Halloween jelly messy play

Halloween has many traditions – jack-o’-lanterns, trick or treating, dressing up in scary costumes – but in our house it’s the jelly messy play which is the one which is most looked forward to by the children.

In previous years we’ve had jelly lucky dip inside a pumpkin and in a cauldron, which the kids squish through (if they dare!) to grab sweets which are hidden at the bottom. This year we are going with a sensory tub full of green and orange jelly with some ghoulish treasures to discover and scoop out.

Top tips for jelly messy play

Halloween jelly messy play ideas
:: Make your jelly the day before to give it plenty of time to set and take it out of the fridge at least half an hour before you’re going to play with it otherwise it is really, really cold

:: You can give the children a tub of set jelly but it can actually be a little hard for them to dig into and scoop around, so you might want to chop it up a little first

:: If you have very young children and you’re adding things in to the jelly for them to play with stick with either all things they can eat or all things they can’t – otherwise it’s very easy for them to end up with something inedible in their mouths

:: If you’re adding jelly-type sweets don’t put them in while the jelly is setting because they will probably melt and loose their shape. Instead, prepare and set the jelly and then add the sweets to your sensory tub and place all the jelly on top

:: To contain the mess you might consider taking your jelly play into the bath tub. Play with the plug in, scoop out the jelly when you’ve finished and give the tub a good scrub. The tub can get slippy so we have ‘bums on the bathtub’ rule and the kids have to sit down to play.

:: Or if you have a paddling pool, set it up (minus the water) in your play space and pop the jelly sensory tub in the middle. The children can sit inside the paddling pool and scoop and play and any stray jelly will end up in the pool, ready for an easy clean up, rather than on your carpet

Are you getting messy this Halloween? What sensory play have you got planned?
Halloween jelly messy play activities

More sensory tub and jelly messy play ideas

If you love sensory play you might like our guide to sensory tubs

If you love jelly messy play you might like our ideas for jelly colour mixing and jelly maths

And if you’re after a messy Halloween idea but don’t want to use jelly try this super spaghetti potion  idea


  1. Mama Pea Pod says

    That is so deliciously disgusting – I love it!! (i cant believe you really put your kids right INTO a bathtub full of jelly! You are such a fun mum!)

    • Cathy @ NurtureStore says

      Oh Mama Pea Pod, I hate to disappoint you but the *whole* bathtub wasn’t full to the brim, but we did use 10 packs of jelly 😀

  2. says

    I realized last week that I had *never* yet made Jello (just can’t stop thinking jelly is for spreading on toast in my American brain) with my kids. So, of course, we made some. Leland put a bite in his mouth and said, “Oh I like this! You now it has a feeling in your teeth? I’m feeling it with my teeth!” James on the other hand wasn’t too impressed with the texture. He’d be more apt to play with it the way you all did. Looks like fun!

  3. says

    Oh brilliant, love these tips; there’s a few that I wish I’d known about a week ago before I started doing this!

    Thanks so much for linking up to ShowOff ShowCase!

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