What is it about scary slumber party games that kids love? Do you have fond memories of that childhood institution known as the slumber party or sleepover party? Boy, I sure do! My best friends and I had them as often as we could. We took turns having slumber parties at each other’s houses whenever we could catch our parents in a good mood, and the tradition has passed down. We’re now into third generation sleepovers. My three daughters enjoyed sleepovers, and now my grandkids are getting in on the fun. I have nine grandchildren, and eight of them are old enough to enjoy these types of parties. Sometimes they have “cousin” sleepovers, with the boys in one bedroom and the girls in another or all of them stretched out in sleeping bags on the living room or playroom floor. Once in a while, I even let them have a sleepover party at my house – when I feel well enough to wrangle eight little kids, and I think I enjoy these snooze-ins just as much as the children do. If you get up the nerve to host a sleepover, you’ll need to do a little planning first. Lucky for you, I have some slumber party ideas to get you started!
Slumber Party Ideas
Your slumber party ideas should include the number of guests you want to include. How many can you sleep at your house? I don’t have a huge house. It was a three-bedroom ranch, but we turned one of the bedrooms into an office/library. We can put two or three kids in the queen-size bed, and we can also blow up the air bed. When we’ve had sleepovers before, some of the kids wanted to sleep on the couches. If you have a carpeted room or two, a sleeping bag on the floor would work fine for most kids. I have hardwood floors everywhere, so a sleeping bag wouldn’t be very comfy.
Your slumber party ideas will need to include food, too. That might include dinner, snacks, breakfast, and lunch – depending on how long the party will last. If the party starts late, you probably won’t need to provide dinner, but you’ll still need plenty of snacks, and you’ll have to provide breakfast for your party-goers. I usually serve easy-to-eat finger foods as snacks for the kids. If the weather is nice, they often eat on the deck. If not, I set up sort of a buffet in the breakfast room. I save myself a lot of steps by having plenty of juice boxes in the fridge. Remember to have plenty of food. I’m always amazed at just how much kids can eat, and their appetites seem to greatly increase when they’re part of a group of their peers. I think they get into sort of a “feeding frenzy.”
You’ll also need to figure out some way to keep the kids entertained. This is usually the most difficult part of hosting a slumber get-together for the adult or adults in charge. Kids aren’t usually too picky about their bedding or about food, but they can be pretty hard to please when it comes to activities and entertainment. As you know, when kids get bored, they aren’t happy. And when the kids aren’t happy, the adults aren’t usually happy, either.
Slumber Party Activities
You’ll need to plan some slumber party activities to keep the natives from becoming restless. You want your kid’s party to be fun, don’t you? Of course, your activities will need to take the ages of your guests into account, and gender might be important, too. Boys and girls often like the same sort of activities, but not always.
If there’s an event appropriate for kids that takes place on the evening of the sleepover, why not take the entire bunch? This could be a movie, a parade, a sporting event, a school function, a play, or anything else that might interest your party-goers.
If the weather cooperates, some of your slumber party activities could be enjoyed outdoors. These might include nature walks, short hikes, cookouts, or picnics. When my grandkids have sleepovers, they usually insist on a large bonfire, where they roast hot dogs and marshmallows. If the sleepover coincides with a meteor shower, have all the guests bring an outdoor sleeping bag so they can watch the celestial show in relative comfort. Even without a meteor shower, stargazing can be fun on a clear night. If the slumber party takes place near the Christmas season, you might want to take the kids caroling.
Movies are often great sleepover ideas. Just be sure to select age-appropriate DVDs. Have plenty of snacks on hand, and serve then concession-style from your kitchen. Buy some small individual boxes of candy, some popcorn bags, and some kid-friendly drink boxes. Place loose candy, nuts, and trail m ix in cupcake liners. Let the kids go to the kitchen to “order” what they want. Turn out the lights, too. The kids will feel like they’re at the cinema!
Other sleepover ideas might include some arts and crafts. You might want to think of these as seasonal activities. For example, I once attended a slumber party as a kid where the mom helped all of us make Christmas ornaments. That was more than forty years ago, and I still have my special ornament! If the party is close to Halloween, you could help the kids make masks or treat bags. For Valentine’s Day, they could make cards for their parents. For Easter, you could buy some cheap baskets or pails and let the kids decorate them.
