Theater Games & Activities for Halloween

posted on Oct 17 2022

by Elizabeth Harvey, Program Manager

Halloween is a dramatic holiday so it’s no surprise that theater people love it!  At mainstages we love a theme and a reason to get silly, or in this case, spooky!

Theater games and activities can easily be adapted for Halloween. Here are some fun activities you can do with your students, families (and even co-workers)  to get in the festive mood - they are easily adaptable across ages, grade levels, and don’t require a specific number of participants.

Let’s play!
kids playing on stage


Space Walk

Space Walk is a great activity for building character. If you’ve never done this activity before, it involves moving around the space based on a prompt like “walk around as if you’re walking through jello,” or “move around the space like a tiger.” As you can already tell this is easily customizable so Halloween prompts might be similar to “walk like a zombie,” or “move around the space like you just saw a ghost.” You could make it into a guessing game or add a red light/green light element to make it competitive, (or in this case trick/treat).

Awesome Atmospheres

Another great activity for building character around Halloween is Awesome Atmospheres! Awesome Atmospheres starts with one participant going to the center of the circle or front of the room and saying something like “I’m a trick-or-treater” then making a statue of that character. Then one by one everybody joins in to create a scene. The idea for the scene can be discussed beforehand or the participants can be given a category like “something spooky” and take it from there based on age & experience.

kids in costume


What’s Dat?

What’s Dat? Is a great way to explore costumes and get creative with minimal resources. Participants stand in a circle and pass around an item - maybe a scarf, hat, stick, etc. - and each person shows a way that item can be used. Maybe a hat becomes a candy bucket or a scarf becomes a zombie’s bandage.

Costume Closet Challenge

Costume Closet Challenge builds on skills learned in What’s Dat? but allows participants to be a bit more elaborate and imaginative in addition to team building. Participants are put into groups and given a few items each and then told to dress up someone in the group like a specific character. For Halloween it could be a witch or a cat, or really any character. Since it’s Halloween the sky’s the limit on costume ideas!

Change Three Things

Change Three Things is a great way to emphasize observation skills.  Have a costumed participant stand in front of the group and then go out of sight to change 3 things about their appearance.  The group then has 30 seconds to see if they can spot the changes.

A note about costumes: it’s important to be creative and have fun but try to keep costumes character based as opposed to culturally based. Dressing up as another culture or using another culture’s native dress as a costume is cultural appropriation.
costumes for kids

Ideas for Companies & Organizations:

Just because you’re an adult with a full-time job doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the Halloween fun. In fact, let’s have fun all year long with this idea!

Costume Drive

Have a costume drive at your workplace - everyone brings in even one item of clothing or costume piece and then anytime of year you can grab a costume and have a little fun. Feeling sad? Grab a clown nose and get silly. Wanna play a polite joke on a co-worker? Grab a mask and pop around a corner. You can even use the collected items to play some of the activities above and have a competition!

Hidden Objects

Hidden Objects is a great way to be festive without stopping the workday for a competition. Hide Halloween themed items (could be paper pumpkins you cut out or trinkets you buy at the dollar store) around the office for people to find. The items themselves can be prizes or at the end of the day everyone can turn in their found items for a prize like a bag of candy or a fun mask!

And don’t be afraid to add a little decoration! :)

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Elizabeth Harvey

posted on Oct 17 2022

by Elizabeth Harvey

Elizabeth is a NYC based theatre educator. She has experience performing in children's shows, directing productions, and teaching both as a teaching artist and a public school theatre teacher. Elizabeth is excited to use her experience and skills in the Program Coordinator role at Mainstages where she will support teaching artists in service of bringing the arts to students throughout NYC.