Four years ago, My friend Kristy and I organized the 1st annual All Hallows’ Eve/All Saints’ Party for our local homeschool group. We had always attended our own homeschool groups All Saints’ Day parties growing up, and we really wanted our children to have the same. What better way to sanctify Halloween than with a celebration of the Saints?
In the past, I have always coordinated the games, but this year I have taken a step back, and a couple other moms will be taking my place. I have kept notes with ideas I have run across, over the past years, and since I told the new coordinators that I would put a list of suggestions together, I thought I would share them with you all as well.
We always start the evening off with the Rosary and Litany of the Saints. The children then process (dressed as Saints) to the hall and tell everyone the name of their saint, and a little about him/her if they so choose. After this we have a potluck dinner, the children decorate their treat bags with pictures and quotes of the saints, there is always a Saint-O-Lantern contest, and then it is on to the games…
Now, we just had to have a game for my favorite saint! So, our first year, I decided to do a variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and call it Place a Flower in St. Therese’s Bouquet. I asked both a friend of mine, and my younger sister to draw large (poster board size) pictures of Saint Therese, with empty bouquets. I purchased a whole bunch of rose stickers. The blindfolded children had to do their best to place the flower sticker on St. Therese’s bouquet. (I am sure there are endless variations of this game. For example, how about Pin the Halo on the Angel, or Crown Mary Queen of Heaven?)
Last year, we added another game for St. Therese… You could never have too many, in my opinion! 😉 This one we called St. Therese’s Rose Toss. A very artistic and resourceful friend of mine spray painted an old children’s basketball hoop red, and added images of St. Therese and artificial roses.
From various starting lines made from tape, depending on the size/age/ability of the child, the object was to toss a bouquet of roses through the hoop. If necessary, adjust the height of the hoop for the little ones, or just have some one lift them up! 😉
**Along the same lines, you could do a St. John Bosco’s Basketball Toss, using a regular hoop and balls. Bushel baskets would work as well, and you could even label them with the names of the Sacrament, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the Cardinal Virtues!
Miniature Golf is another fun game for an All Saints Party… Our first year we used a little putting green, and named the game after Saint Sebastian, since he is a patron saint for ATHLETES. (A number of times we have used the awesome Saint Pictorials from the Group Copyright version of A Year With God for our game signs.)
Last year we decided to change it up a bit and changed the name to Seven Deadly Sins Golf. For this game, golf balls, labeled with the seven deadly sins, are putted into the “Hole of Virtue” (hole/holes labeled with the virtues), using a
golf club “Stick of Virtue.”
** This game could easily be converted to “Seven Deadly Sin Toss,” using balls and buckets instead. You could also call it “Knock Down the Seven Deadly Sins” as a variation of a traditional beanbag toss, with the holes labeled with the seven deadly sins. Or even as a Bowling game with plastic bowling pins or empty soda bottles (we did this one once, and I would recommend weighing the soda bottles down with a bit of sand, or it is way too easy!).
Next we always have a Lost and Found… And what better saint to be patron of this game, than the beloved St. Anthony.
For this game, I purchased a big orange box and cut a round hole in the top. I filled the box part way with bird seed, though packing peanuts would work as well.
One year we added medals (as indicated on the sign), and another year we added various items, both religious and non-religious. If the children pulled out a religious item they were allowed to keep it, or pick a treat out of the treat bin. The non-religious items were returned to the box.
For this game, set up the bowling pins (once again soda bottles could be used!), mark the starting line with tape, and make sure you have a helper (or two!) ready to reset the pins.
Musical Saints is always a hit! I am pretty sure we initially found this game in CHC’s A Year with God, as well. One of the benefits of this game is that many of the little
children saints can play at the same time!!!
Place the chairs in an oblong circle facing outward. Tape a sign to each chair containing the name (and picture if you’d like — I found beautiful images online and printed them onto card stock… They have lasted year after year.) Make a duplicate set of the saint’s names and place them in a jar.
