This post will tell you how to play the Ghost in the Graveyard game, a traditional game that is one of the most popular plays for kids.

I have written tons of articles about fun plays and other fun things to do with friends on our site here, including one about outdoor party fun activities that have been read over a couple of thousand times already. So, believe me when I say that this night game is an amazing graveyard game to bond with friends and family.

Let the fun begin!


What is Ghost in the Graveyard Game?

Ghost in the Graveyard is a traditional children's game similar to Tag and Hide-and-Seek, except that is played at night time. The goal of this game is to find the "it" hiding within the play zone. The player who finds the "ghost" should alert the other participants by shouting, "Ghost in the Graveyard!". Whoever gets tagged, or is the last to reach the designated "safe zone", will be the next "it".

Ghost in the Graveyard Play Rules

Anyone, young and old alike, can join this fun game. Also, more players mean more fun!

  1. Choose a home base where all players will run once they find the "it" player. There should also be a specific spot in the base/safe zone that they should touch so they won't be the next "it."
  2. While the rest of the players are in the safe zone, the "it" should hide in a secret spot within the play zone. Once the "it" finds their hiding spot, players chant "One o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock..." until they reach midnight. After that, they will say, "Midnight, midnight, I hope I catch/see/don't see a ghost tonight!" and then leave the base to search for the "it."
  3. The "it" has to tag a player and be the next Ghost. If the player sees the "it," they should "Ghost in the Graveyard!". All of the players have to run back to the home base. The last player who reaches the home base, or is tagged by the Ghost, will be the new "it" in the next game.
  4. Continue playing the game until everyone gets to become the Ghost.

How To Play Ghost in the Graveyard

Have you already chosen a play zone? Have you already decided who's going to be the "it"? Are the rest of the players ready? Then, you need to consider these 3 things first before playing Ghost in the Graveyard.

Things to prepare before the game

All of the players should understand how to play this game. Before starting the game, participants should also look for a spacious outdoor area. Players also can use a flashlight to ensure safety while running around and searching for the "it."

The best area to play the game

The best area to play this fun game is in an open outdoor area so everyone can run freely, and the "it" has lots of spots to hide at. It can preferably be in someone's yard or a specific location in a neighborhood park.

Designate a spot in the playing field that will serve as the "base" where everyone should race back to when the "it" is found. It can be on the front porch, back patio, or a large tree in the backyard or park, anywhere that all players can stand on or physically touch.

You can also set a rule that if one of the players goes beyond the assigned boundary, they will be eliminated or become the "it" in the next round.

Choosing the players

At least three players can play this scaringly fun game, one of whom will play as the "it." The more game participants, the better and more chaotic fun it will be.

Players get to decide who becomes the "it" will be through the following:

  • Ask someone to volunteer.
  • Play rock, paper, scissors
  • Gather everyone in a circle using each player's hands or feet. One of the players says a rhyme while tapping each hand or foot for each word. When the verse ends, the participant removes a hand or foot. Repeat the steps until there is only one hand or foot left. That player will be the next "it."
  • The next "it" will be the one who got tagged by the Ghost, or the last one to reach the home base.

How to start the game

The participants must stand within the designated "safe zone" while the ghost finds a hiding spot. The players will then have to find the ghost within the play area... and that's when the fun starts!

Ghost in the Graveyard Play Pro Tips

Add more suspense and feels while playing this night game with some props, decor, and background music.

Here is the Ghost in the Graveyard game pro tips to take note of: 

1. Add more fun by setting up Halloween vibe decorations.

Putting up Halloween yard decorations, as seen on our site here, can also add to the overall feel of playing this outdoor childhood activity. Put everything back in its container when you're done playing (assuming that the Halloween season is over).

2. Play scary background music.

Choose a piece of Halloween-themed music and play it in the background while you are all running around in the play area. You can check out tracks on Spotify or download some from your favorite music streaming platforms.

3. Do it yourself creative Halloween costume or make up for the ghost player.

Top up your game a notch by donning Halloween costumes. No need for elaborate costumes. Try wearing a scary mask or make your own from your closet. Find someone who can also do makeup for the ghosts for maximum playing impact.

Ghost in the Graveyard Safety Tips

We all want to have fun with every game we play, whether indoors or outdoors. However, everyone's safety should also be a top priority, especially when playing outdoor activities (and in the dark, too). Here are safety tips every player should remember when playing this outdoor game:

This game is scary! Make sure everyone is prepared. Get the parent's permission before allowing kids to join.

Expect several jump scares and even accidental trips when playing in a play area with little to no lighting. That is why safety should be a priority during the activity. Make sure everyone is safe and injury-free during and after playing the game.

