Introduction: The Spooky Games

About: Grandma Van uses the Instructables website to share little print-and-mail books. Once in a while, she has other fun things to share.

Many objects can be used to create carnival-style games. It's fun to take a look at something that is headed for the trash and think of a creative way to turn it into a game. It's even more fun to turn it into a HALLOWEEN game!

Look for things that can be stacked and then knocked down.

Look for things that can be lined up as pins and bowled over.

Look for interesting containers and objects that can be thrown into them.

Re-purpose anything that spins, or bounces, or rolls!

I hope that the examples shown here encourage you to make your own Spooky Games this Halloween.

Step 1: Ghost Drop.

For the Ghost Drop, I painted a wooden tissue container so that it looked like a haunted house. You can also use a cardboard tissue box. Unfold it, put it back together "inside-out," and draw on some details.

For the ghosts, I used pieces of foam packaging. I rolled up a small piece to form the head, then used hot glue to shape the ghosts. Eyes are just painted on.

For ghosts, of course, you could also use the old standard: a Dum-Dum sucker with a tissue tied over!

Play the game by dropping the ghosts into the haunted house. It's harder than it looks!

Step 2: The Pumpkin Patch

For the pumpkin patch game, all you need is a piece of fabric and some discs.

Old CDs or DVDs can be used. Cover the holes with old labels and paint on designs.

If you don't have any old CDs, large plastic lids can be used.

Draw leaves on the fabric. Score points for any disc that lands entirely within a leaf.

Step 3: Bouncing Eyeballs.

This one is super easy to make, but really fun to play.

Use a Sharpie pen to draw circles on light-colored super balls or ping-pong balls.

Any large shallow container can be used. (Garage sales or Goodwill are good sources!)

To play, try to bounce the "eyeballs" into the container. The more balls you have, the crazier the game.

HINT: This one is best set up in a corner!

Step 4: Bats and Ghosts.

Use the PDF pattern to make several beanbags from felt. Fill with beans, popcorn, or cut-up pieces of styrofoam trays.

Make ghosts from the containers in which sanitizing wipes are packed.

Cut eyes from any dark-colored tape. (I had some nice black gorilla tape.)

Line them up. Knock 'em down.

Step 5: Tumbling Ghosts.

Not to be confused with "Bats and Ghosts..."

These plastic containers used to contain prunes. Now they are ghosts.

This time, I used some cool adhesive vinyl that I got on sale. (It is designed for use with one of those fancy cutting machines.)

Tumble the ghosts by hitting them with a jack-o-lantern made by painting a tennis ball.

Step 6: Ghostly Line-up

For the ghosts, use the little individual milk bottles that come with fast food meals.

Line them up and use the tennis ball jack-o-lantern (from game #5) to knock them down. Or use the beanbag bats. Or the beanbag spiders. Mix things up!


Perhaps you don't have a good spot for lining up a bunch of little ghosts.

Spread them out on the floor and play...

Step 7: Ring Around the Ghosties

For the ghosts, use the little individual milk bottles that come with fast food meals (again!)

For rings, repurpose old embroidery hoops or the metal rings from lampshades.

You can also make hoops from chenille stems or by cutting rings from large plastic containers and then wrapping them with tape or cord or yarn.

Step 8: Ring Around BIG Ghostie.

Instead of milk-bottle ghosts, think BIG!

I used the base from an old lamp to make the LARGE ghost for this game.

His head is a styrofoam ball, stuck right onto the lamp "stem."

For rings, a very large embroidery hoop works, but I also have the rings from an old lampshade.

A hula-hoop would also work!

Step 9: Pick a Skeleton, Any Skeleton...

This is a variation of the "Lollipop Game" that is a staple of many carnivals.

Paint numbers on the bottom of each skeleton. Have a little prize for each number.

To play: pick a skeleton, look on the bottom. Claim your prize.

(Yes, I know that I need to paint more skeletons before I actually USE this game... but...)

Step 10: Pick a Pumpkin, Any Pumpkin....

Last year I used these little plastic pumpkins, fastened to craft sticks and placed in a stand.

Each stick has a number.

Yes. Each number has a prize.

Or... if the game is to be played for points, each stick has a number of points.

The base for this game is made up of three pieces of scrap wood and a lot of craft "match sticks." I used a lot of wood glue putting it together.

If you want to go with a party theme, this game is very simple to adapt. Cut out a paper or felt figure. Glue it to a stick. Put a number on the stick. Put the stick in the base. Get some cool prizes.

Step 11: Skeleton Bowling.

The PDF includes a pattern for small shampoo bottles (the kind you get when you stay at a hotel) and a pattern that fits around a toilet paper tube.

Cut out the skeletons and tape them to the bottles or the tubes.

If desired, fill bottles with sand to give them more weight.

Use a small ball and set the pins up for bowling. For this example, I painted a spider on a lovely orange golf ball.

Step 12: Frankentoss and the Mummy

I used wooden shapes that were originally meant to be decorative houses. Joined in this way, they make interesting monsters!

Use a spider beanbag to knock them down.

Step 13: Krazy K-cup Ghosts

Re-use those K-cups!

My six-year-old grandson Simon helped me decorate these.

Make large pumpkin pom-poms and knock down the ghosts.

Step 14: Creepy Peepers.

It is true. Grandma Van has a hard time throwing ANYTHING away.

We recently replaced the handles on our kitchen cabinets. As I was putting the old ones in a box to throw them away, they made me think of eyeballs.

So I painted two monsters on a board, fastened on the eyeballs, and now we have another ring toss game.

The rings are made from sparkly chenille stems.

Step 15: Frisbee Spiders

Cover old CDs or DVDs with felt.

Add some felt spider legs.

Find a laundry hamper, laundry basket, or large box.

Decorate it if you are feeling fancy.

For this example, I had a piece of canvas fabric just the right size to drape over the laundry hamper. I quickly drew a haunted house (based on an image I found at, of course).

Now it's ready for the spiders.

NOTE: It is best to make more than one spider. I will. Later.

Step 16: Spider Pie

If you can spare a doorway....

Attach a tension curtain rod across the top of the doorway. Hang pom-pom spiders from the curtain rod, as shown here.

To play the game, try to toss a pumpkin frisbee (felt-covered CD or DVD) through the doorway and into the pie plate without upsetting any spiders.

If your pumpkin hits a spider, there will be spiders in your pumpkin pie!

Step 17: Tombstone Bowling

I don't remember where I got these wooden shapes. Originally they were supposed to be SOMETHING else... but now they are tombstones.

You can paint just about any piece of wood and call it a tombstone at Halloween.

The bowling ball in this case is a wooden ball that happened to have a hole at the top, so I glued in a wooden bead and painted it up to look like a jack-o-lantern. The spider ball made from a golf ball (game #11) would also work here!

Step 18: Contact Grandma Van!

As I was making these games, I used many "classic" crafting supplies and methods.

I tried to feature one game for each "step" of the instructions. That didn't really leave room for instructions such as "how to make a pom-pom."

If you need a PDF telling you how to make a pom-pom, let me know in the comments section and I'll add that PDF later this week. Same with anything else that may need a pattern.

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