Nighttime Wide Games for Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers



Materials Needed

A large open space, hiding spots are necessary

Traffic cones (optional) 

Hula hoop (optional)

This one is insanely popular with all ages. Minimum age of 7 or 8 is recommend as anything younger is hard to teach.

This game is basically hide and seek meets red light green light. Choose a counter (preferably a leader/staff member). Their job is to regulate the game and call people out.

Pick 5-7 checkpoints in a circular shape spread out around the start/finish zone. These points can be cones laid out or ‘that garbage can near the light post’ or ‘that large tree.’

The goal of the runners is to tag all the points and get back to the start zone without being seen by the counter. The counter must remain firmly in the same spot. The runners start running when the counter yells out a number. The counter will choose a number in their head (never less than five, usually never more than ten). He/she will then close his/her eyes and yell out that number very loudly followed by either ‘fast’, ‘medium’, or ‘slow’. this dictates how many times the counter will say the word ‘DOT’ in between numbers

Fast = one DOT

Medium = two DOTS

Slow = three DOTS

For example, if the counter yells ‘SIX MEDIUM’, they will then yell out ‘SIX DOT DOT FIVE DOT DOT FOUR DOT DOT THREE DOT DOT TWO DOT DOT ONE DOT DOT UP’

Once the counter opens their eyes, they call out people they see. It’s the runner’s objective to be hidden from the counter’s central point of view. The counter looks around for 5-20 seconds, thinks of another number, yells it, and starts counting again.

The tricky part is the counter isn’t trying to get people out, just regulating the game. The counter can know someone is hiding behind that tree/wall/bush, but if they can’t see the runner, that runner is safe.

If you’re playing with a large group, do a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.


female detective | Female detective, Detective aesthetic, Detective

Campfire Game

Mafia is a classic campfire game played at many youth camps, summer camps and scout camps before. In some ways, it’s quite a simple game but only after understanding the structure and complexities with how the different roles interact with one another.


Everyone will need to be sitting in a circle – this can be on the ground, on chair or logs around a campfire. Before starting the game, ensure all the rules and roles are explained clearly. The better everyone understands the game, the more straightforward the game will run.


  • Leader–The Narrator and Game-Master who leads the game play and gives instructions
  • Mafia–works in secret to take out Villagers
  • Doctor–can save people
  • Detective–learns player identities in secret
  • Villagers–everyone else who will try to figure out who the mafia is and vote them out


Everyone sits on chairs in a circle with their eyes shut. The leader taps the head of a person or people who will be mafia. Then the leader announces next person to be tapped is a doctor, then the next is a detective. Now all eyes can open.

Each round goes like this:

The leader asks everyone to close their eyes, then asks the mafia to open their eyes and point out who they want to kill. They close their eyes again.

Next the doctor is allowed to open their eyes. They point at someone to be immune to attack. The doctor then closes their eyes again.

Next the detective opens their eyes and points at someone who they think is guilty. The narrator nods yes or no to the accused for the detective. The detective then closes their eyes again.

Now, everyone opens their eyes. The narrator tells a creative story of the murder that took place last night. If the doctor saved the right person, they say the person was saved. If not, that person has a dramatic death scene.

Now the youth get to accuse people and try to plead their innocence. Eventually leader helps figure out who they think is guilty and puts the person up for trial. By a show of hands, see if a majority think that person is mafia. If so, and they are not mafia they die. If they are mafia, the town wins.

The game continues with murder after murder until any and all mafia are caught, or all the villagers are dead.

Book Smugglers

Materials Needed

books, whistle or car horn

You will need a decent sized property for this game.

Before you start the game you explain to the youth how certain books have been banned throughout history because their ideas were considered “dangerous” or didn’t align with the moral thinking of the time or place . The youth will carry a book in their hands and only in their hands.

A leader leads the youth down to the furthest point of the property from the building.

When they hear a whistle or car horn they must make their way from one end of the property back to the starting point.

Meanwhile the leaders are hiding around the property and are known as the “Authoritarians” and have to catch the youth and take their books.

This game must be played at night! Heaps of fun!

Ghost in the Graveyard

Basically this is a game of reverse hide-and-go-seek. Select a pair of players to be ghosts. They go and hide somewhere in the playing area.

While they are hiding, the rest of the group gathers at the “home” or “safe” area, closes their eyes and counts (loudly), “One, o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock…” all the way up to “Midnight!”.

Then the kids fan out through the playing area, looking for the ghosts. If a player spots one of the ghosts, they yell “Ghost in the graveyard, run, run, RUN!” This warns all the kids to race back to the safe area.

At the cry of “ghosts in the graveyard”, the ghosts, too, are free to move and chase the players. Anyone they tag becomes a ghost in the next round.

So in the first round of the game you only have one or two ghosts, but as the game progresses, you may have many ghosts all at the same time. Regardless of which ghost is spotted first, once a player yells “Ghost in the graveyard, run, run, RUN!”, ALL the ghosts are free to run. This is one of the elements that makes this game scary, since a player could be concentrating on a ghost she can see, only to turn around and find another ghost emerging from a hiding spot!

