Better late than never, right? Here are some Halloween Games!
The numbers in parenthesis coincide with the source the activity quotes or is inspired by.
Note: before using any game in your lesson, make sure the horses are desensitized to all items used!
Trick or treat – set up volunteers around the arena (preferably in costume). Kids go trick or treating and collect horse treats to feed their horses at the end.
Pumpkin Hunt – find the pumpkins hidden around the arena and deliver them to the pumpkin patch (the middle of the arena, the hoop, the barrel, etc.) (1)
Pumpkin Race – Put pumpkins/gourds on a barrel in the middle of the arena, the rider must go to first barrel, pick up the gourd and take it to the second barrel and place on top and then go for home. (2)
Bobbing for Apples and Dunking or Carrots – “Horses can either grab a bobbing apple chunk or dunk their noses to get the carrots at the bottom” (4)
Pumpkin Bending – use pumpkins (or pumpkins on top of barrels) for weaving (5)
Monster Freeze Dance – Put on “Monster Mash” and other seasonal tunes. Have kids show off their silliest monster dance moves—but they must freeze in place when the tunes turn off!” Or, have them make their scariest faces. (7)
“Skeleton Scavenger Hunt – Purchase plastic skeletons and disassemble them. Hide the bones before the game starts. Have kids search for them and then reassemble the skeleton.” (8)
Horse Skeleton Scavenger Hunt – create pieces of a horse skeleton using the links (just print out the sheet and cut it up in a few pieces). Spread the pieces around the arena, on obstacles or even just on the ground. Have the kids find the pieces, then put the skeleton back together, preferably on a block or barrel so it’s easy to see. See if they can figure out where all the parts go on their own. Give hints as needed. (7) Horse skeleton images: Image 1 Image 2
“Halloween Bean Bag Toss – Take a cardboard box and paint 3 pumpkins on it. Cut out large mouth shapes to throw in the bean bags. Put numbers of 5, 10, 15, above each mouth opening.” (8)
Mummy Wrap – on the ground, have your student mummy wrap their horse using toilet paper before mounting to ride (8)
Trick or Treat Game – cut out strips of paper; on half the strips write “Treat” and on the other half write “Trick” with a trick (aka a riding skill that your students are working on) such as “trot one long wall” or “circle the barrel twice”, or integrate the riding skill into something more festive like “deliver two pumpkins to the pumpkin patch”. Put all the strips in a Halloween bag. Have the students draw a strip of paper out of the bag. If it’s a trick they must perform it, and if it’s a treat they get a Halloween sticker or something special like that, or a treat to feed their horse later! (8)
Eyeballs – Like the egg race, but use ping pong balls that you draw eyes on with sharpies. Students must balance their eye on the spoon as the instructor calls out directions. Inevitably eyes will fall. The last one left with their eye on the spoon wins. Or integrate this into an obstacle course, such as move the eye from one barrel/bucket to another. (8)
Jack-O-Lantern Creation – draw and cut out a large cardboard pumpkin, eyes, nose and mouth. Place the eyes, nose and mouth around the arena. Place the pumpkin on the wall or in the center on a barrel or block. Have the student go find the face pieces, one at a time, and deliver them to the pumpkin. Use riding skills to fetch the pieces. Use hand eye coordination to put the pieces in the right places on the pumpkin to create a Jack O Lantern face. Velcro on the pumpkin and all the pieces helps. (8)
Costume Race – students start at one end of the arena, at the other end is a box on a barrel containing several costume pieces (all of which the horses have been desensitized to). Students must ride from their end to the box, pick out a costume, put it back on, and ride back to the finish line. First one back wins. (8)
“Find the Pumpkin – Supplies: Ten pieces of white paper, Five pieces of yellow paper, Five pieces of orange paper, A crayon, Scissors. Directions: 1. Draw ten white pumpkins, five yellow pumpkins, and five orange pumpkins. (Or adjust the numbers to reflect the number of you group) 2. Cut out all the pumpkins. 3. Decorate each pumpkin with a funny face. 4. Write the number 1 on the backs of the white pumpkins. 5. Write the number 5 on the backs of the yellow pumpkins. 6. Write the number 10 on the backs of the orange pumpkins. 7. Hide all of the pumpkins. 8. Youth try to find as many pumpkins as you can before the adult says “Stop!” 9. Players will add up the numbers of collected pumpkins. The player with the most points wins! This can also be played in teams.” (8)
