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13 Fun and Scary Games to Play in the Dark

Candace is a mom, mad scientist, and enthusiast of all things spooky. Needless to say, Halloween is her favorite holiday.

Try one of these suggestions for a scary game to play in the dark!

Try one of these suggestions for a scary game to play in the dark!

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Nighttime is the perfect time to play games with friends. The darkness adds a creepy thrill to the game. Your heart beats faster, and the adrenaline starts pumping. These games are great for slumber parties, icebreakers, camp, family gatherings, hanging out with friends, or just for any time you and some friends are bored.

Learn how to play many classic games in the dark like "Tag" and "Hide and Seek." There are also other games you may not have heard of, like "Murder in the Dark" and "Monsters in the Dark."

7 Best Games to Play in the Dark

Scared yet? Get ready to be freaked out. Go grab some friends and have fun in the dark with these games, and check out 6 more bonus games at the bottom of the article.

  1. Hide and Seek in the Dark
  2. Flashlight Tag
  3. Murder in the Dark
  4. Ghost Stories
  5. Touch and Tell
  6. Flashlight Limbo
  7. Monsters in the Dark

1. Hide and Seek in the Dark

You will need:

  • Four or more players
  • Darkness

You will need a large area for play. Outside works best, especially if you want the game to be really creepy. Designate a play space. If you are playing inside, make sure it is a large room. Pick up any items that could cause someone to trip. Turn out all the lights and make sure the room is completely dark.

Pick someone to be "it." That person waits for a minute or two while everyone else finds a spot to hide. Then the person who is "It" goes and looks for everyone else. The game continues until everyone has been found.

Alternate Versions

  • Once someone is found, he can help look for the others as long as he doesn't know exactly where they are.
  • Play the Sardines version. One person hides to begin with. The others look for that person. When the seekers find the person hiding, they squeeze into the same hiding place. The game continues until everyone is squeezed into the hiding spot.
A game of Flashlight Tag in progress.

A game of Flashlight Tag in progress.

2. Flashlight Tag

You will need:

  • Four or more players
  • Flashlight
  • Darkness

Pick a spot to be "home base" (also called "jail.") Choose someone to be "It" to start the game. The person who is "It" should count to 30. Everyone else should scatter and try to hide.

The person who is it should try to tag people by shining the light on them and saying their names. When someone is tagged, he goes and waits in home base. The game is over when everyone has been tagged. The first person tagged becomes the next person to be "it."

Alternate Versions

  • A person can be released from "jail" if another player touches him. But if they are caught, both people go to jail.
  • "Home base" is safe. Anyone standing there cannot be tagged. The first person tagged becomes the next person who is "it."
  • For large groups, two or more people can be "it."

3. Murder in the Dark

You will need:

  • Five or more people
  • A dark room
  • Slips of paper

Find a large room that you can completely darken. For safety, move any obstacles that someone could trip over in the dark. You will need a piece of paper for each person playing the game. On one slip of paper write "Detective." On another slip write "Murderer." On all the other pieces write "Victim." Everyone should draw a piece of paper from a hat.

The detective turns off the lights and leaves the room. He should wait just outside of the door. Everyone else walks around in the darkened room. The murderer should feel around in the room and find another person. When he does, he should tap the person three times to "murder" him. When someone has been tapped, he should scream and lie down to show that he has been murdered. The murderer can try to tap as many victims as he can before the lights come back on.

When someone screams, the detective should come back into the room and turn on the lights. Everyone in the room should freeze where they are. The detective tries to figure out who the murderer was by asking everyone questions like, "Where were you when you heard the scream?"

The detective should make a guess about who the murderer is. If the group is large, the detective can have two or three guesses. If the detective guesses correctly, he wins. If he is wrong, the murderer should reveal him or herself and the murderer wins. Put the slips of paper back into the pile, redraw, and play again.

Telling ghost stories is a classic nighttime activity.

Telling ghost stories is a classic nighttime activity.

4. Ghost Stories

Telling ghost stories is one of the best scary things to do in the dark. Turn off all the lights and gather around. Take turns telling spooky stories. If you need some ideas, look up urban legends. There are thousands than can be turned into creepy tales to scare your friends.

Wanna make the tales even creepier? Go out into the woods at night to listen to the stories.

5. Touch and Tell

You will need:

  • At least two people—the more, the funner!
  • Items that can pass for body parts (grapes for eyes, cold spaghetti as guts, etc)
  • A dark room

Find items for your friends to touch in the dark. They must guess what it is. For something gross to feel, find things that feel like body parts. As listed above, grapes work for eyes and cold spaghetti can be guts. Also, almonds can be fingernails, carrot sticks can be fingers, tortillas can be skin, water can be blood, and a wet sponge can be brains, etc. Feel free to Google for more ideas.

