Telling ghost stories is another classic Halloween activity. Turn off the lights and use a flashlight to make it scarier if you want. Instead of a campfire, look into the relatively cheap light-up cauldrons found in party stores. Make stories age appropriate. Some of our recommendations include The Teeny Tiny Ghost, by Kay Winters and Big Pumpkin, by Erica Silverman, are excellent for the preschool set.
Make your own story. Sit in your reading circle and start the story: "It was a dark and stormy night..." Tell the story for a few minutes, and then, at an exciting moment, stop and let the next person continue the story on their own. Pass an object like a flashlight or pumpkin to each storyteller as it becomes his or her turn. In shy crowds, have adults ready to jump in with a little help.
A variation is to have picture cards, divided into Characters, Locations, Actions, etc., and deal one of each category to each child and they must make up and tell a short story (even a sentence for the younger ones) about the cards they were dealt. One great way to go is to keep one category all very Halloweeny—for instance all the characters be related to Halloween—Mummy, Witch, Goblin, Ghost, Skeleton, Vampire, Trick-or-Treater, Bat, Spider, Werewolf, Gargoyle. Consider letting your Location and Activities vary a bit more. In your Locations, you might want a haunted house, a cemetery, but consider tossing in something incongruous, like the beach. Imagine what silly things can be said about a Werewolf at the beach! This helps tone down the scare level for younger ones, and you can even manipulate the cards to create silly scenarios for the more easily spooked children.