Thursday 9 October 2014

Thursday Theme: A Halloween Party

Halloween parties are fun for kids of all ages and can be done at any time of the year. When my son was 11 we had a "Half-way to Halloween" party in April complete with costumes, a spook alley and trick-or-treating! My daughter also had a Halloween party for her birthday one year in September. If you are having a Halloween party at a time other than the fall you may have to adjust some activities. For example, at my son's party we carved oranges since pumpkins were nowhere to be found.

You can make a spook alley in your home using refrigerator boxes, Halloween decorations and spooky music. Appliance stores are usually nice to give refrigerator boxes for free. It may take several trips to the store or you may have to visit several different appliance stores to get enough boxes so it is good to plan ahead. Arrange the boxes in a sort of maze and hang bats, spiders, lights, skeletons, ghosts (can be simply tissues on strings), spooky decorations that are activated by motion sensors, or anything that will be silly or scary. Play spooky music as guests crawl or walk through the maze.

You can go trick-or-treating, at any time of the year and at any time of the day. Make sure to have your guests dress up for the party and take treats to your neighbors before the party. Kids of all ages love to trick-or-treat and will be shocked that the neighbors actually give them something when it isn't Halloween. Since you are providing the treats, neighbors are usually totally cooperative and entertained.

Other fun activities and games for a Halloween party include:

Swinging Apples
A drier variant on apple bobbing! Tie string around each apple stem and hang the apples from a doorway. The children can then take turns biting into the swinging fruit while keeping their hands behind their backs!

Doughnut Eating Race
Eating donuts has never been so fun! Hang several donuts with string from a tree branch or a sturdy rod. Blindfold the contestants and, on the count of three, have each player try to eat their doughnut — the first one to finish wins!

Mummy Wrap
This game will leave you all wrapped up! Divide your party-goers into teams of two, and give each a roll of toilet paper, white crepe paper, or fabric. At the sound of the music, one team member must wrap the other from head to toe (leaving the head free and not binding the arms to the body.) Once completely wrapped, the "mummy" must run to cross the finish line before the others.

Eerie Piñata
This is a great pre-party craft that doubles as a game. Have your kids help you with this easy-to-make piñata, fill it with candy and small toys, and decorate it as a spooky ghost or jack-o'-lantern. At the party, have everyone take a swing until it breaks, and then go to town collecting the loot.

Mr. Skeleton Relay Race
This game takes a bit of prep work before your party begins. Buy (or draw) a simple skeleton on sturdy poster board or cardboard, and cut out each of the bones separately. Make enough so each relay team has a full set of skeleton parts.

Divide your players into teams. Place each set of bones at the opposite end of the room or yard. Have the first member from each team line up, and, at the whistle, race across to grab a piece of skeleton, race back, and tag the next team member. The first team to get every piece and assemble their skeleton together correctly wins!

What's in the Bowl?
Spaghetti brains! Grape eye balls! Jell-O guts! This classic guessing game will leave everyone screaming (from fun, of course)! Fill separate bowls with prepared Jell-O or pudding, peeled grapes, cold spaghetti, and anything else you can think of that feels slimy and gross. Cover each bowl with black and orange felt so nobody can peek inside, and have everyone try to guess what it is they're touching.

Pin the Wart on the Witch
Ever seen a witch without a wart? The trick is putting it in just the right spot. This is a fun twist on a party game classic.

Find the Pumpkin
Challenge the party-goers to find the hidden pumpkins. The grand prize? Candy, of course!
·  Ten pieces of white paper
·  Five pieces of yellow paper
·  Five pieces of orange paper
·  A crayon
·  Scissors

How to play:
Draw ten white pumpkins, five yellow pumpkins, and five orange pumpkins. Cut out all the pumpkins. Decorate each pumpkin with a funny face. Write the number 1 on the backs of the white pumpkins. Write the number 5 on the backs of the yellow pumpkins. Write the number 10 on the backs of the orange pumpkins. Hide all of the pumpkins. Tell the kids to find as many pumpkins as they can before you say "Stop!" Players will add up the numbers on the pumpkins each of them found. The player with the most points wins!

Walk on the Witches Hat
Kids will go batty for this hair-raising version of musical chairs.
·  Big brown paper bag, or big picture of a witch's hat
·  Pencil
·  Scissors
·  Tape
·  CD player, tape player, or radio

How to play:
If you have a large picture of a witch's hat, tape it right on the floor before you play the game. If you don't already have a picture, you can make one easily. Cut the bag so that you can open it out flat. Draw a big witch's hat and cut it out. The players will line up and shut their eyes. A leader is at the front to see that no one peeks. (Whoever peeks is out of the game.) The leader will control when the music stops and starts. When the music starts, the players begin walking in a circle (as in musical chairs) around the hat. When the music stops, the person who is standing on the hat is out of the game. The last player to circle the hat wins!

Pumpkin and Ghost Bowling
It's like bowling, only better! Simply paste some black circles on toilet paper rolls to look like ghost faces and then stack them like a pyramid with 4 on the bottom, 3 on top, 2 on top of that and then 1 on the very top. Use small, round pumpkins as the "balls" and you've got a great seasonal game to play at your next Halloween party.

