Challenge kids to decorate a pumpkin without being nabbed by the ghost catcher.
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
Put on "Monster Mash" and other seasonal tunes. Have kids show off their silliest monster dance moves—but they must freeze in place when the tunes turn off.
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. You'll need apples with stems—tie the string to the stem. Then loop it around a tree branch (outside) or a broomstick or suspension curtain rod (inside). You may have seen this game played with doughnuts. Apples are a healthier choice, and 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.
Get creative with this one—there are lots of silly ways for kids to get from the starting line to the finish. Try having them stagger like zombies, fly on broomsticks like witches, or hop like toads. They can also carry a small pumpkin or a Halloween-themed snack. Or, stage a costume relay for guaranteed silly results.
Choose smallish pumpkins with short stems (depending on the ages of your party guests). Set up 1- or 2-liter plastic bottles and tape off a starting line for an instant bowling alley. Fill the bottles with a bit of sand or rice if they topple over too easily. You can also have kids decorate the bottles with stickers, markers, and other art materials.
Skeleton Scavenger Hunt
Have kids roam the yard or the house on the hunt for skeleton parts (cut from paper, or plastic ones purchased from a toy store or craft shop). 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.
Cut pumpkin shapes from construction paper and arrange them on the floor; kids must move from pumpkin to pumpkin while music plays, just like in musical chairs. 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. For variety, you could also use spider webs, tombstones, or witchy cauldrons for targets.
This goofy race requires kids to work together (and stick together) as a team. Divide the group into two equal teams. Teams must line up and form a "worm." The person at the front of the line reaches his left hand between his legs; the player behind him grabs it with her 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.