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Charades: Topic Ideas, Word Lists, and How to Play

Kristy Callan enjoys coming up with fun ideas for the holidays ranging from charades lists to party games.

Find lots of ideas for topics and words to use in your next charades game. If you've forgotten the rules to the game, get a refresher here as well!

Find lots of ideas for topics and words to use in your next charades game. If you've forgotten the rules to the game, get a refresher here as well!

Charades is a fun party game that people of all ages can enjoy. However, coming up with charades ideas can be hard, so I've compiled a list of possible ideas for you!

When choosing an idea for your own game of charades, ensure that every single person will be able to guess it—or at least know what it was when the answer is revealed at the end.



Variant 1

The rules of charades are simple. There are many variations on how to play; here is one of two that I'll cover here:

  1. You must think of a movie, book, celebrity or something from another category chosen with your friends before the beginning of the game.
  2. Place these charades ideas written on slips of paper into a hat, a basket, or just laid out on a table (make sure nobody can see what's written on them). Then, have someone draw a slip and show it to the "actor," who then has to act out whatever charades idea you draw.
  3. Using gestures and your extraordinary acting abilities, you/the actor must then make your friends correctly guess what you are thinking of. You can do this in one of two ways. The first is to give your friends the gist of what you are doing. For example, if you were thinking of "Harry Potter," you may wave an imaginary wand around.

Variant 2

The second method is breaking it down word by word, and acting out individual words. For example, if you were thinking of "Harry Potter," you might hold up two fingers, showing that you are acting out the second word, and then mime forming clay (being a "potter").

  • Remember, no matter what, you are not allowed to talk. Whether or not you can make noises that are not words depends on what rules you choose to play by. This should be decided by the group before you start to play.
  • Also, you cannot use props. For example, if you were acting out "Harry Potter," running to the bookcase and grabbing your Harry Potter book or running to the attic and grabbing a Harry Potter figurine to show your audience is not allowed.

Bonus Variant

To add a twist to the game, why not try having a team of two people both acting?



The Devil Wears Prada




Bridget Jones' Diary



The Dark Knight

12 Angry Men



The Shawshank Redemption

Anna Karenina

Fried Green Tomatoes


Zero Dark Thirty

Pulp Fiction

The Godfather

Fight Club

Toy Story 3



The Matrix


Snow White and the Huntsman

Home Alone

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Black Beauty

Black Swan

The Departed



The Lion King





Django Unchained

Kung-Fu Panda


Life of Pi


To Kill A Mockingbird


The Birds

On the Waterfront

Iron Man


The Matrix

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The Little Mermaid

Mrs. Doubtfire


The Wizard of Oz

Forrest Gump

Silver Linings Playbook


American Beauty

TV Shows

The Simpsons


Top Gear

South Park

The IT Crowd


Game of Thrones

The Wire

Gossip Girl


Arrested Development

Veronica Mars


The Sopranos

That '70s Show


Inspector Rex


Sex and the City

Modern Family

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia


The Newsroom

The West Wing

Breaking Bad


The OC

Toddlers and Tiaras

Fawlty Towers


Dance Moms



Family Guy

How I Met Your Mother

The Saddle Club

Curb Your Enthuiasm

Dora the Explorer

Grey's Anatomy

The Amazing Race


The Office

Star Trek


Mr Bean

Flight of the Concords

The Big Bang Theory



Kim Possible

Doctor Who

Keeping Up With the Kardashians



Downton Abbey

Big Brother

The X Files

I Love Lucy




Summer Heights High



Harry Potter

Angels and Demons

The Handmaid's Tale

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Five People You Meet In Heaven

The Da Vinci Code

The Grapes of Wrath

Jane Eyre

Little Women


The Catcher in the Rye

The Code of the Woosters

The Pillars of the Earth

Watership Down

A Clockwood Orange

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Gone With the Wind

50 Shades of Grey

The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Nineteen Eighty-Four

The Cat in the Hat

Breaking Dawn

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The Hunger Games

New Moon

Brave New World

The Secret

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


A Tale of Two Cities

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Charlotte's Web

The Hobbit

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Celebrity and Fictional Characters

Michael Jackson

Bill Gates


Britney Spears

Nancy Drew

Wonder Woman

Paris Hilton

Peter Rabbit

Rebecca Black

Justin Bieber

A zombie

George Washington


The Incredible Hulk

Albert Einstein

Homer Simpson


Chandler Bing







The Book of Mormon

Mamma Mia!


Fiddler on the Roof

A Chorus Line


Jersey Boys

The Rocky Horror Show

Miss Saigon

Legally Blonde


The Lion King

Billy Elliot the Musical


Oh! Calcutta!

