A great activity for everyone

Ghost in the Graveyard

Spooky Nighttime Game of Hide and Seek: Ghost in the Graveyard!

Ghost in the Graveyard
By Jon Zajac

What is Ghost in the Graveyard?

Ghost in the Graveyard is a fun and engaging icebreaker that involves hiding, seeking, and chasing. The purpose of this game is to promote bonding and teamwork among participants while providing an enjoyable physical activity. At its core, one player is chosen to be the “ghost” and hides within a predetermined play area, while the rest of the group closes their eyes and counts to midnight. Once the counting is complete, the seekers venture out to find the hidden ghost. The first person to spot the ghost yells “Ghost in the graveyard!” and everyone makes a mad dash back to home base, with the ghost in hot pursuit. Whoever gets tagged becomes the next ghost, keeping the game exciting and unpredictable. This activity is perfect for families or groups looking for nighttime entertainment and is best played in a safe, large outdoor area with clear boundaries.

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Rules for Ghost in the Graveyard

  1. Choose a safe, large outdoor area to play in.
  2. Designate a central location as the “home base.”
  3. Select a volunteer to be the “ghost.” The ghost hides while everyone else closes their eyes.
  4. After a minute or two, the rest of the group counts aloud to midnight.
  5. Everyone leaves the base and searches for the hidden ghost.
  6. The first person to spot the ghost yells “Ghost in the graveyard!”
  7. All seekers must rush back to base as fast as they can while the ghost chases after them.
  8. Whoever is tagged by the ghost becomes the next ghost.
  9. Ensure safety by taking measures when playing in low light conditions and setting boundaries for play.

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Materials needed for Ghost in the Graveyard

  • Flashlights: Optional for providing light during nighttime games

  • Comfortable sneakers: Necessary for running around during the game

  • Large outdoor play area: Required to accommodate hiding, seeking, and chasing

  • Central location (home base): Needed as a meeting point and safe zone during the game

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Setting up for Ghost in the Graveyard

To set up for the Ghost in the Graveyard icebreaker activity, you need to choose a safe outdoor area with enough space for hiding and running. Designate a central location as the “home base” for the game. Before starting, ensure that everyone knows the boundaries of play and the rules of the game, including not going beyond these limits. There is no need for any physical materials or setup, only a suitable and safe environment for playing the game.

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How to play Ghost in the Graveyard

  1. Choose the Ghost: I start by selecting one player to be the “ghost.” This person will hide while the others search for them.
  2. Establish Home Base: We decide on a central location that serves as our “home base” for the game. This is where we’ll return to whenever someone spots the ghost.
  3. Set Boundaries: I make sure everyone knows the boundaries of play and stress the importance of not going beyond these limits. Staying within the designated area ensures safety and keeps the game fair.
  4. Ghost Hides: The chosen “ghost” leaves the home base and finds a hiding spot within the boundaries. Meanwhile, the rest of us close our eyes.
  5. Countdown Begins: After a minute or two, I start counting aloud: “One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock…”, continuing until we reach midnight. This signals that it’s time for the seekers to begin their search.
  6. Find the Ghost: Upon reaching midnight, everyone opens their eyes and starts looking for the hidden ghost. The first person to spot the ghost yells “Ghost in the graveyard!”
  7. Return to Home Base: As soon as we hear “Ghost in the graveyard!”, we sprint back to the home base as quickly as possible. The ghost tries to tag any players who haven’t yet reached safety.
  8. Tagged Players Become Ghosts: Anyone who gets tagged by the ghost becomes the new ghost for the next round, and the process repeats. This adds a fun twist to the game, as the role of the ghost changes throughout the night.

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Benefits of Ghost in the Graveyard

  • Encourages Physical Activity: Ghost in the Graveyard involves hiding, seeking, and running around, providing an opportunity for players to engage in physical activity and have fun while doing it.
  • Promotes Teamwork and Communication: The game requires players to work together and communicate effectively in order to find the hidden ghost, fostering teamwork and collaboration skills.
  • Enhances Imagination and Creativity: By pretending to be a ghost and hiding in creative ways, players can use their imagination and creativity to make the game more engaging and enjoyable.
  • Provides an Opportunity for Social Interaction: Ghost in the Graveyard is a group activity that allows players to interact with one another, build relationships, and have fun together.
  • Helps Develop Problem-Solving Skills: The game requires players to think critically and solve problems in order to find the hidden ghost, helping to develop their problem-solving skills and strategic thinking.
  • Encourages Active Listening: By listening carefully for the signal to start searching for the ghost, players can practice active listening skills and improve their ability to pay attention to details.
  • Promotes a Healthy Competitive Spirit: The game involves a competitive element as players race back to base to avoid being tagged by the ghost, helping to promote a healthy competitive spirit and encourage sportsmanship.

