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10 Spooktacular Games for Halloween

Finally, after summer’s long dry spell of big holidays, the Halloween season is upon us. Now is the perfect time to arrange a big party to celebrate the beginning of the on-coming festive season. We’ve researched and put together the most diverse group games and activities to make this year’s Halloween party truly unforgettable! You’ll need few supplies and not much equipment for most, and they are suitable for all ages–parties for a group of kids as well as just adults. Some also may seem familiar from your youth, but may have a creative twist on them. Enjoy and get spooky with these 10 fun Halloween party games.

10. Candy drop

Materials needed: candy (lollipops), a jar, a chair/step stool, a way to mark height (tape on a wall, a pole, etc.)

For Candy Drop, the idea is to have participants safely stand on a chair or step stool (optional for the very small/very young crowd) and drop pieces of candy into a jar from a predetermined height. (Say, the height of a broom handle, a place marked on the wall with tape, etc. This makes it fair to people of all heights to drop from the same spot.) Lollipops work especially well for this game since they have a good weight to them. (Something like Dum-Dum lollipops are great.) Gamers are given a certain number of candy, say, 10 lollipops, and must stand on the stool and drop the candy, successfully landing it in the jar. Whatever they make in, they get to keep! A heavier glass jar works best, especially a tall one to prevent candy from bouncing out. A narrow opening on the jar will give more of a challenge to an older audience. This is a quick game of skill, luck, and is fun to play over and over again as well as entertaining to watch. And you get the added bonus of coming away with a winning stash of sweet, sweet candy!

9. Pin-the-Face-on-the-Pumpkin

Materials needed: huge orange poster, black construction paper, tape, scissors, markers, blindfolds

Ah, the old Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey. (Why on earth is it a donkey, anyhow?) This old-fashioned game is not as fun as it used to be, since players only get to place one piece. A donkey tail, of all things. Bor-ing! Let’s give this classic a spooky makeover and updated twist. In Pin-the-Face-on-the-Pumpkin/Jack-O-Lantern, players get to place multiple pieces of a pumpkin’s face onto a blank orange pumpkin. Just find or make a huge orange pumpkin, adding lines for the ridges and detail on the stem. You can prepare triangle eyes, nose, and toothy smile cutouts for players, OR, participants can design their own eyes, nose, and mouth to use! After attaching your large empty pumpkin to a wall, add tape loops to player’s face pieces. After that, you know the drill. Blindfold and spin players to disorient them, and hand them the face pieces one at a time, (telling them which piece they have,) and see what hilarious and bizarre faces the jack-o-lantern comes out with. Snap a picture on your phone of each player’s attempt before taking the pieces down for the next player, and after all have gone, judge who was closest to making the best face. You can also award prizes for most funny face, most off the pumpkin, who put their pieces closest together, etc.

8. Spoons, with candy

Materials needed: deck of cards, pile of candy

Most of us are familiar with the basic card game of “Spoons,” but here is a reminder of how it works: using a deck of cards, deal four cards to each player. The first player then picks a card from the deck and chooses to either keep it and swap for a card in their hand, or to pass it on to the next player. (If they choose to swap it to their hand, they pass the card from their hand on.) The goal is to get four of a kind. When someone does, they grab a spoon from the middle of the table. You’ll need to put a circle of spoons equal to the number of players, minus one, so one player will be left without. As soon as one person takes a spoon, it’s a melee for all other players to grab remaining spoons (whether or not they have four of a kind yet.) It’s fun to be sly and sneaky in grabbing a spoon and see who reacts first. This is tricky since player’s attention is on quickly passing the cards and making a set. However, this needs its Halloween twist! Instead of spoons, place out pieces of candy (or small toys/favors, etc.) and play for keeps! Play can continue for as many rounds as you want, or, typically, until someone spells out “SPOONS” (in this case, “CANDY”) with their losses (similar to the game “Horse.”) Stakes are high in this easy, fast-passing, candy-grabbing, free-for-all game.

7. Guess the candy

Materials needed: various candy, optional blindfolds

Yet another way to get your hands on some tasty Halloween candy! There are a few different ways to play this as well as different difficulty levels, but basically, all you need to do is remove any identifying factors from candy, such as wrappers or imprinted names, etc. You can also blindfold players so they can’t see any immediate giveaways, let them only feel the package, only let them touch and smell them, or only taste them without seeing them, melt the candy down, etc. You can even go so far as to mash up two candies to take away any shape that will give them away or to have tasters guess which two candies you mixed together. You could also have there be five mystery candies, with five options given to players to choose from. Whoever matches the most correctly wins a bag of that candy or some other favor or prize. There are endless ways to play, and it’s interesting to test your senses and familiarity with the various candies to see if you can guess which is which. You’ll be surprised with how hard it is to guess some!

6. Leaf pile treasure hunt

Materials needed: huge leaf pile, “treasures” like capsules, candy, toys, favors, etc.

