Whether it's wandering through a haunted house, or playing throwback games that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, Halloween is the time of year when people embrace being scared. If you're down for some holiday fright, these scary ghost games to play on Halloween will likely leave you with some sleepless nights, which is probably why most people only do this once a year. I have a confession to make. I indulge in scary stuff all of the time — probably to my detriment, but I am very wary of summoning spirits.
For three years I lived in an art deco apartment building built for actors of Paramount Studios in the 1920s. Actor Mae West lived at the Ravenswood in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles for more than 50 years, and died there in 1980. Rumor has it that West used to host seances in the lobby, and she often stated, "As long as the building stands, I will never leave."
Many people believe her spirit is still alive in apartment 611, and it was one of the things that drew me to the building. I'd be lying if I said I didn't experience my own paranormal fright while living there, as West isn't the only deceased resident rumored to still be hanging around.
If you're into playing some scary ghost games this Halloween, you don't need a haunted apartment to do it. Many people believe that spirits are all around us, and these scary ghost games to play on Halloween mean that you can see who's hanging around for yourself... if you dare.
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1. Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board
If you're into all things scary, you may have seen Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board in '90s occult film The Craft. The website Castle of Spirits explained, "The game Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board is most often strongly associated with ghosts, the paranormal, demons, [and] other odd things."
This was regular staple for me and my friends at junior high slumber parties, and it totally works! However, Castle of Spirits noted that it's simple physics that causes the levitation versus a spirit lifting the person off the floor. If you've never played this game, here's the quick and dirty. Gather your friends, and have one of them lie on the floor. The rest of the group kneels down and places two fingers from each hand underneath the person's body. Next, the entire group chants "light as a feather, stiff as a board" with their eyes closed. If you do this long enough the person seems to levitates off the floor.
"This levitating trick is really quite scientific and not paranormal in nature; it has to do with human diamagnetism gravity antenna levitation," Castle of Spirits noted. "Diamagnetism is essentially a magnetic-neutral zone existing between a north and south magnetic field, which can be exploited for purposes of levitation."
Sorry to spoil the mystery, but this is still a really fun game to play. Give it a try.
2. Ouija Board
While Ouija Boards are sold as games, they're really not. A 1986 movie called Witchboard, where a woman becomes possessed, after using the Ouija Board alone pretty scared me from ever trying it by myself. My grandma often told me tales of how she and her co-workers would use the Ouija Board to communicate with the dead while they were on breaks at the hospital where they worked as nurses.
The Ouija Board has been around since 1891 when it was advertised as a talking board, according to the Smithsonian, and was born from the American 19th century obsession with spiritualism. If you're not familiar with this game, you can buy it in any toy aisle. The board is adorned with letters and numbers, and has a clear planchette that is supposed to be moved by spirits. Basically players lightly touch their fingers to the planchette, and ask a question. If any spirits are up for a chat the planchette will move to spell out messages. Sounds crazy, right? Not everyone thinks so.
"Strange Ouija tales also made frequent, titillating appearances in American newspapers. In 1920, national wire services reported that would-be crime solvers were turning to their Ouija boards for clues in the mysterious murder of a New York City gambler, Joseph Burton Elwell, much to the frustration of the police," Linda Rodriguez McRobbie wrote for the Smithsonian. "In 1921, the New York Times reported that a Chicago woman being sent to a psychiatric hospital tried to explain to doctors that she wasn’t suffering from mania, but that Ouija spirits had told her to leave her mother’s dead body in the living room for 15 days before burying her in the backyard."
If you dare, give this game a try. Just don't do it alone®d.
3. The Triple Mirror Game
OK, I am not doing this one. Walking past any mirrors in the dark scares the crap out of me. But, if you're braver than me, the Triple Mirror Game is supposed to reflect back the spirits that are hanging around the room. However, Mackenzie Wright from Holidappy cautioned that this game is no joke.