I prefer to play it right at dusk. The changing light makes for a suitably creepy ambiance, but it’s still possible to see tripping hazards in the playing area.

A Light in the Darkness

Quotes about Light of knowledge (69 quotes)

Materials Needed

Glow in the dark bracelets or necklaces, 2-3 dark robes, 2-3 masks, a “Library” (large stick, pool  noodle, whatever) with a light of some kind attached to it.

This is best played with low lights and room to run and hide. You will need enough glow bracelets for everyone once they become “Enlightened”. It also helps to have hooded robes for the Ignorant.

1. Use a pole with a light attached. Everyone starts out being, “lost” in the dark with a base of some kind where they return to if caught. You can either choose 2-3, “Ignorants” beforehand or have some surprise guest adults join in as Ignorants. 

2. The lost are looking for the lighted Library. While they are looking the Ignorant can tag them and escort them back to base where they have to stay for a 5 minutes or have them do jumping jacks, etc.

3. If The Lost find the lighted Library, a helper at the Library will give them a glow bracelet signifying they, “have the found the light” of Knowledge. The helper will also give the Enlightened ones a poem, scientific fact, or quote on a piece of paper they have to read out loud to chase off Ignorants trying to stop them. The helper also gives them a paper slip with a CLUE for The Lost as to where the Library can be found. 

4. The Enlightened now try to find The Lost and give them the clue to the lighted Library. The Ignorant have to work in pairs to harass the Enlightened but can go solo to catch The Lost.

5. The goal is to seek and save The Lost. A variation is to only give out a few bracelets and to have the Enlightened try to get as many lost to the Library as they can. The Lost also can have the option of staying or leaving once they get to the Library.

6. Most importantly, be sure to talk it over with youth when done. Ask questions about parallels with Knowledge vs Ignorance, and why it’s important to seek knowledge.

Alien Invasion

Materials Needed


1) Give several players a glowstick for the game, which they will wear around their wrists. Obviously, the game is played at night–preferably outdoors, at a camp.

2) Explain the following situation as if it were real: Most of the camp facilitators actually aliens. They are now wandering around the camp grounds, searching for youth to capture. The goal is to neutralize all the aliens.

3) Select certain areas around the camp grounds to be the safe points. Youth can stay in those places as long as they wish without getting tagged–the aliens cannot enter those areas.

4) However, the “free” area can be accessed by all players. If someone gets tagged by an alien there, they will be guided to the alien base, a small area that humans can’t enter unless they’ve been tagged. It serves as a prison for the tagged players, and should always be guarded by aliens at one time or another. A human can attempt to escape, but if they are tagged, they have to return to the base.

5) This is where the humans with the glowsticks around their wrists come in. These humans are the “Elites,” and they can tag an alien if they see one. If an alien is tagged by an Elite, they are “freed” and wait in a selected area until the game is over, which happens when all of the aliens are “freed” or all of the humans are in the alien Base.

6) The Elites cannot hide their glowsticks. Period.

7) The humans are encouraged to help the Elites catch the aliens by bunching around them in groups so the aliens don’t see them coming.

8) An Elite cannot tag an alien if they are escorting a human to the Alien Base.

9) The game can be played inside as long as you are in a very large building with multiple floors. The lights should be turned off.

10) Have epic fun!

Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie apocalypse clipart

Materials Needed

Good running shoes.

How to Play: Basically, there will be three teams. One is the Zombies, one is the Survivors, the last is The Immune.

The goal of this game is for the Survivors to get back to the starting point without being tagged by a zombie. The starting point can be wherever you like a classroom, the playground, the grass, etc. Wherever you choose is where the Zombies and The Immune start off.

After you choose the starting point, the Survivors will have to run to a spot where they think is secretive enough for the zombies not to tag them.

A minute after the Survivors find their hiding spot, the Zombies come out and look for them and then tag them.

A minute after THAT The Immune come out. Basically what The Immune do is lead/guide the Survivors back to the starting point. Zombies cannot tag Helpers, so that gives the Survivors a chance to get back safer.

The Immune can circle around a group of Survivors to take them back or they can run behind the Survivors.

Some of the Survivors, of course, cannot get help from The Immune, so they have to get back themselves.

If one of the Survivors get tagged by a Zombie, they become one. So be careful to watch out for zombies!

The Survivors/ Survivor that make it back to the starting point without getting tagged wins! 😀

Additional Rules:

– Make sure you split up the teams where there are a few more Zombies then Survivors and Immune.

– This game usually only works when you have a large group of people.

– Zombies are allowed to reach through gaps that The Immune don’t cover when they surround Survivors.

– Make sure the Zombies don’t tackle the Survivors to the ground because then it’ll hurt.

If you are socially distancing, give the Zombies pool noodles.  They can only tag someone with a pool noodle.

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