Tricks and Treats
Shhh! To win this game, kids try not to say the magic words.
How to play:
Give each of the players a bag filled with ten pieces of wrapped candy. Have the players write their names on their bags so that the bags don't get mixed up. Decide on a time limit. If you are giving a party, you could keep the game going the entire time, even while you are doing other activities. The object of the game is to catch people saying any of the following words:
It might be helpful to write the words in large letters on a piece of paper and tape the paper up where everyone can see it. If you catch someone saying one of the words on the list, that person has to give you a piece of candy from his bag. The person who has the most candy at the end of the game wins a prize. The best part is, everyone gets to keep any candy they have left in their bag.

Scarecrow Building
A scarecrow contest is a great way to bring out everyone's creative side! Provide all the supplies you need to build a scarecrow (hay, old flannel shirts, burlap bags, etc.), pair off into teams, and have everyone get to work building the most creative scarecrow they can in the time allowed.

Halloween games of disguise survive in many old sources, and they don't necessarily involve elaborate costumes. In "Nosey," the party guests are divided into two groups and sent into adjoining rooms. A curtain or heavy sheet with a small slit in it is hung in the doorway. One of the players sticks his or her nose through the slit, making sure nothing else shows. Then the game leader chants, "The witches have stolen somebody's nose. Who does it belong to, do you suppose?" and everyone on the opposing team attempts to guess the owner of the nose. If correct, the guessing team scores a point and the opposing team must present another nose for their regard. If the guess is wrong, then the guessing team must now start offering up noses -- which, it should be noted, can be very hard to recognize without any accompanying features!

The Black Cat and Her Kittens
A good game for younger children is "The Black Cat and Her Kittens." One child is chosen as the black cat and is escorted from the room. The rest of the children then take their places around the table, laying their heads on their arms so that they cannot see anything. The game leader then touches several children on their heads, tapping them as the black cat's kittens. When the black cat is brought back into the room, the kittens meow for their mother, and the mother attempts to locate them by their meows. The first kitten to be found takes the mother cat's place for the next round, but the rest must keep up their meowing until every last kitten is found.

Guess the Ghost
You will need a blindfold. Sit the kids in a big circle. Put some music on and take it in turns for one child to be blindfolded and walk around the circle, touching the other children's heads. When the music stops, the child that the person who is 'it' has their hands on must let out a ghostly wail. The person who is 'it' must try and guess who it is. If they guess correctly they swap around. If they do not guess correctly they go around the circle again.

What's the time, Mrs Witch?
You will need: a witch's hat and broom and a spacious room
This is a simple variation on the 'What's the time, Mr Fox' game. Elect one player to be Mrs Witch. They can put on the witch's hat and hold the broom. Each of the other players stands at one end of the room with the witch at the other, with her back to the other players. The players ask: 'What's the time, Mrs Witch?' and the Witch shouts out a time, eg. 7 o'clock. The other players take the corresponding number of steps in the direction of the witch. When the players get close to the witch the witch can then should out 'midnight' and chase the other players. Whoever the witch catches is out of the game.

Witches Cauldron
You will need:
a large cooking pot
a damp sponge
a shelled hard-boiled egg
a large piece of orange peel
selection of rubber toys from the toyshop (frog, snake, etc)
Fill your cooking pot with items such as the above (and any other suitable things you can think of - you'll need enough bits and bobs to allow each child a turn). Each child has a turn at being blindfolded and plunging their hand into the cauldron to find the imaginary item you name. For example, ask them to look for: 'A hairy giant's tongue' (the damp sponge), 'a dragon's eye' (the egg), a goblin's skin (the orange peel), 'a frog/snake' (rubber toys), etc.

Brain Digging
You will need:
a big bowl of cooked spaghetti
some ping-pong balls or similar
some small bags of sweets
Get the kids to dig in among some bits of 'brain' to find a trick or treat! Cook up a big pan of spaghetti, leave to cool for a moment and then turn into a big bowl. In the pasta hide some ping-pong balls or similar. Three balls have 'treat' written on them with permanent marker, and three have 'trick' written on them. Each child gets a turn to dig inside the 'brains' and pull out a ball. If they choose a trick ball they have to do a forfeit (something silly, like run around the garden twice, or do a silly impression), but if they pick a treat they get a small prize, such as a small bag of sweets.

Web Weaving Game
You will need a small ball of string (approx. 30 to 40 feet) for each child in this game. Pair the players into teams of 2 and place them into a circle (3 to 4 teams work best). Team members should be opposite of each other. Give each child a ball of string and have them tie the loose-end around their waist. When you say go, have each child throw the ball of string to their teammate. The teammate wraps the string once around themselves, and then throws the string back. The first team to use their two balls of string wins. This is lots of fun and the kids will go wild. Make sure to take pictures before they start removing the web-it's fun to see everyone all tied up. To add a spooky element, after the last ball of string is tossed, turn out the lights for a minute or two. The kids get creeped out that they are tied up in the dark. Part of the fun too is watching to see how the kids will get out of the web.

