The ‘Bobbing for Worms’ Game

‘Bobbing for apples’ with young kids has never appealed to my inner ‘health and safety nut’ … But this could be a worthy alternative. It’s pretty much a case of ‘what it says on the tin’… An ‘ick’ game that my boys will probably both love and hate in equal measure, but ups the ante for older kids at Halloween.

Having done the ‘Dangling Doughnuts’ game, I thought it’d be good to up the ante this year.  The plan is to cook the spaghetti and put it on plates with a touch of olive oil, so that it doesn’t congeal when cold

After it cools, I’m planning on adding the ‘jelly snakes’ into it, then putting it into big bowls.

Then, the challenge for the kids will be to try to pick the jelly snakes (‘worms’) out, only using their mouths.  I may try it blindfolded first and possibly do it as a timed challenge: ‘how many worms can you get in 1 minute?’ as my guys like the thrill of competition…

The ‘Hunt the Skeleton’ Game

My kids asked me if they could do a treasure hunt, a bit like the one they did at Easter over Halloween.

We’d previously done the ‘Hunt the Halloween Letters’ game and I thought I’d do a different one this year as they’re a bit older now and would like a puzzle and chocolate to boot…

So this is what I came up with.  I drew the bones for a (very out of proportion!) skeleton on white card, named the pieces on the back and drew round them in pencil on a piece of black paper to tip them off on which bone goes where (but you could up the challenge by getting them to also work out how it goes together… harder than it looks when you have a pile of bones!).

On the back of each of the bones I’ve taped some Halloween-themed chocolates.  I was going to get them to build a skeleton each, but I’ve settled on doubling-up the chocolate on a single skeleton as there are quite a few bones to find/hide.  As I doubled-up the paper when I cut it out, I have another skeleton they can do with their friends if they want to do it in teams as a race.

When we do the game, I’ll stick the black paper to a door and the guys will have to hunt around the house for the bones, divvy-up the chocs stuck to the back, then stick them in the right place. Hopefully it’s something they’ll find fun and gives us a new decoration at the same time 😉


The ‘Dangling Doughnuts’ game

Harder than you think!

A less dangerous interpretation of the ‘apple bobbing’ concept.  I didn’t fancy suggesting kids put their heads into buckets of water to pick up an apple with their teeth.  This felt a little safer, although one major sugar rush!

The set up:

I used two stands from a limbo pole game to suspend a piece of string.  Each doughnut was then tied to it with parcel ribbon.

I was going to do it in the kitchen, but then realised the floor would end up being a gooey mess (which would then get trampled through the house), so we did it outside.  Only then did I spot an alternative option for suspending the doughnuts between trees or trellises – even easier!

At the party:

The rules are simple:  eat with no hands!  The ‘winner’ finishes first, but with a game like this, you can’t lose!!

‘What’s in the Box?’ game…

For suspense and squeals look no further!

This is an oldie, bur a goodie.  Six shoe boxes, painted black, a dark room, some green light, spooky music.  Ask them “what’s in the box?”:

  • Witches toenails?  – Pumpkin seeds; Pistachio shells
  • Eye balls in frog spawn?  – Pickled onions; Mushy peas
  • Witches hearts?  – Tinned tomatoes
  • Worms?  – Spaghetti and oil
  • Dead hand?  – Glove filled with flour
  • Elf ears?  – Dried apricots

… definitely mind over matter!   Just make sure you guard the boxes to ensure no peeking before the game begins!

No one fell for the ‘worms’… too obvious I’m afraid.  I’d suggest putting the yukky ones at the end, so that they can build up to them….

We wrote down what everyone guessed so that we could keep track of what people said. Then we did the ‘great reveal’ at the end when we opened the boxes for them to see what was really in there!

More ideas:

Ideas from The

The ‘Pin the Boo on the Ghost’ game

This is pretty much a case of ‘does what it says on the tin’. Very easy, very quick and quite a good game for calming kids before trying to get them to sit down to eat!

The set-up:

I made a simple ghost shape out of white paper, stuck it on some black; wrote ‘boo’ on a speech bubble coming out of the ghost’s mouth, then made lots of different coloured speech bubbles, one for each child with white tac on the back (given my compulsion to re-use everything!).

At the party:

Put a blindfold on the child (a new discovery is a sleep mask – easier to use than a scarf!), spin the child around 3 times and ask them to ‘pin their boo on the ghost’.

As you’ll no doubt know… be warned: older kids wise up to this and by a certain age, everyone has worked out how to cheat the system, so you’ll need multiple prizes!

The ‘Spin the Arrow’ game

Did you ever play spin the bottle?  Well this is a tame version, replacing ‘truth or dare’ with ‘trick or treat’ – a bit more suitable for younger children!  I decided it might not go down so well if the kids went home saying they played ‘spin the bottle’ so I renamed it ‘spin the arrow’…

I first made a version of this when I realised I had some of my friend’s children coming round for a glorified playdate at Christmas time and because we do parties at other times of the year, she happened to say how much her girls were looking forward to the mini-Christmas party.  Oh.  Well.  Er… a few minutes later and I’d concocted some party games for the expectant visitors….