If you make up a story to go along with the items, it will be scarier for the people who are feeling it. Make sure they can't see what the items are. You can have someone else sneak up behind the person feeling and touch their leg.

6. Flashlight Limbo

You will need:

  • Five or more players
  • Two flashlights
  • A dark room

Have two people stand about four or five feet away from each other with flashlights on. They should hold the flashlights so that they are even and make a straight line. Begin with the lights at about shoulder height.

The other people should walk under the beam. If the light touches them, they are out. Then, lower the beams like regular limbo. Keep lowering until there is only one person left in the game.

Bonus tip: Play spooky music in the background.

7. Monsters in the Dark

You will need:

  • Three or more players
  • A dark room

Find a room that you can completely darken. Choose one person to be alone in the dark. That person sits on one side of the room by herself. Everyone else begins on the other side of the room.

The object of this game is to try to scare the person who is alone. The others can make scary noises. They can also sneak up to her and grab her.

Take turns being the person that the others try to scare.

Can't even shout, can't even cry,

The Gentlemen are coming on by.

Looking through windows, knocking on doors,

They need to take seven and they might take yours.

Can't call to mom, can't say a word,

You're gonna die screaming but you won't be heard.

— from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

6 More Games to Play in the Dark

  • Truth or Dare. This can be done with just about any age range. It can even be fun for adults.
  • Shadow Puppets. This is good for younger kids.
  • Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board. One person lays on the ground and pretends to be asleep or in a trance. Everyone else places two fingers underneath her. Begin chanting: "Light as a feather, stiff as a board." Try to raise the person off of the ground.
  • Fear Factor. Dare each other to do gross or scary things.
  • Marco Polo. The game becomes very interesting in the dark, especially if you pick a creepy location.
  • Zombie Tag. Have one person start out as the zombie. When the zombie tags someone, that person becomes a zombie. Play until there is only one human left.

Links to Additional Ideas

What's Your Favorite Game to Play in the Dark?

bubbles on June 18, 2020:

Fugitive, kick the can, grandma's footsteps, and others.

scaredy cat on June 17, 2020:

Truth or dare also scary stories so doing this stuff for my sleepover this friday

samantha on May 17, 2020:

me and my friends doing this on our sleepover after covid

HAHA not tellin on April 14, 2020:

Umm any paronomal game like "three kings" or Classical "Bloody mary"

Haha not telling anyone on April 03, 2020:

Definitely playin the ‘Monsters in the dark’ I loved it!!!!!!!

Anonymous Person on March 28, 2020:

German Spotlight What you need: 3 or more players, flashlight, and darkness.How to play: Choose a base or "jail" and a "safe spot" for players. One person is "The German" and they are given a flashlight, if they see a person they have to shine the light on the person and say "German Spotlight on Joe. Joe will have to go to "jail",To get out of jail a player that has not been seen has to tag Joe. The players will have to make it to the safe spot without being seen. The game ends when all the players are at the safe spot or in "jail".

Not sayin on January 22, 2020:

I’m gonna do thease at my bday party sleepover

lora on December 19, 2019:

those look fun.

Ualayna on November 26, 2019:

I like all of the games

Not telling on November 12, 2019:

Im scared

Bootman on January 31, 2019:

Spooky

Sofia on January 27, 2019:

My absolute favorite game I spent the ouija board.its so fun, especially at school

Oli on November 16, 2018:

I’ve made a new game I like to call don’t touch, dark edition! Normally, you would go on a trampoline or bouncy bed and put objects such as a ball and some soft toys in the daytime but you can do it in the dark to creep you out and so you can’t see the items, the darker the harder!

Cristal on November 15, 2018:

Idk

Shon on September 23, 2018:

My house is haunted so I don't want to go in the dark alone and I just heard a weird noise

Shon on September 23, 2018:

I only step like five steps out when I'm alone

Georgia on September 02, 2018:

This was a helpful sight thank you

Aubrey on September 01, 2018:

MAN HUNT! I love man hunt in the dark! Man hunt is where you play hide and seek then once you are found it turns into tag for you! It is fun outside or inside.

Illusion on June 02, 2018:

Not scared of the dark

I'm scared of what lives in it

Maggie on June 02, 2018:

315!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a heck of a lot of people.

bob on April 06, 2018:

Ha ha ha ha

Katlyn wirth on February 10, 2018:

My fav game is too play in the dark is blah blah blah

nata on October 19, 2017:

2017 crew

kareana on September 21, 2017:

i love to play that Charley are you there

PRINCESS_MITCH on September 14, 2017:

I LIKE TO PLAY A SCARY GAME BUT I CAN SEE WHERE TO PLAY HOW DO YOU GET THE SCARY GAMES I DONT LIKE IN SCAR GAME NOW

Jonathan reyes on August 25, 2017:

Me and my friends made a game called monster grudge it's a game where there is one monster and at least 3 other players or more and one monster hides anywhere in the house until he's ready he makes a monster noise when he does the others come out of a selected room or area. To win they must see the monster and the monster must attempt to kill them if he does they can run back to the room or area and they're safe but if you are the monster the only way to win is to kill all the other players before any of them get to the room or selected area. It's a really fun and creepy game to play in the dark and me and my friends play all the time!

