Easy DIY Halloween Carnival Games for Kids

Michele Meleen
Contributor: Terri Forehand RN
Kids playing a Halloween party game

Halloween carnival games for kids can be a terrific way to include children of different ages during the month of October. Whether it is a family fall celebration or an age-specific Halloween party for kids, costumes and games make the event special. Here are some inexpensive Halloween carnival games and party ideas to get the ball rolling.

Ten Fun Halloween Carnival Games for Kids

Have kids make posters and decorations for each game with bright colors, glitter, and ghoulish looking characters. Paper tickets and costumes add to the fun and fright. Adults can dress for the event adding even more fun.

1. Ghoulish Ring Toss Game

This Halloween carnival game for kids, allows children to take aim and toss. Use two-liter bottles or any kind of soda and decorate them to look like ghouls or witch hats. Line three, six, or nine bottles of soda in equal rows with spaces between the bottles with enough room for the rings to fit over the tops. Use old embroidery hoops for the tossing rings. Mark a line for the child to stand at when tossing the rings. Decide how many chances each child gets for each ticket. Does she win the soda or will you give out some other token for the winner? Try making coupons to cash in at the refreshment table in place of prizes to keep costs under control.

Girls playing ghoulish ring toss

2.Monster Target Practice

Kids can practice their shooting skills with this easy Nerf gun game. Take five plastic cups, two 16-ounce, two 12-ounce, and one 10-ounce for added difficulty, and glue an image of a scary monster on the bottom inside of each cup. Glue the outside bottom of the plastic cups to a piece of cardboard in a diamond pattern. The two largest cups should be the top and bottom point, the medium cups can be the left and right points, and the smallest cup will be the bulls-eye in the middle. Give each child five foam darts to shoot at the targets. If their dart stays in a cup, they get points - one for large cups, two for medium cups, and five for the bulls-eye. The total number of points determines the number or size of prizes.

3. Fishing in the Green Lagoon Game

The green lagoon can be a large bucket with water dyed green or a small wading pool. Set the bucket of water on top of a plastic garbage bag or piece of plastic to protect the flooring if the carnival is not held out on the lawn. Tie a three-foot length of string to the end of a pencil or short stick. Tie a loop on the end of the string. Using floating bath toys in the shape of fish or ducks, each child tries to get the loop of his fishing line around the neck of the floating fish or duck. The child who can move his line to secure the floating toy wins the game. Coupons for refreshments or small trinkets can serve as the prize. For an easier version, number rubber ducks and let kids pick them out of the lagoon. Number one might be a Halloween pencil, number two another trinket, and so on.

4. Ghost Buckets Game

Line five white plastic buckets in a vertical row six inches apart. Number them from one to five. The child stands one foot away from the first bucket. Using a ping-pong ball, the child takes a chance throwing the ball into bucket number one, then bucket number two, three, four, and five. Give prizes for each bucket or one prize or coupon for the completed game. White buckets can be recycled ice cream buckets or trick or treat plastic totes. Use a black marker to make ghost faces on each bucket to add Halloween spunk to the game.

5. Bowling for Spiders or Eyeballs Game

Use a plastic kiddy bowling set or ten empty two-liter soda bottles and a large plastic lightweight ball for this Halloween carnival game. Set the kiddy pins or the soda bottles up to resemble a real bowling alley placing the pins several feet from where the bowler will begin. Each child will take two turns to toss the ball in an attempt to knock over all ten pins. Pass out spider rings or gumballs that look like eyeballs for each contestant. Spider rings and eyeball looking gum balls are easy to find in the candy aisle during the month of October. These ghoulish prizes will be a win-win especially for older children.

6. Sweet Treats Game

A candy or sweet treat walk game can be set up by placing twelve colorful squares of paper in a large circle. Number each square with the numbers from one to twelve then write a specific candy on the bottom each one. Have an adult play music for a few minutes as the players walk the circle of numbered papers. When the music stops, pick a number, and whoever is standing on the chosen number will win the treat written on their paper.

7. Giant Halloween I Spy

Ask high school art students to create a large Halloween collage on bulletin board paper. The collage should include large images of things associated with Halloween like costumes, candy, and creepy insects. Hang the poster on a wall and mark a spot about three feet away from the poster where players will stand. Make a master list of all the specific images on the poster. On a turn, name three objects from the master list that player must point out on the poster within one minute. Start your timer after you call off the third objects. You can repeat the objects for younger kids and require older kids to remember their three items. You can even play with two or three players at a time looking for different items if your poster is big enough.

8.Timed Pumpkin Hold

Gather a bunch of mini pumpkins, at least 20. If your event is for older kids, you can get medium-sized pumpkins instead. Kids are challenged to hold as many pumpkins as they can for one whole minute. On a child's turn, she can have one person help her gather as many pumpkins as she can hold with all parts of her body. She must stay standing and cannot tuck the pumpkins into any clothing or accessories. Award small prizes for those who last more than five seconds and large prizes for those who go the whole minute. Keep a large scoreboard to show who has the records for the most pumpkins and the longest holding time.

9. Candy Match Game

Start with several different kinds of small pieces of candy like candy corn, blue M & M, pink Starburst, yellow Smartie, Tootsie Roll, and a red skittle. Cut each candy in half then place both halves of every candy in one small plastic cup. Repeat this set up using about four cups. For each round of the game, you'll have four players line up with a cup of candy pieces in front of them. On "Go" each player can dump out their candy pieces and has to put the correct halves together. The first player to match their candy halves is the winner. To make the game more challenging, use different candy pieces that are all the same color, size, and shape.

10. Gourds Versus Pumpkins

On the ground, floor, or a large piece of cardboard create a standard Tic Tac Toe board using black and orange tape, paint, or chalk. Place five gourds on one side of the board and five mini pumpkins on the other side. Kids then play Tic Tac Toe using the gourds or pumpkins as their game pieces. The first person to get three of their game pieces in a row is the winner. This is a great time filler game that doesn't need any prizes or a volunteer to run the game. You can set up several Tic Tac Toe boards around the room.

boys playing halloween tac tac toe

Fun and Easy Halloween Carnival Games

Imagination and a little planning can make a Halloween carnival event a tremendous amount of fun for kids of all ages. You can create some incredible Halloween carnival games for a fun-filled day or evening with a few supplies and a little creativity.

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Easy DIY Halloween Carnival Games for Kids