Halloween Games: Warning! Treasured Fun of the Past and Present

past gamesAnyone hosting a Halloween party might want to have a few games for their guests to play. They provide the perfect way for new friends to get better acquainted and help begin a night off with laughter.

Searching for the best Halloween games in which to achieve this goal may have some hosts exploring Halloween games which were played in the past and these can yield a few surprises.

Halloween Games of the Past

In an old book I have, Parlor Games by Helen Hollister (Penn Publishing Company, 1896) there is a chapter dedicated to Halloween games or frolics. Within the chapter are many suggestions of games which are played for “celebrating the night.” The common game of bobbing for apples is listed but then there are a few other games suggested which may leave you wondering what the goal was for playing those games.

Was it for breaking the ice or for breaking their legs? They must be treasured for smiles given today!

One of the listed games in question is called The Mirror of Fate. The host of the party is supposed to give each guest a lighted candle and a hand held mirror. They are then guided to the very top of the house (attic included) and are instructed to walk all the way back down (cellar included). The ‘game’ is that they must walk down backward using only the mirror as their guide. They are never to turn their heads around during their way down.

The description for the game does offer a warning for the players. In the book it is written; “The traveler should use great caution in descending, as a misstep might cause a terrible fall.”

Anyone hunting for the best Halloween games to play at their party may be advised to skip over any games which offer warnings of ‘terrible falls’ or ‘use great caution.’

However there is another game listed which should have ‘use great caution’ in the description but doesn’t. This game is called Snap-Dragon and should probably be avoided also. In this game the host of the party is supposed to place an abundance of raisins in a dish and pour alcohol over them. Once everyone is gathered around the dish, the alcohol is set on fire and each player is to try and ‘snap’ out as many raisins out of the dish as they can. The winner of this game is the guest which is able to snap out the most raisins before being burned.

Halloween Game for the Present

After reading some of the past games suggested for Halloween fun, a host of a party may be happy to read about a game which is found in the present. The following game is called ‘Whose Blood is it?’ This game provides lots of laughter as the players try and guess what type of juice(blood) it is that they are drinking.

The host of the party fills small plastic containers (shot size) for each of the players with a variety of ‘red juices’ and numbers them. The guests of the party are to then taste each and try to correctly guess ‘Whose blood is it?’(What type of juice). The guests write their answers down on a numbered sheet of paper. The winner of the game is the person with the most correct answers.

The following are suggestions for ‘red juices’:

*Hawaiian Punch
*Cranberry Juice
*Cherry Juice
*Gatorade (red)
*Fruit Punch
*Cherry 7-up
*Strawberry Flavored Drink
*Watered down Ketchup
*Watered down Tabasco sauce
*V8 Drink
*Water (Red food colored)

In the above game guests will not have to be concerned about falling down steps but they will still need to be aware of their senses. And a host with common sense will avoid Halloween games which may leave their friends with broken bones or burn down houses.

Having a fun, but safe Halloween party should be the goal for any party. 🙂

Treasure the Adventure!



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17 Responses

  1. Ramona says:

    Very interesting Jenny. Those were some rough old games. I like the Whose Blood Is It game. I would have fun playing that one.

  2. pdenver says:

    Hello Jenny. Those were, indeed, pretty dangerous games. I held a Halloween party about 35 years ago and one of the games I did was similar to bobbing for apples. Rather than apples floating in water and having my guests wet, I hung them on a string, off of my ceiling. I think it was tougher to bite into the apple this way. With a barrel full of water, one just needs to place the apple against it and bite down. Instant winner. Okay folks, if you’ve been invited to a party and your guests have this game, pretend you didn’t read this. 🙂

    • pdenver says:

      Just thought of something. Have a game with popcorn and string. Provide each guest with plenty of popcorn and string. The first person who fills their string wins. Also, you can store the strings in a bag to use as Christmas garland. 😉

  3. Buckeye Bob says:

    “I have a Halloween frolic for all of you.”
    That just sounds so much better than a “game”.

    I’ve always loved Halloween, like all of the holidays and celebrations.
    But for me, Halloween always reminds me of a thing that happened, real and a bit scary, around that time of year but not related to Halloween. Not directly, at least I don’t think so.

    I was around 10 years old. It was nighttime and I and my brothers and sisters were in the backyard getting ready to head inside after an evening of typical neighborhood antics.
    The rear of the back yard was where the action was, as it were. That is to say, that’s where the things of activity were. There was the “monkey tree”, as my dad called it, that we spent part of our lives in. The garden, and the burn barrel that was actually 4 long metal grates my dad had connected and stood up the tall way, and there was the leaf bin.
    That leaf bin was simply some wire fencing my dad had bent in a large circle, connected, and stood on the ground as an enclosure. We piled our raked leaves in it, and dad would always spread those leaves over the garden before every winter snow came.

    So, there we were, around that leaf bin telling scary stories and jokes in the darkness of the night. It was around Halloween, after all. And as we talked I noticed something in that leaf pile. Half way down it’s height and facing out against the fencing was something, it looked like a devil’s mask. And the more I looked at it, the more “real” it looked. My imagination kicked in, gear after gear, until I began to fear the thing would open it’s eyes and speak some foul words and scare the beejeebers out of us all.

    I looked around frantically for a defense. Next to the burn “barrel” was a long stick.
    “I’ll poke yer eye out!” I said in silent thought, as I didn’t want to let my siblings know I was going bonkers.