Best game on July 29, 2017:

We play a game called murder in the dark. It is practically tag in the dark, but the person who is tag they have to cont to 30 before they can tag anyone. But whilst your counting the others hide

Aria on June 30, 2017:

We loved playing hide and seek in the dark, only the seeker was called the Huntsman and he/she had a a pair of LED lights that go just above your eyes. it makes it seem like a monster or something is hunting you down.

lachi on June 17, 2017:

these games are horrible, not for a birthday, not fun, please make better.

Peaceful alyyyyyy on December 03, 2016:

So cool

Ashlyn on November 19, 2016:

Well I guess these kind of helped me... in a. Party planer. I plan surprises for party's.. sometimes in the dark so yeah... thanks so much for these(I appreciate this article) -Ashlyn summer moon may

David on October 13, 2016:

My sister and I were just recollecting a game we played with our siblings in the early 1950's we called it "Lights Out", but I'm sure it must be known by another name because I just Googled it and Wikipedia refers to a 1970's electronic game. In our version, it was played by two teams with one or more on each team. Each team's territory was one of two adjoining rooms with large sliding doors between them (maybe 6' opening). At the back of each room we placed a target (we used doilies). Then all lights were turned off and the room made pitch black. The object was to infiltrate the opponents room and with great stealth, get the opponents doilie, then return to our own territory without being caught. Since we were in close quarters, even breathing might give us away! I hope someone remembers such a game and what you called it.

Ehitt on December 12, 2015:

Cool

G Ivanova on January 01, 2015:

These sound hilarious and fun. I like to still think I'm 17 and will definitely be trying these out. Thanks!

Ashlynney playenson on October 11, 2014:

these sound fun... i plan on scaring someone with it... have you ever herd the story when a girl is home alone and someone is contently calling??? here it and you wont ever babysit again

astinax on December 10, 2013:

Love this lens ! I was just thinking about games in the dark ! Awesome games !

anonymous on July 03, 2013:

A really cool game for the dark is ghost hunters. It is for two or more players. (this is an inside or outside game) Find a large area that is completely dark. One person is the hunter. He or she has to find the ghost. The ghost will run around and try not to get caught. The ghost also has to try to make the hunter scream. He or she can do anything the want as long as it is not painful. If the hunter catches the ghost, then they win. If the ghost makes the hunter scream then they win.

Other things to know: To catch the ghost the hunter has to grab the ghost and "lock them up". This just means to take them to an area you make the "dungeon". If you complete that the hunter wins.The ghost wins if they make the hunter scream. They can sneak up on them or throw something at them when they don't know. Don't get dirty and hurt someone. The last thing is the ghost can escape if they get caught. To be fun set up traps. This go's to both hunter and ghost.

anonymous on March 31, 2013:

sex

GreyHee on March 23, 2013:

Great lens. It's really disappointing to see how kids today find enjoyment in video games and TV--things that make them more of a couch potato. Thank you for your lovely ideas. I will make sure that my niece and nephew play those games in their spare time.

Kim from Yonkers, NY on March 19, 2013:

cool lens added to my Cabin Fever Reliever lens

poldepc lm on March 19, 2013:

beautiful lens...Thanks for sharing...

Laniann on March 18, 2013:

When we were kids we enjoyed playing hide and seek in the dark.

Blackspaniel1 on March 18, 2013:

We would look for frogs

hntrssthmpsn on February 17, 2013:

These games sound like a great way to get some delicious goosebumps going! Perfect for the next time the power goes out...

anonymous on October 15, 2012:

The game I played with my brother in the dark was like lasers storm. We went around with dim torches. We each had a base, you can't get people wen ur in ur base however people can't get u either. We each had 10 lives and, with the torches we had to get people by going zap turn around and Turn whilst u say it. U can make up rules and we used to make it harder as our lives got lower. It was a brilliant game and much more imaginative than watching tv.

anonymous on September 30, 2012:

Blindsmans bluff

Candace Bacon (author) from Mad Laboratories on January 27, 2012:

@Rusty Quill: I remember playing games with my cousins like these. They don't even have to have names or even organized rules. It's just fun to run around in the dark when you are a kid. Thanks for commenting.

Rusty Quill on January 26, 2012:

Great trip back to memory lane - I grew up playing "night games" as we called them. All the neighborhood kids would run around at night playing games like kick the can, and various forms of tag. I don't even remember the names now, but we had a ton of fun.