Halloween Games for Elementary School Event
October 3, 2017 7:48 AM   Subscribe

Obviously Pinterest is full of Halloween games for kids, but I'm interested in ideas that you have personally witnessed as successful and fun. My kid's elementary school (grades 1-5, ages 6-11) is having a Halloween night and I'm in charge of games in the gym.

I would like to have a few stations and things that are engaging and actually fun. Creativity a plus. Like, there are a lot of ring toss suggestions, but do kids really like that? Will also take advice on games that seem like a good idea, but are not. We will maybe have 150 kids wandering in and out over the course of an hour.
posted by LKWorking to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I was a kid, my grandma would throw a halloween party for me and my friends every year, and the number one favourite game was this one where she would make a bunch of dark boxes with just enough room for you to slide your hand in. They would all be labelled with gross names of things like "Bowl of Human Eyeballs" and then everyone had a sheet where they had to write down what they though it actually was (in this case, peeled grapes), after feeling each one.

Whoever gets the most right gets a prize.
posted by 256 at 8:08 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]

My favorite as a little kid was the fishing "game".

There's blue sheet hanging higher than kid eye level. Kid grabs a fishing pole (a dowel with a string on it and a clip at the end of the string for the hook) and hangs the line in the "water" (over the sheet). Helpers behind the sheet put a prize on the line and give it a little tug to indicate a bite, and kid pulls up the line to get the prize. Helpers occasionally give a little tug on the line without putting a prize on (a nibble) to increase the anticipation.

This is good for younger kids. No skill required.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:40 AM on October 3 [6 favorites]

At my church's Halloween event, I liked the station with a giant box of fallen leaves (fake or raked up from the yard). You had to dig your hand through the leaves to fish out a piece of candy. It was simple (leaves + box + candy=done), seasonal (autumn leaves) and didn't rely on skills (lookin' at you, ring toss, beanie bag throw, and every dang other identical target-skills game). Has to be manned by an adult to make sure everyone only takes one piece, but is otherwise very straightforward.
posted by Liesl at 8:54 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]

Mini pumpkins float, so you can also do a duck pond with pumpkins. Numbers on the bottom correspond to certain prizes.
posted by Liesl at 9:01 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]

Running, kids love running. Lots of those little games make kids disappointed if they aren't a winner, but running around is fun. I just grabbed this for an upcoming bday party....
posted by beccaj at 9:27 AM on October 3

A game I run every year for an annual Halloween party I named "Finger Food" -- I got some plastic cauldrons and plastic "bloody fingers" from the dollar store, labelled the cauldrons with different points. The cauldrons are placed at different distances, and the kids try to throw the fingers in. Prizes for points. The kids absolutely love this game for some reason, and there is always a line-up for that station. I originally tried it with plastic eyeballs, but they bounce and roll everywhere so were a massive PITA.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:51 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]

Are kids still allowed to bob for apples?
posted by rhizome at 9:53 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]

At our last elementary school carnival we did 2 glow-in-the dark games which were a big hit: ring toss (glow bracelets tossed over bottles of water with glowsticks in them) and "bowling" (roll a ball to knock over bottles of water with glowsticks in them)

Our other popular games included the above-mentioned fishing & duck pond games, plus a prize wheel (spin to win a prize), plinko, ball toss (get a ball through the hoop), beanbag toss (get it in the hole to win a prize), and toilet paper toss (throw tape-wrapped rolls of toilet paper through a hanging toilet seat).
posted by belladonna at 10:40 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]

Oh definitely the "put your hands in something gross" is everyone's favorite! I don't remember it really being a game, just an activity.
posted by radioamy at 11:26 AM on October 3

Bobbing for apples is riotously fun BUT costumes and faces (makeup?) can get very wet. The much less messy alternative is to tie apples to strings suspended from above and kids try to grab them with their teeth. An easier version, which may be more fun for little kids, is to suspend mini donuts.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:48 AM on October 3

Mummy race. It's a relay race where they start with a roll of crepe paper, wrap a kid, she runs to a far line, someone unwrap her and wraps the next runner, runs back, and repeat. Note: run is a misnomer. Legs are wrapped together.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:04 PM on October 3

Elementary school music teacher here. The fishing game is always a hoot. We also did a "TP Toss" game - the gym teacher and I made a box out of plywood and put a toilet seat on it, and the kids tossed a (sealed) roll of TP into the toilet. I don't know why it was such a hoot, but it was - just enough weird toilet humor to be funny. I imagine you could find a parent who could put something together, or even just large cardboard box spray painted with a toilet seat on it would work.

Another good one is a photo booth. Nowadays there are tons of ways to do it - maybe just set up a private website and share the link with students/families after the event, there's no need to be able to print something out. A few goofy props and a chance to take a picture in front of a backdrop is always great.
posted by rossination at 12:42 PM on October 3 [2 favorites]

Mummy wraps. Loads of toilet paper. Wrap kids like mummies. They love it.

This was quite popular the year I did such a thing at my kids' school.
posted by zizzle at 2:37 PM on October 3

Toilet toss and "donut dangle" were both very popular at my kid's elementary school fairs. Donut dangle especially--you get to eat a donut! And it's funny! Doesn't even require any special halloween themed stuff to make it fun, but you could always decorate the donuts with some orange icing like jack-o-lanterns...
posted by msbubbaclees at 2:48 PM on October 3

I've had kids really enjoy a fishing pond game. (The one other people describe sounds more like a wishing well to me.) I make a pond out of my daughter's trampoline, set up some kind of barrier to keep kids from being too close, and fill it with"fish". For just playing, having paper cut out like fish is fun, for prizes having stickers or temporary tattoos work. For either, just put a paper clip on each of your "fish" and have a magnet for a hook. It's nice if you have a pole and string for the magnet hook to be on. The kids can fish themselves and they can throw back their catch if they've gone over the limit.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:08 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]

Great ideas! Thanks for helping brainstorm, everyone.
posted by LKWorking at 12:58 PM on October 4

Here's what we ended up doing:

Spooky Halloween Feel Box: kids touch things like "brains" and "eyes" then see if they can guess what they really are (fruits and veggies mostly). Huge hit, kids loved this.

Unpack the Haunted House: kids use monster gloves to unpack boxes filled with newspaper and packing peanuts to see if they can find candy. A few bigger items hidden for bigger prizes. Kids loved this one, too, but SO MESSY! I would emphasize only 1-2 kids do it at a time. We also would lose the monster hands periodically because excited kids would find candy then abandon them.

Halloween Relay Race: get a team of three together to race against a rival team (balance a pumpkin, run in a mummy wrap, don a cape). Only okay reception. Would do again but just as a one-on-one race as it was too hard to form teams.

Feed the Monster Corn Hole: corn hole with monster faces. Very low maintenance game and kids played this throughout the evening.

Selfie Station: a spooky frame that kids/parents can hold to take pictures with . Okay reception, needed someone around to hype it or a bigger area dedicated to taking pictures.
posted by LKWorking at 9:24 AM on November 8

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