns is another app that automatically rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests that extra money into an investment portfolio. I started two months ago and so far I’ve saved $64.00 as well as grown my savings by $3.18. For a total of $67.48. It’s not a lot of money but that’s the idea with acorns. You’re slowly growing your oak tree. It’s not gonna break the bank but I’m projected to have $60,000 extra 40 years from now. Of course, the app has a lot of other features that would increase that rate but I love the idea of setting aside savings without really affecting the ol’ budget. Here's your first five dollars to get you started. 

8.      Uber/Lyft

I’ve used uber before but I’ll be honest, I never considered driving for them until I read this: According to NerdWallet’s analysis of data from SherpaShare — a service that let drivers track income and expenses — an Uber driver can make $50,000 a year if they pick up an average of around 60 fares a week — which is about 20 hours of work. 

One of our youth pastors wrote in to tell me that they drive Uber and they provided us with their link. Use it to sign up and get an advantage. Click here. 

9.      Sell Items from thrift stores

Hey wait. You like thrift stores and flea markets right? My wife and I went through a spurt of hunting down items for cheap and reselling them on Etsy. You can sell antiques on Etsy. Pretty sweet. We nabbed a Polaroid camera for $2.00 and sold it for $35.00. We also sold a vintage children’s book (that we got for free) for $9.00. We bought a 1980’s alarm clock for $4.00 and sold it for $29.00. And we bought an owl figurine for $1.00 and sold it for $12.00. That’s $78 profit and you can do it while you’re shopping for yourself! We decided not to sell clothes and other items that we thought low income families actually need. Here’s some pro tips: Give these items a nice clean and take good pictures (use daylight!). The photo we used above is our photo of the camera we sold. My wife's etsy shop is called barleysoup and as you can see, she doesn't have a ton of followers but it was still easy to sell the items we listed. 

10.   Pray (How I got a car and $500)

We’re far from being prosperity gospel preachers. In many things I believe we are to be like Nehemiah who prayed AND posted a guard. He partnered with God and did what he could do while asking God to do what He could do. What a beautiful and powerful concept. I just feel like this list wouldn’t be honest, pastoral, fair, or God-glorifying if I didn’t take a chance to say: God has always provided for me. When we needed cloth diapers, my wife won some on online giveaways. When we needed a car we prayed for one. A member of our congregation gave us theirs. I’ve prayed for shoes before instead of buying them simply because I believe that my heavenly Father can provide like that. And He’s given me shoes before. When my wife and I were super strapped for cash and just tired of living paycheck to paycheck and constantly worrying about finances I remember praying once and it went something like this:

“God, you are filthy rich. You own the cattle on a thousand hills and you don’t need anything from anyone. And all good things come from you. I don’t want to be rich. I’m just tired of being stressed all the time and I know you’re a good Father. Can I have $500? Not for anything in particular but just for a little padding in the bank account so my wife and I don’t have to stress for a while.”

I remember that prayer. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of my church after finishing up a day of work in the office. I also remember the answer to that prayer: a few days later I happened to be praying in the sanctuary about an upcoming sermon (this isn’t typical of me and when I share it, it makes me sound SO holy and righteous and prayerful. Unfortunately, I’m not always this awesome. I pray much less than I should and I need to work on that). So I’m sitting in the sanctuary praying and woman walks in and she says, “Pastor Keith, I think God wants me to give this to you.” I thanked her and she left. I went to my office to open the envelope. It felt thick. When I opened the card there were five one hundred dollar bills. She and her husband had given us gifts before (mostly gift cards to Cracker Barrell). Never in the past had they given us anything like this and never again would they. It was a gift from a generous sister in Christ responding obediently to God’s prompting. He’s filthy rich and He loves us. And I’m not a prosperity preacher but that story is a part of my walk with God and He deserves all the glory. So pray. It can only help.

Hey Collective! 

What do you do for side money? Share your success stories and tips in the comments section. Not so that this article can have more comments (I could care less) but please take the time to help out our financially struggling brothers and sisters. It'd be cool to hear from you especially on this topic.