Supplies: Lollipops, ribbon, paper, tissue paper, and select 5-10 Halloween terms. You may want a styrofoam base to stick the ghosts into during the game.
Ghost Hunter is a discover game on two levels. First kids must figure out where the ghosts are and then they arrange the letters correctly to determine the Halloween word or phrase. The age of the Ghost Hunters will determine how difficult the words can be as 5 year olds should have 3-letter words and older kids can help longer words.
Ghost Hunter Game Prep
1. Review total number of guests and determine the number of teams. Ghost Hunter tends to work best with 3-4 players per team and 3-5 teams.
2. Determine words to use in your game play, for young children we recommend that each word be different. For older kids (8-12) you can use the same word if it is difficult to figure out the word and each team is competing against one another.
Simple Words: Bat, Cat, Boo, Web, Mask, Witch, Broom, Carve, Candy, Dark, Spooky, Scary, Skull, Mummy
Challenging – Competition Words & Phrases: Vampire, Graveyard, Pumpkin Patch, Haunted House, Monster Mash, Spooky Tree, Werewolf, Cauldron, Tombstone
3. Take lollipops and cover with tissues to make ghosts. You will need as many ghosts as there are letters in the words. If you are using two words you will need blank ghost to represent the space between the words. So if you use Boo, Bat and Cat you would need 9 ghosts and if you use Tombstone for all teams you’ll need 9 ghosts x the number of teams. So 4 teams would mean 36 ghosts.
4. Next add ghost faces to the front of the ghost and write the letters on the back. If you want to write the letters on the back, print out the words and tape a letters on the back of the ghosts.
5. Once you have the ghost and letters done, spell each word and group them together to make sure they have all the letters.
6. Set Team Ribbon Colors – Now take one team’s ghosts and tie the same colored ribbon around all of that team’s ghosts. Then change ribbon colors and do the same with the next team and so on. This is important as you don’t want Team Orange to accidentally end up with Team Purples letters this way Team Orange is only looking for ghosts with Orange ribbons and once they have all the ghosts for their words can try to solve it.
7. Determine whether you want clues to find ghost or just want to hide them in a general area. If in a specific location, you need clues for the players to find them. Clues can be general like where the car is parked, where milk is kept to very specific like by the books of the Wizard who shall not be named.
8. Before the game you will need to hide the ghosts in a general area or specific location referenced by the clues.
Ghost Hunter may seem like a lot of steps, but it is pretty simple and kids enjoy it.
How to Play Ghost Hunter
1. Divide the kids into teams, if using 3 letter words have 3 person teams and 4 letter words have four person teams, and assign each team a color, based on the different colored ribbons on the ghosts.
2. Let the kid’s know that they are going ghost hunting and each child will go hunting for ghosts, but not scary ghosts – lollipop ghosts! Show them an example.
3. Once each team find all their ghosts, you will be challenged to discover the secret ghost word of your team.
4. Have one player step forward, these will be the first Ghost Hunters. Have ghosts hidden in different rooms and then give a clue and ask see if they can determine where the first group of ghosts might be.
Example: Things in this room tumble their way to being clean?
Answer: Laundry Room.
Give more clues until they get the answer and send the first round of Ghost Hunters of to find the ghost with the colored ribbon of their team. Once they find the ghost they return to the main room and place the ghost face up and the letter down.
5. Then have the next round of Ghost Hunters step up and give them a general room clues until they figure out where they need to go. Always the adult who hid the ghosts around the kids to make sure they find them, sometimes it is hard to be a Ghost Hunter and a little help if they are the last one looking is helpful. (Use the Hot / Cold method to guide them.)
6. Once each team has collected all of their ghosts. One team at a time is instructed to turn their ghost over to the letter side and try to determine the mystery word. Once they do congratulate them and move on to the next team and so on until everyone has gone.
7. This is a non-competitive version and it is more about playing the game, than winning a game. If you want to make it more competitive you could see how fast a team figures out the word and the fastest team to solve it wins, but with short words sometimes they get spelled without even trying.
Older Kids – Ghost Hunter Game Play – FYI We gave more set up tips
In this version, you want a longer more complicated term and we are going to suggest having a box or a bowl to put the ghosts into so that the kids don’t work ahead on trying to determine what the word is. In fact, don’t even tell them that they need to spell a word to win until they have all of the ghosts.
1. Divide the kids into teams and colors. Tel them that they are going to be hunting for ghosts in varies places around the house and / or property.
2. Hide the ghosts in specific or general area places. Specific might be microwave oven, trunk of a car and general would be dining room or kitchen. With these being specific is better at you have more ghosts to find and you don’t want them finding the wrong ghost as it messes up the clues.
Here are a few ideas: Shower, behind a toilet, microwave, under the dining room table, in a specific closet, trunk of a car, specific window sill, under a bed, around a laundry basket, in the dryer.
3. Once you have the locations – Type up clues for each spot and print out a set of the same clues for each team. So there should be a set of clues for Team Orange, Team Blue, Team Red and so on. Now mix up the order of the clues for each team, so that Team Orange might be looking in the microwave, while team Red is checking out the upstairs hall closet.
4. Ok, back to playing the game. Let the kids know that each team member will get a turn and some/ maybe all will get multiple turns to hunt for ghost. Have the first players from each team step up and give them a folded clue card.
5. When the host says go, they read the clue and once they know where to find the ghost they can head off to find it. Once they get to that location they must grab their team colored ghost (Not any other teams – No dirty play) and return to the Host and drop it into their teams bowl or box. Then the next person from their team can select a clue and go ghost hunting.
6. If however, the person can’t think of where the ghost might be hidden and they are struggling for 10 – 20 seconds as to where to go the Host can look at the card and whisper a clue to them.
7. With the clues mixed up, Ghost Hunters are likely to going to different areas of the house. If someone has never been to your house have an adult other than the Host that they can ask if needed.
8. Once any team collects all of the ghosts and they think they have one won. Let them know there is one clue left and this is the clue that says “On the back of your ghosts are letters and these letters spell a word or phrase. Blank ghosts are spaces between the words.”
9. The first team to solve the mystery word or phrase wins.
Ghost Hunter Variation
Instead of having teams try to be the first team to solve the same scrambled word, have different words and have a word scramble challenge.
1. First – Score points for the 1st – 5 pts., 2nd – 3 pts., and 3rd – 1 point Team to find all of their ghosts.
2. Then once all the Teams have found the ghosts. Let everyone know that each teams ghosts had letters on the back and those letters form a word. Each team will be given 20 seconds to determine what their Team Colored Ghost Letters Spell and after that any team can guess the word.
3. Scoring and the Catch
If the Team correctly unscrambles their word in 20 seconds – Earn 5 pts.
After twenty seconds any other team within the next 20 seconds can raise their hand to answer – Correct Answer 3 pts., Incorrect -2 pts.
If no team correctly, unscrambles the word or phrase. No team gets points.
4. Play until all the teams words or phrases have been guessed and the team with the most points wins.
In this version not all of the words or phrases will have the same length, however you will need the same amount of ghosts for each team to hunt for. Solution – Take the longest phrase with spaces and that is the number of ghosts you need for each team. Then come up with a unique symbol that is not a letter or a space so you know to eliminate it from the scramble part of the game. (Consider the # symbol.)
Last Note: When setting up the letter and spaces to be unscrambled don’t organize / group the first word letter and then use the space and then the second group of letters. Just let them be all mixed up.