Greetings, gamers! It’s that time of year again, my very favorite time, Spooky Time! I basically celebrate Halloween all October long (Heck, I start in September if I can), and to honor my favorite holiday through gaming, I put together a list of my favorite spooky/Halloween themed or Halloween appropriate games.
This was actually hard to narrow down, so at the bottom you’ll also find some honorable mentions. Enjoy these all October long, during the 13 Nights of Halloween (if that’s still a thing on whatever ABC Family is called now), or just have a 24-hour gaming marathon on Halloween! Whatever you do, have a fa-boo-lous, spook-tacular Halloween, and happy gaming~
13. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
Theme: Murder / Solving a murder mystery
Mechanics: 1 vs Many / Team Play (depending on number of players); Hidden Roles; Deduction; Bluffing; Storytelling
Why it’s great for Halloween: This one’s lower on the list because, while the murder theme is creepy, it wasn’t my favorite for the Halloween/spooky list. But it’s still got that vibe to it, and it’s a great game in general! It plays a large number of players, and the mechanics are pretty easy, so you can get a lot of people involved. Everyone has their role, but gameplay is very open-ended, and you can really get into telling stories about why you could not possibly be the murderer and why it is definitely, 100% that other person over there.
12. Run, Fight, or Die!
Theme: Zombies / Apocalypse
Mechanics: Dice Rolling / Yahtzee Mechanic (Roll dice, save some, re-roll); Push Your Luck; Variable Player Powers
Why it’s great for Halloween: What’s more spooky than zombies?? Well, possibly a number of things depending on who you ask. But! That doesn’t make this game any less great if you want to get a horror game to the table. This game also has great zombie miniatures so the aesthetic makes it even better for the Halloween season. Take on the role of one of the survivors of the zombie apocalypse and roll those dice to escape the oncoming hordes!
11. Terrors of London
Theme: Steampunk Horror; Monsters (Undead, Beats, Spirits)
Mechanics: Deck Building; Hand Management; Variable Player Powers
Why it’s great for Halloween: The theme of this one is on point, and the art on these cards really draws you into the theme even further. It’s got plenty of your classic monsters in there (werewolves, ghouls, and much more) and the game’s use of factions really lends itself to making some awesome card combos. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a spooky deck builder.
10. Disney Villainous
Theme: Disney Villains vying for ultimate rule
Mechanics: Variable Player Powers; Hand Management; Take That
Why it’s great for Halloween: To me, Disney Villains are a huge part of Halloween. When I was younger, one of my favorite traditions was watching my Mickey’s House of Villains VHS over and over around this time of year. This game puts the villains in their element, and lets you take the wheel and try to lead them to victory (a nice twist, if you ask me). It’s great for any family or group who really like Disney and wants to try their favorite villain on for size!
9. Welcome To … Halloween
Theme: Halloween! / Trick-or-Treating
Mechanics: Flip-and-Write; Pattern Building
Why it’s great for Halloween: If you feel you’re a bit too old to actually go trick-or-treating, this is a great alternative! It takes the great system of Welcome To and adds in ghosts and candy for players to claim as they go door to door. It is a great, and very thematic, alternative to the original. (Note: This is an expansion, so you will need the base game to play. Which is why it’s a little higher on the list).
Unfortunately, not pictures of this one since I don’t own it, and apparently didn’t ever take any in past plays.
Theme: Werewolves (Also Werewolf, the game)
Mechanics: 1 vs Many / Team Play; Hidden Roles; Deduction; Voting; Word Game
Why it’s great for Halloween: I know tons of people loves Werewolf, which would be good for the season, but I’ve never been big on it. This utilizes that game’s roles, but turns the game into a word game + 20 questions stye, and it really works well! I believe there’s a free app to go along with it, but if you don’t want to use that, you could probably write up some words ahead of time and choose from a hat or something like that – and you could use all the spooky words you can think of!
Theme: Building and bringing your monster to life!
Mechanics: Grid Movement; Dice Rolling; PvP (Attacks); Set Collection; Variable Character Powers (not player powers – multiple players can have the same pieces, giving the same abilities)
Why it’s great for Halloween: The story of Frankenstein and his monster is a classic Halloween-y tale. This really brings that idea to life (get it? … I’m definitely funny…). Players move around collecting pieces to bring back to the lab and create the best monster they can. Each piece gives them different stats and abilities, and there’s so many different ways you can pur these monsters together. It’s really thematic, a little silly, and a lot of fun!
