Party games suck, right?
October 17, 2013 1:42 PM   Subscribe

My experience has been that party games are usually pretty lame. We're having a Halloween party for about 40 people, though, and I like the idea of having miscellaneous "areas" set up throughout the house (it's a big house) with various activities to help keep things light and entertaining...

We've got a movie room, for example, and I'll have MAME running on the big screen for anyone who wants to play a game (default will be Ghosts & Goblins, of course). We'll probably have a Halloween-themed game of Cornhole set up in the back yard (body parts, etc...). Another friend suggested a fortune teller...

Any other ideas for stand-alone activity-type stuff that doesn't require the host(s) to have everybody "...gather around so we can play a party game!"?

Also, it's an adult party, so drinking is great...but I kind of think a lot of "drinking games" have the same sort of forced feel about them (you have to explain the rules, etc...). I'm looking for the kinds of things that would be self-explanatory enough that two people can just walk up and start playing around with whatever it is while they talk and enjoy a drink.
posted by richmondparker to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Beer pong.
posted by coupdefoudre at 1:50 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

how about a zone full of construction paper and/or bits of orange craft foam -- i.e., a place to make and decorate pumpkins, more as a craft than as a game, but probably social as well?
posted by acm at 2:00 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

2nd the craft table idea. Buy a pack of black pipe cleaners, print out these instructions, add a couple pairs of scissors, and you're done.
posted by tinymegalo at 2:04 PM on October 17, 2013

Best answer: Well, darts are always sort of classic. You may be able to get a Halloween themed board.

If you want to have any card games, well - Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity (more NSFW than Apples to Apples) or Fluxx would go well with alcohol. There's Zombie Fluxx if you want to stick with Halloween.

Another thought is fondue. It's self-serve and you know, food. Apparently people are doing goat cheese and pumpkin if you want to be on-topic, though chocolate also works.
posted by graymouser at 2:04 PM on October 17, 2013

Best answer: Leave out a set of Cards against Humanity. Don't under-estimate the appeal of children's tactile puzzles. A half-started puzzle may be intriguing to some people.
posted by saucysault at 2:05 PM on October 17, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Put butcher paper tablecloths on any tables you have to hand. Supply crayons.

Put out a set of stickle bricks or meccano or something like that.

Purchase a giant tub of letter fridge magnets and affix to your fridge.

Provide a large basket of bits of fabric (suitable for impromptu capes/scarves/etc) and any silly accessories you have to hand.

Operation might be a good game for laughing at drunk people.

Can you tell I'm basically an overgrown small child?
posted by emilyw at 2:08 PM on October 17, 2013

Suck and blow?

Bobbing for apples?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:10 PM on October 17, 2013

Best answer: I played a game recently at a party that was surprisingly fun for everyone. You got a glow stick bracelet upon arrival at the party. If you were able to make someone say the word "no", you got their bracelet. Most bracelets at the end (or by midnight, whatever) got a prize.

It is harder than you think! Lots of fun, lots of trickery. Great conversation starter because you have a "reason" to talk to everybody.
posted by amicamentis at 2:32 PM on October 17, 2013 [11 favorites]

this kind of depends how much money you have, but a "make your own witches brew" kind of cocktail station would be fun.

put some halloweeny dyes in some different booze, maybe do a few accoutrements, edible black and orange glitter for rimming, peeled grapes or cocktail onions which got soaked in red dye and made that eyeball-y look.. gummy bugs, that kind of thing.

some kind of "pin the tail on the donkey" with a halloween theme would be fun. maybe you throw a ghost sheet over your head before you pin the tail on the... flying monkey.
posted by euphoria066 at 3:00 PM on October 17, 2013

Nthing Cards Against Humanity (assuming that you and your guests aren't easily offended). The gameplay is very similar to Apples to Apples, and easy to pick up, but instead of light pop culture stuff the cards are filled with horrible things. (Sample card: "Jerking off into a pool of children's tears".)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:55 PM on October 17, 2013

I like the idea of bobbing for apples, but it could be messy if people are in costume. What about catching apples? Tie strings to apple stems, hang them from [something--tree branch, clothesline, whatever]. People have to bite into a hanging apple without using their hands. No mess, and while moderately stressful to do, it's hilarious to watch.
posted by MeghanC at 4:37 PM on October 17, 2013

Best answer: Giant Jenga. I was able to get the blocks from a local lumber shop, cut to the right size. This left me just to sand them smooth. The important part is that the width is 1/3 of the length. (mine are 210mm x 70mm x 45mm)

You may also be able to rent them, but having a set is a great conversation starter at parties, and the kids love playing with them too.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 4:47 PM on October 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Hang donuts from a tree or clothesline so they are basically mouth-height (vary them for different height people, maybe) and then people have to eat them with their hands behind their back. People can race, or just do it for fun. Powdered sugar makes for fun messiness but maybe not if you guests will have elaborate costumes/make-up they don't want to muss.

Mask decorating: buy basic masquerage masks or cut out them out from cardstock. Provide feathers, sequins, ribbons, paints for people to use. Hot glue gun would be ideal (fast drying) if you are indoors.

Fortune-telling station: Tarot cards laid out on a table for people to mess with (although tarot purists would not support this: other people are not supposed to touch your deck w/o your permission, etc.) Could also deck the table out with crystal ball (dollar store round glass vase upside down) or other kitsch. Could also have a bunch of fortune telling fish which people could take home with them.

Pumpkin bowling: small round pumpkin is the ball, roll it into decorated plastic bottles or rolls of toilet paper stacked in a vertical pyramid.

Ring toss with two glow stick bracelets linked to form the rings.

Put small prizes or candy or confetti or fake bugs inside balloons, blow them up and either leave them in a designated area on the ground or tape them to butcherpaper on the wall (I've seen an example with orange balloons arranged in a pumpkin shape) and then each guest can pop one to see what they get. Provide a tack if they're on the wall.
posted by dahliachewswell at 5:29 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Zombie Dice! Let them eat braiiinz :)
posted by kira at 7:45 PM on October 17, 2013

Best answer: A friend of mine got a bunch of glow sticks of various lengths and a bunch of connectors of various sorts and it didn't take long before people turned them into things. I made a crown, for example, and another of my friends made a necklace with a bunch of shapes and stuff hanging off it. This also led to people flooding outside into the dark once drinks got flowing and naturally that led to dancing/raving with all the glowsticks going.

Don't underestimate the appeal of a room with music going for dancing and a room with mellow music and lots of fun ways to sit down (chairs, of course, but also piles of pillows and such) for chilling in, either.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:18 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are all great! Thanks!
posted by richmondparker at 1:01 PM on October 18, 2013

You need this book of Surrealist games. Actually, everybody needs it. So many great suggestions there.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:45 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

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