Halloween can be a great excuse to loosen up, get really creative and come up with some spooky, scary, icky messy games that you would never even consider for a birthday party or other normal occasion.
My kids love scary things – I’ve often come in to them watching a ghost story or something else completely inappropriate on the TV (that of course, their father has put on!) and then they scream with protest when I change the channel!
I think most kids, apart from very young ones, like to be scared a bit, if you think back to your own experiences of Halloween you probably just associate it with fun. I vividly remember going through a haunted house with my friend when I was about 8 or 9. One of the rooms had a fake grave filled with leaves and a gravestone. We turned on our torch to read the inscription on the gravestone and somebody suddenly sat up from under the leaves – I nearly had a heart attack!
I think the trick is to take the edge off the scariness by making it light and fun and this is where Halloween games come in!
Choose the activities that are most suitable for the age group of your kids. I’ve found younger kids love messy sensory games and anything involving storytelling. Older kids prefer competitive games and games of skill.
1. Wrap The Mummy
This is a fun game for kids of all ages. Split the party into two or more groups and give each a roll of toilet paper. Designate one child “The Mummy”. The other kids must race to wrap their mummy up in toilet paper – the group of whichever mummy is wrapped and races across the finish line first wins.
2. Halloween Blindfold Feeling Game
This is an oldie but a goodie! You’ll need to do a bit of preparation beforehand but it’s worth it. Set up a series of cardboard boxes with a hole that is large enough to put a hand inside but not to see in (keeping the lighting dim helps). The kids have to put their hand in and guess what’s inside by touch alone. The more discusting, the better! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Cold cooked spagetti (worms)
- Peeled grapes (eyeballs)
- Whole boiled cabbage (brains)
- Jelly (slime)
- Pipecleaners (spiders)
- Tinned tomatoes (guts)
- A soft toy (rat)
- Dried apricots (ears)
3. Pin the Head on the Skeleton
A twist on a classic. Draw or print a large skeleton and stick it to the wall. Keep the head cut out separately and get the children to try and stick it in the right place while blindfolded.
4. Bobbing For Apples
A Halloween classic! Fill a large tub with water and float several apples in in. Participants have to take it in turns to grab an apple with their mouths while their hands are tied behind their back. A less wet alternative is to tie ring donuts hanging from the ceiling at mouth height. Hang up several and line up the kids with their hands tied behind their backs. The first one to eat their donut wins.
5. Worm Eating Contest
Give each contestant a plate with 4 jelly worms, topped with lots of squirty cream. Tie their hands behind their backs and announce that the first one to finish eating their worms wins. Sit back and watch the chaos!
6. Halloween Treasure Hunt
Buy several small Halloween toys (skeletons, pumpkins, ghosts etc) and chocolates/lollipops/sweets and hide them around the house. Whoever finds them gets to keep them! This is a great game for smaller children.
7. Sleeping Corpses
If you find the kids are getting overexcited, this is a great game to calm everyone down again. Everyone has to lie down on the floor and play dead. Anyone making any movement or noise is out. The winner is the last one left on the floor.
8. Decorating Toffee Apples
This is more of an activity than a game but it’s lots of fun and always a hit at Halloween parties. First prepare several bowls with different toppings – hundreds and thousands, jelly sweets, chocolate buttons, etc. Make up a batch of toffee and allow it to cool until it’s warm but still liquid. give each child an apple with a stick in it and let them dip it in the toffee and then decorate their apple how they choose. Leave to cool and set before eating.
9. Halloween storytelling
Sit in a circle and start with an opening prompt “It was a dark and stormy night…”; “There was a knock at the door…”; “One night I looked out of the window and saw…”. Each player in the circle must make up a new sentence to add to the story until you get back to the start.
10. Blindfold Haunted House
This is easier to set up than a traditional haunted house. Prepare one room of your house – hang up streamers and old sheets that you have to walk through, hang furry rubber spiders from the ceiling, toss popcorn on the floor, and play spooky music. You can combine this with the blindfold feeling game if you wish. Blindfold each child before they enter and guide them around the room.