Halloween carnivals bring people of all ages together to revel in the spooky spirit of the season. Whether your event is designed for teenagers or very young children, including inventive Halloween games that put a spooky twist on your favorite traditional carnival games is a must. Remember that a successful Halloween carnival game requires time, preparation, enthusiasm and imagination.
Buy 20 or 30 miniature pumpkins from the supermarket or pumpkin patch. On the bottom of each pumpkin, write a number from one through five in dark, distinct permanent marker that won't rub off. Make a small board listing four prizes that correspond with the numbers, designating one the "You Lose" number. If the game will be played by small children, you may want to make all five numbers prizewinners. Make sure that there is an even number of pumpkins of each point value. Make a miniature tabletop pumpkin patch out of them, and invite players to pick one pumpkin, look at the number and claim the appropriate prize. This is an easy game with good odds for winning that can be played by different age groups. Award Halloween-related prizes such as candy bars, bags of candy corn and sets of plastic vampire teeth.
Spooky Strike Zone
Strike zone games can be set up for very small children or teenagers and can be easily adapted to fit your target age group. This is a ball tossing game that's constructed using cardboard boxes collected from an appliance or furniture store. Create a design that connects to the theme of your carnival and that accommodates placement of holes that will serve as targets. For example, if you decide to paint a giant jack-o’-lantern, you can cut target holes in place of the pumpkin’s eyes, nose and mouth. Other possible designs include vampires, a witch’s cauldron, a black cat, or a full moon. The objective is to have players successfully throw balls into the holes. Give each child three to five balls and award a prize for a successful hit.
Create a big wheel surrounded by spokes and divided into multiple pie-shaped pieces. Each pie piece will display its own message saying the spinner wins a prize or should try again. Write the prize categories with a Halloween twist. For example, instead of just writing “Try Again,” the wheel can say “Boo! Try Again.” Other pie pieces can say things like “Trick or treat? Treat!” or “Creepy Crawly Candy.” Come up with a list of other catchy, Halloween-themed ways to describe the prizes.
For a clean, dry twist on traditional apple bobbing games, have contestants attempt to eat an apple that hangs from a string or cord. Each player must keep his hands behind his back throughout the contest. Hang apples from a clothesline or level wire, and adjust the length of the strings depending on the age and height of the players. You can offer multiple rounds of the game, determined by age group, which allows time to adjust the strings and refresh the apples after each round. Players should be given a strict time limit of one or two minutes. At the end of the game, the person who has eaten the most of his apple wins a prize.
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