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Skills built with Ghost in the Graveyard

  • Physical fitness: Ghost in the Graveyard involves a lot of running and hiding, which can help improve players’ overall physical fitness and endurance.
  • Observation skills: Players need to be able to spot the “ghost” in order to win the game, so they must develop their observation skills and pay attention to their surroundings.
  • Teamwork: Although Ghost in the Graveyard is typically played as individuals, there is still an element of teamwork involved as players work together to find the ghost and make it back to base safely.
  • Decision making: Players must decide whether to keep searching for the ghost or head back to base when they hear someone yell “Ghost in the graveyard!” This requires quick thinking and good decision-making skills.
  • Self-confidence: Volunteering to be the ghost and hiding while everyone else searches for you can help build self-confidence, as it requires players to step out of their comfort zone and take on a leadership role.

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Why I like Ghost in the Graveyard

I enjoy the Ghost in the Graveyard icebreaker because it promotes active participation and teamwork among players. As a fan of outdoor games that involve a mix of physical and strategic elements, this game strikes the perfect balance. The thrill of searching for the hidden ghost and the adrenaline rush when trying to return to base before being tagged are exhilarating.

One aspect I appreciate is its simplicity in setup and rules, making it easily accessible for people of various ages. Since there’s no need for specialized equipment or materials, it encourages creativity and adaptability based on the chosen playing area.

Additionally, Ghost in the Graveyard can be played in different settings and with any number of participants, fostering inclusivity and flexibility. This versatility allows for memorable experiences during family gatherings, social events, or even team-building activities.

Lastly, I like how this icebreaker can be customized according to the players’ preferences, such as incorporating themes, safe props, or additional challenges. Overall, Ghost in the Graveyard is an engaging and enjoyable game that brings people together for a night of fun and excitement.

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Tips for making Ghost in the Graveyard more inclusive

  • Tip: Choose a home base that is easily accessible for all players. Consider selecting a home base that is close to the hiding spots and has enough space for everyone to gather comfortably. This ensures that players with mobility limitations can participate fully in the game.
  • Tip: Clearly communicate the rules and boundaries of the game to all players. Before starting, make sure everyone understands where they are allowed to hide and how to identify when the ghost has been spotted. This will help prevent misunderstandings or accidents during play.
  • Tip: Encourage players to take turns being the ghost. By rotating the role of the ghost, you ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in different aspects of the game. This also helps keep things fair and inclusive for all players.
  • Tip: Consider modifying the rules to accommodate younger or less experienced players. For example, you might allow younger children to play in teams, or provide them with flashlights to help them navigate the playing area more easily. These modifications can help make the game more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
  • Tip: Remind players to be respectful of each other’s personal space and boundaries. Make sure everyone understands that hiding spots should not obstruct pathways or create unsafe conditions, and that all players should avoid physical contact with each other while playing the game. By emphasizing respect and safety, you can help ensure a positive experience for everyone involved.

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Reflection questions for Ghost in the Graveyard

  1. What strategies did you use to find the ghost during your turns as a seeker? Understanding the strategies used by participants can help facilitators adjust the game to make it more challenging and enjoyable for everyone.
  2. How did you feel when you were chosen to be the ghost? This question can help facilitators understand if some participants felt left out or not as engaged during their turn as the ghost, and they can then take steps to ensure that everyone feels involved and included in the game.
  3. What was your favorite part of playing Ghost in the Graveyard? Knowing what aspects of the game were most enjoyable for participants can help facilitators plan future activities that cater to their interests and preferences.
  4. Did you feel safe while playing Ghost in the Graveyard? Ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants is crucial, and this question allows facilitators to gauge if any adjustments need to be made to the game’s rules or the play area to make it safer for everyone involved.
  5. How did your teamwork skills come into play during the game? Icebreakers like Ghost in the Graveyard can help build teamwork and collaboration, and this question allows facilitators to assess how well participants worked together and identify areas where they could improve their teamwork skills.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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