To begin the game, turn on music, using a tape or a CD player. (Be sure to have Catholic Music. If you don’t know where to start, 24 Catholic Songs for Children is a great CD!) The children walk around the circle. When the music is turned off, the children must sit in the closest chair. Once all the children are seated, a saint’s name is pulled from the jar, and whoever is sitting in the chair of that saint wins a prize. Holy cards make great prizes for this game, but treats can be used too!
I don’t know about your kids, but mine *LOVE* going fishing, especially when they can reel in some treats! And what better than to go
Fishing with Saint Peter?
It is really simple to set up… We just hang a blue sheet over a rod to create the water barrier. Then, attach a clothespin to the end of the line on a fishing pole. The children hang their fishing lines over the sheet and are surprised with treat. For this game we use all sorts of things that we try to have donated including: holy cards, stickers, bookmarks, pencils, erasers, bracelets, etc.) If you wanted to get creative, the sheet could be painted to look like a lake and you could craft a “boat” from cardboard for the children’s to step into while they go fishing. We haven’t done that before, but it sure would be neat!
In the past we have also set up a Doctors of the Church booth. Using the Catholic Jeopardy cards found inside A Year With God and/or Catholic Quiz Cards, the children are quizzed by “St. Thomas” with questions about our faith. If they answer incorrectly they receive a piece of straw. Correct answers win a prize. Along these same line, we have also handed out the “Name the Saints Quiz” provided in A Year With God, one year I made up our own saint quiz so we could have another variation, and one year we handed out a All Saints Day Word Search and Crossword Puzzle.
I’ve been wanting to order the Saint Search game from Illuminated Ink. It would make a fun addition to any All Saints Party. “Based on the timeless classic ‘Bingo’, players search for specific saint symbols instead of letters and numbers. As matches are made, players crown their saints with golden nimbuses. The first player to crown an entire row of saints wins the game.”
Ok… Moving on.
Unfortunately, we have never tried having a Bobbing for Apples game, since it is messy and we have our party in the parish hall… However, a fun variation of this game, if you are having an outdoor party, would be to hang apples by strings, from either a real or model tree. It would be a little less messy as well as a little more difficult. You could remind the children that Adam and Eve really had to think about disobeying God, it wasn’t an accident.
If Bobbing for Apples just won’t work, how about having a Holy Water Pond? For this game, the children had to choose a holy water bottle from the pond, and if it was marked with a cross on the bottom they won a prize. It was very easy to set up, and the children seemed to really enjoy playing.
David & Goliath!
The object of this game, is for
the children David to try and “slay” Goliath by tossing a ball of foil stone at his head.
Goliath is made like a scarecrow, with a balloon for a head. If you use a strong balloon it won’t pop, it will just bobble around.
Every hit is a success for David, and earns the child a treat!
You could make the boat many different ways. We just used an old (leaky) raft that someone tossing. It worked great for the party, and we didn’t have to worry about damaging it!
Or, what about having a St. Patrick’s Shamrock Toss? This could be easily put together with a large white wooden board, painted with large scattered shamrocks. Just Cut different size holes in the centers of the shamrocks and use beanbags to toss through the holes from the starting lines.
One is called the St. Christopher Race. For this game, each participant carries a child on his back to safely reach the finish line. Larger children carry a smaller child, and the small children carry a large doll. Have the children race two by two as many times as they want.
And another would be to have a Piñatas. I guess this could be done inside as well, if you have enough space. You could do this one of two ways. You could have a traditional piñata with the seven points representing the seven deadly sins, and have the children beat it with the “Stick of Virtue.” Or, you could hang seven piñatas, in this case, each individual representing one of the seven deadly sins. You would leave the one representing gluttony empty. As you beat the sin out of each piñata, explain the virtue that counteracts the sin.
(For instructions to make a piñata, click here.)
One of my favorite ideas, that we have not yet been able to implement, is to “create a backdrop of heaven (golden road leading to pearly gates, fluffy clouds, angels, etc.) for the parents to take pictures of their little saints-in-the-making.” I wonder if we could find some talented member of our group to paint this for us?