The truth is, I don’t need an excuse to play scary board games for Halloween with my. kids. We’re full-fledged board game geeks at my house, and all games are an option for us, any time at all. But with so many families looking for safe trick-or-treat alternatives this year, a fun new board game with a scary theme can bring some of that spooky fun you’re looking for.
So I’ve gone through my family’s favorite scary board games for Halloween to share with you, and added a few more that I’ve heard great things about.
These games all feature Halloween classics like mummies, ghosts, haunted houses and werewolves, whether you’re playing with younger kids, or teens who want their gameplay a bit edgier.
And hey, with a full moon on Halloween, it makes it even creepier!
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At top: Betrayal at House on the Hill board game
Old Maid is one of the simplest card games around — if totally inappropriately named for 2020. (Like, not every woman gets married and has kids, okay?) So we like the more modern adaptations, and even preschool kids can play the sinister Old Mummy card game for Halloween. Each card features a mythical monster or other evil character, from the Loch Ness Monster and Kraken, to witches, warlocks, and ghouls. The art is nicely done, and the literature-lover in me finds the different creatures from lore really interesting as we play. And who cares if Sasquatch doesn’t procreate, right?
Another lighter entry among my Halloween board game options is Pick Your Poison: Family Edition. This game has a NSFW version that’s best for after the kids are in bed, but their family edition is basically a silly, laugh-out-loud version of “Would you rather…?” For a fun time hanging out around the sofas munching on candy and not thinking too hard, this is a terrific option.
Okay, serious gamers: Betrayal at House on the Hill (also shown at very top) is one I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. This is a serious strategy game for up to six players, so it’s great for a big family like mine or a small gathering with your quaranteam. Your job is to build a haunted mansion, tile by tile, and then all the players work collaboratively to try and escape the horrors in there, before the one traitor gets you. It has tons of replay value too, as there are 50 different scenarios you can work through. And it only takes about an hour. Perfect!
In our post on educational board games that can totally count as school time, I included this historical game set during the Salem witch trials. In Salem 1692, the witch hunt has gotten serious, and you and your friends stand trial to determine who is the real witch. You’ll make accusations, defend yourself, and use your supernatural social deduction skills to suss out the real villains. It’s perfect for older kids who can really get into their characters while they play. And hey, educational!
If you’ve been missing escape rooms during COVID-19, you’ll enjoy this Escape the Room: Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat game from home. I’ve done this one with my kids and it was legitimately hard and lots of fun. For Halloween, you could really go all out for a small group and decorate your space along with the theme for the full experience.
If you’re missing Disney World as much as my kids are, then the brand-new Haunted Mansion: Call of the Spirits board game will be right up your alley. I have loved the Disney park-themed board games, because they really capture the best parts of the attractions in the game form. (The Jungle Cruise game is a new favorite at our house.) This one makes the most of the creepy elevator that kicks off the Haunted Mansion ride, the hitchhiking ghosts that jump in your car with you, and many of the ghostly characters that roam the mansion. Also, game play is just 30 minutes, so you can play a few rounds before the candy runs out.
Liz and Christina have raved about Werewolf as a favorite group party game — they’ve even played it together with their two families and 7 kids! I think this year’s Halloween night with a full moon sounds like the perfect time to play if you haven’t yet. It’s kind of an adaptation of the classic campfire “imposter” games like Mafia or Assassin, but in this case, everyone is either a villager or the werewolf. You all have 10 minutes to figure out who the werewolf is… or they win. Oh no! It’s quick, exciting, and fun. One Night Ultimate Werewolf, shown here, comes with a free app that makes the story a little more immersive and fun.
For Halloween games for younger kids, I love Shadows in the Forest. It isn’t particularly scary, but what makes it perfect for Halloween is that you turn out all the lights in your house to play in the dark, while trying to keep your characters hidden in the shadows cast by the lantern in the middle. Creepy, silly fun.
If you like Clue and want to take it to the next level, then Mysterium is the game to try. Everyone works together to solve the horrific murder that took place at this haunted mansion, relying on the memories of the ghost to help you find the culprit. One player is the lead investigator, while the others help to interpret the mysterious clues before the murderer gets away with the crime. Bwahahahaha….