Halloween parties, whether at home or school, generally take the theme for games from Halloween colors (orange and black) Halloween symbols, such as bats, ghosts, hats, apples, skeletons, ghouls and goblins, black cats and others. Many Halloween games are simply versions of other games tailored to fit the Halloween theme.
Party planners should plan games that can be played either outside or inside, depending on the weather. October 31 can be pleasant in some areas. In other areas, however, rain or cold could spoil a party that has only outside activities planned. If some kids will be in costume, games should allow those who are in costume to compete equally with those who are not.
Old-Fashioned Games Updated
Bobbing for apples, a popular Halloween game during the first half of the 1900s, fell into disfavor when adults came to realize that the practice of five or six kids all putting their faces into the same tub of water and trying to be the first one to take a bite of any floating apple was unsanitary. A more modern take on the game has kids trying to be the first to eat the gummy worm that is floating in its individual plastic bowl–no hands allowed. Another game involved team members, relay style, trying to be the first to complete consume an apple hanging from the ceiling on a string; again, this can become a game for individual players.
Starting a Halloween party with some competitive action games gets everyone involved and excited. Pumpkin Bowling, a game suggested at the Party Game Ideas website, uses empty 2-liter soda, painted white with black eyes so that they become ghosts, which are then weighted down with some pebbles, as the bowling pins. Small pumpkins are used as bowling balls. One bowling set should be created for each team if the kids are going to play the game relay style. Another action relay pits kids in teams of three against the competition as one serves as the “mummy” while the other two try to wrap her completely in toilet tissue. Kids can play the Mister Bones Relay Race, an idea from the Family Fun website, individually or in teams, which offers a template of a skeleton on the site. All the pieces (enough for the number of kids playing) are placed in a large basket, and kids race to take out one piece at a time and glue their skeleton onto a sheet of card stock.
Breaking up a string of active games with a few quiet ones gives kids a chance to settle down. To play Stolen by the Witch, Halloween toys like plastic spiders, black cats, ghost stickers and others are placed on a large tray. Kids look closely at the items on the tray for three minutes because they are told that they are about to have their memory tested. When the tray reappears after only a moment, they are told to write on their paper what one item is missing. The game is repeated a few times; sometimes kids are asked to make a list of what they saw on the tray. Apple carving contests give kids a chance to use plastic knives to make a scary face on an apple; party goers vote for the most ghoulish creation. Another quiet occupation is to provide kids with black construction paper and set them to the task of using only their hands (no pencils or scissors) of tearing out shapes that resemble bats or witches’ hats.
Trick-or-treating games should only be included if kids’ parents are present and willing to come along for that part of the party, particularly for younger children. Games that call for a darkened room may be too scary for younger children; for the littlest ones, it’s probably a good idea to keep explaining that Halloween creatures are make-believe.
- halloween image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com