Most kids look forward to Halloween and the fall harvest with great anticipation. Those who don’t celebrate Halloween usually celebrate the fall harvest with similar parties. While costumes and candy might be the primary attraction at such parties, try going a step further. Celebrate the Halloween and fall season with fun games, and throw a party that will be the hit of the neighborhood.
Ages and Stages
Your first consideration when planning Halloween or fall games is the ages and stages of the kids. Any parent of a young child knows that preschoolers are not able to understand complex rules, nor will they be able to sit patiently for long periods of time. In addition, most preschoolers do not know how to take turns patiently, according to Oklahoma State University. On the other hand, older children and teens often welcome a competitive game and can participate in more advanced, complex games.
Choose games that will work for the size of your group. A large group of teenagers would probably appreciate a competitive group game, while a large group of young children will probably do better in a game where they are all participating at the same time. Smaller groups of young children can play games where the participants play one at a time, as long as the wait for a turn is not too long. Smaller groups of teens will enjoy games where they can compete against one another on an individual basis.
Think about the goal of each game. Is it to determine a winner; let everyone have a good time; or, do you want to teach something? Many fall games have the potential to be educational in nature and used in a classroom. Be sensitive to kids who might be offended by gore or who are easily scared. Finally, consider the supplies needed to play the game. Halloween can be an expensive holiday.
Create a spooky mummy and watch hilarity ensue when you divide up the kids into teams and have them dress a mummy. Give each team several rolls of toilet paper, and designate one person to be the mummy. Then, set a timer and see which team can wrap up the mummy before the time is up. Set up a skeleton scavenger hunt by hiding “bones” around the house. Use a paper skeleton decoration, available at any craft store, and cut or take it apart. Leave clues as to where the body parts are, or just let the kids explore on their own to find them. The first team to put together a complete skeleton wins a prize.
Fall or Harvest Games
Harvest games lend themselves well for use in a classroom or church group, because they can easily be tailored for education, and they usually do not have any factors that may offend some kids. Try some games using pumpkins. Divide the children into small groups, and give each group a pumpkin. Ask them to estimate the weight of the pumpkin, circumference, and the number of seeds. Give prizes of your choice to the groups that come closest to the right answers. Then, have a pumpkin-carving contest. Let the kids decide on a design, and then have an adult do the carving. Or, use the hollowed-out pumpkins to play Candy Corn Catch, where one person tosses candy corn and the other person tries to catch it in the pumpkin. Another fun harvest game is to design a scarecrow out of a bag of old clothes and other supplies. Use newspapers for the stuffing if you don’t have real straw.
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