10 Halloween Games to Play with the Entire Family

Photo: Johnny Miller

Looking for ways to keep kids engaged and adults entertained during your spookiest party of the year? Try this round-up of Halloween games. We left no stone unturned, and you can find surprises waiting for you around every corner. From a pop goes the pumpkin game to a haunted mirror prank, we have it all. Who needs to go to a haunted house when you can make one at home? All it takes is some ingenuity and a few props that you may already have on hand.

And when everyone is full of treats and exhausted from playing all of those Halloween games, you can gather 'round the bonfire for a night of frightening tales. Ghost stories told over a crackling fire (with some s'mores that have pretzel spider legs) just might keep you up all night. Don't say we didn't warn you—it is Halloween, after all.

01 of 10

Ghost Puzzle

halloween ghost themed puzzle
Shannon Von Eschen

Looking for a quieter, more meditative Halloween game that will entertain the little ones during an adult party—and might even attract the attention of some older guests? Set up a Halloween-themed puzzle and watch everyone work together as they bring a spooky ghost or witch scene to life.

02 of 10

Pumpkin Piñata

Manal Aman

Taking swings at a candy-filled paper pumpkin beats carving Jack-o-Lanterns any day—well, that's what your kids will say. The adults can get in on the fun, too: Just be sure to tell Dad not to swing too hard (leave the big reveal for the kiddos!).

03 of 10

Pop Goes the Pumpkin

pop the pumpkin game for Halloween
Johnny Miller

Looking to kick off Halloween with a bang, not a boo? This version of a classic carnival game also makes a festive wall decoration, and bursting the confetti-and-candy-filled balloons in this Halloween party game will make everyone explode with laughter.

04 of 10

Spider Toss Game

spider toss game
Addie Juell

Ready to test your kids' spidey senses? This game transforms the floor into a massive cobweb with eight-legged toys as the game pieces.

05 of 10

"Blackout" Ghost Story Prank

Black Calla Lilies floral arrangement
Addie Juell

No crowd is better primed for a good prank than one listening to a ghost story in the dark. One perfect stunt for storytelling requires hiding a compatriot outside the house; as soon as the tale reaches a crucial, scary section, she clutches at the window panes. For maximum chills, consider adding this trick to the same story session: Candles are placed around the room. As the story nears its climax, they mysteriously go out, one by one, until the room is dark. To achieve the effect, simply cut the candles in two, remove a small piece of the wick from the middle, then join the pieces back together by heating the cut ends. When a candle burns down to the missing section of wick, it gutters and dies.

06 of 10



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.

07 of 10

Doughnuts on a String

Johnny Miller

These yeast doughnuts are a fall favorite and, in this game, they double as the prize. Tie a delicious treat on the string and let players chomp away at it hands-free-ready, set, bite!

To play the game, tie a length of rope between two trees. With kids standing under the rope, tie pieces of ribbon to the doughnuts (one per player) and then to the rope so the treats hang slightly above mouth level. Have players start on the count of three. Instruct each to eat an entire doughnut-no hands allowed-without letting it fall off the ribbon. The first to finish wins. There's no need for prizes-they've just been eaten.

08 of 10

Bobbing for Apples

Raymond Hom

Did you know the classic game of bobbing for apples in a tub of water began as a way to predict a player's fortune? In one version of the game, anyone who got an apple would marry. In another, a dime was put in one apple, a ring in a second, and a button in a third, predicting fortune, marriage, and "single blessedness," respectively. Today's kids may balk at such a quaint ambition, but even without mention of marriage, the game's bobbing, splashing, and general hilarity provide plenty of entertainment. If you want to play with fortune-telling, you can change the type of prediction. Or you can just give a prize to the winner. Which brings us to the loser: In many old games, the loser had to perform a "forfeit." This could be a riddle posing as a task, such as, "Leave the room with two legs and come back with six" (i.e., carry a chair back with you).

Keep plenty of apples on hand, as well as towels for drying off. Fill a wide tub with water, and place it on a low table. (Putting it on the ground will lead to wet knees.) Add apples, taking care not to overload the tub. To make the game easier for younger kids, include small apples for grabbing or leave the stems on the fruit. Let the bobbing begin.

09 of 10

Witch's Hat Ring Toss

witch's hat ring toss game for Halloween
Hector Sanchez

Challenge little ones to a carnival-inspired game of ring toss, with a witch's big black hat as the target. Cover easy-to-grip flying discs with black spray paint for the rings. To make a hat, download and print our witch's hat top and brim templates; tape together and cut out. Use the templates to cut pieces from black card stock. Roll the top into a cone and secure with double-sided tape. Fold tabs on the brim and tape to the inside of the cone. Download, print, and cut out the hat band clip-art. Wrap around the hat and affix with double-sided tape. Secure the hat brim to the floor with rolled pieces of painter's tape.

10 of 10

Pin the Tail on the Cat

pin the tail on the cat game for Halloween
Hector Sanchez

Give a favorite party game a seasonal twist by replacing the traditional donkey with a screeching black cat. The rules are the same: Whoever gets the tail closest to its rightful spot (without peeking) wins a prize. Download and print our cat clip-art (or color-photocopy, enlarging as instructed) onto white heavyweight matte paper; cut out. Print and cut out extra tails as needed. Affix clip-art to the wall with rolled pieces of masking or painter's tape. Write a number on each tail, and apply tape to back. Have each guest choose a number before you start the game.

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