Activities and Conversation Pieces
I've begun to think about having
activities and conversation pieces at my Halloween parties, not just
static decorations. I mean, I can do that, but here are some
that get your guests involved. A lot of these are especially
kids, but silly activities will engage adults too, especially if
Operation - This always comes to
mind since it has a sort of Dr. Frankenstein theme to it.
An obvious choice, what with the murder theme and a creepy old house.
- A Halloween-themed take on Monopoly.
Doo - has several board games and other activities.
Munsters - They had board game in the '60s you can find on eBay.
Addams Family - They had a board game as well, plus the '90s
movie spawned additional merchandising.
Ouija board - Get Twitter-like
messages from the other side.
Along the same lines as the Ouija board, you could summon
spirits. This would be especially fun if you added special
effects to your crystal ball, sound effects, spooky music, etc.
card readings/Fortune telling/Palm readings - Requires someone
to be in costume in this role for the night (or at least part of it),
but whatever. One of my friends does this annually anyway, and
folks get a kick out of it.
Theremin - A musical instrument that
has featured prominently in many sci-fi and horror film scores,
especially during the '50s. With added effects (e.g., delay/echo
and reverb), you can set up something for guests to play around
with. It really doesn't require much talent to make interesting
noises out of it.
- Another unusual musical instrument that you've heard many
times before without knowing it. It shows up in tv/movie scores
all the time in horror and (to a lesser extent) sci-fi works. The
instrument is relatively easy to experiment with. The real things
are somewhat expensive, but you can make your own if you're handy with
petting zoo - Okay, you probably won't be able to pet them, but
that's part of the joke. Have a group of exotic animals:
scorpions, tarantulas, snakes, crow/raven, black cat, etc. set up like
a zoo. Maybe it's a "Don't Pet Me" zoo. I think this works
great for a kids party provided the animals are supervised so the kids
can't get into the cages.
Carving/Painting - Stick to painting small pumpkins if the party
is for little kids; go with carving things if the party is for those
old enough for those able to work with real knives without hurting
Scary-oke - Karaoke featuring
popular Halloween songs. Or just sing anything horribly in a
Reach in the body for prizes - I saw
this done with spaghetti poured into a hole in the ground with
mannequin parts to "flesh" it out. Inside the "body" were prizes
the kids had to pull out of the "guts."
Head Toss - Throw mannequin heads (latex masks stuffed with
newspaper will work too) into a monster's mouth, open grave, etc.
- This is obvious, but the cakes would be
Halloween-themed. You could substitute cup cakes if it's
a party for kids.
Hunt - Give them a list of items to find around the house.
Could be candy or other Halloween-related items.
Bobbing - It's tradition. Even those Peanuts kids did it.
Haunted Corn Maze - This doesn't
require an actual corn field. Set up poles with corn ears at the
top to make a fake corn field with a path through it that the guests
House - I leave this up to your imagination, but when I was a
kid, I used to decorate the inside of a refrigerator box (set on its
side, of course) and have neighborhood kids crawl through. You
can set it up with blacklight art of scary clowns, hanging props like
House - You can rent one that's Halloween-themed if you reserve
it early enough.
Treating for candy and/or toys - Set up stations around the
house or yard so that kids can Trick or Treat safely in a small area.
Spoon Race - Like an egg race, only with small pumpkins.
Hay Bale Theater - Set up hay bales
in the yard at night and show classic horror movies on the side of the
house/barn/fence/a white sheet/whatever from your laptop with a media
- If you have a large enough back yard, tote the kids around on
a cart attached to the back of the riding mower or ATV.
Haunted House Tour - Decorate
some "off-limits" parts of the house (e.g., upstairs is great if you
have a two-story), then take guests on tours with flashlights.
You can set up animatronics for scares, make up a fake history of the
house, etc. I did something
like this when our Halloween party doubled as a housewarming
party. It just made sense to give everyone a good tour.
Good Reads - I like to have Halloween-themed books all
over. For example:
- I put out obvious things like
collections of Poe and Lovecraft, a copy of Dracula, plus books
by modern horror authors
- Horror movie books such as
behind-the-scenes books about the Alien movies.
- I put an issue of Famous
Monsters of Filmland in the magazine rack in the bathroom.
- One year I pulled all the children's
books off my son's bookshelf that were related to Halloween/ghosts/monsters and scattered them
around on end tables, etc.