I’m not in charge of morale in my office, but there are times when I step up and rally the spirits. Each Christmas, I’m asked to be the belligerent Santa who cracks wise and leads the White Elephant gift exchange. But Hallowe’en is my jam: my coworker and I dress up (encouraging others to, but, you know), organize the potluck lunch, and run the games.
The problem with searching online for office party games is they’re either puerile (guess the number of candy corns in a jar) or wasteful (wrap each other up in toilet paper to make a mummy). Obviously we can’t introduce drinking games, because not everybody drinks, but there’s got to be room for something a little more interesting.
I’ve been a long-time fan of comedian Paul F. Tompkins. Among his many podcast projects is one called Threedom, which he hosts with Lauren Lapkus and Scott Aukerman. I find them hysterically funny in ways I can’t explain to friends and loved ones. I listened to an episode where they reviewed all the games they’ve played in previous episodes: rhythm games, matching games, improv games, &c. They performed one they called Christmas Find-Out-Who Game and I realized it would come in handy for my office party.
What you also need to appreciate is that I’ve been in charge of the last three Halloween party games, and these have been met with varying degrees of success. Two years ago I made a trivia game presentation where players had to guess the etymologies of supernatural creatures and match nations with their honoring-the-dead holiday traditions. Kinda more thinking than partiers want to do. In 2015 I made a game out of the noises ghosts make in different languages, which was interesting but not rousing. I also ran a straight-up horror movie trivia game in 2016 which was more daunting than crowd-pleasing, perhaps.
To burnish my reputation for daunting party games, I appropriated the Find-Out-Who game and came up with some Halloween-themed questions. Rules are as follows:
Provide everyone with paper and pens. Have them number their page 1 to 20. Read each condition aloud: players must guess who in their group it is true for. One guess per line, but names can be used as often as applies, and players can vote for themselves.
For scoring, reread each condition and have the players for whom it’s true raise their hands.
- Stole their kids’ candy
- Believes in ghosts
- Has seen a ghost
- Went trick-or-treating as a teenager
- Watches Nightmare Before Christmas each year
- Has ever dressed up as a “sexy” anything
- Has a terrible hangover after a Halloween party
- Is a big fan of horror movies
- Cannot stand horror movies
- Hands out nutritious snacks to trick-or-treaters
- Makes big production of decorating yard/house
- Has ever used a Ouija board
- Is frightened of black cats
- Knows all the words to “Monster Mash”
- Can perform the “Thriller” dance
- Has legit attempted to cast a spell
- Doesn’t enjoy candy corn
- Is terrified of clowns
- Would be raid/offense in zombie apocalypse
- Would be support/defense in zombie apocalypse
You must limit the answers to people who are actually in the group, because they have to be confirmed by these people. Some of these may need explanation.
- Number 1: If you take the candy away but ration it to the kids, that’s not stealing.
- Number 3: If you haven’t seen a ghost but have seen evidence of a ghost (e.g.: items moving on their own), that counts.
- Numbers 13 and 18: You don’t have to be absolutely horror-struck by clowns or black cats.
- Number 15: If someone gets up and does any of the “Thriller” choreography, that’s good enough.
- Number 16: This does not count wishes or imprecatory prayer.
- Number 19: Raid/offense means the party that goes out to forage for supplies, explore safe areas, pick off small threats.
- Number 20: Support/defense means first aid, cooking, psychological support, and protecting the perimeter from intrusion.
Anyway, I tried this out today and it was a blast. Everyone was super into it and thanked me afterward, so I’m on the long swim back to redemption.