Beauty and the Beast

My Fair Lady

Jesus Christ Superstar

42nd Street


The Phantom of the Opera



Les Miserables



Giving birth

Making tea

Swimming (to make this one harder, make it a particular stroke!)

Moving the lawn

Farting (no, you can't actually fart!)

Playing any other kind of sport


Making the bed


Scroll to Continue

"Modern Family": Movie Charades

Try Guesstures, Too!

Guesstures is a fun variation of charades that adds a bit of urgency to the game. It is well worth considering purchasing if you have enough time before your party or event by making your charades game stand out and be memorable. Check out the video below to see it in action.

Celebrities Play a Giant Version of Guesstures

More Ideas

  • Halloween Charades Ideas Words List
    Halloween is the perfect night for a party, and charades is a perfect party game. It is easy to understand how to play, suitable for all ages and can be played with any number of people. Why not give your game of charades a Halloween twist?
  • Charades Words List Ideas for Adults
    Charades is a fun party game for all age groups, but when you're just playing with adults, it opens up more possibilities because of all the old movies and TV shows you can use. This list has attempted to compile the best TV shows, movies, and books.
  • Hard Charades Ideas: Movies, TV Shows, Books, and More!
    After a challenge in charades? This article's got you covered, with heaps of incredibly difficult tv show, movie and book charades suggestions, and an impossible section down the bottom. Are you up for it?
  • Charades For Kids Ideas Words List
    Over 90 charades ideas specifically selected for kids including movies, television shows, books, and animals, as well as some pre-game questions to make sure the game ends in smiles, not tears.


Raif on April 11, 2020:

Do video games

Paige on November 10, 2019:

This really helped playing and gave great ideas

Hannah on August 06, 2019:


Tori on April 20, 2019:



Luz on January 27, 2019:

My nieces came into town and we had a great time playing charades. Thanks for the great ideas.

Idk on December 31, 2018:

1 star

Idk on December 24, 2018:


Laxmi Radhakrishnan komtwar on September 18, 2018:

Gharkul list

Madi_2k on August 17, 2018:

I love you

Kk on July 11, 2018:

Love it

samidha on July 01, 2018:

this was helpful

hayley leblanc on February 24, 2018:

nice one

Ayden on February 17, 2018:


Bob on December 26, 2017:


Annabelle on September 30, 2017:

It was fun

Me on August 17, 2017:

My friends suck at this game so it wasn't fun.

Victoria on June 17, 2017:

Nice I love these

Glenn on December 20, 2016:

Thank you for the list, should get the Family laughing on Boxing day!

Kate on September 08, 2016:

Cool game

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 12, 2015:

Great hub of ideas for future charades and perhaps gestures too.

Marie on July 13, 2015:

That looks like so much fun

Katelyn Hudgens on March 12, 2015:

Singh up on February 27, 2015:

Hi everyone I love charades

Lindsey on December 27, 2014:

It was fun for me

Kaitlyn on August 29, 2014:

This helps a has a lot of movie chooses. A lot if book characters. And a lot of celebs. I would use this any day if charades was the only game on the planet of earth

Poppy on December 31, 2013:

This was great fun for me and my family on New Year's Eve ❗️

Essence on December 21, 2013:

Every year all of my sisters and i play games with kids after Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. This year we had a ball, This website was the best.

Frank on May 07, 2013:

I am having a party June 1 you really helped

Molly on December 27, 2012:

cheers having a new years eve party soon needed ideas thanks a lot!!!!!!

Brianne Bieber :D on December 23, 2012:

Thanks :D Lots Of Help :)

Heather on July 23, 2012:

Great ideas for a rainy night on vacation with six teenagers!

Kristy Callan (author) from Australia on July 22, 2012:

Added around 50 new charades ideas. There's also plenty more in the other articles I've linked to at the bottom of the page.

mellisa on July 14, 2012:

nice but put more

Alyssa Bieber :) on July 12, 2012:

Thank you so much! Im having a party tomorrow and i needed idea for charades, You really helped me!

sophia on April 04, 2012:

love all the charades ideas!

Kristy Callan (author) from Australia on January 01, 2012:

Hi Megan!!!

How about:

Ace of Spades

The early bird catches the worm

Head over heels

Happily ever after

A stitch in time saves nine

Megan on January 01, 2012:

i need phrases for charades and i need ideas! any suggestions?

Jayde! :) on November 27, 2011:

I am having a birthday party and i really needed ideas so thank you so much! :)

Kristy Callan (author) from Australia on November 26, 2011:

Thanks for your comment, Maddy! I hope your little boy has a fun party!

Maddy on November 26, 2011:

this sight was totally helpful. It helped me plan for my little boys party!

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