I tend to go a little (okay, a lot) overboard on the entertainment—a grown woman should not spend her nights shoving Tic Tacs into balloons!
There are hundreds of good Halloween game ideas, and over the years, we’ve done everything from “Pin the Wart on the Witch” (when my daughter was younger) to a mystery role playing game (last year when she was in grade 5). Here are some of our favourite activities and games from parties past. I’ve separated the games into several categories because sometimes it’s a good idea to intersperse relay games with stationary games.
Stationary / Unstructured Games
These games allow children to wander around the room and do things at their own pace or sit together in a group.
Candy Corn Count
Children guess how many candies are lurking in a jar.
How To: You need a clean glass jar and your favourite Halloween candy (candy corn works well). Count and record the number of candies it takes to fill the jar. Make a simple game sheet to record the players’ names and guesses. Put out a pencil so children can write down their name and their guess. Announce the winner of the jar of candy toward the end of the party. (Apologize to the parents after the party!)
X Marks the Spot
Children mark their scary spot on a poster.
How To: Put a small mark on the back of a Halloween-themed poster and hang it on the wall. Have players write their names on small labels and stick them on the poster. Reveal the scary spot and give a prize to the child whose label was closest to the mark.
Gross Food Guess
Children feel the “body parts” hidden inside paper bags.
How To: Put the items below into paper bags. Have children sit in a circle, and then announce each body part in turn and pass the bag around. Let children put their hand inside the bag to feel—and peek if it makes them more comfortable! If you want, you can tell a simple story (for example, about a witch who fell apart piece by piece) before handing out the bags.
“Body Part” and Corresponding Item for Paper Bags:
- Brain: cauliflower
- Eyes: black olives (dry well)
- Hair: damp yarn
- Ears: dried apricots
- Skin: dried orange peel
- Teeth: unpopped popcorn
- Nails: plastic nails
- Rat teeth: slivered almonds
- Spider legs: pipe cleaners
- Worms: gummy worms
Children act out a Halloween-related charade to earn a small candy. My daughter and her friends ask to play this game every year. I like to think it’s because the game is fun, but I suspect it’s because of the candy prize.
How To: Cut orange pumpkins and white ghosts out of construction paper. Write “Trick” on most of the cut-outs and “Treat” on just a few. Write a charade on the back of the “Trick” papers. Here are some ideas: vampire getting out of a coffin, walking like Frankenstein, witch getting on her broom, black cat stretching, dressing in a Halloween costume, giving candy to trick-or-treaters, carving a pumpkin.
Put all the cut-outs in a plastic pumpkin and have a bowl of candy standing by. Players take turns pulling out a paper. If they get “Treat”, they get to pick a candy. If they get “Trick”, they have to act out a Halloween charade to earn their treat.
Relay / Team Games
Not sure how to make teams so it doesn’t take forever or hurt feelings? Here’s one idea: write words relating to vampires and witches (or other iconic Halloween characters) on slips of paper. Toss the papers into a plastic pumpkin, and have each child pick out a slip of paper. Based on what the paper says, the child is either on the vampire team or the witch team. (Vampire-related words: blood, fangs, stake, coffin, Transylvania, Dracula. Witch-related words: broom, cat, cauldron, spell, warts, frog.)
Teams race to wrap their mummy from head to toe.
How To: Divide players up into small teams (three or four players). Have each team pick one player to be the mummy. Give each team several rolls of toilet paper. The first team to completely wrap their mummy wins (leave holes for their eyes and mouths of course).
After the mummies break out of their wrappings, this game devolves into a huge toilet paper fight at our house. I never realized how much fun kids can have throwing toilet paper at each other (and at any parents who are unlucky enough to stick around). The room will look frightening when they finally finish, but hand out a few plastic bags and make it a race to clean up—the only thing left will be the smiles.
Maggot Balloon Pop
Teams race to pop balloons and collect “maggots” (Tic Tacs).
How To: Here’s where the Tic Tacs come in! You need several packs of Tic Tacs and one balloon per child playing the game. Put four “maggots” (Tic Tacs) in each balloon and then blow the balloons up and tie them. Divide the balloons equally into two big garbage bags (one bag for each team). If you have an unequal number of players, one child will have to take two turns.
On race day, put the balloon-filled bags at one end of the room. Have the teams race relay-style to pop the balloons (you can decide how they will pop the balloons) and collect their maggots. The first team to return all their players and maggots to the starting line wins.
Ghost Poop Relay
Teams race to move “ghost poop” (mini marshmallows) from one plate to another using only straws.
How To: Give each player one straw. Give the first child on each team a set number of mini marshmallows (we use about five). Have teams race to move the marshmallows down the line from player to player using only their straws. The first team to move their pile of ghost poop to the end of the line wins.
Teams race to pass a pumpkin without using their hands!
How To: Divide children up into teams and have them race to pass a small pumpkin down the line from player to player using only their necks.
Teams race to decorate pumpkins with sets of Mr. Potato Head-type plastic Halloween parts (noses, ears, eyebrows, mouths, etc.).
How To: I bought my plastic pumpkin parts at Michaels, but I’ve also seen them at Wal-Mart and the dollar store. You can use generic parts http://www.wondercostumes.com/pumpkin-parts-decorating-kit-ptppdku.html or Mr. Potato Head Halloween parts http://www.examiner.com/article/mr-potato-head-pumpkin-decorating-kits
On race day, place two good-sized pumpkins at one end of the room. Divide children up into relay teams and give each team an equal number of plastic parts. Have players race out one at a time to add a piece to the pumpkin. The first team to finish decorating their pumpkin and get back to the starting line wins.