“Knock Over the Ghosts – Ask parents to save empty, clean 2 liter soda bottles for your game. Spray paint the soda bottles white and draw eyes and mouths on the bottles once dried. Add about a cup of sand or pebbles in each bottle so they will stand without falling over.” Use balls or mini pumpkins that won’t break as the bowling balls. There are many ways to play: a) set up a bowling triangle with them and play like real bowling, b) spread them out around the arena and practice woah, bowl, and walk on until they’re all knocked over, c) set them up in a row and practice bowl, back up, bowl, back up, getting farther and farther away, etc. (8)
HALLOWEEN OBSTACLE COURSE
Here are ideas for a Halloween Obstacle or Trail Course
- move skeleton head (white balloon with sharpie) from one barrel to another
- deliver eyeball from one barrel/bucket to another using a spoon
- walk over brooms (instead of poles)
- first obstacle is to pick a costume out of a box on a barrel and put it on, then ride the rest of the course with it on, and the last obstacle is to take the costume off and put it back in the box
- ride through gate decorated with spiders and webs (2)
- pick up corn from scarecrow and drop in bucket (2)
- walk over bridge covered in a white sheet (2)
- walk over an orange tarp (2)
- walk in between ghosts (2)
- back a teardrop through graveyard of cardboard headstones attached to the cones (2)
- decorate obstacles with corn stalks, scarecrows, and Halloween Decorations. (3)
- hang ghosts from trees (if outside trail ride) (2)
- Monster Maze – create a maze out of hay bales, poles, cones, etc. in the arena that’s decorated with ideas above. (3)
OFF HORSE ACTIVITIES
Trick or Treat the Stalls – dress up horses in their stalls with volunteers, who have treats or prizes. Have kids trick or treat through the stalls. (6)
Costume Parade – invite the neighborhood! “If you’d like to organize a costumed trick-or-treat parade at your stable next year, here are a few suggestions. Begin by posting fliers at the barn several weeks ahead of time. That gives everyone a chance to plan their costumes. Next, ask the barn manager or stable owner to mail out notices to boarders at their home address. That ensures that everyone receives a notice so that no one feels left out. Then solicit freebie donations for the prizes from a nearby tack store. Or awards could be Halloween themed knick knacks from a discount store, purchased by pooling spare change. After all, Halloween on horseback is not about the prizes. The enjoyment comes from dressing up a favorite horse and gathering up a bunch of yummy treats.” (6)
Make sure you desensitize your horses to their costumes before ever putting them in a lesson wearing them! Also make sure to use sage materials only, such as non toxic glitter and glue. (9)
The easiest costumes are mummy horses using toilet paper, and ghost horses using sheets.
For lots of horse costume ideas, see this site: horsecrazygirls.com – Click on the comment titles to see pictures of each costume.
Another idea is to paint a skeleton on a horse – you can even incorporate horse parts into your lesson. For pictures of this, see Skeleton Horse Image
1. TeacherVision. http://www.teachervision.fen.com/slideshow/halloween/54440.html?page=6&detoured=1
2. Horsetopia. http://forum.horsetopia.com/shows/44469-halloween-game-ideas.html
3. Nickerson, Linda Ann. “Great games and events for Halloween horse shows.” http://www.examiner.com/article/great-games-and-events-for-halloween-horse-shows
4. Horseforum. http://www.horseforum.com/horse-talk/halloween-party-games-ideas-thoughts-64662/
5. Yahoo Answers. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080922155540AApWWSs
6. Horsechannel. http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-exclusives/halloween-on-horseback.aspx
7. Holecko, Catherine. “Halloween Games That Keep Kids Moving” http://familyfitness.about.com/od/seasonalsportsandfun/tp/halloween_games.htm
8. Shelby, Barbara. http://www.kidactivities.net/post/Tons-of-Halloween-Games!.aspx
9. Horsecrazygirls. http://www.horsecrazygirls.com/horse-Halloween-costumes.html
What about you? What Halloween themed activities have you done for therapeutic riding? And what costumes have you used for your horses?
Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement!