A perfect children’s game for warm evenings, Ghost in the Graveyard has been around for years. We begin with the traditional game, explaining the method and rules for play, then move on to some fun variations.

How to Play Ghost in the Graveyard

  • Set the boundaries for the game. A large yard or a specific area of a neighborhood park works well.
  • Designate a home base where everyone can fit, such as a front or back porch, or a large tree.
  • Choose a “Ghost” in whatever way works best – pick a number, ask for a volunteer, etc.
  • The Ghost hides somewhere while all the other players stay at home base.
  • Players chant the hours together until midnight, when they say any of the following: “Midnight, midnight, I hope I catch (see, don’t see) a Ghost tonight!”
  • All the players leave the home base and search for the Ghost.
  • Have everyone except for the Ghost stand at the home base while the Ghost runs off to hide somewhere.
  • Now the home base players try to find the Ghost.
  • Meanwhile, the Ghost attempts to jump out and tag players.
  • If someone sees the Ghost, they yell, “Ghost in the Graveyard!” and run back to home base.
  • If the Ghost catches someone, that person becomes the new Ghost.
  • Continue until all the people playing have become Ghosts.

Object of the Game

All the base players attempt to keep from being tagged by the Ghost. The Ghost attempts to tag players before they can return to home base.

Ghost in the Graveyard Rules

  • Make sure all players know the designated playing area and stay within it.
  • The last person remaining who has not been tagged is the winner of the game.
  • This game must be played in the dark

Some Warnings

  • Clean up the play area before playing, making sure you remove any obstacles that may cause tripping or falling.
  • This game can be scary; make sure players are prepared for this.

Ghosts in the Graveyard  Variations:

  • Ghost in the Graveyard is not as scary when flashlights are used. Doing so works well if you have very young children playing or if players are not familiar with the playing area.
  • You can divide the group in half, with half of the players being Ghosts and rest searching for the Ghost.
  • Try having the players hide and the Ghost search. Players are safe if they can return to home base before being tagged.
  • Also, try having the home-base players hold hands while searching for the Ghost. When the Ghost is found, players break hands and run back to home base.

Ghosts in the Graveyard Tips:

  • This game works best with many players.
  • Make sure you have permission to play this game in the area you choose.
  • Get parents’ permission before playing.
  • If you must stop by a particular time, have a player keep track of when you need to end the game.

Ghost in the Graveyard, a nighttime version of hide and seek, provides an active and fun game for children of every age. Try this game at camp, at a slumber party, or as a neighborhood game for children of all ages. Pairing a younger child with an older sibling or friend works well if you believe the game will be too intense for smaller children. Have fun!