41 Best Scary Games To Play With Friends At Sleepovers

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Best Scary Games To Play To Play With Friends At Sleepovers
Self

Are you brave enough for Bloody Mary? Do you have the courage for Charlie Charlie? We had so many scary games to play as kids, but now you're old enough to know better... right?

Truth be told, there's always going to be that part of you that believes there's something to all that demon summoning and soothsaying.

While it may seem like scary games are bad for you (anticipating Bloody Mary swooping through your bathroom mirror is stressful, ok?), research shows it might actually be the opposite. 

One study found that the adrenaline we get from being scared can actually help us burn some calories, while another suggests that the fear you feel when doing something like playing scary games or watching a horror film actually boosts your immune system.

So to that, we say game on!

RELATED: 20 Scariest Books To Read When You Want To Freak Yourself Out

Here are 20 scary games to play when bored, or when you're just looking for what to do with your friends... if you think you can handle it.

Scary Games for Sleepover with Friends

Looking for some scary games to play during your next Girl's Night In? These should fit the bill!

1. Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

There are a lot of things that went on at sleepovers that I'm glad I didn't think much about when I was at them.

This is a game where one person pretends to be dead while everyone else chants "light as a feather, stiff as a board" demonically while they make her levitate. Creepy, right?

Creepier still is that this game actually works, and you can get the "dead" person pretty high off the ground. And knowing my friends, if we played this today, someone's getting dropped onto the ground. There's no getting around at least some sort of minor back injury, and that’s a terrifying thought.

2. Ouija Board

Sure, we all know it's just a mass-manufactured board game sold in Toys-R-Us (while there still was Toys-R-Us). And I'm definitely guilty of being the one moving the indicator (c'mon, we all did it).

But then, don't you kinda want to believe you can use a ouija board to reach out to the other side?

If I were a spirit, I'd totally mess with a group of grownups who pulled out the ouija board. It's still a scary game to play today because you're just asking for trouble — just be sure to follow all the rules. You've been warned!

3. Concentrate

Another creepy sleepover game that now makes me question if I understood what fun was as a kid. You close your eyes and sit on the ground while your friend recites a dark poem about people dying and babies crying, imitates murdering you in various ways, and then pushes you over.

By the end, you're supposed to have gotten into a trance that will allow you to see how you will die.

4. The Answer Man

This game might be a little less freaky since it requires 10 people to play. Safety in numbers, right?

You all stand in a circle, and everyone calls the person to their left, making sure you all hit send at the same time. Most everyone will get a busy signal, but if you're lucky, someone will get through to The Answer Man.

For every question you ask him, he can ask you one in return. And if he doesn't like your answer, it won't be pretty, no matter how many friends are around.

5. Sandman

Basically the opposite of Light as a Feather, this game is said to make you feel like your body is filled with sand, making it almost impossible for you to stand up.

6. Red Book

Playing this game will get you in touch with a spirit, who'll chat with you through the sentences in a book. 

Creepiest Games Ever

Warning: these games are not for the faint of heart.

7. The Corner Game

This isn't a game so much as it is a summoning ritual. You and three friends each stand in a corner of an empty room with the lights turned off, do a series of moves, and hope that a) no one disappears, and b) a ghost doesn't show up.

Apparently, it's a good way to draw demons out of your ceilings, since seeing the people moving from corner to corner intrigues them.

Read that last sentence again — there are demons in your ceilings, and just moving around the corners of your rooms makes them appear.

Not at all terrifying, I swear.

8. Three Kings

Three Kings is a scary game to play when you have questions that Google can't answer. You set up three chairs in your basement: one is "the throne" where you sit, and the other two hold mirrors for "queen" and "fool" spirits to enter by.

After summoning the demons, you have exactly one hour and one minute to ask questions. All silly fun, except for one catch: you need a partner to call you back to the real world when your time is up. Nothing like admitting to a friend you need demonic therapy.

9. Don't Look Behind You

Another scary game in the basement-demon-summoning-for-questions genre.

For this one, you light a candle and set it up behind three chairs, where you and two friends sit. Then you invite the demons to join you but promise you won't look at them (hence the name of the game).

Don't Look Behind You's rules are pretty genius in freaking you out, and laughing is a big no-no. If you don't take the game seriously, the demon will kill you. And obviously, you'll be dying to look behind you, but if you do, the demon will attack.

10. Dry Bones

Dry Bones is all about hiding. You ask a deadly spirit into your house, and then try to hide from him until 3 AM. If you make it, your wish will be granted. If you don't, well... you don't make it.

It's scary if he shows up, but it's also scary if he doesn't, because you just sat alone, in the dark, in your house, until 3 AM. And you've got stuff to do tomorrow. That's called being an adult.

