When the sun has set but you're not ready to stop playing outside, you still have many options for activities. There are some games that can actually only be played under the cover of darkness. These games make creative use of flashlights, darkness and your imagination and may give you hours of entertainment.
Flashlight tag combines elements of tag and hide-and-seek into one game. It must be played in complete darkness. To play this game, choose one person to be “it.” “It” is the only player who gets a flashlight and starts with it off while the other players hide. If you are "it," switch your flashlight on when you are ready to start searching. Pan your environment, looking for friends. When you think you recognize someone, shine your flashlight on that person and shout his name.
Several variations exist about how each round of the game finishes. In one variation, after you have found the first person a new round may begin with this person as the new “it.” Another option is that this person is put in a space called jail. As “it,” you can guard jail with your flashlight while you look for more people, while players who have not been spotted yet can tag those captured in jail and free them if they avoid the flashlight beam.
Ghosts in the Graveyard
Another game that is best suited to night time play is ghosts in the graveyard. In contrast with flashlight tag, this game involves only one person hiding and the rest seeking. Before the round starts, one player is chosen to be the ghost. The ghost will hide inside the designated boundaries. If you are not the ghost, you and other players will stand at a spot designated as home base and count with your flashlights off to give the ghost time to hide. Count aloud--"one o'clock, two o'clock..."--until you reach midnight. When you and the others yell midnight, spread out, turn on your flashlights and start searching for the ghost. The first person to see the ghost yells "Ghost in the graveyard.” When you hear this, you must run back to home base as quickly as possible. If you are tagged by the ghost before you reach the base, the round ends and you must be the ghost in the next round of the game.
Played outside in darkness, firefly requires three or four flashlights for the people who are going to be fireflies. If you are selected as a firefly, you must turn your flashlight on and off rapidly so the other players have a chance of locating you in the dark. They will be trying to sneak up on you and “catch” you by touching you. If you see one of them coming towards you, you are allowed to stop flashing your flashlight for approximately 30 seconds so that you can change locations without being seen. If you do not see someone coming and she catches you, you must sit out with the other fireflies until they are all captured as well. Once all the fireflies have been captured, you can play another round, rotating roles so new people are fireflies and searchers this time.
A freelance writer based in San Francisco, Ann Bartkowski began writing professionally for the New York State Department of Heath in 2006 as a science educator. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Bates College. Bartkowski has published numerous articles for various websites, specializing in nutrition, children, health and the environment.