The basis for this is just a kitchen roll stuck to a piece of card (to stop it rolling over).  Whilst the first version of this had just one arrow, this double-ended version for this year is more fun, in that there are two ‘winners’ on each spin.  Just one of them will get the sweet though and the other gets the forfeit!

I then have two pumpkin buckets, one with folded up forfeits and the other with sweets (for ‘treats’) in.  The ‘tricks’ that I’ve come up with for 4-7 year olds include:

  • 5 star jumps
  • Tell a joke
  • Sing a song
  • Tell us something about yourself we don’t know
  • Make us laugh
  • Be tickled for a count of 10
  • Do a forward roll
  • Stand on one leg for a minute
  • Make the sound of 3 farmyard animals
  • Pat your head with one hand, while you rub your tummy with the other for 30 seconds
  • You are shipwrecked on an island inhabited by cannibals – explain to the chief why you shouldn’t be eaten
  • Walk across the room on your knees
  • Give a 1-minute talk about elephants
  • Bark like a dog whilst walking around in a circle on tip toes like a fairy
  • You are truly, madly, passionately in love with the person on your right – go down on one knee and  ask them to marry you
  • Pretend you are an Italian waiter – run through all the varieties of pizza available on your menu – there has to be an accent
  • Give everyone with blue eyes in the room a high five

The ‘Broomstick Racing’ game

This game sort-of invented itself.  I was looking for another game to keep the kids amused and looked in the shed for all the various bits and pieces we keep for obstacle races – then I saw the broomsticks that we made at an event last year.  They were just screaming ‘broomstick racing’ to me.  Job done.

If you don’t happen to have broomsticks on-hand, you can get the plastic fancy-dress ones very cheaply from supermarkets.  They’re only a quid or so and could be used year after year…

The set-up:

Buy or make a couple of ‘broomsticks’ .  Make a number of bollards (I use the boxes that multi-packs of baby wipes come in from Tesco’s as they’re the perfect size and easy to get hold of!).  I’ve wrapped mine in Lego brick wrapping paper for a colourful / neutral look and for re-use potential (I don’t like any effort going to waste!).  I ended up covering mine in cling-film as my grass was wet and I didn’t want them to go soggy.

At the party:

Set the bollards out in the ‘lanes’ for each team.  Either ask the children to ‘ride’ on the broomstick (i.e. run with it between their legs), or carry it to go around the bollards.  Older children can try jumping over 1 or a stack of 2 bollards.  We had 3 in each lane, but it depends on how big your garden is and race length for how many you will need.

We ran it as a relay race, with kids running to the end and back before passing their broomstick to the next person in their team until everyone had done it.  First team back wins!


The ‘Pumpkin Buckets’ game

A simple game with enduring appeal.  Can’t beat ‘throw a ball/bean bag into a bucket’… especially a Halloween bucket!

The set-up:

Buy some orange buckets from B&Q (they are only a couple of quid and are a party regular for us.  They work for similar games with different themes – you’ll get your money’s worth).  Cut out pumpkin faces to stick onto the buckets in black card.

At the party:

Split the children into teams.  Give the teams a number of balls, or bean bags and ask them to take turns to try and throw their balls/beanbags into the bucket.  The team who gets them all in first wins.

We put all the older children together & put their bucket a lot further away than the one for the younger ones.  We’ve done it both inside for a smaller party when the kids were younger and outside for more people and mayhem!


The ‘Making Mummies’ game

Got toilet roll?  You are good to go!

The set-up:

Just ensure you have two toilet rolls for each team! You might also want a timer to signal when time’s-up.

At the party:

Split the kids up into groups of three.  As them to nominate a ‘mummy’ to be wrapped in toilet roll, then it is the job of the other two team members to wrap the person as quickly as they can For younger kids, they could wrap their actual mummies.  Ask the children to vote on the best one to be the winner, or another parent if there are parents also at the party.


The ‘Pick-Up’ game

This is a very quick and easy game.  My guys loved it so much, they continued playing it even after the party had ended!

The set-up:  

Put some Halloween-themed confetti and put it on a plate between each pair of players (you could have more kids sharing a plate, but they can start knocking-heads if it is too much of a squeeze!).

At the party:

Give the players a plate or bowl each and tell them their mission is to ‘suck up’ as many skeletons, pumpkins, bats (and whatever shapes you have in your confetti) with their straws as they can and transfer them onto their plate/bowl as possible in a given time – no hands aloud!  I have used a 2 minute egg timer for this, but depending on the age of your children, you can decide how long.

To raise the stakes, you could ask for a particular number of the different types of confetti (e.g. ‘5 pumpkins, 10 bats’ etc) if you have older children to entertain alongside younger ones.


I tend to do a dry-run of the games with my guys before the party starts so I can work out how the games are going to go.  They are always up for this as they want the party to start as soon as possible!  It also means that they know the deal, so they are two less to worry about when the party is in full-swing.  I then ask them to demonstrate to the others, or help them once it’s on the go.