- By Jenna Maxwell
Part of every Halloween party should be a few party games. Whether you stick with some of the more traditional games that have been played for generations, or try a few new ones, party games are going to be the highlight of your party. Here’s a list of some of our favorites to help get you started.
Bobbing for Apples
As far back as the 18th century there is documentation that people played party games with suspended apples. Bobbing for apples has been around so long it is definitely considered one of the most traditional Halloween party games around. The premise is simple as well. Basically a large tub or basin is filled with water and apples are placed in the water, setting them afloat. The point of the game is to; with ones hands tied or placed behind ones back, grab an apple in ones teeth. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but that hasn’t stopped people for over 100 years from trying. Have some towels handy for drying off after your players are finished “bobbing”. Have fun, and good luck with this one!
This game is really sort of “hands on”. There is not eating involved, but the point is while wearing a blindfold to “feel” various supposedly gross things. It’s amazing how well the power of suggestion works in these instances! Here are some examples of things to “touch and feel” during this game. Peeled grapes in a bowl can be called “eyeballs”. Cooked spaghetti is simply “guts”. Uncooked liver can be a “heart” and ketchup easily makes pretend “blood”. A damp glove filled with Jello is a “dead hand” and a dried apricot is a “dead ear”. Have some wipes around for easy clean up. After each guest has had his feel of all the items, have him make a list of as many of the items that he can recall. Give a prize to the winner!
The Monster Lab
(a touch-n-feel game for younger kids with an interactive story to go along with it!)
What you need:
- Long, thin wooden board (used as the plank)
- Various foods
How to play:
- The guests are blindfolded and led over to an imaginary moat in front of a mad scientist’s dungeon laboratory. Seat them in a circle. (Any children that feel too afraid to be blindfolded can be the “assistants”.) Once there, Dr. I.B. Wicked announces in a whisper that he/she will unveil the recipe for the most astonishing creation yet: The Drooler. The children are welcome visitors, he explains, but they must keep their blindfolds on and remain absolutely silent, for human stares and sounds may awaken the beast before it’s ready to be brought to life.
- After the kids hear the speech, have an adult walk each one carefully down the plank that you have set up. This is just for a special effect, but they are going to love it. If you think the kids are up for it, have another adult make hissing, growling and muttering sounds while they walk across the plank. Take the children from the plank and sit them in a circle in the middle of the room.
- Dr. I.B. Wicked begins by passing containers of ingredients for the kids to sniff, explaining how each will be used to make the monster. A few tough to guess ingredients that are sure to wrinkle the kids noses include, Mouse breath, (Parmesan cheese) which increases night vision, charred bat’s feet, (charred wood) excellent for hearing, extract of grasshopper’s (pine and nutmeg) which improves long-jumping ability and owl’s pellets, (dry yeast) which is great for cunning.
- Dr. I.B. Wicked explains that he has gotten the monster’s bones all together, and that it is just the final assembly of organs and extra features that remains. Pass around bowls of monster parts for the kids to feel and relate the past history of the individual organs; the intestines (oily spaghetti) were a donation from Dracula’s private collection; the fur (an old wig) came from Sasquatch; the ears (dried apples) were once attached to a 4,600 year old Egyptian mummy; 12 fingers (cold hot dogs) are from The Six-Fingered Man; three eyes (peeled grapes) are from a family of Cyclopses; the brains (cooked oatmeal) were borrowed from Frankenstein; the heart (a small balloon full of warm water) is from the Loch Ness Monster.
- As the monster grows, have a grown-up assistant begin to make growling and waking up sounds. While you are putting in the last parts, listen carefully for one of the kids to whisper, laugh or scream. (If none do, have an assistant make the fateful noise). Yell out, “Oh no, you did it! The monster is waking up!” The assistant then stomps out of the room with a clanking of chains and ferocious muttering.
Build a Mummy
For this game you need to divide the guests up into teams of at least 3. Each team must designate a person who is going to become the mummy. One person (probably you!) is going to be the referee as well as the judge. Give each team 4 rolls of toilet paper and set a timer for 15 minutes. During the allotted time, each team will use the toilet paper to wrap the designated person, and make them into a mummy. Give prizes for the most creative mummy, etc. If you are doing this game with adults who won’t have their feelings hurt, give an award for the most pathetic mummy, too.
This game is very similar to an Easter Egg Hunt except it’s played with Halloween ghosts that you make and hide instead of Easter eggs. Cover lollipops with tissues and draw faces on them with a permanent marker. (For complete instructions on how to do this see our craft section.) Have the kids go out and hunt for the ghosts and place them inside of their Halloween goodie bags.
This game is played like hot potato, or musical chairs, except with a small pumpkin. When the spooky music starts, the pumpkin is passed around from kid to kid as they sit in a circle. When the music stops playing, whoever is caught holding the pumpkin is out. Whoever is the last remaining player not caught holding the pumpkin is declared the winner!
