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20 Nostalgic Children’s Halloween Games From The Past

With Halloween just two weeks away every website on the internet is starting to do their obligatory Halloween posts for the year. At first I thought about doing a post about the scariest board games ever made. That fell through pretty quickly for two reasons. First I am kind of a coward when it comes to scary things so I wouldn’t want to play any truly scary games. A lot of board game players also debate whether there are any truly scary board games since board games can’t really create the atmosphere that a movie or video game can.

Loving quirky board games I decided to take a different approach. Since Halloween is a holiday for children and adults who are children at heart, I decided to look for some unique children’s Halloween games from days gone by. Boy did I find some unique games. I probably could have made another list just as long as this one. The only rule for games on this list is that they had to be released before 1990 since any board game younger than me is not nostalgic. So here is my list of 20 Nostalgic Children’s Halloween Games From the Past.

Bats In Your Belfry
Image credit: BoardGameGeek | The Doctor

Bats in Your Belfry

In Bats In Your Belfry the objective of the game is to use your monster claw to catch bats that are launched out of the top of the castle. Players would drop marbles through the chimney which would either land on a space that gave the player a direction or they could activate the trigger that would launch the bats into the air.

Before finding the game on BoardGameGeek I had never heard of it before. It reminds me a lot of games like Grabbin’ Grasshoppers which I enjoyed a lot as a child. You don’t really see these type of games being created anymore. The game looks like it could be quite a bit of fun for children and I am guessing a lot of children from the 1960’s and 1970’s had a lot of fun with it.

Due to being released in the 1960’s this game appears to be somewhat rare. Currently there is only one copy on sale on EBAY and the seller is looking for $70. One copy of the game recently sold at an auction for almost $200.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NraUg137Wd4)

Beetlejuice Bone to Pick
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | C Gomez

Beetlejuice Bone to Pick

Beetlejuice Bone to Pick reminds me a lot of the 1979 version of Don’t Tip the Waiter (Amazon). Like in Don’t Tip the Waiter, you need to balance bones on the hands of Beetlejuice. You spin the spinner to determine how many bones you have to place and on what part of Beetlejuice you have to place them on. You need to be careful when placing bones because you don’t want to tip Beetlejuice over or you will lose one of your tokens.

Maybe it is just me but I found Beetlejuice to be an overrated movie. While not terrible I wouldn’t consider it to be very memorable. Bone to Pick looks like it could be a pretty fun game for children though. It looks easy to play and has enough interaction to keep children interested. The biggest problem with the game was probably the fact that it is made out of cardboard which could present some problems if part of Beetlejuice would get torn.

Placing a value on Beetlejuice Bone to Pick is kind of hard to do. Recently one copy of the game sold on Ebay for only $10 but it was missing pieces. The lowest price on Amazon right now is around $90. I would guess that a complete copy of the game would settle somewhere in the middle.


The box for Beware the Spider
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Giovanni Messina

Beware the Spider

Do you think Operation is tense? What if one wrong move would launch a spider at you?

That is the basic premise behind the 1980 Milton Bradley game Beware the Spider. The game works a lot like Operation. You use a pair of metal tweezers to try and remove critters from a metallic spider web. If you mess up and touch the web though it would  launch a spider at you. Whoever collects the most spiders wins the game.

While the threat of a spider launching out at you might make your hands shaky, looking at the game it doesn’t look that hard. Unlike Operation the critters seem to sit on top of the web so you don’t have to squeeze the tweezers into tight spaces. I am terrible at Operation though so I probably would also struggle with Beware the Spider.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3InPJIvmMY)

Beware the Spider appears to be uncommon but not rare. The game seems to regularly sell for $20-$40.

