top of page
  • Writer's pictureTerry Withers

Halloween Team Building Activities (Improv-Based, But Of Course)

Corporate types enjoying some light improv fun just before a blood sacrifice
Corporate types enjoying some light improv fun just before a blood sacrifice

Whenever I teach an improv-based corporate workshop I always look for ways to make them as much fun as possible (naturally). One good way to do that is to be aware of what's going on in the larger culture at the time of the workshop. Upcoming holidays often influence the types of exercises that I'll bring to a group.


Today I thought I would focus on Halloween. 


What follows are a couple of Halloween themed exercises that you could use at an improv-based corporate workshop or any event (really) that you might be looking for an ice breaker or a fun palate cleanser for. Just so it is clear, to keep everyone engaged and energized I would not use all of the following exercises in the same workshop unless a client had specifically asked me to provide a Halloween themed improv-based workshop. But I do think that one or two of these exercises sewn into a larger event that doesn't feel overly Halloween themed will serve to make your event more fun and pertinent to the people attending. 


BONUS: Probably the easiest exercise to adjust with any holiday themed flourish is Yes And Conversations. In that exercise participants are typically instructed to hold three versions of the same conversation all centered around planning an upcoming event. Given this conceit, you can very easily  adjust the exercise to be holiday themed by asking participants to make their planning conversation about planning a fill-in-the-blank-event for whatever holiday is coming up next:


July 4th. 


Halloween.


New Year's Eve.


Christmas. I think that Christmas was a holiday some people celebrate. 


Any of those holidays are suitable or any holiday at all, is perfectly suitable to use as the reason for the party planning at the start of Yes And Conversations


That's so simple and also something that so many instructors already do, I don't even feel like it counts as an example for this blog post.  I just thought I'd throw it in here at the intro so that you knew about it as an option. 


Okay getting on to the good stuff. Here are a few specific Halloween team building activities for an improv-based event.  Some of these have been around awhile and others are brand new.


Halloween Team Building Activities


COSTUME PARTY (BRAND NEW)


Duration:

15-20 Minute 


Objective:

To encourage creativity, build confidence/trust in yourself and your team, and foster a sense of play among participants.


Setup:

  • Arrange participants in a circle to create a group environment.

  • No props or costumes are necessary, but if you had the time and buy in from your client, it would be fun to ask every participant to bring a solitary Halloween costume piece or prop to enhance this exercise.


Instructions:

Start with something like, “We’re going to have a Halloween costume party! Each of you will introduce yourselves as if you are attending this party in a unique costume. Be creative and have fun with it! You'll each get 15 to 20 seconds to tell us about yourself. At key moments I'll ask some characters to interact with each other under imaginary circumstances”


NOTE: Depending on the group you are working with, you can either throw them into deep end or offer them a more moderated path. If it is a team of Sales people or litigators working on confidence or creativity, you could ask them each to speak a minute or longer. If it is researchers working on communication or presentational skills, you might prepare them for what is to come by asking them before the day of the workshop to write a 20-30 second intro of their character and to only recite their prepared remarks in this exercise.


Think of a Costume:

Give participants a moment to think of a simple costume. Encourage them to choose easily recognizable characters or concepts (e.g., a pirate, a witch, a superhero, a ghost, a pumpkin). Obviously, if you brought a Freddy Krueger glove with you as your prop, you will probably end up being a dream wraith.

 

Introduce Yourself:

  • One by one, each participant steps into the center of the circle.

  • In character, they introduce themselves, stating their name and describing their costume. 

  • They should/could also share a fun fact or a little story about their character. EXAMPLE: “Hi, I’m Captain Jack Sparrow, the notorious pirate. I sailed here on my ship, the Black Pearl, and I’m on the lookout for my lost treasure. Did you know I once tricked a sea monster into giving me directions?”


Encourage Interaction:

  • After each introduction, the facilitator can encourage brief interactions between the characters to build connections and add fun.

EXAMPLE: After Captain Jack Sparrow introduces himself, the next person might interact by saying, “Hello, Jack! I’m the Wicked Witch of the West, and I’m here to cast a spell on anyone who tries to steal your treasure!” 

  • If any combinations feel particularly fun to you try asking the participants to play out brief 20-30 second moments you suggest. 