Slumber Party Ideas for Girls
I know a lot about slumber party ideas for girls. I told you that I reared three daughters, right? I also have four granddaughters, and I’ve helped with many of their get-togethers. Most little girls enjoy doing “girlie stuff” when they’re together – having fashion shows, doing makeovers, getting manicures and pedicures, along with similar activities. You can model your slumber party ideas for girls around these.
Have a fashion show! Tell each guest to bring their favorite outfit with them to the sleepover. Set up a simple runway in your living room or playroom. You or another adult can be the announcer. Each girl will have a turn modeling her outfit, while you describe the outfit. The other guests will be the audience until they get a turn on the “catwalk.” You might want to tweak this and make it a Barbie fashion show. The girls could dress their dolls in the coolest, hippest fashions and show them off to the other guests.
If you’re good with makeup techniques, or if you have a friend who is, do “makeovers” for the girls. It’s a good idea to use products that are easily removed with soap and water. Try some different hair styles for the kids, too. Have some bows, barrettes, clips, ponytail holders, headbands, ribbons, and small rubber bands on hand.
Girls slumber party ideas could also include “spa” treatments. If the girls are old enough, and if it’s in your party budget, you can take them to an actual spa for facials, manicures, and pedicures. Of course, you can do these at home and save money. Buy some toe separators, some nail files, some lotion, and several different colors and shades of nail polish. You might even want to do some nail art for the little divas.
Some fun slumber party games are always in order. These might include board games, card games, or group party games. From my experience, one of the best party games is Twister. It’s easy to learn the rules and can be enjoyed by just about any age. If you have just a few guests, some age-appropriate board games would be in order. When I was a kid, our favorites were Mystery Date, the Game of Life, Chinese checkers, and Monopoly.
For larger groups of younger kids, you could always play musical chairs; tag; Mother, May I; red light; Simon says; freeze tag; or red rover. Can you tell I grew up in the sixties? It’s funny – my grandkids weren’t familiar with these games until I told them about them. Now they love my old favorites!
Your slumber party games could also include some friendly competitions like foot races, sack races, tug-o-war, and three-legged races. A couple of years ago, we had a sleepover party at my house for Halloween. I tried to make the party sort of like an old fashioned carnival. We had apple bobbing, a ball toss, a fishing game, and a ring toss game. The kids enjoyed all of these, but the biggest hit was definitely the hay ride! If you have access to some sort of trailer, this is a wonderful idea. We used an enclosed cattle trailer, which was pulled by a pickup truck.
Scary Slumber Party Games
When I was a kid, my pals and I loved scary slumber party games! What is it about humans that make us enjoy being frightened? We’re the only species on the planet that does this. For whatever reason, most kids like a good scare. Just remember not to go overboard. Keep the fright factor age appropriate. If you don’t, you might be sitting up all night with a traumatized kid or two, which is no fun for you or for the child.
Scary slumber party games can include a few scary board games. One of the best is Clue. Just turn the lights down low before the game starts. Other good choices might include Mansions of Madness, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Bump in the Night, Locke and Key, Ghost Stories, Ghost Castle, Oh No Zombies, Atmosfear, and Ouija. Harry Potter Hogwart's Castle is pretty spooky, too. Be sure to check the age recommendations for the games before you allow the kids to play them. Remember – you don’t want to get the kids too scared.
Below are a few more slumber party games with an element of fright. My childhood friends and I played all these at one sleepover or another. In fact, sometimes we’d just get together and play the games when we weren’t having a slumber party.
Scary Board Games:
Scary Slumber Party Games - homemade versions
We used to play this party game a lot, especially when we were beginning to like boys. To play, you’ll need at least five or six participants, but it works better if you have more. All the players sit around a large table. The lights should be low, with candles lit. Make enough slips of paper for each player to get one. On one slip should be an “X.” Fold the papers so that the mark can’t be seen. Place all the paper slips in a box or bag and let each player draw one. The one who gets the “X” is the killer. Of course, no one is supposed to know who the killer is except for the killer himself. His goal is to kill as many people as he can without getting caught. To “kill” someone, he winks at them. If you’re winked at, you have to lie your head down on the table. If someone sees the killer wink at another player, he’s “outed” and the game is over.
