Halloween Game: Ghost Dancing

I just asked Grant, my 4-year-old grandson, "What was your favorite game that we played at your preschool’s Halloween party today?" He replied, “Try to keep your ghost up in the air.”

He and his other classmates loved this active play game that required some open space, music and white balloons to make “ghosts.” Teachers/parents can set the tone for this game by explaining that their “ghost” (white balloon) has been stuck in the attic for almost a year and wants to come out and play with them; try not to let the ghosts touch the floor or they might want to stay forever! The kids are exuberant as they jump and dance, keeping their ghosts up in the air. Hoots and howls abound!

Materials needed for this activity:
Balloons, blown up (a 9” or 11” helium-quality balloon works well)
Indoor open play space
Music (Halloween music is fun for this) and Music Player

How to play:
1. Start with children sitting in a circle.
2. Give each child an inflated balloon "ghost." (If you are working with very young children or children who may be tempted to chew on broken balloons, blow up the balloon inside a knee-high stocking. This will keep the balloon pieces contained if the balloon should accidentally pop.)
3. Tell the children that when they hear music they are to stand up and keep their balloon up in the air with their hands. When the music stops they are to catch their balloon and sit down as quickly as they can.
4. The game continues with the starting and stopping of music, usually continuing as long as the length of one song. Make the game more difficult by stopping and starting the music at shorter intervals.

Besides the obvious FUN, children will benefit from this activity by—

  • Getting physical activity, which is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure
  • Getting health-related fitness, defined as components of physical fitness that are related in a positive manner to health and well-being—cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition
  • Building gross motor skills by using the large muscles of the arms, legs and trunk
  • Practicing listening skills by following directions
  • Building space awareness, which means knowing where the body can and should move in relationship to other people in the play space
  • Understanding shared space as all of the designated play space that can be used by everyone
  • Engaging in cooperative play, which are games and activities that the participants play together rather than against one another

Happy Halloween!