Creature Features Board Game
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Chris Brua

Creature Features

  • Year: 1975
  • Publisher: Research Games, Inc. / Athol / RGI / ARC
  • Price: $100
  • BoardGameGeek Page

Well I would like to call Creature Features a blatant Monopoly ripoff but I don’t really have to since the game itself mentions it right in the instructions. The game essentially plays like Monopoly but with the properties being replaced with actors and monsters from classic horror movies. The game has a couple unique mechanics but I don’t think Creature Features would be that unique of an experience.

Despite just being a Monopoly clone, Creature Features is actually pretty well liked. While I doubt the game ever got the licenses to actually feature the characters used in the game, fans of classic horror and monster movies seem to like the game more for the theme than the actual gameplay. Fans of the game have even tried to make their own sequels to the game (MovieFanFare).

Despite being a Monopoly clone, Creature Features is actually worth quite a bit of money. I attribute that to the classic Hollywood monsters featured in the game. While copies missing pieces can sell for less than $50, most complete copies sell for around $100 and even more if in really good condition.


Doorways to Horror
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Chris Brua

Doorways to Horror

Back in the 1980’s there was a fad of VHS themed board games. The “horror” genre in particular seemed to really like these type of games with games such as Atmosfear/Nightmare having grown a cult following over the years. A lesser known game in this genre was Doorways to Horror.

Like most VCR games the game mostly plays like a normal roll and move game. The objective of the game was to try and collect gold by fighting various monsters. Players had strength chips and if you lost all of them you would be eliminated from the game. Players would roll the dice which would indicate what would happen next. After the clip played, players could use spells to fight monsters featured in the “horror” clip and if successful they would receive some gold. Players could steal monsters which subjected players to losing strength chips. When the VHS tape ended or all but one player lost all of their strength chips, the game would end.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcwDh7C7GAw)

For the most part these VHS games tried to take advantage of a piece of technology without really building much gameplay behind it. Having played Atmosfear before I have to say that these games are not much more than simple roll and move games. They are well known for being really cheesy (I can attest to that after playing Atmosfear) as you can tell from this YouTube video that shows footage from the VHS tape.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WETRPUZZF_M)

What really surprised me about Doorways to Horror was that is was made by Sid Sackson who has a reputation for making some classic board games. Doorways to Horror doesn’t appear to be one of them. If you want to find out more about the game and see a complete list of the films featured in the game check out GravediggersLocal.

Like a lot of the VHS tape games, Doorways to Horror wasn’t that popular. While these games have kind of a cult following, like a lot of other VHS games Doorways to Horror is not particularly valuable. You can pick up a copy of the game for around $10-$25.


Green Ghost Game Box
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Ken Spontelli

Green Ghost

The object in Green Ghost is to help the Green Ghost find his child Kelly. The main mechanic in the game involved spinning a spinner and moving your character around the board. When you reached a pit you could grab a small ghost from it but each pit also contained bats (feathers), snakes (rubber bands) and bones. When all of the little ghosts are collected from the pits, they are placed on the ghost spinner. The Green Ghost is spun and whichever ghost it points at is Kelly. Whoever rescued that ghost wins the game.

Green Ghost for the most part seems like a typical spin and move game. You move around the board collecting things and a final spin of the spinner would determine who would ultimately win the game. The winner is determined by who is luckiest since you could get a lot more ghosts than the other players and lose just because the spinner chose one of the other player’s ghosts.

Since most of the game was glow in the dark, the game was meant to be played in the dark. The one unique thing the game offered was the “pits”. While it might be somewhat creepy/scary for children playing the game in the dark, I want to know who thought feathers would feel like bats and rubber bands would feel like snakes. Although the game looks really cheesy now, you have to give the game some credit for being kind of charming.

The prices for copies of Green Ghost can vary significantly. Some copies with missing pieces can sell for $30-$40 while complete copies regularly sell for around $100. What seems to really affect value is how well the glow in the dark components work. This game was apparently notable for the glow in the dark feature not really working so copies where it actually works are worth quite a bit more. Green Ghost was re-released in 1997 by Marx Toys so that might give you a cheaper option if you want to try out the game.