Boo, Boo, Ghost
A Halloween version of duck, duck, goose. Fun for smaller kids.

Pass the Orange
Everyone gets in a large circle. The first person is given an orange to place under his chin. He must pass the orange to the next in line but neither may use their hands. If the orange drops, those two people are out of the circle. This continues until there are only two people left. When the orange drops the next time, a vote is taken as to who dropped it. The winner gets the prize.

Push the Peanut
Give each player a toothpick and a peanut which is still in the shell. Placing the toothpick in their mouth, they have to use the toothpick to push and roll the peanut from the starting line to the finish line. This game can be turned into a rely, but do not make the distance between start and finish too long - it is a slow race.

Candy Corn Catch
Divide guests into groups of 3 teams, 4-5 per team or if couples into pairs. Team members will toss candy corns into the pumpkin that will be tied around a team member’s waist. To make things fair give each team member the same amount of candy corn, so if some people choose to eat it rather throw it, they will have a choice. Suggest 10 per person. Now select a team member to wear the pumpkin (these should be the ones for trick or treating so there is a hole on top) and tie the plastic pumpkin around one team member's waist. Now establish a throw line for those with the candy and place the pumpkin wearing teammate 5, 7 or 10 feet away. Once everyone is set let the tossing begin. The kids and adults can throw candy corn all at one time or one at a time. You person wearing the pumpkin can move around to try to catch the candy corn as it is thrown. Once everyone has thrown the candy corn, take the pumpkin and count how many went in and also have the kids pick up any that is on the floor. Switch team members and go again. Add up how many go in each round and then total the amounts after everyone has had a turn. Winning team is the one to get the most candy corn in the pumpkin.

Halloween Corners
This random Halloween game is always a lot of fun for kids and it is totally random who the winner is. Stick up large Halloween themed pictures (ie witch, bat, ghost and black cat) in the four corners of a room. Play some music and when it stops, each child runs to a corner (if you have small numbers you can limit the number of children in each). The music operator without looking then calls out one corner or pulls a piece of paper from a hat and the image on the paper identifies which the corner is out of the game. Continue to play until there is one person left and they win a prize.

Pumpkin Smash
Blow up orange / Halloween balloons (We recommend you get good balloons). Tie off and then tie a foot long piece (can be longer) of ribbon around the end of the balloon. Take a Sharpie marker and carefully draw a Pumpkin Face on the balloon. Now have everyone tie their balloon, using the ribbon, around their ankle. Once everyone has tied their balloon around their ankle, share the rules. When the Party Host says Go! Everyone tries to run around and step on each others pumpkins (balloons). If your Pumpkin gets popped, then you are out of the game and can no longer Smash any pumpkins. Play Pumpkin Smash until there is only one person left with a balloon.

Vampire or Not!
For each child take a party cup (cup cannot be see through) and add one set of wax lips and one set of fangs. Create a set of Lips & Fang Cards – We suggest you create 2 or 3 more cards than expected guests just in case you get some extra people at your event. The quickest way to create the cards is to take a photo of the lips and fangs and then copy the images and print it out on a sheet of paper. Now cut out the images and attach to cardstock. If you have less than ten players have 3 Fang Cards and all the Rest Lip cards. If 11 – 15 players for your Halloween game, we suggest 4 Fang cards and all the rest Lip cards. If more than 15 player, divide the group up into 2 groups. (Make 2 sets of cards)

How to Play: Vampire or Not!
Gather the kids and have them sit in a circle where they face inward and can see everyone. Now hand out the cups with a set of lips and vampire teeth / fangs and tell them you are going to play a game. Have one child, the Vampire Hunter, leave the room and give each of the remaining children a card that has a picture on it of a pair of Lips or Vampire fangs. If you get the Lips you put your Lips in and if you get Vampire fangs you put those in your mouth. Once everyone has selected their Lips or Fangs they put in their lips or fangs and the Vampire Hunter returns and takes a seat and has 30 seconds to determine which three or four children they think are Vampires. (The ones with the Vampire teeth) During the time that the Vampire Hunter tries to determine who is a Vampire, the other players try to conceal their teeth from view by keeping their lips closed, so they don’t give away whether they are Vampires or Not. After 30 seconds the child names the 3 or 4 players that they believe are Vampires and one by one they smile to identify whether they are a Vampire or Not! If they child correctly guess all the Vampires then they receive a candy bar or small prize. – In large groups where you have 4 Vampires you might want to give a prize to those who get 3 or 4 correct. If the child only gets 2 Vampires then their turn is over, the other Vampires reveal themselves and the Lip and Fang Cards are collected. Then the next child, Vampire Hunter, leaves the room and the process is repeated until each child has had a turn guessing whether other guests are Vampires or Not! Play one or two rounds

Vampire or Not! Game Variation
A Fun Spin on this game is to have the child, Vampire Hunter, who is guessing whether the other guests are Vampires or Not 15 – 20 seconds to do something silly without touching any other players so they can get other kids to smile or laugh. This way they will have a better chance to get the other kids to smile or laugh, plus it makes the game more entertaining too. Once the Vampire Hunter has completed their silly act then they must guess the Vampires. (Same rules as above apply)

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