As an addition to, or perhaps instead of trick-or-treating, kids can enjoy Halloween by playing outdoor games. Many traditional games can take on a twist to become a Halloween game: tag becomes “Catch the ghost,” for example. In addition, games designed especially for the spookiest night of the year add to the fun.
Capture the Pumpkin
Capture the Flag, which India Child describes as a favorite game to play outdoors, becomes a Halloween game when a pumpkin is used instead of a flag. Teams begin the game of Capture the Pumpkin by drawing a jack-o-lantern face on each pumpkin. One team tries to protect its pumpkin by hiding it in the front yard; the other team takes the back yard. The object of the game is to capture the other team’s pumpkin and bring it to your side of the yard. Players can tag members of the opposite team who must then go to “the pumpkin patch,” a porch or patio and stay there for the remainder of the game.
The Pumpkin Puzzle game from Susie Johns’ book “Halloween: Costumes, Parties, Activities, Recipes” can get a little messy, so it’s best to play it outside with wet cloths nearby for frequent hand wiping. For each child, or each team, before the party you will need to cut a pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and some of the pulp. Then cut each half into four or five rectangular pieces. Provide each team with all the pieces of one pumpkin and toothpicks. Kids race to see who can reconstruct their pumpkin the fastest.
Mr. Bones Relay Race
Family Fun suggests a relay race in which each team receives the pieces of a cardboard skeleton, which they must reassemble. One way to play the relay as an outside game is by turning it into a combination obstacle course/relay, in which the kids try to return Mr. Bones to his “coffin,” the chalk outline of which is drawn on a fence or the side of the house. After dashing over an obstacle course of such objects as old tires and plastic buckets, kids tape on the various skeleton parts. The number and size of the obstacles should increase with the age of the players.
For a game of pumpkin golf, suggested by Pumpkin Nook, you will need one or more jack-o-lanterns carved from large pumpkins and given extra-large mouths. You will also need some bricks and a piece of sturdy cardboard; the pumpkin sits on the bricks and the cardboard makes a ramp from the pumpkin’s mouth to the ground. You’ll also need to put some bricks under the ramp for support. Players try to hit a golf ball from the starting point into the jack-o-lantern’s mouth. Kids play on teams or individually and try for a score of 10 or more successes.