EXAMPLE: A participant introduces their character as a banshee. Several characters later you meet a Taylor Swift. What if you asked these two characters to play out a quick scene in a recording studio where they each keep apologizing to each other for being pitchy. When Taylor sings she does sound a little pitchy, and when the banshee sings it is an unholy screech of despair promising doom.  


That scenario is only for really extroverted sales people with theater degrees, but I bet it would be fun and more importantly, you get how to throw the characters together yeah?.


Repeat:

Continue until everyone has had a turn to introduce their character and interact a little.


ZOMBIE CIRCLE (CLASSIC EXERCISE)


Duration:

5-10 Minutes


Objective:

To enhance group trust, quick thinking, improve name recall, and foster a sense of play among participants.


Setup:

  • Participants stand in a circle.

  • Designate one person to start as the zombie in the center.


Instructions:

Introduce the game wit something like, "We’re going to play a game called Zombie Circle. One of you will start as a zombie in the center of the circle. The zombie will slowly stumble towards someone in the circle. The target can save themselves by calling out another person’s name in the circle. The named person must then call out a second person’s name which redirects the zombie to that person. If the zombie reaches someone before they can redirect, the zombie and their target switch roles.”'


Zombie Movement:

  • The zombie starts in the center and picks a target to shamble towards.

  • The zombie moves slowly and dramatically, maintaining a spooky, shambling walk.


Saving and Redirecting:

  • When the zombie is approaching, the target saves themselves by calling out another participant’s name.

  • The named person must quickly call out a second participant’s name to redirect the zombie.

  • The zombie then changes direction and moves towards the second named person.

NOTE: There is strategy here. If the zombie is moving toward Peter, and Becky is standing next to Peter in the circle, well it probably wouldn't work out well for Becky if you redirected the zombie from Peter to her.


Switching Roles:

  • If the zombie reaches their target before a name is called, or if someone hesitates too long, the zombie and their target switch roles.

  • The new zombie moves to the center, and the game continues.

  • Play continues with the zombie moving around the circle, and participants calling out names to redirect them.

  • Encourage quick thinking and clear communication to keep the game dynamic and fun.


Variation

This variation is pretty tough, but groups that show aptitude at this can tackle it. Here is the variation: Whoever the zombie is moving toward cannot speak. Instead they can only make eye contact. Whoever they make eye contact with knows they are being asked for help and therefore calls out a name to redirect the zombie.


Spooky Story Pass (BRAND NEW, BUT SO DERIVATIVE IT FEELS CLASSIC!)


Objective: 

To encourage creativity, build storytelling skills, and foster collaboration among participants.


Duration:

10-15 minutes


Setup:

  • Participants form a circle.


Instructions:

Facilitator explains the game: “We’re going to create a spooky story together. Each of you will add one sentence to the story, and we’ll go around the circle until we have a complete spooky tale.”


Starting the Story:

  • The facilitator starts with a Halloween-themed opening sentence to set the scene.

EXAMPLE:

Player 1: “On a dark and stormy Halloween night, a group of friends gathered in an old, abandoned house…”

Player 2: "Suddenly there was a strange ringing in my left ear!"

Player 3: "It was an extra dimensional presence trying to communicate."

Player 4: "Oh no! I thought, my phone plan doesn't do good with roaming charges."


Passing the Story:

  • The person to the left of the facilitator adds the next sentence to the story.

  • Each participant takes turns adding one sentence at a time, building on the previous contributions.

  • Encourage participants to listen carefully and build logically and creatively on what has been said.

  • This is a good exercise in which to share the improv saying, REMEMBER, DON'T INVENT. If a participant isn't sure what to say next, they can always essentially repeat the same thing someone was saying before.


Encouraging Creativity:

  • Encourage participants to add elements of suspense, humor, and surprise to keep the story engaging, but warn them against being so creative it feels as though they haven't been listening.

  • Remind them to keep their sentences concise to maintain the flow of the story.


Concluding the Story:

  • Continue around the circle until the story reaches a natural conclusion or everyone has had a chance to contribute several times.

  • The facilitator can help guide the story to a close if needed, ensuring it wraps up cohesively.


Additional Tips:

  • Encourage all participants to engage actively and support each other’s contributions.

  • Keep the atmosphere light and playful to make everyone feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

  • Celebrate the creativity and teamwork displayed during the game.


And there you have it, 3 (maybe 4) Halloween themed team building games for you to lead, at work or anywhere intelligent humans gather who could use a laugh and a teamwork injection!


15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page