Halloween "feel boxes" can be great fun for a party or classroom. This open-ended activity requires a little imagination and acting skill to make it fun. It's especially effective with children ages 6 to 12 who are old enough to imagine what an object might be–and young enough to wonder if they're really touching something awful.
The Concept Behind the Feel Box
Imagine a creepy mad scientist or witch with leftover items from an "experiment" or witch's brew. Instead of throwing their nasty ingredients away, they put each inside a box. Somehow you–mom, dad, or teacher–happen to have the boxes, and you're going to share them with a group of kids. The kids are not allowed to look inside the boxes. Instead, they are told what's inside–and they get to feel it!
Your job, as the Feel Box Facilitator, is to come up with an idea about just what awful items might be in the boxes, and to tell a story that gets kids involved and engaged. As you tell the story, you'll pass around each box, and let the kids reach in to feel the "creepy" object. Wet spaghetti, for example, feels a lot like a child's concept of veins, while a big, damp sponge could be a brain.
Create a Story for the Game
To make the game fun and just a little bit scary, you'll have to get into character and tell a convincing story. After you name each item, pass the box around and let everyone feel the objects inside. Feel free to improvise if someone is reluctant by reassuring them with a line like "Don't worry–it can't bite you anymore." Don't push anyone who's really scared, though, as this could end in embarrassment or tears.
Here's one sample script:
"Last night I decided to visit the haunted house down the street. I thought the house was empty, but there was a witch there. She had just finished making an evil witch's brew, and she disappeared in a puff of smoke when she saw me come in. I looked around and saw she had left some of her ingredients behind, so I took them and put them in these boxes. Go ahead and put your hand in each box so you can feel the ingredients I collected–they're pretty creepy!
This [a box of wet spaghetti] is a box of veins!
And these [a box of peeled grapes] are eyeballs...
How to Create Feel Boxes
You can use a sectioned box, such as the type used for fruit, but it's usually most effective to have a selection of small boxes to pass around. To keep children from looking inside, you can tape a flap of construction paper or fabric over the top of each box. You can also use shoe boxes; just cut a hole in the lid that's big enough for a child's hand to fit through and tape the lid down.
You can put anything you like into the boxes, and come up with any story you like–but these items are always effective:
- Damp, course sponge - Brains
- Twisted chenille stems - Spider
- Pretzel sticks - Petrified Rat Tails
- Dried apricots - Dried-up Tongues
- Thread - Spiderwebs
- Cooked, cold spaghetti noodles - Worms
- Cooked, cold spaghetti noodles - Veins
- Peeled grapes - Eyeballs
- Dried apple slices - Ears
- Blanched, peeled tomato - Heart
- Fake fur - dead animal
- Tines of a plastic fork - Vampire Teeth
- Soft flour tortilla - Skin (can add a little oil)
- Feed corn - Teeth
- Corn husk silk - Hair
- Baby dill pickles with pistachio shells pushed into the tip - Witches Fingers
- Overcooked rice with raisins in cooking oil - Rotting Maggots and Bugs
- Small peeled potatoes stuck together with chenille stems - Spiders
For an especially scary box–leave the box empty but make a hole in the back. When they put their hand in to feel for the scary surprise, reach in and grab their hand!