We had a Halloween Toddler Dance Party and it was exhausting

Last year, my coworker Leigh and I threw a Toddler Valentine’s Day Dance party. It was a very successful program (well-attended despite the blizzard and full of happy patrons), so my new coworker/partner-in-crime Emma and I decided that a Halloween Dance Party would be a good idea.

Last time, I spent months creating decorations (some complicated tissue paper garlands that I swear nobody even noticed). This time, we went way more low-key. Emma and I offered three basic features in our party:

  1. A dance floor: The most preparation I did for the event was creating a family-friendly playlist. Think light on the Raffi and heavy on the Ray Charles. I feel like props help when you’re getting kids and adults to dance, so I had a big box of multi-colored scarves. They were a hit.
  2. A photobooth: The pumpkin backdrop was created by our coworker Leigh. It was self-run by parents and caregivers. They took pictures of their own children or asked another patron to take group photos.
  3. Toddler bowling: Emma and gussied up some individual toilet paper rolls to look like ghosts. We wrapped them in white construction paper, and then glued on black eyes and mouths. The tp rolls served as pins, and we let the toddlers try to knock them down with a ball.

Here’s Emma and me with the backdrop:

Emma always looks super cheerful in pictures.
Emma always looks super cheerful in pictures.
Those little glitter doo-dads in my hair are plastic spiders.
Those little glitter doo-dads in my hair are plastic spiders.

The toddlers dug the toddler bowling, though Emma said toddler bowling quickly turned into toddler building blocks, which is also fine. Stacking up ghost-y toilet paper rolls and knocking them down is a perfect age-appropriate activity.

I hung out on the dance floor where I pretended I could dance for a full 45 minutes. I saw a lot of nannies and parents simply fixing their cellphone cameras on their children and yelling, “DANCE!” while the child awkwardly stood there, not knowing what to do. I encouraged the grown-ups to put down their phones and lead by example. I kept saying, “Hold your child’s hand and dance with them! It doesn’t matter if you can’t dance! They don’t know that!” This was, mostly, to no avail. For the most part, the kids danced if their accompanying adult did. Otherwise, there was a lot of kids sitting next to adults on the floor. I eventually decided to let it go (I literally sang that song in my head) and figured that whoever wanted to dance would and that I should stop pestering people. I had a nice, albeit small, crew of toddler-sized dance machines. It was fun.

We had over 60 people in attendance, some in costumes, some not. A good time was had, even though my feet hurt at the end of it. Some parents signed waivers for their pictures to be posted on our library’s family page on Facebook. Click here to see some cute Brooklyn kids being cute.

Wanna steal my playlist of kid-friendly tunes that’s semi-guaranteed to get booties of all ages moving? Here it is:

FYI, the Labyrinth song has the line, “Slap that baby, make him free”. Does this matter to you? Don’t use that song, then. Labyrinth is kind of nostalgic for people my age, so I included it. It gets everyone jumping.

The most popular song was the Harry Belefonte one, though no one seemed to get the Beetlejuice association.

I also added some other songs that I didn’t put on my 8tracks playlist:

  1. We are the Dinosaurs: Obligatory and always a crowd-pleaser
  2. Shake Dem Halloween Bones: It was so-so received. Kind of a Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes situation.
  3. Monster Mash: Hello. It’s a Halloween party.
  4. Brush your teeth: Classic

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

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8 thoughts on “We had a Halloween Toddler Dance Party and it was exhausting

  1. Awesome! May I suggest dancing puppets to get everyone dancing? I used to do storytime that ended with 5-20 minutes of dancing every week, and if I was dancing around with a dinosuar/bear/raccoon/etc puppet and made it stop and dance with each kid, they would all start dancing.

  2. Looks like you two did an awesome job! I love the toddler bowling/building blocks. This was my first year working in a library for Halloween- the childrens and YA department decorations really made it the BEST.

  3. Pingback: Coolest Thing I Saw On The Internet: Native American Heritage Edition | Storytime Underground

  4. That’s such a cute idea. I bet Everybody was exhausted by the time the party was over! Adults and kids included! What a great idea to throw a party for Halloween for toddlers! They must’ve had some adorable costumes on! How cute! One of the things that is great about Halloween is seeing little babies and little kids dressed up in costumes! And animals too. Years ago I had a black cat that I dressed her up as a baby for Halloween, I even had a stroller for her. We went trick-or-treating on Hollywood Blvd. Everyone (especially the kids) got a big kick out of it! Several people thought her little pink baby dress was cute. Kids were taking pictures of her.

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