    And then that time came that my mom yelled out the back door that it was time to come inside. We all slowly started to consider meandering in, with my brother Jim and I being the last. I had to stay to the last to defend the rest from a rear attack. Jim and I finally turned towards the house, and I said to him “have you ever noticed how scary stories can make your imagination run on?”
    Jim said “yeah”, laughing.
    “It’s just like that”, and I pointed to that devil’s face in the leaves. “Doesn’t that look like a devil’s face?”
    Jim looked at it, then looked again. “My God, it does!”
    “Get closer and look at it good.”
    “You get closer.”
    “Touch it.”
    “You touch it.”
    “I ain’t getting close to that thing.”
    “Do you think maybe John put a mask in there to scare us?”
    “No, he was the first to run into the house, he’d have stayed to see someone notice it.”
    “Or point it out to us for the laughs.”
    “What the…”
    And then we both started laughing at ourselves as we turned and walked towards the back door.

    So, along our path was the garage. A one car affair with a fence running from it to all the way back to the end of our yard, no doubt to separate me and mine from the little troublemakers that lived next door.
    And as we walked towards the garage, still laughing at our imaginations of devils pranking us through a circled fence of leaves, I said…
    “It’s just like that.” I pointed to the ground at the rear of the garage.
    “Doesn’t that look like some guy laying there on the ground, along the rear of the garage?”
    “Yeah”, said Jim laughing even more.

    And then, some adult sized stranger stood up, jumped over the fence, and ran away into the darkness.

    • pdenver says:

      Oh my gosh, Buckeye Bob! I would have jumped out of my skin if I saw that. Oh, by the way, thank goodness you didn’t use that stick to poke the guy’s eyes out. 🙂

      • Buckeye Bob says:

        I beat my brother into the house. 😉

        • JC1117 says:

          Great story, Buckeye Bob.

          Did you continue beating your brother once you were both inside the house? 🙂

          And great Halloween ideas, Jenny. I like the “Whose Blood Is It?” game. I think the best way to play that would be to put all the different red juices into dark shot glasses…or small cups…with numbers on them. Then you draw numbers to see who has to drink which one. Each person has to drink quickly…without looking or smelling.

          IMO, there’s no reason why the Tabasco sauce should be “watered down”. lol. 🙂

          Trick…or Treat!

    • Nate Beck says:

      Buckeye Bob,

      That is pretty creepy story actually. Reminds one that while Halloween should be a fun and safe time, there are sadly alot of bad people out there who do nasty things this time of year. Best to be on your guard while enjoying the time! Especially if you have kids!

      • Buckeye Bob says:

        Nate, later we found out that a neighbor, a 30ish year old that still lived with his parents, was caught peeping Tom-ing. He was always strange and we all stayed away from him. I always figured it was him in our back yard that night.
        Yes, safety is always a concern. Keeping a watchful eye is a small price to pay for the gains, though. Games and entertainment on that old fashioned personal level is way better than modern day computer games and “social media”. Not to knock those new age things, but just to remember that we are much more than just an appendage to a smart phone.

        • Nate Beck says:

          Completely agree Buckeye Bob.
          It’s nice to put away the electronics once and a while 😊 have a Happy Halloween!

  4. pdenver says:

    Good for you! 🙂

  5. Freerange says:

    Games and puzzles of all types were a big part of my childhood. Clue was my favorite. My wife and kids enjoy them as much as I do. We have what we call quadrothlons; four different games in a row, the player with the best total score is the winner. The games are chosen to highlight the strengths of each player. Thank you for this site Jenny, it will be the source for a few school projects this year.

    • Buckeye Bob says:

      Great idea, Freerange.
      I’ve had a few really good teachers that taught things outside of the books. And the thing that jumps out at me is that they inspired curiosity. And that’s led me to check out things over the years, and in effect continue my education well beyond the classroom.

      • Freerange says:

        Thanks, Buckeye Bob.
        “…inspired curiosity.” I like that. Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.
        Your above story brings back a memory from my childhood. My two older sisters enjoyed telling me scary story’s before bedtime, explaining how monsters lived under beds, and would bite off little kids toe’s, knowing I would get in trouble for sleeping with my shoes on.
        Well sweet revenge was planed. They both worked for a local restaurant. My parents would drop them off, and pick them up in the evening. One night, without anyone knowing, I climbed in the back of my mom’s hatchback, and covered myself with a blanket. About halfway home, while they were talking about dumb girl stuff, I slowly reached up and grabbed them by the neck! The best part was they got in trouble for screaming so loudly.

        • Buckeye Bob says:

          Freerange, ha ha! We had the same kind of sibling interactive experiences in my family. I had two older brothers who were full of ideas, the oldest being somewhat merciless about it. Such fond memories.

  6. Nate Beck says:

    Wow, those are crazy games lol. Halloween is my favorite time of year and I have always loved the celebration and fun. A fun Halloween board game that’s fairly new is one called ‘Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters’. Check it out.

  7. Wayno says:

    When I was a kid, I used to prank, in good humor of course. In grade school one of the pranks I used to play, in order to break the ice with those 10 yr old girls, was to have them bite down on there pinky fingernails, right in the middle of the nail, for 7 seconds, then immediately have them lock em together, like two “J hooks”, and have them pull em apart. The look on their faces were priceless. Then came the “owwwwww!” Well I thought it was funny, they wound up laughing too. After they learned they would go off and prank someone else with it. Kind of like a pay-it-forward thing with a good laugh..

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