Have you ever wondered the origin of Halloween or the history that’s behind such an eventful holiday? If so, here’s a quick recap of the origin of Halloween as well as the history of Halloween. I’ve also included 15 indoor Halloween games for children that you can do at home or for a Halloween party.
Origin of Halloween
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in) over 2000 years ago in what’s now called Ireland. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. You can learn more about the origin of Halloween over on History.com.
History of Halloween
In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.
In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. Here are several games for children to play on Halloween.
Halloween Games for Children
1. Halloween Pumpkin Bowling - Darling bowling pins made out of empty formula cans.
2. Paint the Pumpkin – Have the kids paint a small pumpkin at your next Halloween party.
3. Halloween Mummy Wrap – The object is for each group to wrap their mummy faster than the other groups but doing a good job
4. Halloween Memory Game – Memory is such a fun and easy game to play with children of all ages. Play this game at home as a family or during a kids Halloween party.
Indoor Halloween Games
- 1 Ping pong ball for each team (painted like an eyeball)
- 1 spoon for each team
Divide children into teams. Give the first child on each team a spoon and a ping pong ball. Set up the course to where they have to carry the “EYE” on the spoon to the end of the course and come back. Hand off to the next child and continue until all children have played on the team. First team done wins!
6. Spider Web
- Ball of black yarn
Children stand in a circle. A ball of yarn is thrown across to another child. The child holds on to a piece of the yarn and then throws the ball across to another child. Continue until a spider web is created.
7. Spider Relay
Divide children into teams. Set up a course for them to race on. Have first child of each team sit down, put their arms behind them and walk (AKA crab walk) to the end of the course and back. Tag the next child and repeat until all the teams finish.
8. Ghost Waiter
* Balloon for each team
* Paper plate for each team
Divide children into teams. Set up a course for them to race on. The child has to balance a balloon on a paper plate while walking it down the course and back to their team.
- * Paper
- * Pencil
Have the children write the words “Trick or Treat” on a piece of paper. Set a timer. See how many words they can make out of “Trick or Treat”. Let children eat treats while they create the words.
10. Walk the fence
- Masking tape
Make masking tape lines on the floor for each team. Divide the children into teams. Have the children walk backward on line of tape on floor. Go to end of tape, turn around and walk backward to team. First team to finish; wins!
11. Spook Spotter
If you have a large group, you can try in a game of Spook Spotter. It’s one of those games; inside Halloween is actually a game very quiet. To start the game, children form a circle. One child is chosen to be the ghost spotters. The Spook Spotter leaves the room or turned back, while a child is from the district selected for Spook. Spook selects the repetitive, rhythmic movements, without their seats. Movements could include, floating phantom movements, jerky movements zombie, and witch on her broom movements, witch stirring a brew of action. Spook encouraged being creative with his actions.
Once each copy Spook’s action begins the Observer returns to the room and the group observed. The Spook Spotter has the task of guessing who is Spook in three cases. Spook changes of the action as often as possible without being seen by the observer. Each copy follows Spook’s actions. After three hypotheses or assumptions Spook Spotter identity, a new game begins with a new spotter and a new Spook are chosen.
Children need encouragement to not spook as this give the game, look for the observer. Instead, they can analyze the group change and movements, if they notice any change in their movements.
A Halloween indoor games can be played with a large group. This is a Chinese version of the game Whispers. Firstly, all children have a claim on a whole piece of paper. Do not let them show their sentences and the third supervisor collects the sentences.
The children sit in a circle and the supervisor is one of the games of a child in a circle. The child reads the sentence and whispering to the person next to them, whispering, then the next person. This continues around the circle until it reaches the last person, then the group, which is the set, tells achieved. Up to this point, the sentence of the rule has changed, and there will be lots of laughter, that the distorted version is said to the group.
13. The Trick or Treat bonanza
Cut up some paper strips and on half of them write the word “treat”, on the others write out a number of tricks, such as “hop on one leg”, “growl like a lion” or “sing their favorite song”. Put all of the paper pieces into a hat or a pillowcase and hide some sweets and candies around the room. At the party ask each child to draw a piece of paper from the hat. They then have to perform the trick or search for the treats.
This popular spelling game is ideal as a Halloween game. The traditional hangman diagram can be used and is most appropriate for this time of year. It can be played in the usual way but instead of using any word, a Halloween themed word can be used. You might use the words vampire, witches, potion and haunted.
A slightly different version can also be used. Instead of using just a word that has to be spelled out, try using a whole sentence. Create a spooky, Halloween themed sentence like, ‘As we walked along the deserted road a fog surrounded us and we heard an eerie wailing close behind.’ Draw a dash for every letter of the sentence leaving a space between the words. The game is then played in the same way as the traditional game. You probably won’t get much of the hangman drawn but it is a good educational Halloween game that gets kids using their spelling skills as they try to work out the words in the sentence.
For extra thrills, the host may place a simple object in a large cardboard box or tube with holes cut in each end. The guesser must place the hands inside the holes and guess the object. The twist is the host can place an object that could easily be something more sinister. A wet flannel or a wig could easily be a dismembered hand or a hairy spider. The guesser must try to overcome the suggestions of the cruel host and guess the object. (All objects must be harmless and mundane.)