This is an easy and fun game, especially for a big group of young kids. (Or, to be honest, any age is fun to mess around in a leaf pile.) It’s best to play outside in the daytime, in a clear place where there are plenty of nice, crunchy dead leaves around! Rake the biggest pile of leaves you can, making sure the pile is clear of sharp sticks, rocks, or other unwanted or dangerous rubble. Add in a specified number of treats (so you know how many are left to find) and let the players go wild searching! Distinguishable treasures such as small capsules (like plastic Easter eggs) with treats inside will be easier to identify in the pile. It’s a great way to involve a lot of people, get the thrill of the hunt, and be active (to work off all the Halloween treats) outside in the lovely, cool autumn weather.

5. Mystery Identification

Materials needed: a way to record/capture/print mystery photos/sounds/etc., pencil and paper

Mystery Identification is the perfect spooky game to set a chilling atmosphere for the evening ahead. Use a smartphone (or other kind of camera or recorder) to go around and record or take shots of mystery pictures or sounds. You can take extreme close-up photos of everyday items in a creepy fashion to try to stump players, or record sounds such as a door creaking, toilet flushing, boiling water, a pet walking, wind blowing through wind chimes, a wet sponge, or any other mysterious, eerie, or spine-tingling everyday sound you can possibly think of. (You can also do mystery scents, if you wanted!) Have players look at or listen to each mystery and try to identify what they see/hear on a paper. (You can play sounds aloud, and print out or send text messages of the mystery photos.) After the game, tally up the best scores for the evening and award the prizes to who made the best detective!

4. Mystery object touch and guess

Materials needed: various foods for Halloween “body parts,” containers, signs, a way to hide the contents of the bowls  

Akin to the previous mystery game, mystery touch and guess offers a much more crazy, much more tactile game. Think of the old “peeled grapes as eyes and cold spaghetti as brains” but much more sophisticated and advanced. Set up a station with small bowls with a way to hide the contents from view, (such as placing the bowls high, covering with cloth with a slit to fit a hand, behind a curtain, etc.) Get really creative with the “body parts” for people to guess, for some examples: sunflower seeds as vampire teeth, pipe cleaners as spider legs, raisins as witches’ warts, pumpkin seeds as fingernails, a fruit roll-up as bat wings, long sliced bananas as werewolf tongues, boiled eggs as monster eyeballs, (instead of the obvious peeled grapes,) mangled marshmallows or cotton as ghost poops, or tiny baby carrots wrapped in gauze for mummy toes. The possibilities are endless! Have forms by the station for party-goers to write what they think each mystery box contains and reward whoever gets most right. The snacks in particular can be one of the food treats offered at your party, giving the guests a clue right under their noses.

3. Skeleton puzzle race

Materials needed: skeleton “pieces”

This is a fun “beat-the-clock” (and other players) game. Buy, or make, (with white construction paper, etc.) as many skeleton parts as you want, perhaps more advanced for an older group or adults, or go with a more simple route in less pieces for young children. (You could label them as well if desired.) Everyone should have a jumbled-up, complete skeleton in front of them, (perhaps with a finished example to follow if needed.) Once the group begins, it’s a race to see who can put their skeleton back together correctly the fastest. You can elaborate on this puzzle aspect by putting all the pieces needed in a single, mixed-up pile, or hide each piece of the puzzle in the location of a scavenger hunt or other tasks they must complete in exchange for each piece, so players must collect all “bones” as well as put the puzzle together successfully.

2. Killer Wink

Materials needed: just a group of people!

Here is a chilling, subdued game for a nice large group of people, no materials required. In the classic “Killer Wink,” a single player is chosen as the “killer” who must then, as slyly as they can, wink at other players in order to “kill” them. Have your group sit around a table or mill about a room, just as long as everyone can see each other’s eyes. To choose the killer you can use pieces of paper pulled out of a hat or by handing out as many playing cards as there are players, including, say, one ace that indicates the killer. As soon as a player is winked at by the killer, they count to 10 or 20 in their head then perform their gruesome “death scene.” The other players have the option to call out, “I accuse,” and must get someone to second their accusation. They then both point at who they think is the killer. If they are wrong, you can either proclaim them as “dead” or just try again, and if they point to different people in accusation they can either be “dead” or just try again, depending on how exactly you want to play the accusations. Play continues until the killer kills everyone, or until the killer is caught correctly by two accusers. This is an easy game to set up, arrange, and leaves the group with a haunting shadow of fear in being the next victim! (There is also a version called “Killer Handshake,” where the killer reveals themself to another player by tickling their palm with a finger during the handshake.)

1. Gravekeeper/Zombies

Materials needed: A group of people and a large playing area

Our last game also involves a group of people, but you’ll want a bigger space to play in than Killer Wink, such as in a backyard in daylight or a rec room or gym. Out of the group, one player is picked to be the “Gravekeeper,” while the rest of the players are the “Zombies.” Zombies spread out over the area, in a nice wide radius from the Gravekeeper. (This can be determined by so many feet away or past a certain point, etc.) Zombies begin the game laying on the floor. The Gravekeeper must stay in a very small circle, but can turn as direction. Once the “haunting hour” begins, the Zombies must try to stand upright (as much as a zombie can) and get as close to the Gravekeeper as they can. If the Gravekeeper sees a Zombie move, they are caught and out of the game. If at least one Zombie makes it to the Gravekeeper’s inner circle, Zombies win! You can imagine how harrowing the game gets as the Gravekeeper will find it hard to watch their back as Zombies approach!

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