Find a safe outdoor space with no holes or hills that could cause accidents, falls, and injuries. Ask the parents' permission before letting kids join the game.

Fun Variants of Ghost in the Graveyard

There are other ways to enjoy this traditional outdoor game. For example, you can use flashlights during the game if you are not familiar with the play area or when the players are young children.

You can also opt to divide the group into two, of which half of the players will play as ghosts, and the rest will have to look for them.

Or, instead of the players looking for the ghosts, try doing it the other way around (the "it" searching for the players hiding -- similar to the traditional hide-and-seek game).

Meanwhile, here are fun variants of the Ghost in the Graveyard:

Variant #1: Santa in his Sleigh

Another traditional game you can play with your friends is Santa in his Sleigh. Perfect this holiday season, adults and kids can enjoy this guessing game.

  1. First, you will need a small sleigh figurine or ornament. Have the participants form a large circle. You can choose to play inside or outside the house.
  2. Then, choose a person who will be blindfolded. Hand the figurine to another participant. The player with the figurine should say, "Santa, Santa, where's your sleigh? A thief has come to take it away." Then the blindfolded participant has to guess who has the figurine.
  3. The blindfolded participant has three chances to guess the participant with the sleigh figurine. If the guess is right, the participant with the sleigh will be the next to be blindfolded. Otherwise, the sleigh figurine will be given to another participant, and the game should start over again.

Variant #2: Prison Break

Prison Break or JailBreak is another fun outdoor activity. Everyone, from kids and the kids-at-heart, can play and enjoy this activity without the props needed!

  1. Invite players -- the more, the merrier! Choose who will be the captain of each team. Make sure that the teams have the same number of participants.
  2. Choose a designated spot that will serve as the "prison." That space should accommodate all of the players in each team.
  3. Decide which team will hide first and look for the other team. The seeking team will count until the hiding team has already found a hiding spot. Once done counting, it's time to find the hiding players.
  4. If they find the hiding players, the opposing team members should catch them. The hiding players are allowed to run and not be caught by the opposing team. Once a participant from the seeking team sees a hiding player, the former has to hold on to the latter and say, "1,2,3... You're my man!"
  5. The captured players must stay in "prison." To "free" the participants in prison, an uncaught participant should touch the jail and shout "Prison break!". The prisoned players can run free again.
  6. The game ends when everyone in the hiding team is caught. You can restart the game by switching sides; the seeking team will be the one to hide and vice versa.

Frequently Asked Questions

You don't have to be a kid to be able to play childhood fun plays. Everyone is welcome to enjoy such kind of fun experience. But first, you might have other questions about this popular children's game that we'd love to answer.

How many times should you say the Ghost in the Graveyard chant?

The participants shall chant each hour (1, 2, 3, 4... and so on) until they reach midnight. After that, they will say "Midnight, midnight, I hope I see/don't see/catch a Ghost tonight!" The players will then go out of the home base to find the Ghost.

How many people do you need for ghosts in the graveyard game?

This game needs at least one participant who will play the "it." However, you can also level up the activity by dividing the team into two. Half of them become the "it," while the rest are the players who will look for the ghosts.

Can you play Ghost in the Graveyard online?

Yes, there are online versions of this evening game that you can play for free. For horror/suspense/thriller fans, you can also check out the movie of the same name starring Jake Busey and Kelli Berglund and directed by Charlie Comparetto.

What is the best scary music to fit into use for this game?

Check out "50 Sounds of Horror: Creepy Halloween Music" on Spotify and play it in the background. You can also download classical music that will send chills down your spine. Some popular classics include Danse Macabre (Camille Saint-Saëns) and Dies Irae (Giuseppe Verdi).

More Awesome to Fun Games to Explore

Who says only kids got to enjoy outdoor sports? We also love to have a good time (and get a little sweaty). We won't stop rediscovering good old plays from our childhood days.

  1. Planning a get-together with friends and family soon? Add extra fun to your bonding moments with these popular water games.
  2. We may have to wait next year for the summer season. But make sure to keep these swimming pool games on your list for your future pool parties.
  3. Check out our minute to win it games because sometimes a minute is all it takes to have fun.
  4. Thinking about new activities to teach your little ones? Check out these classic parachute games that they will surely enjoy and keep off from gadgets from time to time.

In Conclusion

There are no limits to finding fun things to do with friends just like what you can find in Mantelligence Add more fun and happy memories to your usual gatherings by playing outdoor party activities.

Age is just a number. Everyone from 2 to 92 can still enjoy fun outdoor activities that will surely relieve our childhood fun plays, such as the classic Ghost in the Graveyard and other activities for kids.