For Moms Administering Crowd Control
There are oodles of Halloween games on the internet. (don’t you just LOVE the internet? I do!) But the problem with these games, and with many party games for kids in general, is that while one person takes their turn at the fun, everyone else is doing nothing. Sure, they’re supposed to be watching the person taking their turn, but they usually aren’t. Remember, these are KIDS. They have extremely short attention spans, especially after you’ve loaded them all up on sugar. So I began to search for games where everyone participated at once or at least were placed in a situation where they had to stay quite and watch.
The first one I found was Mummy Maker. Divide the children into teams. Each team picks one child to be the mummy. When you give the word, each team quickly wraps their mummy in toilet paper – head to toe – and the team that gets their mummy completely covered first wins. Depending on the size and make up of the group, you could have boys against girls. A prize could also be given to the group who finishes first. This is a good game to warm up the group. It is a game more of silliness than fright.
Then there is Can You Hear A Ghost? One person is ghost, usually the party host, while everyone else spreads out a little, closes their eyes, and stands completely still trying to listen for the ghost. The ghost walks around the room and chooses one of the other players to stand behind. The ghost counts silently to ten. If the person does not say “is there a ghost behind me?” before the ghost finishes counting, then the ghost tells them they are dead and out of the game. However, if the person does, in fact, say “is there a ghost behind me?” then they join the ghost in trying to eliminate everyone else. If everyone gets eliminated the ghost wins; otherwise, the last person who becomes a ghost wins. The biggest Halloween aspect of this game is that it is suspenseful; you never know when the ghost will be standing behind you.
A game that could go on throughout the evening even while all of the other games were going on is BlackDog’s Reverse Treat Game.
Set up a goody-bag of candy for each guest. Put their name on the front.
Hang up some “Magic Words” such as Ghost, Witch, Pumpkin, Candy” so that everyone can see them. Have a set time for the game to end.
Tell the kids that whenever one of them says one of the magic words, the first one who catches them saying it gets a piece of candy from the offending child’s goody bag.
This game sounded rather mean to me at first. Some child was going to go home without any candy! How horrible! Then I read the last sentence of the directions: “the child with the most candy at the end of the game wins.” It didn’t say he/she won all of the candy! You could have the winner give back the candy and then give the winner a prize. Or you could simply give all of the children, including the winner, more candy.
In any event, this is the kind of game that would force children who are greedy for candy to pay attention. Not all children are all that greedy for candy, however, so you might want of put something else exciting in the bag. Check out what you can find at a dollar store. Baseball cards for boys or barrettes for girls are some ideas.
Build the Skeleton Race is fun yet educational. Get some paper skeletons from a party store and divide your guests into teams with a skeleton for each team. Each team will also need some brads. All they have to do is put the skeleton together. The one who does it fastest, wins. You can have prizes also for the silliest and scariest too. And, if available, you can find more complicated paper skeletons for older kids to put together.
Then we have Killer. Put the children in circle and tell them to close their eyes explaining you will tap the one who is “it” on the shoulder. After everyone opens their eyes, “it” will need to wink at different kids in the circle without anyone but the selected child seeing the wink. Explain that the child being winked at needs to show that he or she has been killed; in fact, you’ll find out who is the next great academy award winner this way! (a great way to get this going is to pick your own child to be the first killer and to tell him a head of time to kill off first whom ever he/she thinks will make the biggest show of it) Naturally, the object of the game is for the “live” children to guess who the “killer” is. Whoever guesses, or is the last person not dead becomes the next “killer”.
Make the Zombies Laugh is also for the would be actor and actresses in the group. Have the children lie on the floor like a zombies. One child stands and is “it”. That child’s tries to make the other children laugh. “It” can make faces or whatever inspires him or her (no touching the zombies!) and once “zombie” laughs, he or she can join “it” in attempting to make the group laugh. Whoever holds out the longest without laughing is the winner.
Then there are some games that are so fun to watch that they keep everyone’s attention even when it’s not their turn. The best one of those is Worm Bobbing. This game is played just like the old fashioned bobbing for apples, but with a twist: instead of apples, the children bob for gummy worms. And instead of water, the gummy worms are buried under a mound of whipped cream! Sprinkle worms all around the plate. Put as much or as little whipped cream on top of the worms as the age of the children dictate. The person getting the most gummy worms in their mouth, wins.
Obviously, this can be an extremely messy game. The boys will try to make it messier than it even needs to be. I suggest that you plenty of warm towels handy. I also suggest that this game be played toward the end of the evening. You don’t want a houseful of sticky children all evening.
One game I repeatedly saw on the internet was Pumpkin Bowling. It’s played like regular bowling but with small pumpkins for balls and 2 liter soda bottles for pins. You can decorate the bottles ahead of time, or you can make decorating the bottles be one of the party activities. Put some rocks in the bottom of the bottles (keep the caps on them so the rocks don’t spill out) to give them some weight. Have more pumpkins than you think you’ll need in case one of them splits. Depending on the size of your group, you can bowl in teams or individually. Everywhere I looked applauded this game as loads of fun. Try it!
Of course, there must be some game that is actually somewhat scary. All of the children have surely already been exposed to the tricks of putting their hands in cold spaghetti and the like. What they want are real games that make them scared. That being the case, Graveyard Tag
There may be a time when you need to leave the group, perhaps to check on the refreshments or maybe just to get a breath of fresh air. Children will wear you out after all! Try the Spider Web Halloween Game. Get different colored balls of yarn. Tie one end of a ball around each child’s waist. Then have the children start throwing their balls of yarn back and forth to each other. Tell them to keep it up until all of the yarn is gone. Ask them then to back up a little and look at the lovely spider web they’ve made. At this point you might even throw a few plastic spiders on the web. Now tell them that they can’t get out of the web unless they can untangle all of their own color. At this point they’ll all start laughing, probably fall on the floor and try to try which will make it all worse for them, and you will have time to duck into the kitchen to take care of business.
I hope these games help you. I know that what I want when I have extra children in the house is to know what everyone is doing, and if some children aren’t paying attention to what is going on then that means they’re probably up to no good. The best way to avoid that is to pick party games that require or at least encourage everyone to stay involved at all points of the game. Happy Halloween!