Haunted Mansion Board Game
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | C Gomez

The Haunted Mansion Game AKA Ghost Train

  • Year: 1972 (Haunted Mansion), 1974 (Ghost Train)
  • Publisher: Lakeside (Haunted Mansion), Denys Fisher Toys and Toltoys (Ghost Train)
  • Price: $150-250 (Haunted Mansion), $50-$150 (Ghost Train)
  • BoardGameGeek Page: Haunted Mansion, Ghost Train

Do you like dark rides like The Haunted Mansion? Well in the Haunted Mansion board game and later the Ghost Train game you can experience all of the “excitement” of these type of rides without ever having to leave the house and go to the amusement park. Despite being made by different companies, I have lumped these two games together because they apparently play similarly.

In both games you roll the dice in order to move your piece through the ride. Simulating dark rides, the tracks regularly spin as you try to make progress towards the rides’ exit. Check out this review on BoardGameGeek for more information on how the game is played.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX02j5dN4vc)

Despite looking like a cash in, the Haunted Mansion game is actually well liked. Players seem to like the spinning game board mechanics and actually think the game does a good job recreating the ride. The game seems to have a lot more strategy to it than your typical roll and move. Despite not really liking roll and move games I would really like to try the game but at its’ current price there is no way that is going to happen.

While the Ghost Train is considerably cheaper than the Haunted Mansion game, both games appear to be very rare since both are typically worth at least $100. Most Haunted Mansions go for much more. Finding a complete copy is really hard which is probably one of the reasons that the game is so expensive.


I Vant To Bite Your Finger
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Jeffrey D Myers

I Vant To Bite Your Finger

  • Year: 1979
  • Publisher: Hasbro, Ideal
  • Designer: Charlie Light, Charles Phillips
  • Price: $30-$50
  • BoardGameGeek Page

In I Vant to Bite Your Finger players would move around the board without using a dice. Players would choose how many spaces they wanted to move but they had to turn the handle on the clock the corresponding number of spaces. When the vampire’s cape opened up players could be exposed to getting bit. Players would put their finger in the vampire’s mouth and sometimes his teeth (felt tipped marker) would bite down on your finger leaving two red marks. This would force players to return to the start. Whichever player escaped the castle first would win.

While people for the most part seem to think that the game wasn’t very good, I give the designers some credit for trying to create a unique board game experience. The game seems really simple. While the game doesn’t look that interesting for adults, I kind of want to try it out because of its’ quirkiness.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkbgypiAZ3k)

Value wise the game seems to be in the $30-$50 range so it is a moderately rare board game. Good luck finding a copy where the felt tip marker still works though.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxAhMe86OS4)


Monster Game

In the Monster Game you and the other players are trying to build your own monster. Players try to collect cards for all of the different parts of the monster. After they collected all of the necessary parts, players would try to reanimate the monster. Players would use one of their crank cards and turn the crank the corresponding number of times. If players turned the crank the correct number of times the monster would awake and the player would win the game. If the crank was turned too many times though the monster would explode.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG_gBUyE_Qw)

While the game looks pretty simplistic you have to appreciate these older games that utilized some cool mechanical components. The game seems like a pretty simple card collection game and thus relied pretty heavily on luck. There is just something about the monster and the crank that makes this game look more fun than it probably is.

Like a lot of older games, The Monster Game is somewhat rare at this point. The game usually sells for around $70-$100.


Monster Mash Box ArtMonster Mash

In the 1987 game Monster Mash players compete to capture/grab different creatures/monsters. One of the players presses the button on the machine which randomly spins the three panels. When the panels stop spinning all of the players try to find the card that matches the monster on the machine. When spotted players use their “thwackers” to slap the card which makes the card stick to the thwacker. The player who thwacked the card first gets to keep it. Whoever collects the most cards wins the game.

