Betty Crocker wants to scare your kids

By Kerry

Parties for Children cover

All images scanned from Betty Crocker’s Parties for Children © Copyright 1964 by General Mills, Inc.

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to check in with Betty Crocker on the proper way to throw a Halloween party for children.

Betty, helpfully, has the entire gathering planned out – from party games to menu:

Halloween Party planning

Illustrations by Judy and Barry Martin

We’ll get to those party games in a minute. First, I have to wonder how many children are going to be excited about the prospect of eating a “simple” vegetable soup – whether it is out of a cauldron or not. Goblin Franks are just spookily renamed pigs-in-a-blanket. Then there are the Ice Cream Jack-O’-Lanterns. (What’s with that crazy punctuation, Betty? Hyphens and an apostrophe? That’s the scariest thing I’ve seen so far). These bad boys look more like snowman heads. Betty specifically says to use vanilla ice cream. Why not orange sherbet? Why, Betty!?! Maybe she wants them to look like snowman heads in some prescient ode to scary movie Jack Frost.

Ice Cream Jack-O-Lanterns

Because there is nothing unsettling about arming small children with fire.

So the menu is a bit hit-or-miss. But what about the games?

Well, Under the Broom is just renamed Limbo.
Ghost is a spelling game so boring I can’t even describe it without falling asleep.
Fortunes involves a typewriter and carbon paper – so I think it’s safe to consider that one obsolete.

That leaves us with just the not-very-child-friendly named Murder!

Murder game for children

Tee Hee…you’ve been MURDERED!

This is essentially played like the popular party game Werewolf:

  • You take two Red Kings and the Ace of Spades from a deck of playing cards, plus enough number cards for the rest of the group.
  • Pass out the cards.
  • The two Red Kings are the Detectives – they leave the room.
  • The Ace of Spades is the Murderer – they tap another child on the shoulder three times.
  • The tapped child “screams and falls over ‘dead’ on the floor.”
  • The Detectives come back in and question the other children to determine the Murderer.
  • But – get this – you (the grown up) instruct the children to give the Detectives alibis, like “I was swimming in the goldfish bowl” or “I was eating electric light bulbs.” Those are the example alibis from the book! Oh, Betty. If you are essentially going to train children to lie to the authorities to cover up their crimes, why give them such flimsy alibis?

    So, what do you think? Are you now craving some Witches’ Cauldron Soup?

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    “Tee Hee…you’ve been MURDERED!” wtf?! I’m at a loss here…lol


    This is amazing and hilarious. I think that “Jack-O’-Lantern” (Jack of Lantern?) would end up looking more like a demonic snowman, like you said, rather than a traditional one carved from a pumpkin. ALL THE BETTER TO SCARE YOU WITH LITTLE CHILDREN! Mwahahaha. I am really curious if anyone has pictures of these parties in action. Because I would love to see it.