Skip to main content

Costume Contest

Materials Needed

  • Prizes
  • (optional) pens
  • (optional) voting ballots
  • The first and arguably most important step for a successful Halloween costume contest is to clearly announce the contest well before your event. Make sure that every guest knows the not only are you going to have a costume contest but that you plan for it to be one of the focal points of the party. The more you hype it, the more your guests will commit to wearing an outstanding costume.

    If you are going to have more than around 15 guests consider awarding prizes for costumes in multiple categories. Pick a winner with the scariest, funniest, sexiest and most creative costume. After you have chosen the category winners, award a best overall costume from the group of category winners.

    The voting for the winners should include all of your party guests. You can set up a table with pens and voting ballots with the category names and a blank space for them to write who they think should win. An alternate option is to vote by crowd. Bring the guests in front of the party and one at a time ask the crowd to cheer for who they think should be the winner. The person who gets the loudest cheers in each category wins.

    As far prizes a simply rule to remember is the better the prizes the better the costumes. But that does not mean you have to spend a fortune. You should know your guests pretty well, select prizes that they will find appealing or just plain fun. This is definitely a situation where creativity can trump the dollar value of the prize.

    Pumpkin Carving

    Materials Needed

  • pumpkins
  • carving tools
  • trash bags
  • candles or pumpkin lights
  • Break your guests up into teams of 2-5 members and make sure you have a pumpkin for each team. You can provide pumpkin carving tools for everyone or encourage some of your guests to bring their own. Gutting the pumpkins makes a mess so be sure to have trash bags at the ready. Once the teams are done put a candle or pumpkin light in each and take pictures of the teams with their creation for a fun keepsake. You can make it a contest where the winners are awarded a prize or just call it a fun activity where everyone wins.

    Dead Man’s Guts

    Materials Needed

    For "A Post Mortem Hallowe'en"
  • Copy of "A Hallowe'en Post Mortem" (here)
  • A head of cauliflower/broccoli or sponge strips tied together (a Brain)
  • A piece of corn silk or piece of fur (for hair)
  • A dried peach or apricot (an ear)
  • Kernels of dried corn (for teeth)
  • A boiled & cooled manicotti shell (for a windpipe)
  • A rubber glove, filled with wet sand or wet oatmeal (a severed hand)
  • Skinned Grapes (for eyeballs)
  • 12 Empty thread spools strung together on a string (a spine)
  • Small piece of chain
  • Materials Needed

    For "Poor Joe"
  • Copy of "Poor Joe" (here)
  • A rubber glove, filled with wet sand or wet oatmeal (a severed hand)
  • 10 Small carrots (for toes)
  • A Wig
  • A head of cauliflower/broccoli or sponge strips tied together (a Brain)
  • A dried peach or apricot (an ear)
  • Skinned Grapes (for eyeballs)
  • A quarter red pepper, or raw hot dog cut in half lengthwise (for a tongue)
  • A peeled tomato (for a heart)
  • This will require a bit of pre-planning to get all the “guts” together, but shouldn’t take too long. Choose your story, either Charles F. Smith’s circa-1930s “A Hallowe’en Post Mortem,” which he wrote for the Boy Scouts (it was created for this type of prank) or the story “Poor Joe” (another good choice). Place each item for the story in a bowl or a small craft box large enough so the guest can reach inside and feel the item.

    Seat your guests in a darkened room. The room should be very dark, so using a flashlight to read the story will be helpful, as well as add to the eerie atmosphere. For older kids you can have the guests all be blindfolded instead, this will usually make it a bit more exciting for them.

    Have each person sit around a table or in a circle so the “guts” can be passed easily from one to the other. When everyone is in place have the narrator start the story, speaking in a quiet, spooky tone as they read. As each verse is told have the storyteller pause and pass around the associated “remains” so that each guest can touch and feel them. When everyone has had a turn move on to the next verse.

    You can add additional “remains” at the end of the tale if you like, or expand your story to include other “organs.” Try using cold, cooked spaghetti for more guts; or shriveled and dried carrots for old fingers. After you read the original story pass the extras to your guests and have them try to guess which “body part” it is.

    This is one storytelling your guests will really get a kick out of, and even the bravest of the bunch will squeal once or twice!