Unlike a lot of the games on this list I have actually played Monster Mash. While the game has some issues I actually had fun with the game. The game is obviously made for children but it has enough challenge that adults can have some fun with it. For some reason it is satisfying to slap the cards with your thwacker. The game can become really competitive if you are playing against other competitive people.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8janDA9DE4)

As this time Monster Mash appears to be uncommon but not rare. You can usually pick up a copy of the game for around $30-$40 on Amazon. It might be hard to find a copy where the cards aren’t damaged though due to the abuse of getting regularly hit by the thwackers.


The Box for the Munsters Drag Race Game
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | thoia

Munsters Drag Race Game

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the Munsters? I bet it wasn’t drag racing. For some reason someone at Hasbro decided that it was a good idea to make a whole board game around that one episode of the Munsters that involved drag racing though.

The game appears to be for the most part a simple spin and move game. You spin the spinner and move your character around the board. Unfortunately I couldn’t find out much more about the game since it is extremely rare. Other than the Munsters theme there doesn’t appear to be anything else special about the game.

The main reason I put it on this list is due to its’ rarity. The game is highly sought after by collectors and can fetch up to $700 (yes I did type that correctly). I am guessing a combination of the theme and the rarity is why this game is so expensive. All I know is that I will never own this game and if I do ever find it, it will be quickly finding a new home.


Mystic Skull Game
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Steven Dennis

Mystic Skull: Game of Voodoo

In Mystic Skull: Game of Voodoo players are witch doctors who are competing to be the last player standing. Players use a plastic bone to spin a cauldron which would spin a skull. Whatever space the skull landed on instructs players on what action to take during their turn. Each player would have their own voodoo doll that gets filled with pins. Whenever a player’s voodoo doll was filled up with pins, that player would be put under a spell and eliminated from the game. For more information on how the game played check out this post on SweetSkulls.

If you think it’s weird that a board game designer would make a voodoo game for children, this just so happens to not be the only voodoo game on this list.

Mystic Skull seems to rely more on its’ theme than its’ gameplay. The mechanics in the game seem to have little to no strategy. You pretty much just spin the spinner and the winner is determined by who spins the best. The game’s components are pretty cool though. The spinning skull in particular probably really entertained kids in the 1960s.

Prices for Mystic Skull: Game of Voodoo can vary quite a bit. Some copies on EBAY sell for $40 while others sell for up to $100.


Seance
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Loomis

Seance

It’s a sad day. Your Uncle Everett recently died. The good news? Your uncle was filthy rich. Being the greedy niece/nephew that you are, you and your other relatives flock to his house in order to see what you inherited. Since your uncle never left a will, you must contact him from the great beyond in order to find out what you got.

The game begins with each player receiving some money which they would use to bid on some of Uncle Everett’s possessions. Players would hear a message from Uncle Everett (from the included record) to see what item they would receive. Players would keep bidding until all of Uncle Everett’s possessions were bought. After all of the possessions were collected it was time to sell them back to Uncle Everett. I don’t know what need a ghost would have for possessions but you probably shouldn’t question game logic in a game where you talk to your dead uncle. Taking turns players would listen to the record which would tell them what they can sell their items for. At the end of the game whoever had the most money would win the game. For more information on how the game was played check out this link (Owl Works LLC).

How in the world could you not love this game? Predating terrible VHS and cassette games, this game used a record and even included its’ own record player. On top of that who doesn’t want to perform a seance just to get a dead relative’s possessions? While I am joking, I actually think this game could be pretty interesting. I would definitely try it if I ever found a cheap copy. I am guessing that the game isn’t very good since it looks like it relied heavily on luck but it is so strange that you can’t not want to try it out. How could you not love a game where you could lose the game to your dead uncle’s parrot?

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the game is far from cheap. Completed copies of the game regularly sell from $90-$200. Incomplete or non working copies can sell for $40-$50. Unfortunately I don’t think I will ever see how much money I can inherit from Uncle Everett.