As I mentioned, this party game is a lot of fun for mixed company. You get the chance to gaze into the eyes of members of the opposite sex. It can work for slumber parties, too, however. In that case, there’s usually only one sex present, but it’s still a fun game.
Haunted Pictionary is a “homemade” game. A parent or other adult will need to make tags that display scary places or the names of monsters. Each team will need to choose a person to draw. That person draws a paper from a box or bag and has to draw whatever the paper says, while the other team members try to guess the subject of the drawing. You’ll need to decide how much time each will get for a picture. Below are some suggestions for names and topics:
Bride of Frankenstein
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Jason (from Friday 13th movie)
Leatherface (from Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Loch Ness Monster
For this game to work best, you’ll need an adult who’s in pretty good physical shape. You’ll also need a few simple but scary masks, along with small flashlights. Each child, by the way, should be given a flashlight to use. This game is played outdoors, at night. It’s sort of a scary version of regular tag or “chase.” First, choose a base, like your deck, your patio, or your front porch. The adult hides somewhere in the yard and puts on the mask. The kids have no idea what the mask will look like, which adds to the scary surprise element. The kids walk around the yard, and when they get near “the monster,” it jumps out and chases the kids, trying to catch them before they make it back safely to base. When a player gets tagged, he’s out of the game. For the next round, the “monster” needs to change into a different mask.
Other scary slumber party games might include spooky makeovers. Well, I suppose this is more of an activity than it is a game, but you can easily turn it into a contest. Go to the dollar store and purchase some face paints, some vampire fangs, some “Bubba teeth,” and a few cheap costume wigs. Drag any Halloween stuff you have in storage, too. Turn the kids loose with all the items and instruct them to come up with the scariest face they can. Award a small prize to the winner. For younger guests, you might want to make the objective funny instead of scary.
Scary Roles Game
These are fun and scary slumber party games that are great for older kids and teens. You can make your own rules as far as the details are concerned and tweak the game to adjust it for different ages. For example, if you’re selecting the topics, think about what the kids are familiar with. Teens might be familiar with a murder scene from Macbeth, while younger kids will be more familiar with some of Scooby-Doo’s spooky encounters. The basic premise is for the players to act out a scary scene from a movie, story, or television show. You can write the scenes down on slips of paper and have the kids draw them from a hat, or you can allow the children to come up with their own scenes. This works best if you have enough kids to divide into several teams, with each team having three or more members. It’ll help if you have some props and simple costume items on hand. Give each team a few minutes in private to work on their skits. In other words, the teams don’t need to see what the other teams are up to. Allow each team a set amount of time to present their skit to the group. If you want to make this a contest, let the kids vote for the best skit. This activity encourages creativity, team work, and planning strategies. Yes, even scary slumber party games can be teaching opportunities!
Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on April 17, 2018:
Such good ideas. Kids love scary games and movies.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on October 25, 2012:
We used to love to tell ghost stories at slumber parties & scare ourselves out of being sleepy! These are fun and creative ideas - I will remember to share them with the parents I know!
Leah Lefler from Western New York on October 02, 2012:
I'm off to take a look, Holle! I need some good ideas for a few fun treats!
Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on October 02, 2012:
Leah and Mel, I have a hub about Halloween treats for kids, in case you're interested. Thanks for visiting!
Yvonne Spence from UK on October 02, 2012:
Loads of great ideas here. We are thinking about having a Halloween party for the kids, though not an overnight one. This will give us plenty of ideas to try.
Leah Lefler from Western New York on October 01, 2012:
What a fun set of ideas! I am definitely trying some of these out - we are going to do a Halloween party this year and even though the kids won't be sleeping over, there are some really great ideas for an evening of fun! I love the idea of making a concession stand for a movie night!
carol stanley from Arizona on October 01, 2012:
Solves all problems of what to do, feed and handle kids over for a slumber party.. You did such a great job on this hub...so sharing, voting up and a little pinning.