I grew up in a cul de sac. The sort of dead end street where the kids got kicked out the front door on the first warm spring day, only to be called back inside at twilight when the fireflies were flashing.
There were a ton of kids in my cul de sac and the surrounding blocks and warm summer nights were inevitably filled with games of football, basketball, and my favorite, “Ghost at Midnight”, which I’m going to share the rules for!
We packed our own snacks and spent our hours outdoors, which is something I want to encourage in my kids this summer. I try to have healthy grab & go options like GoGo squeeZ on hand for this reason. GoGo squeeZ believes in the simple mantra of “always play” and is putting this belief to work through the “Pass the Play” campaign with the goal of bringing the simple joy of play to those who need it most across the country. (They’ve also just released an Apple Cherry flavor that’s pretty popular around here.)
I loved to play outdoors but I wasn’t a terribly competitive kid. Keeping score and making baskets never help me for very long. I’d purposely get “out” when I played HORSE at the basketball hoop so I could go practice my cartwheels and handstands in peace on the thick cushion-y grass of the next door neighbor’s yard. But when it came to Ghost at Midnight… I was all in.
What I loved about this game was that it was exciting. It was just the littlest bit scary with out being truly frightening. Like a thrilling theme park ride where your heart pounds and you get a great adrenaline rush. It was filled with imagination. Imagine if the big kid next door really WAS a ghost?! Can I really run faster than him? Can anybody see me?! Oh the drama!
There was strategy as well. One had to hide expertly, run fast and be very brave. You never knew when a “ghost” might sneak up on you.
It’s a simple game, and I’m sure every neighborhood had their own variation but I thought I’d share how we played it, as I intend to bust this one out for my own kids this summer.
Ghost at Midnight Rules
1. First of all you need a passel of kids. You need at least four but up to ten or twelve for the most fun.
2. Second you need to determine the Ghost. This can be done using a coin toss, rock/paper/scissors etc.
3. Third you need to establish a home base and a designated playing field. Home base can be a tree, a rock, or even a chalk island drawn in the middle of a driveway. It has to be large enough for everyone playing to be able to touch and/or stand on at once. The playing field should have distinct borders such as ; “the grassy area from here to the tall trees and between the sidewalk and our house”. Take a moment to define the play area as you don’t want to lose anyone!
4. To play the game the “Ghost” sits on the home base and hides their eyes while everyone else runs and hides within the playing field. The ghost counts slowly, loudly, chanting, “One o’Clock! Two o’Clock! Three o’Clock!” and so on up till 12. When they get to 12 they yell “Ghost at Midnight!!!”
5. The Ghost’s job now is to tag players before they can get back to home base. They must search for a player. If a player is seen by the ghost they must yell “Ghost at Midnight!” before attempting to dash back to safety. Hidden players can also try to get back to safety before being seen but they must yell “Ghost at Midnight!” before they dash, and in doing so, identify themselves and their location.
6. If a player is tagged by the ghost, they become a ghost as well.
7. When all the players have been tagged and/or returned to base, a new round begins. If there are multiple ghosts, they count together.
8. The game continues until everyone has been caught and turned into a ghost or everyone’s mother calls them in for the night.
I have partnered with GoGo squeeZ over the past few months as part of their “Pass The Play” Campaign. I have been compensated for my posts, but as usual all opinions are my own.
GoGo squeeZ is the first squeezable, re-sealable, no-mess, 100% fruit, no-sugar added applesauce based snack for kids in the U.S. It’s packaged in convenient re-sealable pouches with a built-in straw, making it a no-spoon, no-mess way to enjoy 3/4 serving of fruit on-the-go — no refrigeration required. We go through so much we buy it in bulk at Costco!
I’m enjoying the Pass the Play Campaign (and my son enjoyed his ball!). To get an idea of some of the games other kids are playing you have to watch this cute video where GoGo squeeZ asked kids “If you could invent a game where anything could happen, what would it be?
To learn more about the campaign and help promote a healthy, outdoor fun for kids this summer, visit GoGo squeeZ’s Facebook Page.