6. Lovecraft Letter
Mechanics: Deduction; Bluffing; Hand Management; Player Elimination
Why it’s great for Halloween: If you like the Love Letter game, and you’re looking for something a bit creepier to play, this is a great choice! At the core, this plays the same with trying to get players eliminated by guessing what’s in their hands, but it also has a mechanic that can cause players to lose their sanity, and plays can win by being sane or insane, so it changes things up a bit. Cthulhu is a very common Halloween time / horror theme, but if you’re not into the heavier games that the character can sometimes be part of, this is an excellent choice for something lighter, simple, and pretty quick.
Theme: Psychics attempting to communication with a spirit to solve a murder
Mechanics: Cooperative Play; Limited Communication (ghost player can not speak); Deduction
Why it’s great for Halloween: If you’ve ever wanted to hold a seance in your home, but just weren’t sure how (we don’t need to tell anyone if it’s actually just cause you’re scared) then this game is for you! It’s incredibly thematic, and if you dim the lights and bit and light some candles, it will really create a spooky mood everyone can get into. It’s perfect for Halloween game night!
Theme: Ghosts scaring away hotel guests
Mechanics: Dice Rolling; Worker Placement
Why it’s great for Halloween: Instead of getting spooked by ghosts, you get to be one! (And not just the kind under a white sheet with holes cut into it). This is another game that just feels really thematic and, while a little silly, gets you thinking of who might be the best guests to scare on your turn. There’s a little luck in the dice rolls, but cards can help you strategize to come out the winner!
3. Betrayal at House on the Hill
Theme: Various horror stories about a haunted house and a traitorous friend
Mechanics: Exploration; Modular Board; Map Building; Role Playing; Player Elimination; Traitor; Team Play; Variable Player Stats
Why it’s great for Halloween: If you ever wanted to be a main character in one of those scary stories ’round the campfire, this game is your chance. The game starts off as some friends exploring a house, until the haunt begins, forcing one or more of you into being a traitor (sometimes it’s the house VS the players, but one player is most usually the traitor). The haunt book has a multitude of different narratives players can be thrown into, so the game is a bit different every time. The stories are engaging and the game itself is perfect for a dark and stormy night. If you’re looking to play through a spooky game all October long, Betrayal Legacy is a great choice to get your group through the house over and over again.
2. Haunt the House
Theme: Ghosts scaring ghost hunters
Mechanics: Hand Management; Push Your Luck; Set Collection
Why it’s great for Halloween: If that box doesn’t scream “haunted house that the kids dare each other to enter on Halloween,” I don’t know what will! Similar to Ghostel, Haunt the House has you take on the role of the ghost instead of the humans/victims, and you are trying to be the best at scaring them off! Phantom cards act as your allies to help you on your quest to rid the house of pesky ghost hunters. While this one is pretty family friendly, it still has that creepy theme and it’s great for Halloween with the kids or with friends.
1. Dead of Winter
Theme: Zombie Apocolypse
Mechanics: Bluffing; Deduction; Cooperative / Semi-Cooperative Play; Potential Hidden Traitor; Dice Rolling; Hand Management; Variable Player Powers; Voting
Why it’s great for Halloween: Dead of Winter is easily my favorite zombie game out there. I love how thematic it is in bringing different characters from all walks of life together, and giving each player a hidden objective so that they have additional motivations outside of just helping the camp. You can play full cooperative, or have a hidden traitor (which is what I prefer) which can add a lot of depth to the game and lead you to suspect everyone and maybe even vote them “off the island,” so to speak. Triggering crossroads cards is also an awesome mechanic as it can often show players the consequences of their actions. The game is vastly different every play, and it’s perfect if you want a zombie game on Halloween.
- Nightmare/Atmosfear – A roll-and-move game with a video/DVD and players are racing to collect keys and make it to the middle of the board, all while obeying the every word of The Gatekeeper on the video. It’s very silly, but has a creepy vibe to it which fits the Halloween season well. Not included on the main list since it’s out of print.
- Dicke Luft in der Gruft (AKA Dawn Under) – A memory game where players are racing to bury all of their vampires in the appropriately colored coffins. Not included on the main list since, I believe, it’s OOP.
- Vampire Hunter – A roll-and-move game where players fight monsters and collect weapons as they go, to ultimately defeat the vampire Drakus. The light up towers really makes the aesthetics of this game, meant to be played in the dark. Not included on the main list as it’s OOP.
- Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game – Themed around our favorite Halloween cereal characters, Count Dracula and his yummy friends, this trick-taking game with variable player powers will have you wanting a bowl of cereal after every play. Not included in the main list because it’s not very “spooky,” but the theme is great for Halloween, especially for kids.
- Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion – This escape room in a box plays just like a classic episode of whodunit cartoon, and creates a slightly creepy vibe as you try to solve the mystery. Not included on the main list since it’s a one-time play, but if you’re only going to play 1 game this Halloween, and you’re playing with kids or fans of the show, it’s an awesome choice.
Happy Halloween Gaming~