If it’s your turn to play Hallowe’en host, step out of the safety zone with some spooky party games that are sure to boost the fun factor for kids of every age.
1. Guess the Spook
This game will get your group mingling faster than any introductions can. When each guest arrives, pin a secret card with the name of a Halloween character (witch, warlock, ghost, scarecrow, whatever) to their back, so everyone else can see it. Then, each person asks 20 “yes or no” questions of 20 different guests in order to figure out what their mystery character is.
2. Eyeball Hunt
A gory twist on bobbing for apples, this game has guests taking turns digging deep into a bucket of soft, oily spaghetti. (This is especially fun if you cover the bucket and don’t reveal the kids will reach their hands into.) They’re searching for eyeballs, which the kids themselves can create using ping-pong balls and markers. As an added twist, you can create eyes different colours, each worth a different number of points. The hitch: Each child only gets 10 seconds per turn. At the end, the player with the most points wins a scary prize.
3. Pass the Pumpkin
Turn Wonder Ball into Pumpkin Ball by using mini pumpkins as props instead. Start with all the kids sitting a circle, then flip on the music to get them passing one or two pumpkins (depending on the size of the group). If, when the song stops, you’re caught with a pumpkin in your lap, you’re O-U-T, Out. But all is not lost. The losers move directly to a colouring station, where they can decorate their very own pumpkin.
4. Pumpkin Penny Pitch
To play, hollow out a few pumpkins with the tops sliced off and line them with foil. Then set up the kids behind lines that correspond to their age group (the younger you are, the closer you stand). Each child gets 10 pennies, or small candies, to toss into the pumpkin’s head.
5. Freak Out
The kids start by lying on the floor, face-up, eyes open, trying to stay as still as zombies. An adult then taps one person, whose job is to try to freak them out. She can use her facial expressions, words, her whole body to try to make the other players smile, laugh or wiggle. The only thing she can’t do is touch them. Saw a zombie move? That zombie stands to join in the fun, trying to unnerve the rest and so on. The last zombie left lying down is the winner.
6. Monster Tag
The Monster is blindfolded inside his lair - a large circle marked with masking tape. Ready or not, all players join him. Now watch out! The Monster reaches out and moans, howls or growls, and then the players mimic the Monster. That way, the Monster can find his victims. When the Monster touches someone, it’s their turn to get blindfolded…
7. Candy Corn
Relay At the starting line, set out a bowl of candy corn for each player, and a corresponding empty bowl at the finish line. 1-2-3, the race is on! Using a large spoon, each player scoops corn and carries it, ever so carefully, to their finish bowl. Dropped your corn along the way? No problem. Just pick it up, return to the starting line, and try again. When your finish bowl is full, you’re first to enjoy that tasty treat!
8. Ghost Story Build-Up
In this game, the kids sit in a circle with the lights out and create a ghost story. Select the winner of the last game to start. This child will hold the flashlight and start the story. At a particularly exciting part (or after 20 seconds or so), the child passes the flashlight to the person on their left, who illuminates their face and continues the story where it left off. You may have to prompt some kids and signal others to stop right before they get to a turning point so the next child in turn can continue the story.
9. Spot the Poison
An adult surreptitiously chooses one child to be the Poison Apple, the player with power to put all others to sleep with just one wink. The game starts with all players quietly looking at one another. Every five seconds or so, the Poison Apple sends a quick wink in the direction of a victim, who then must immediately fall to the ground. Whenever a child witnesses a wink, they can call out “I accuse you!” If an accusation is false, both the accuser and the accused must fall. The first child to accuse the Poison Apple is proclaimed the hero who saved the day.
10. Slithering Snake Race
Divide the group into two teams and line them up facing the finish line. Each team member puts their left hand through their legs and holds onto the right hand of the person behind them. Now you have two long snakes, ready to slither their way, as fast as possible, across the yard to the finish line. The first team to reach it – while keeping their entire snake intact – is the sneakiest of all.