12 active games to make your Halloween party a hit

If your kids are like mine, Halloween planning starts on November 1st. By the time the big day comes around 364 days later, costume ideas have changed approximately 27 times.

But the anticipation never changes. Kids LOVE Halloween. And what’s not to love? It’s the ultimate holiday … pretend, dress-up, spooky decorations, pumpkin carving, and, of course, the candy. Ahhh, the candy. But Halloween is also the perfect time for kids to be active. Because … ahhhhh, the candy.

Why not get the neighbours and friends together and turn Halloween into Hallow-wicked with some fun and spooky merrymaking? It’s time to scare up the perfect games for the most magical, mystical, and ghoulishly delightful Halloween party in town.

1. Pin the Hat on the Witch

Send your old-fashioned donkey packing and have kids take turns trying to put a pre-taped witch’s hat in place. Use your best witch-crafting skills to draw a sorceress on her broomstick, and cut out multiple black hats. Pick up an orange bandana at your local dollar store and use it to blindfold the kids’ eyes as they attempt to get the hat closer to the witch’s head than her broomstick.

Required: cardboard witch, hats, tape, and blindfold.

2. Pumpkin Toss

Not to worry! There is no actual throwing of gourds in this game. Gather large or small pumpkins and have kids use their best aim to throw hula hoops around one large, one small, or two small pumpkins, depending on the age of the children.

Required: pumpkins of various sizes and hula hoops.

3. What’s in the Cauldron?

This memory game is a hoot and will definitely bring on fits of laughter.

Have kids sit in a circle and pick one to go first. This child will say, “I mixed up a scary potion and in it I put …” The item could be anything from a piece of fruit, to a ball, to an eye of newt. There is no limit on what type of item can be placed in the cauldron. The next player then says, “I mixed up a scary potion and in it I put …” They must then repeat what the first player put in the potion and add their own item. Each player has to remember each item and add their own as they go around the circle. If they can’t remember, they sit out until the next round.

Required: kids!

4. What Time Is It Mr. Werewolf?

The mythological Mr. Werewolf stands in for your everyday wolf in this Halloween game of chase.

Pick one child to be the werewolf and the others to be the villagers.

Mr. Werewolf stands at one end of a playing area with his back to the villagers. The villagers all call out together, “What Time Is It Mr. Werewolf?”

Mr. Werewolf calls out a time (for example, 3 o’clock). The villagers then take the announced time steps towards the werewolf (so in this case, 3 steps). The villagers continue their asks and steps until Mr. Werewolf responds with an ARRRWHOOOOOO!! and it’s time for those villagers to run back safely to their home base before that werewolf catches them. If anyone is caught, they become the werewolf.

For extra fun, pick up some fake vampire teeth at the dollar store (buy several for multiple mouths). Mr. or Ms. Werewolf might look a bit scarier but sound a lot more fun.

Required: fake teeth.

5. Mummy Run

Mommies can join in, but the kids will have the most fun with this game.

Divide kids into pairs. One child will be the wrapper and one the mummy. Each wrapper will be given two rolls of toilet paper and on “go” will wrap their mummy from the ankles to the top of the head. Make sure the kids know to avoid their mummy’s feet, mouth, and eyes. Once the mummy is totally wrapped, they must run from the start to the end of a designated race line. Adults or wrappers can jump in to pick up any mummies who may incur the occasional tumble!

Required: two rolls of toilet paper for each pair of kids.

6. Ghost Sack Race

Pull out your old pillowcases or potato sacks (who doesn’t have potato sacks lying around?), and using a permanent marker, draw the creepiest (or the funniest) ghost face on the front of the case. Have kids line up all facing the finish line. Assist them in climbing into their sacks, and on the count of three, each kid must hop (or float?) their way to the end. Having them use their best “ooooohhhh” or “boooo” sounds as they jump!

Required: pillowcases or potato sacks and permanent marker.

7. Monster Says

Move aside, Simon. The Monster is giving directions in this game.

With the Monster (one child or adult) facing the rest of the kids, the Monster calls out Halloween-related commands.

Examples could include:

  • cackle like a witch
  • wave your body like a scarecrow in the wind
  • arrrggghhhh like a pirate
  • fly like a superhero
  • hop like a bunny

When the leader announces, “The Monster says (insert action),” kids must act out the command. But if the Monster doesn’t say, “The Monster says” before a command and a child does the action, they sit out until the next round. Kids can take turns being the Monster. The ideas for actions are endless!

Required: kids!

8. Character Freeze Dance

Kids can dance like any character they’d like while classic Halloween tunes spin (think Monster Mash, Time Warp, Ghostbusters, or Werewolves of London). But when that music is paused, all the ghosts and goblins must freeze like statues. If they don’t, they’ll have to sit out until the next round.

Required: music.

9. Spooky Treasure Hunt

Hit up the dollar store for mini plastic pumpkins, bats, or skeletons, and hide them indoors for kids not wanting too much spookiness (if it’s dark out) or outside. If you’re playing outside and it’s dark, give each child a flashlight or glow sticks for even more spookiness.

Required: findable objects, a container for each child to put their objects in, and flashlights or glow bracelets.

10. Spider Web Obstacle

This activity is great for climbing, crawling, jumping, and stretching. Play either indoors or out.

Indoors:

  • in a narrow room or hallway, use painters tape and hang strips vertically, horizontally, and diagonally to make a challenging obstacle for kids to get through. Depending on the ages of the children playing, the tape strips can be closer or further apart.
  • For a web that’s closer to the floor, use yarn or string and tie it to various items around a room (chair legs, table legs, etc).

Outdoors:

  • attach a rope to fence posts, outdoor furniture, or trees.
  • have multiple kids hold the ends of pieces of string in a mixed up design as they encourage others to make it through the web.

Either indoors or out, the aim can be to simply make it through the web or, for older kids, to make it through without touching the web.

Required: depending on the setup you choose, either painter’s tape, yarn, rope, or string.

11. Ghost in the Graveyard

Despite its name, the emphasis in this game is more on the fun and less on the creepy. All players gather at one spot (home base) with flashlights and choose who will be the ghost. The non-ghosts then all turn off their flashlights and count to 20 in loud voices while the ghost runs and hides. The non-ghosts then turn on their lights and split up to seek out the ghost. When one player spots the ghost, they yell “Ghost in the Graveyard!” The ghost and all players then must run back to home base. If the ghost manages to tag a non-ghost before they reach home base, that person becomes ghost for the next round.

Required: flashlights for each player.

12. Light Up the Jack ‘O Lantern

Have the kids design how they’d like the Jack ‘O Lantern(s) to look. Classic smile? Scary scowl? The kids are allowed to come up with the plan and scoop out the “guts!!” but an adult is definitely in charge of all pumpkin cutting. Once the Jack ‘O Lanterns have been prepped (if you’re using more than one), distribute glow bracelets to each child. Turn out the lights if you’re indoors or take the pumpkins out into the dark for an even cooler display. Kids can then take turns throwing the glow bracelets into the pumpkins until they are lit up.

Required: pumpkins and glow bracelets.

Halloween and the 364 days running up to it are a truly magical time. With imaginations and energy levels running high, taking time to have some monstrous fun with your gaggle of goblins is a wonderful way to celebrate.

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