"To play this game, a person first needs to protect themselves by spiritually cleansing the room and putting a line of salt across all thresholds and windowsills," Wright explained. "The person then lights a white candle in the room and sets it on the threshold to attract the spirits in the building."
If you're not scared yet, and you want to continue, you'll need three mirrors. Arrange the mirrors in the room so that you bounce the reflection of the door from one mirror to the other. "It is said that if you gaze into the third mirror you can see the spirits that might be hanging around the home," Wright wrote.
Um, attract spirits, no thanks! I'm perfectly fine with spirits roaming around, as long as we can ignore each other, and Wright agrees. "Not sure why someone would want to know that," she mused. "For me, there are three things I don’t want to know: How many bugs are in the walls, how many germs are on my body, and how many ghosts are hanging around my house."
4. The Midnight Game
The Midnight Game sounds spooky AF, and straight out of American Horror Story. The purpose of this game is to summon the Midnight Man. Based in an old Pagan ritual used to punish law breakers, according to Creepy Pasta Wiki, this game is three and a half hours long, and you must start it at midnight. I don't recommend playing this game, but if you're going down a rabbit hole of Halloween horror, and you want to continue, this is what you'll need.
Gather a candle, a piece of paper, a writing implement, matches or a lighter, salt, and a wooden door. Do not play this game alone. Each person will need the list of materials. Write your first, middle, and last name on the piece of paper.
Turn off all of the lights, go to your wooden door, and place the paper with your name on it in front of the door. Now, take out the candle and light it, and place it on top of the paper. Just before 12 a.m. knock on the wooden door 22 times as the final knock must occur at exactly midnight. When you're finished knocking, blow out the candle and open the door. By doing this you are inviting the Midnight Man into the house (are you sure you want to do this?!).
"Immediately relight your candle," Creepy Pasta explained. "This is where the game begins. You must now lurk around your now completely dark house, with the lit candle in your hand. Your goal is to avoid the Midnight Man at all costs, until 3:33 a.m. Should your candle ever go out, that means the Midnight Man is near you. You must relight your candle in the next 10 seconds."
If you are not successful in relighting your candle, you must then immediately surround yourself with a circle of salt. "If you are unsuccessful in both of your actions, the Midnight Man will create a hallucination of your greatest fear, and rip out your organs one by one. You will feel it, but you will be unable to react," Creepy Pasta noted.
Signs you are near the Midnight Man include a sudden drop in temperature, seeing a humanoid figure through the darkness, and hearing very soft whispering coming from an indiscernible source. Proceed with caution.
5. Hide And Seek Alone
OK, this game is the kind you see in horror movies that usually results in someone coming to an untimely, and totally preventable, end. I would never do this because it involves possessed dolls, which is creepy AF, but apparently people like this scary game. If you're one of these people, here's what you'll need to play Hide and Seek Alone, according to Mackenzie Wright from Holidappy.
First, get yourself a creepy little doll, and at exactly 3 a.m. summon a ghost into her lifeless body, then invite her to play hide and seek with you. However, before the game commences you'll need to perform a little home surgery on the doll. "The player replaces the stuffing in a stuffed doll with rice and nail clippings, sews it back up and tosses it in a tub of water. He tells the doll that the player is ‘It’ first, then runs off to turn off all the lights in the house (leaving at least one TV on a white noise channel)," Wright explained. "The player counts to 10, then goes back to the doll and says ‘found you!’ three times, and stabs the doll with something sharp."
Seriously, why? If you want to see a murderous doll maybe you can just watch Child's Play instead with that scary little Chucky doll.
"The player then tells the doll that it’s the doll’s turn to be ‘It,’ leaving the sharp instrument in the bathroom. Now the player must run and hide — supposedly a closet with a door that can lock is ideal," Wright wrote. "The player is also supposed to prepare a cup of salt water, which [they] take a big sip of and holds it in [their] mouth."