    Click here to get a copy of the both stories and Full Setup Directions Now >>

    Bloody Mary Photo Op

    Materials Needed

  • a candle
  • a lighter or matches
  • a dark bathroom with a mirror
  • a camera
  • The Bloody Mary game is traditionally preceded by a horrific tale of the origins of how Mary was trapped in the mirror. There are countless different versions of the tale but the most popular is the story of Mary Worth.

    Many years ago Mary Worth was found guilty of being a witch by the members of her small town in England. Instead of simply killing her for her supposed crimes they forced her to look at her herself in a mirror while they slowly killed her through a series of small cuts so that she would have to look upon the shame of her actions as she died. After this torture had gone on for hours her father broke through the people killing his daughter and stabbed her in the heart to end her suffering but by doing so trapped her soul in the mirror. Mary waits in the mirror hoping that someone who truly believes in her will one day call her soul from the mirror so that she can move on to the afterlife.

    Two people go into a bathroom that has had its windows completely covered so no light can get through and they shut the door. They turn the water on in the sink just a little bit so that there is a steady dripping sound. One person lights a candle, turns off the light and holds the candle in one hand and touches the mirror with the other hand. The second person stands behind first with a camera focused on their reflection in the mirror. Both people look into the mirror and chant “Bloody Mary” slowly thirteen times. After the last chant the person with the camera snaps a picture(or multiple pictures if the camera is capable) of the two of them in the mirror.

    Once all guests that wish to participate have had a turn in the bathroom, go through the pictures and look for orbs of light or ghostly images.

    Haunt My Yard

    Materials Needed

  • Outdoor Halloween decorations
  • Take all of the Halloween decorations you usually set up in your yard and pile them on your lawn. Once the guests have arrived give each guest a single item an tell them they can put it anywhere they choose. After a guest has placed an item they can come back and get another. Continue with this process until all of the decorations are in place. The guests can work together in an attempt to make a cohesive design or just place decorations where ever they think they look good.

    Once they have completed decorating take a photograph of the entire group posing in the yard they decked out. After the party print up copies of the photo and send them to the guests with a thank you card for coming to your event.

    Choose The Adventure Storytelling

    Materials Needed

  • A flashlight
  • This is a really easy storytelling idea that takes hardly any prep. Have the kids sit in a circle and turn the lights down very low. For older kids, who will be okay with being more scared, turning off the lights and just using the flashlights works even better.

    Let everyone know this will be a scary tale, but one THEY have to help make up. Use the flashlight as a way to show who’s turn it is and have the person hold it under their chin for a nice eerie effect. Have the storyteller start the story off with a simple prompt such as “50 years ago, on the very night, a horrible murder took place.” For younger kids you can keep it lighter with “One Halloween night, long ago, an evil witch was hatching a plan. One that would stop Halloween forever!”

    The storyteller then hands the flashlight to the person on his right and that person has to add to the story, such as “… The murder happened in this very house and was reported to be the gruesomest anyone had ever seen…” or “… The witch called all the ghosts and goblins together to help her with her plan. Everyone came to the meeting but the little ghouls since their ‘mummy’ said it was too late to go out…” You can choose any idea to start since most of the time the kids will take it in it’s own direction.

    Keep passing the flashlight to the right with the guests adding to the story as it goes around until it is completed. Have someone tape the story and play it back at the end if possible. It’s a great way to hear the story in full and to get a good laugh at the same time. You will be surprised how good some of the stories will be when heard again.

    Letting the kids get creative makes for a really fun time, and some good laughs. You will get some hillarious stories, and some really scary stuff, too, but most of all the kids will have a great time and so will the adults.

    Tarot Cards and Palm Readers and Fortunetellers, Oh My!

    Materials Needed

  • at least one mystic soothsayer
  • Arrange for one or more mystically gifted people to attend your Halloween party. Invite a tarot card reader, fortune teller, palm readers, voodoo queen, or anyone else that practices an art linked to mystery and the paranormal. Set up an area for them to work one on one or in small groups with party guests away from the crowd. People are less likely to commit to the experience if they feel like they are being watched and judged.

    If you do not know anyone to invite, call friends and see if they have any advice. Often non-professional mystics will gladly agree to perform at your party free of charge. But if that does not work out in most cases you can hire a professional to attend your party for a small fee if you allow them to accepts tips during your event.

    If you hold an annual Halloween party, encourage the guests to write down some of the predictions and share the success or failure of the supernatural prophecies at your Halloween party the following year.

