Don’t let dogs have all the fun this Halloween! It’s easy to organize a Halloween activity with horses at your boarding stable or even a public equestrian area. Kids who ride can enjoy safe Halloween games and events with their horses or ponies. Adults can join in, too. Nobody is too old for Halloween. As a bonus, costuming your horse and/or playing mounted games will help expose the horse to new sights, sounds and experiences, reducing the likelihood and frequency of future spooking.
A costume contest is a creative, classic Halloween activity. When you throw horses into the mix, the real fun begins. If you’ve got an exceptionally talented batch of entrants, up the difficulty level by requiring that the horse and rider’s costumes go together. You could also specify a theme, like “Creatures of the Neight,” “Witches and Forelocks,” or “Monster (bran) Mash.”
Have your Halloween partiers take up their witches’ brooms and play Broom Ball for a great time! Be prepared for some horses to be spooked by the brooms and balls. This is definitely a helmets-required activity.
The game is played like Polo, but with a giant plastic exercise ball and brooms with which to push it around. Mark off goal posts at each side of the arena using jumping standards or orange traffic cones. Divide into teams (scary costumes vs. silly costumes?) and battle to whack the plastic ball through the other team’s goal posts. First team to score five points wins, if everyone stays on their horses long enough to play a full game.
Bobbing for Ghoul Food
This game works best for a few young, impressionable children and some devious adult helpers. Divide into relay teams, positioning an adult helper at each relay team’s end zone at the other side of the arena with a big bowl containing peeled grapes, some damp cooked spaghetti noodles, gummi worms and any other items you choose to include.
Each kid should ride their horse or pony down to the end zone, dismount and be blindfolded. While blindfolded, they must reach into the bowl of food (make sure they can’t see it as they ride down and dismount) and pick out a handful of “ghoul food” to eat. Meanwhile, the helper should describe in as much gross, graphic detail as possible the items the child is touching.
If she touches the peeled grapes, the helper should groan, “Oh, no, the severed eyeballs! Plucked from the faces of the ghoul’s victims over the last 100 years! They’re still oozing disgusting eyeball fluid!” Spaghetti noodles can be brains or intestines, gummi worms should be worms, and so on and so forth.
After each rider has eaten a handful of ghoul food while blindfolded and then (if necessary) been told what they really ate, they can remount, race back to the starting line and high-five the next rider in line to start his or her turn.