Halloween Party Games That Keep Kids Moving

Group of older children playing 'wrap the mummy' Halloween game with toilet rolls

Elva Etienne / Moment / Getty Images

These Halloween games are perfect for kids' parties, indoors and out. They get kids moving—the better to burn off those candy-coated calories and high-fructose energy.

Monster Freeze Dance

This is the perfect opportunity for kids to show off their silliest (or sickest) dance moves.

Everyone dances while the music is playing. But as soon as the music stops, they all have to freeze like statues. Anyone caught moving while the music is off is out of the game until the next round (the next song). The last player still dancing is the winner.

Choose music that your kids will love dancing to. Tunes like "Monster Mash" and "Thriller" are great for the season, but you can play just about anything.

Snap Apple

Instead of bobbing for apples in a bucket of water (which can really wreak havoc on costumes or face paint), have kids try to "snap" a bite from an apple hanging on a string. All you’ll need are apples (with stems) and string!

Tie the string to the apple stem. Then loop it around a tree branch or a broomstick or suspension curtain rod. 

You may have seen this game played with doughnuts, but apples are a healthier choice. More challenging too!

Capture the Ghost

Adapt the classic backyard game of Capture the Flag with a ghostly theme!

Use white handkerchiefs for the flags. This adds an extra challenge because it will be hard to tell the teams' flags apart from one another. For smaller kids, you might want to use Halloween-themed fabric scraps or large felt pumpkins instead.

Eyeball Relay Race

This Eyeball Relay Race is a spooky variation on the classic Egg and Spoon Relay. 

First, gather your supplies: two plastic eyeballs (you can buy these or decorate two ping pong balls to look like bloodshot eyeballs) and two spoons. 

Divide the children into groups of around 10, and have each group line up behind the starting line. After handing the first player of each team an eyeball and a spoon, explain the rules:

  1. When you say “Go,” the first person of each team must run to a pre-marked spot, turn around, and run back to the starting point while balancing the eyeball on the spoon. 
  2. If the eyeball drops, they must pick it up, return to the starting line, and begin again.
  3. Once each player finishes their leg of the race, they pass the eyeball to the next person in line, and that person repeats the same steps. 
  4. The first team to have all of its members make it back to the starting point wins the relay. 

If you're not afraid of a little mess, draw your eyeballs on raw eggs instead of ping pong balls.

Pumpkin Bowling

Pumpkin bowling is a fun spin-off that everyone will love. 

Select several smallish pumpkins (about 4 to 6 inches in diameter). These will be your “bowling balls.” Cut the stems down as close to the pumpkins' surface as possible.

Keep some spare pumpkins on hand in case someone cracks theirs.

Make the pins out of 10 empty 2-liter soda bottles. Fill them with 2 inches of dry beans, sand, popcorn kernels, or rice (the more you fill them, the harder they are to topple over). Paint the outside of your bottles white and let them dry completely. Then use black puffy paint or a black sharpie to make ghostly faces on one side of the bottle. 

When you’re ready, set up your pins in a triangle shape with the ghosts facing the players. like bowling pins—one in front, two in the second row, and so on. You’re ready to bowl!

Skeleton Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are easy to set up and can be done just about anywhere, indoors or out.

Purchase plastic skeletons (or cut paper ones) and disassemble them. Hide the bones around the house (or yard), then have the kids hunt for the skeleton parts. For an extra challenge, see if party guests can reassemble their bony treasures into a complete skeleton set.

Dead Man's Treasure

For this version of Pirate's Treasure, use Halloween-themed objects (say, mini plastic pumpkins, or glow sticks) for the treasure. Larger plastic pumpkins, decorated paper bags, or even large stockpots (think witch's cauldron) can serve as the treasure chests.

Musical Pumpkins

Cut pumpkin shapes from construction paper and arrange them on the floor. You can also use spider webs, tombstones, or witchy cauldrons for targets.

Kids must move from pumpkin to pumpkin while music plays, just like in musical chairs. But, to keep kids from being excluded, allow them to share pumpkins as you remove a pumpkin for each round.

By the end of the game, all the kids have to squeeze into one spot.

Wiggle Worm

This goofy Halloween race requires kids to work (and stick) together to form a human worm.  

Split the group into two equal teams and have team members line up single file to form human "worms." The person at the front of each line reaches their left hand between their legs; the player behind them grabs it with their right hand, and so on all the way to the end of the line. 

When you say "Go!" (or "Boo!"), each team must run to a goal line and back. 

Whichever team gets back first is the winner—but only if their worm is still intact.

Ghost in the Graveyard

This fun game—a cross between tag and hide-and-seek—gets kids running around with each other.

Identify a well-lit area to serve as a home base (such as a porch) where players are “safe.” Choose one person to be the Ghost or “It.” The Ghost stands at home base and counts the time—one o’clock, two o’clock, and so on until they reach midnight—while everyone else runs and hides. 

Older children will love playing this in the dark.

At midnight, the Ghost opens their eyes and starts to hunt for the other players. Ideally, everyone wants to make it to home base without being tagged by the Ghost. The first person tagged becomes the Ghost next time.

By Catherine Holecko
Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.