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Ideas for night time activities

Night walks

Just like all walks/strolls there are many opportunities to talk. We generally do a night walk on the first evening. The members can get to know each other and tell the others something about themselves.

  • A night walk with treasure hunt and problem solving on the way (see below)

  • Wolfs trail: a path which is lit by candles, reflectors or tea lights should be followed alone. Where ever you are on the trail the next and the previous light can be seen. Whoever doesn’t want to go alone can go in twos and threes or simply wait for the next person. In my opinion, it is important to avoid introducing any scary aspects. A member of staff can also wait at every third or fourth light in case someone does get scared or in case a light goes out and the kids lose the way.

  • A quiet night time walk – A path should be retraced without speaking – or a path can be retraced without making any noise when stepping on leaves and branches.

Nature experiences by night

  • Camp fire
  • Experience nature at night – you can’t see anything but you can listen (all senses are concentrated on hearing)

  • Discover animals at night by torch light (small rabbit, glow worm, salamander, owl)

  • Wonder at the stars and try to discover the well-known star constellations.

  • Orienteering using a compass and the stars.

  • Walk a path through the woods while holding hands and looking upwards. Try to orienteer your way through the woods using the tree tops as a guide.

  • Get up at 3 o’clock in the morning and set off on a forest walk in order to experience the break of dawn, feel the wetness of the morning dew, experience a sunrise in the woods and with a bit of luck, observe some wild animals. Maybe you can organise something with the forester in advance. He might show the group the secrets of the forest. If a couple of mothers or camp staff wait for the group at an agreed location with fresh bread rolls and coffee or hot chocolate, its a great end to the adventure.

  • Sleep in the middle of the forest with a roll mat and sleeping bag (beware: a deer or wild pig can sometimes cross your path)

Outdoor games at night

Outdoor games at night: Capture the treasure

  • 3 Sticks

    Split the group into two teams. The teams are placed 200 metres apart and each build a pyramid using the 3 sticks. The aim of the game is that each team guards their own pyramid and at the same time tries to pull the pyramid of the other team to the ground. One point is awarded for each successful attack. This is a simple game which doesn’t require any preparation and is always popular. The pyramids can also be marked out with a torch.

  • Capture the treasure

    The group is split into two teams who are placed 200 metres apart. Each team receives a 10 x 10m playing field marked out with 4 torches (lanterns). An item of treasure (plastic bottle, reflector) is placed directly in the middle of each field. The aim of the game is to guard your own treasure and steal the treasure of the opponents and bring it back to your own camp (the square playing field). You cannot enter your own playing field unless you have the treasure of the opposing team in your hands and bring it into your own camp.

  • Smugglers game

    A classic! Try to smuggle the chosen objects from A to B. The customs officers try to stop the smuggling.

  • Hide and seek / tapping sticks

    4-5 older teenagers or members of staff hide themselves somewhere in the woods and tap two sticks together every 60 seconds to draw attention to themselves. The seekers try to find them by listening. (Don’t tap a stick on a tree trunk. Try to tap two sticks together)

  • Outdoor Adventure Game

    Find magical stones, look for a fairy, collect a magic potion from a wizard, and meet elves, trolls and witches. A game such as this needs a lot of time and preparation along with members of staff to play to various roles and dress up accordingly. I have personally experienced this type of game which started in the evening and went on late into the night. Lots of different components were all mixed up to throw a game together (solving clues, role play, card puzzles etc.).

  • Camp attack or flag robbery (see also notes on " Camp attack ")

    Important: It must be discussed and agreed in advance that no strangers are to be attacked. All group members must understand that it is only a game. Damage to objects or people is taboo (can always occur in the heat of the moment - but is true of most games).

  • Attack – defend

    Attack – defend, also a classic. The members of staff defend a ruined castle, for example, the kids try to attack the castle. Whoever touches the castle wall wins a point.

Treasure hunt / pathfinder by night

  • Mark out the way with lanterns, jam jars with tea lights, torches or oil lamps (warning: danger of fire)

  • Lay out a long string of wool through the forest. The wool shows the way. The last person should roll up the wool and bring it with him. At the end of the piece of wool is the clue for the next station.

  • A well-loved scary walk through the woods (see next section for ideas)

A scripted show to heighten the tension / horror aspects

Whoever wants to take part in the "ever popular" ghost walk can use one or the other of the following ideas. Ghost walks may become unpopular if one or the other idea is not suitable for younger children and teenagers. These should be left out. You should generally consider if effects which can lead to fear, apprehension or utter panic are really necessary.

  • Play a tape on a cassette recorder with pre-recorded noises (wolf howls, dog growls, pig squeaks, a gunshot, a scream and texts and sounds from “Home Alone”

  • Start up a chainsaw

  • A flute player plays somewhere hidden in the woods

  • Members of staff hidden in the trees crack and rustle branches and leaves.

  • A member of staff dressed as a ghost, a vampire or in a Scream costume surprises the group from the front, back or from the side or simply walks silently past the group and disappears into the woods.

  • Set out a couple of stuffed scarecrows dressed as ghosts and cover the white sheets with reflective material. Maybe you can add some candy ghosts.

  • A well camouflaged member of staff hiding in a hole which is covered with leaves suddenly jumps up in front of the group, screams and runs away.

  • A well camouflaged member of staff lies on the edge of the path and tries to touch the group members as they walk past without being noticed.

  • Hang slime and ooze across the path.

  • Squirt a water pistol out from the undergrowth

  • Cover the group in mist with a smoke bomb

  • A member of staff camouflaged as a tree speaks to the group and points the way.

  • Music: Monk Songs, The Death March,

  • Camouflage a water hole with a camouflage net (kids paddling pool, or a hole in the earth filled with water) and lead the kids past the spot.

  • A camouflage net falls on the group from above or blocks their exit causing a dead end and the kids wonder where the path is which they have just taken.

  • Dazzle the group members with a strong torch together with clouds of smoke, noises, and a loud-speaker/megaphone. It might lead to a great show.

  • Tell some ghost stories (see ghost stories...), or think up a story yourself where the kids aren’t sure if it’s true or not (buried body, escaped prisoner, wild dog …) Telling the stories directly beforehand or at the beginning of the night time activity makes it much scarier. Unfortunately some become too scared and it is therefore better to avoid stories where it is difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction or seriousness and fun.

Not such a good idea:

  • A doll filled with straw on the path or swinging through the trees in front of the group.

  • A doll or a member of staff pretending to be a corpse lying on the path.

  • In the distance, a parked car has the head lights switched on and someone carries a straw doll (or a light member of staff) from the car and digs a hole.

  • Kidnapping of group members if this has not been agreed in advance.

  • Running at the kids with a chainsaw (even if the chain is missing)

A night in the woods

A night in the forest or in the wilderness is a special experience but is unfortunately not always possible and needs some preparation. Where could you spend the night?

  • Hikers huts
  • Barns
  • A simple clearing in the woods
  • Barbeque areas
  • Under cliffs (Warning: be sure to choose a spot where no rocks can fall)


  • Always request permission from the forester, forest owner or hunt permit holder responsible for the area. This is necessary as a hunter might want to go on the hunt at the exact same time and could mistake the group for a herd of wild pigs.

  • Always check with the local council. They usually give permission if the area is left clean, without damage and if no noise is made etc.

  • In barns, always request the permission of the owner (farmer) and obviously smoking and fires are forbidden.

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