Fun & Games
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Cabin Night Games

The fun doesn't have to stop when the sun goes down!
By Andy Bennett
Published: March 1, 2012
It seems there's never enough time at the cabin. It's hard enough to give up 8 precious hours a day to sleep, let alone having to tuck away the water toys and cut the hikes short when dusk settles in. Kids can have an even harder time letting the sun slip away for the day; they're less likely than us adults to quietly enjoy the latest Stephen King spine-chiller beside a roaring fire.

So, after dinner's eaten and cleaned up, why not send them back outside? With a little adult supervision and these great ideas, they'll fill the night with as much fun and laughter as the afternoon boat ride.
cabin night games flashlight tag
Flashlight tag is a classic night game that many of us played during our childhood – and some of us keep playing it long into adulthood (guilty!). It mixes elements of regular tag and hide-and-seek with a dash of scary-movie thrills. The rules are simple, the thrills are ample, and, with a little forethought, it can be safe – even when played outside at the cabin.

The equipment
All you need are some friends, a safe outdoor area and enough flashlights to go around. Be sure to check and/or replace the batteries in those flashlights, since finding yourself in the middle of a rousing game with
a dead flashlight can be more than a little dispiriting.

The setup
Pick a safe outdoor location: Look for an area free of small ground obstacles like rocks and tree roots that also has many large items that you can hide behind.

Ideally, you want to use a place that everyone is familiar with in daylight so they have a general lay of the land when they’re under starlight.

Good spots to try: around the cabin (where ambient light from inside can help players see a bit better) or around outbuildings, like sheds and gazebos. If they’re not too devoid of hiding spaces, the driveway area or the lawn may also be good candidates.

Avoid letting players venture too far into the treeline, where the hiding spots might be best but the tripping dangers are the worst. Besides, you don’t want anyone to get lost!

Designate home base: The deck or back door stoop will be ideal for this.

The rules
Pick a single player to be “It.” This player must wait on home base and count to 20 while the other players hide in the dark.

The “It” player then uses his or her flashlight, which must stay on at all times and cannot be covered, to hunt for the other players.

The other players are free to move from hiding spot to hiding spot during the round; their goal is to return to home base without getting “tagged.”

Players are “tagged” when the “It” player catches them in his or her flashlight beam and shouts their name.
The first player tagged in each round becomes “It” in the next round.
cabin night games capture the flag
If you’ve got a lot of friends or family looking to get outside for a little night-game fun, consider this camp classic. Combining elements of tag, hide-and-seek and even a little bit of that dodgeball team spirit, it’s a perfect game for a large group.

The equipment
You just need some players, the same safe playing area you used for flashlight tag, and two makeshift flags on makeshift flag polls (bandanas on sticks work just fine).

The setup
Divide players into two equal teams. Both teams should agree on a middle point in the playing field. This is the middle boundary line.

Decide on side and back boundary lines as well. This creates the playing field. Then, each team hides their flag on their side of the playing field.

The rules
Play begins with players on both teams venturing into the other team’s territory in search of the flag. The goal is to grab the flag and return to your side of the playing field without getting caught.

If you spot a player from the opposing team on your side of the playing field, you can catch them, either by tagging them or hugging them and shouting “Caught!” three times.

Once a player is caught, they can either be removed from the game entirely, placed in “Jail” – a location off of the playing field where they wait in the hopes that their teammates will retrieve the flag, thereby freeing them – or they can be forced to join the other team.

Gameplay continues until one player finds the opposing team’s flag and returns with it to their side of the playing field.
cabin night games ghosts in the graveyard
This game is scary enough to thrill older kids, yet harmless enough that even young ones can play.

The equipment
All you need are players and a safe playing area.

The setup
Designate home base. This can either be the back door, the deck or a specific object, like a flagpole or tree.

The rules
Choose one player to be the “Ghost.” The rest of the players place their hand on home base while the ghost runs into the playing field and hides.

While the ghost hides, the players count: “One o’clock and all is right. Hope I don’t see a ghost tonight!” They continue, counting up to midnight and then shouting: “Midnight! The ghost is loose!”

The players leave home base and search for the ghost. When the ghost feels there are enough players near his or her hiding spot, the ghost leaps out and tags as many players as possible. The players, meanwhile, run for home base.

Any player who makes it to home base is safe for the round. Any player who is tagged becomes a ghost in
the next round.

Play continues like this until all players have been caught by the ghosts. The last player captured becomes the solo ghost in the next game.
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