Halloween Relay Race
Halloween relays are a very fun game to play outdoors, and are especially crazy when everyone is dressed up in costumes. Blow up several black and orange balloons. One person (likely, you!) will be the referee. Divide everyone else into 2 teams. Half of each team goes to one end of the yard (or room if you are indoors) and the other half goes to the other side. The objective is to get to the opposite side while keeping the balloon off the ground. YOU MAY NOT USE YOUR HANDS! When you get to the other side, the balloon is passed off to the next teammate who does the same thing in the other direction. No dropping or touching of the balloon is allowed and obviously the point is to go as quickly as possible. Have prizes for the winning team!
Take some empty soda bottles (2 liter size works great) and paint them with Halloween faces or in Halloween colors. If you want them to look really spooky, add some creepy faces to them. Fill the bottles with sand or small pebbles so they stand easily. Using pumpkins as “bowling balls” roll the balls toward the “pins”. You can play as individuals or as teams—keep score so you can determine who is the winner!
Name that (Scary) Tune
This game is probably much better suited for adults because the point is to see how many scary movie theme songs you can remember. Record clips of several and see who can guess them the fastest! Here are some music suggestions:
- The Exorcist
- Friday the 13th
- Nightmare on Elm Street
- Nightmare Before Christmas
- The Adams Family Theme
- The Munster’s Theme
- The Twilight Zone Theme
Played like traditional charades, this version uses strictly scary movie themes.
Here are a few scary movies to get your charades game started:
- Nightmare on Elm Street
- Night of the Living Dead
- Friday the 13th
Hide, Seek and Kill (grown ups or older teens only!)
This is like hide and seek with a twist. One player is designated as the killer and it’s fun to dress him up with a mask similar to what Michael Myers would wear or a Scream mask. He then goes to another room to wait a few minutes while all the players hide. The killer (dressed in his killer costume) hunts down the players. All the lights should be off and the killer should carry a flashlight as he does his tracking. As each player is found, make sure they know to let out a spine tingling scream as they are escorted into the “cemetery” which is in the center of the main room. Whoever is the last player left is declared the winner!
M & M Game (for all ages)
What you need:
Pen & Paper
Divide players into 2-3 teams. Write out clues to where the M&M’s may be hidden. Each team receives the same clues, but in a different order as to not give away the location of the M&M’s. At each location, place a cup of M&M’s hidden in that designated area. When a team finds the M&M’s they take 3 out of the cup and move on to the next clue. Each color of M&M is worth a certain number of points but this is not revealed until the end. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins!
The “Name Game” (for all ages)
You will need:
- Orange and black markers
- 3x5 cards
- Safety pins
Before your guests arrive, neatly print the name of a Halloween character onto the 3x5 card. When the guests arrive pin a card on their back upside down but do not tell them what name is on the card.
- Each guest can ask only one question of any person while attempting to guess the name that is printed on their card.
- Facial expressions and actions are allowed.
- Only “yes” and “no” questions are allowed.
- If a guest guesses too quickly, pin a new character name on their back.
Pitch a Penny (for all ages)
Using plastic pumpkins lined up or plastic witches cauldrons, give each guest 20 pennies to “pitch” toward the receptacles. For each time a penny is dropped into a container successfully, they get a piece of candy.
Light as a Feather (8 years old to teens)
Turn off the lights and light candles around the room to create a very spooky ambience. Choose a person (victim) to lie down on the floor with 3 people kneeling on each side of him. Each person places the first two fingers from each hand under the person lying down. All players close their eyes and chant “Light as a feather stiff as a board!” while trying to lift the person without losing concentration. Do not distract the players or the center person or they may be accidentally dropped! If all the directions are followed this game usually works!
Teddy Bear Hunt (Toddlers)
Hide a teddy bear. As the child wanders about searching for the bear as he gets closer say “you’re getting warmer!” and if he wanders away from the bear say “you’re getting colder!” etc. The first one to find the bear is the winner.
Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin (Toddlers and up)
You can use a real pumpkin for this game, or a large painted drawing of a jack-o-lantern (without his nose!) works best. Have ready several large black nose shapes made out of black construction paper. The pumpkin should have his eyes and mouth already in place. Blindfold each player, spin him or her around a time or two and aim them gently in the direction of the pumpkin where they can stick their nose (or try to) to the pumpkin’s face. (Use tape on the back of the nose for sticking, it’s the easiest.) Whoever gets their nose the closest to the correct location, wins!
Parachute Game (Toddlers)
This is a great game to play outside. Have each child stand around a large blanket holding onto the edges. Place a small stuffed animal in the center of the blanket and have the kids try to bounce it as high as they can without bouncing it off the blanket. For additional fun, try doing two stuffed animals simultaneously.
Bubble Fun (Toddlers)
All toddlers love bubbles and will enjoy chasing them around the yard after you blow them. Fill up buckets with soapy water and add a few drops of food coloring to the bubble mix. Purchase an assortment of bubble wands at a toy or novelty store and dip them in the soapy water to make bubbles for the kids to try and pop.