Box for Shrieks and CreaksShrieks & Creaks

You and your fellow players have entered Sir Simon’s mansion. In order to escape the mansion, players need to move through the mansion and make it to the tower. It’s not that easy though since the mansion is haunted. Players enter their key along with the room key to see if the room was haunted. If the speaker played, the player would have to follow the directions given by Sir Simon. If no sound played, players would be safe.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDbkZFyZ0Pw)

While I am not going to go into much detail here (check out my full review), I will just say that Shrieks & Creaks is not a good game. The game is a generic roll and move game with the cassette mechanic adding even more luck into the game. The winner of Shrieks & Creaks will be whoever guesses the best.

While the gameplay is pretty terrible, Shrieks & Creaks has a couple things going for it. The box and game board have some nice artwork. The cassette is also really cheesy and contains plenty of cheesy horror puns. If you are looking for a cheesy horror game, this is probably it.

At this time Shrieks & Creaks is a moderately rare game. On Amazon the game regularly sells for around $60. Due to the price this isn’t a game that I would buy for the game play but as more of a curiosity/collectible.


Slime Monster Game Box
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Bryan Arroyo

Slime Monster Game

The world is in danger. A slime monster has invaded the town and you have to try and stop it. You start in the high school and have to make your way to the armory in order to pick up a mine that you will use to kill the monster and win the game.

As a whole the game appears to play a lot like your typical spin and move game since all movement of the monster and your character is determined by the spinner. The one unique mechanic in the game appears to be the use of slime. Slime would be put into the monster which would constantly ooze out. If your player got trapped under the monster they would get slimed on. When the monster moved on the next turn the slime could drag your character with the monster knocking it over. Any characters knocked over by the slime would be sent back to the High School.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF_MqJvjM8I)

While the spin and move mechanics look pretty generic, the slime mechanic looks interesting. It probably doesn’t add a lot to the game but it is something that I would want to try out sometime. I can’t imagine how much of a hassle it is though to pick up all of the slime that oozes out of the monster.

At this time the game seems to regularly sell from $20-$50. Most copies don’t have any working slime though which is not surprising given the game’s age.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhEwHLwWaM8)


Them Bones Game
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Tony Nardo

Them Bones

Them Bones is the second “Operation” style game to appear on this list. In Them Bones your goal is to collect different types of bones from inside a skull. If you successfully removed a bone without touching the sides you would get to move forward on the game board. If you failed you would light up the skeleton’s eyes and lose your turn. Since most of the components glowed in the dark for an extra challenge you could play the game in the dark. Operation wasn’t difficult enough with the lights on so lets just play the game in the dark.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhigWxNlPcw)

For the most part Them Bones seems to play a lot like Operation. One thing that I found interesting about Them Bones is that they tried to add a traditional game board to Operation. While I suck at Operation, at least Them Bones requires some skill which makes it better than most children’s roll and move games.

It is kind of hard to pinpoint the exact value of Them Bones since no copies of the game have sold recently. All of the copies of the game that were up for sale were missing pieces. I would estimate that the game is probably worth around $50.


The Vampire Game
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Bryan Arroyo

The Vampire Game

In The Vampire Game you play as a brave hero who is trying to save princesses from the evil vampire who has locked them up. Each player rolls two dice with one dice controlling your movement while the other controls the movement of the vampire. Players would head toward the castle in order to save the princess while the vampire hunts the players. If the vampire lands on your spot and you don’t have any garlic to protect yourself. You would get bit by the vampire which entailed being stamped with a stamp hidden in the vampire piece. Three bites and you would be eliminated from the game.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZf_gAHV0GI)

The Vampire Game took quite a bit of inspiration from I Vant To Bite Your Finger since it kind of borrowed the vampire bite idea. Other than the biting mechanic though, the game doesn’t look highly original. The game for the most part looks like a typical roll and move game. That didn’t stop some people from BoardGameGeek from creating a drinking version of the game.

