10 Halloween Games to Play for Spooktacular Fun
Halloween parties are the perfect time to roll out creative games for a night of spooktacular fun. Keep kids engaged and adults entertained with this round-up of Halloween games. We left no stone unturned, and you can find surprises waiting for you around every corner. From a pop goes the pumpkin game to a haunted mirror prank, we have it all. The night will be blast and completely unforgettable. Who needs to go to a haunted house when you can make one at home? All it takes is some ingenuity and a few props that you may already have on hand.
While bobbing for apples is an old favorite, the doughnuts on a string game appeals to any guest with a sweet tooth. Make some old-fashioned yeast doughnuts that are tied to a string for guests to gobble down without using their hands. It’s a tasty race to the finish line! You also want to put the same thought into your Halloween party menu, but some of the treats are perfect as prizes for your Halloween games. Candy, cupcakes, and cookies make for delicious spooky treats all night long.
And when everyone is full of treats and exhausted from playing all these Halloween games, you can gather 'round the bonfire for a night of frightening tales. Ghost stories told over a crackling fire (with some s'mores that have pretzel spider legs) might keep you up all night. Your guests will have a frighteningly good time with these Halloween games. But don't say we didn’t warn you—it is Halloween, after all.
Pop Goes the Pumpkin
Looking to kick off Halloween with a bang, not a boo? This version of a classic carnival game also makes a festive wall decoration, and bursting the confetti-and-candy-filled balloons in this Halloween party game will make everyone explode with laughter.
Spider Toss Game
Ready to test your kids' spidey senses? This game transforms the floor into a massive cobweb with eight-legged toys as the game pieces.
"Blackout" Ghost Story Prank
No crowd is better primed for a good prank than one listening to a ghost story in the dark. One perfect stunt for storytelling requires hiding a compatriot outside the house; as soon as the tale reaches a crucial, scary section, she clutches at the window panes. For maximum chills, consider adding this trick to the same story session: Candles are placed around the room. As the story nears its climax, they mysteriously go out, one by one, until the room is dark. To achieve the effect, simply cut the candles in two, remove a small piece of the wick from the middle, then join the pieces back together by heating the cut ends. When a candle burns down to the missing section of wick, it gutters and dies.
Halloween games of disguise survive in many old sources, and they don't necessarily involve elaborate costumes. In "Nosey," the party guests are divided into two groups and sent into adjoining rooms. A curtain or heavy sheet with a small slit in it is hung in the doorway. One of the players sticks his or her nose through the slit, making sure nothing else shows. Then the game leader chants, "The witches have stolen somebody's nose. Who does it belong to, do you suppose?" and everyone on the opposing team attempts to guess the owner of the nose. If correct, the guessing team scores a point and the opposing team must present another nose for their regard. If the guess is wrong, then the guessing team must now start offering up noses—which, it should be noted, can be very hard to recognize without any accompanying features.
Doughnuts on a String
These yeast doughnuts are a fall favorite and, in this game, they double as the prize. Tie a delicious treat on the string and let players chomp away at it hands-free—ready, set, bite!
To play the game, tie a length of rope between two trees. With kids standing under the rope, tie pieces of ribbon to the doughnuts (one per player) and then to the rope so the treats hang slightly above mouth level. Have players start on the count of three. Instruct each to eat an entire doughnut—no hands allowed—without letting it fall off the ribbon. The first to finish wins. There's no need for prizes—they've just been eaten.
Bobbing for Apples
Did you know the classic game of bobbing for apples in a tub of water began as a way to predict a player's fortune? In one version of the game, anyone who got an apple would marry. In another, a dime was put in one apple, a ring in a second, and a button in a third, predicting fortune, marriage, and "single blessedness," respectively. Today's kids may balk at such a quaint ambition, but even without mention of marriage, the game's bobbing, splashing, and general hilarity provide plenty of entertainment. If you want to play with fortune-telling, you can change the type of prediction. Or you can just give a prize to the winner. Which brings us to the loser: In many old games, the loser had to perform a "forfeit." This could be a riddle posing as a task, such as, "Leave the room with two legs and come back with six" (i.e., carry a chair back with you).
Keep plenty of apples on hand, as well as towels for drying off. Fill a wide tub with water, and place it on a low table. (Putting it on the ground will lead to wet knees.) Add apples, taking care not to overload the tub. To make the game easier for younger kids, include small apples for grabbing or leave the stems on the fruit. Let the bobbing begin.
Witch's Hat Ring Toss
Challenge little ones to a carnival-inspired game of ring toss, with a witch's big black hat as the target. Cover easy-to-grip flying discs with black spray paint for the rings. To make a hat, download and print our witch's hat top and brim templates; tape together and cut out. Use the templates to cut pieces from black card stock. Roll the top into a cone and secure with double-sided tape. Fold tabs on the brim and tape to the inside of the cone. Download, print, and cut out the hat band clip-art. Wrap around the hat and affix with double-sided tape. Secure the hat brim to the floor with rolled pieces of painter's tape.
Pin the Tail on the Cat
Give a favorite party game a seasonal twist by replacing the traditional donkey with a screeching black cat. The rules are the same: Whoever gets the tail closest to its rightful spot (without peeking) wins a prize. Download and print our cat clip-art (or color-photocopy, enlarging as instructed) onto white heavyweight matte paper; cut out. Print and cut out extra tails as needed. Affix clip-art to the wall with rolled pieces of masking or painter's tape. Write a number on each tail, and apply tape to back. Have each guest choose a number before you start the game.
Pin the Face on the Pumpkin
This game provides entertainment for all at a fall celebration. Children as young as two or three can play it. Start by cutting out eyes, noses, and mouths from black construction paper. Stick a reusable adhesive, such as Blu Tack, on the back of each cutout, and give a set of cutouts to each player. Place a large pumpkin on a low table or a bench. With blindfolded players starting four feet away (little kids may stand closer), instruct them to walk toward the pumpkin and create a jack-o'-lantern face—no peeking! After each turn, take a picture of the player with the finished pumpkin.
Dead Man's Guts
Turn to one of the ickiest and coolest of all Halloween storytelling pranks: making your friends feel around in a dead man's "guts." Fill a darkened room with blindfolded guests, then take off on Charles F. Smith's circa-1930s "A Hallowe'en Post Mortem," which he wrote for the Boy Scouts: "The truth it is, and not a myth / That once there lived a man named Smith, / And it became his mournful lot / To murdered be quite near this spot. / We now will pass out his remains, / You first will handle poor Smith's brains...." At this point, "moist sponges are passed from guest to guest." The verse continues, disassembling poor Smith bit by bit—his hair (corn silk), his windpipe (a length of uncut boiled macaroni), his hand (a glove stuffed with wet sand)—until little of him is left to distribute. Never let it be said that Boy Scouts lack a sense of the bizarre.