This is when things start get weird, and if you don't think what I described above is weird, we might need a different word, like batshit. You'll supposedly hear footsteps, giggles, and even the doll calling for you. To end the game you have to find the doll, yell "I win" three times, then burn it to release the spirit. And, if you let this madness go on for more than two hours the spirit might be too strong to get rid of, and you'll have to live with the doll spirit forever.
"Umm — I don’t know about you, but if I’m sitting in a closet with a mouth full of salt water, and a knife-wielding doll is wandering the house hunting me, I’m probably not going to last two hours," Wright wrote.
Yeah, I'm right there with her. If you insist on doing this one you should also get yourself some sage so you can cleanse your house afterward.
6. The Three Kings
This "game" is the scariest one of them all. And, I would not advise attempting this one. But, if you're fearless, and confident in your ability to ward off spirits, the Three Kings game will test your mental mettle. According to Dana Matthews of Weird Week, here's what you'll need to play Three Kings. You must follow the instructions exactly.
Make sure you have a very large empty and quiet room, preferably without windows. If you don't have one of these, you need to be able to cover the windows to ensure total darkness. A pack of candles, and a lighter. A bucket of water and a mug. A fan. Two large mirrors, three chairs, an alarm clock, an active, charged cell phone, a loved one willing to follow the rules and go with you down this pit of darkness, and a small toy or dear object from your childhood for protection.
Next, you need to set the stage. Begin setup at 11 p.m. by placing one chair in the center of the room, facing north (this is important). Next, place the other two chairs exactly to the left and right, facing your throne. The distance between your throne and that of your queen and fool should be about the length of your arm to each side, more or less, Matthews noted.
Once you've done that, place the two large mirrors on the queen and fool chairs left and right of you, facing you (and each other). "Try your best to have them stand at a 90 degree angle (or else you may get more or less than three kings)," Matthews cautioned. "If you sit on your throne facing straight ahead (north), you should be able to perceive your own reflection in each of the two mirrors without actually having to turn your head nor your eyes to do so. If you see your own reflection in the corner of your eye, just barely there, then you’ve done it right."
Next, place the bucket of water and the mug in front of you, just barely out of reach; place the fan behind you, and turn it on to medium or low. Turn off the lights, leave the door open, and go to your bedroom. Set the candles by the side of the bed next to a lighter, your alarm clock, and your cellphone (leave it charging), and set your alarm clock for 3:30 a.m. Turn off the lights and sleep (good luck with that) while holding your power object.
If you're still on board with this madness, you'll begin the ritual at 3:30 a.m. Get out of bed, but don’t turn on the light. "You have exactly three minutes to light your candle, grab your cellphone, and make your way to the dark room to sit on your throne. You should be seated by 3:33 a.m. Don’t forget your power object!" Matthews wrote.
Before you continue, check for potential red flags. If your cellphone didn’t charge for whatever reason, do not proceed. If the alarm didn’t go off exactly at 3:30 a.m, stop now. If you find the dark room door closed, don't go any further. If the fan is turned off, it's not safe to continue. If you have to stop for any reason, you should leave the house and go sleep somewhere else.
"If all is going as planned, you can proceed and take your throne," Mathews noted. "DO NOT look directly at either of the two mirrors besides you. DO NOT let the candle go out. The fan is behind you. You must protect the candle with your body."
Next, look straight ahead at the darkness. Do not look at the candle, or the mirrors, just stare straight ahead. "Eagle-eyed readers surely noticed I didn’t say during setup which chair was queen and which chair was fool. That’s because it’s your job to find out," Matthews wrote. "And from their point of view, you are either their queen or their fool, too. Hence three kings."
According to Weird Week, hundreds, if not thousands of people have attempted the Three Kings ritual, and most have some kind of terrifying experience in, what they feel, is the presence of two (usually) evil spirits.
Why would you want to do this? If you do attempt Three Kings, and you live to tell the tale, please let me know how it went. I will live vicariously through you. Because, evil spirits? no thanks.