Unlike a lot of the games on this list, The Vampire Game isn’t all that valuable. You can regularly find copies of the game on EBAY for around $20. I attribute the low price to The Vampire Game being the most recent games on this list.


VooDoo Doll Game
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | SkoT StarK

VooDoo Doll Game

Schaper the game company most known for classics such as Cootie, Ants in the Pants, Don’t Break the Ice, and Don’t Spill the Beans for some reason decided to make a board game based on voodoo dolls, for children. Yes this was an actual game. I wonder why it never caught on?

In the VooDoo Doll Game players would choose, in secret, one of the holes in the voodoo doll in which to place a small metal peg. Players would then take turns pushing plastic needles inside the doll. When a player places a needle into one of the holes that a metal peg was placed in, the witch doctor would race out of the their shack.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CKBBkGMHIQ)

I think is it strange that not one but at least two children’s games were made about voodoo. I am curious how this game ever made it through the whole process of being made with no one questioning why a game was being made for children that featured poking needles into a voodoo doll. I know you would never see a game like this being made today.

While the game is probably pretty dumb, since all you are doing is randomly guessing a spot on the doll, if I ever found the game for cheap I would really like to try it out. The whole idea behind the game is so weird that I am curious how the game actually plays.

Despite being so strange, I am surprised that the Voodoo Doll game is actually not that valuable. At this time the game appears to only retail for around $10-$20.


Which Witch
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Niels B.

Which Witch? AKA Haunted House AKA The Real Ghost Busters

In Which Witch? You play as a child that has wandered into a witch’s house and you need to try and escape. The game works basically like your typical roll and move game. You roll the dice and move around the house the number of spaces rolled. After moving you draw a card that either turns you into a mouse, turns you back into a child, or unleashes the traps within the house. When a trap card is drawn a metal ball is dropped down the chimney which goes down one of four paths that sets off one of the traps around the house. If you character is hit by the trap they are sent back to the closest safe spot.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYy-0_JXj3g)

While the game seems really simplistic, I have a feeling that the trap mechanic is why people still enjoy the game even after all of this time. The game’s mechanics seem similar to Mouse Trap except that it doesn’t appear to take forever to put together. These type of games are not made that much anymore and sometimes it is nice playing a game that relies on some simple mechanics. Which Witch is a game that I would like to try sometime even though I doubt I will really like it.

The game must have been pretty popular back in the 1970’s because it was actually been reprinted several times. First it was renamed Haunted House and it eventually became the Real Ghostbusters game (Wikipedia).

Being a 40+ year old children’s game that was made out of cardboard, it is not surprising that it is pretty hard to find a complete version of the game. Pieces are regularly missing and due to the nature of the game the cardboard pieces are regularly torn or creased. Due to the fact that it is hard to find a complete version of the game it can get pretty expensive. Complete copies of the game usually sell for at least $50 or more depending on the condition of the components.

Video Link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw3hKxsD3EM)


Witch Pitch
Image Credit: BoardGameGeek.com | Tim Johnson

Witch Pitch

  • Year:1970
  • Publisher: Parker Brothers
  • Designer: Paul J. Gruen
  • Price: Unknown
  • BoardGameGeek Page

Witch Pitch seems like it is a pretty rare Parker Brothers game. The game must have sold poorly since you can’t find much information about the game online.

BoardGameGeek.com mentions that the objective of the game was to try and throw your chips into the top of the house which would rotate. The game is compared to a combination of Tiddly Winks and Loopin’ Louie. Being a huge fan of Loopin’ Louie as a child I probably would have loved playing this game.

With how rare the game appears you can’t really even find a proper value for the game. There is an old EBAY listing from a year ago that was looking for $160 but it didn’t appear to sell. Due to how rare the game appears to be I would guess that the game is probably worth around $100.


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