    8 Page Halloween Coloring Book

    ($$$) This is a FREE printable game

    Keep the kids busy and having fun during the Halloween season or at the next class Halloween party with this fun coloring book. 8 pages of Haunted coloring fun, and of course a few ghosts and pumpkins! Directions Print out the 8 pages (use the front and back printing on your printer to save paper) […]

    Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

    Materials Needed

  • candles
  • Lead your party guests into a dark room with a large open space and close the door. Light a few candles as you explain to them that when a person dies, their soul is carried up to the afterlife by the love of their friends and family. Too prove this, you are going to show them how to perform an ancient ritual that allows them to do the impossible. They will lift up a person using only two fingers.

    Select one participant to be the dead body. Their job is to lay on the floor perfectly still and since rigor mortis has already set in, remain as stiff as possible. Place two guests on either side of the body and one at the head. You can easily lift the person with four people, but it is a good idea to have someone supporting the head just in case there is an accident. The five people surrounding the body place their index and middle fingers under the body which is still laying on the floor. Some people recommend doing it with your eyes closed, but why do all of this set up and then have your guests not see the magic?

    All living guests, even those that are not participating in this turn chant Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board five times. At the end of the fifth chant they start to slowly lift the person playing the dead body off of the floor as they continue to chant. The first time it is best to stop them after they get the body a foot or so off of the ground, at which point they will slowly lower the person back to the floor as they continue to chant. If they are doing well it is pretty easy to keep lifting and even stand up while lifting the body.

    Keep repeating until everyone has at least one turn and all who want to be the body get a chance.

    The Salesman, the Skeptic and the Mystic

    Materials Needed

  • Two reliable partners.
  • There are three roles to be played in this Halloween prank; the salesman, the skeptic and the mystic. All three have important jobs to perform and if any fail the prank will not work. So choose your partners wisely. It all starts with…

    The Salesman: At some point in party the person playing salesman will casually mention in conversation that the person playing the mystic has some psychic ability. Hopefully a few guests not involved with the prank will express interest. Once there is some discussion it is time for the skeptic to get involved and the role of the salesman is over. From this point on the salesman should quietly let events take place without much comment. The more the salesman is evolved after initially mentioning the psychic ability the more people will be suspicious of a set up. It now depends on…

    The Skeptic: Once the conversation about the psychic ability has started the skeptic should become very interested. With any luck, one of the other guests will suggest that a test be performed at the party. If this happens the skeptic should immediately step forward and offer to run the test. If no one else has the idea the skeptic should suggest that they test…

    The Mystic: The person playing the mystic from the outset should be very humble and noncommittal about their psychic ability. The story is that they have been able to show psychic ability in the past, but it does not always work and they have no idea how or why they are sometimes able to sense information they should not know. The mystic should appear almost embarrassed by the attention their psychic ability is getting from the other guests. Once the test is offered by the skeptic the mystic will halfheartedly agree, since people seem so interested.

    The Prank: The skeptic and the mystic should trade ideas as to how the test will work. Eventually they settle on the mystic standing in another room with the door shut and the skeptic will call out five items which are in the room where the skeptic and all the Halloween party guests are located. The skeptic will be touching one of the five items when they call out the list and all of the party guests will be focusing on psychically projecting the item which the skeptic is touching.

    So the skeptic might touch a lamp and call out, “There is a chair, a sofa, a lamp, and a coffee table, and a rug.”

    That is all the information the mystic needs to get the correct answer. The key is the word “and” in the list. Whichever item is stated before the first use of the word “and” is the item the skeptic is touching. Since lamp is the item before the first use of the word “and” the mystic knows the correct answer is the lamp. If the skeptic does not use the word “and” at all then it is the first item the skeptic calls out.

    There will be party guests that suspect a ruse that are trying to figure out how you are pulling it off. With that in mind it is a good idea to agree beforehand that the first three times the skeptic calls out the list of items the rules should be ignored and the mystic will just guest a random item from the list. You want to get a few wrong at the beginning and not to use your pattern. This will make it harder for people to figure out what you are doing. After three times start to follow the rules and reel off five or six consecutive correct answers. This should be plenty to amaze your guests. As soon as the skeptic thinks the guests are suitably baffled, immediately stop the test. If you keep going, soon or later someone will catch on. So once the guests are astounded there is no reason to continue.

    Now just sit back and enjoy the evening. It is up to you if ever reveal your trick.