11. The Shoebox Telephone

If you've ever wanted to contact someone from the afterlife, this is your chance.

To set up your call, you'll need a paper cup, string attached to a needle, a shoebox, scissors, pen and paper, an object with a personal connection to the person you want to contact, and a dark closet.

At the end of the day before you go to sleep, turn off all distractions — your TV, your phone, etc — and spend some time meditating. You want your mind as clear as can be. Then, when the time feels exactly right, start writing your letter. Don't correct any mistakes or cross anything out, just let everything flow.

When you're done writing, tie the string to your object and, using the needle, guide the other end of the string through the bottom of the paper cup. Remove the needle and tie a knot so you have what looks like an old wired telephone.  

Read your letter out loud into the cup, mistakes and all, with full intention. If at any moment you start feeling doubt, abort the mission! You may get a wrong number.

Once you're done reading, put your letter and the object, which should still be attached to the cup, into the shoebox. Close the shoebox and place the cup standing on top of the lid. 

In time, you'll receive a "call." It will come in a dream — get up immediately and go right to your box. If the box is closed with the cup still upright on top, it's safe to take the call. Put the cup to your ear and listen. 

If the shoebox is open or the cup is tipped over, don't answer and cut the string.

It's important to never speak during this received call, even if asked questions. Once the call is over, snap the string. Discard the cup (never put it to your ear again) and leave the shoebox closed for some time. 

12. Ghost Paper Challenge / Spirit of the Door

If you've ever wanted to ask a ghost a few questions, now's your chance.

Shortly before 3 AM, turn off all of the lights in your house. Go into a room, close the door, and light a candle. At 3 AM on the dot, knock on the door three times and repeat this phrase three times: "Spirit of the door, I welcome you. Make yourself present and come through." Using a pen, write a question on a piece of paper and slide it halfway under the door with the pen on top.

After a few minutes, if the paper remains where you left it, your attempt did not work. Try again another time.

If your paper is gone, the ghost is writing you a message. If the paper does not reappear, abort the mission and try again another time but don't open the door until daytime. If the paper returns, read the message.

Repeat this process two more times to ask a total of (and no more than) three questions. If at any time you're told to go away, listen!

After asking your three questions, thank the ghost for its time and blow out the candle. Don't open the door again until daylight.

Horror Games

13. The Elevator Game

A game about pushing buttons and following directions should be right up the alley of most adults. If you think about it, most jobs today are just following directions and pushing buttons. But it's pretty rare for data entry to result in portals to other worlds and creepy women hoping for the chance to eat a human soul.

It's debated whether or not the elevator game should be played alone or if you can play it with friends. But either way, to get started, step into an elevator. And it's important to note that if anyone gets on or off the elevator at any time in the sequence, you have to start over.

1. Press the button for the 4th floor.

2. Press the button for the 2nd floor. 

3. Press the button for the 6th floor.

4. Press the button for the 2nd floor. 

5. Press the button for the 10th floor. 

6. Press the button for the 5th floor. If a woman enters here, don't talk to her! She's not human and will take you if you do. 

7. Press the button for the 1st floor. The elevator will either go up or down. If you end up on the first floor, get off the elevator! If you end up on the tenth floor, you are in the other world. The woman who got on at the fifth floor may try to talk to you — don't answer her. You'll know you're in the other world because your phone won't work, and you won't be able to see anything out of the windows except a red cross.

To get back to our real world, follow the same steps. If you start ascending back to the tenth floor after the fifth, press any other button to cancel the ascension. Once you reach the first floor, very carefully assess your surrounding to make sure you're no longer in the other world.

As an added disturbing bonus, this is rumored to be the game that Elisa Lam was playing prior to her untimely death.

14. The Picture Game

If you play The Picture Game right, you'll capture a photo of a ghost! To play, you'll need string or a rope, two small mirrors, a camera with the flash on, a glass filled with some alcohol, and something sharp like scissors or a knife. 

First, make the rope into a circle and knot it, then place it on the floor in the middle of the room. Put the glass of alcohol into the middle of the circle and with the lights off, sit around the circle with your mirrors in front of you pointed up towards the ceiling. 

Close your eyes and hold hands, and in turn, each person should say "I trust you." Then, in unison, chant three times: "The door is open, please come in." Congratulations — if there's a ghost around, you just let it in.

Open your eyes and pass the camera around the circle. Whoever has the camera should take a photo of whatever is in front of them (remember, flash on) and say "I caught you." Don't look at the photos yet — repeat this process three times. 

To end the game and (hopefully) send whatever ghost you summoned back to where it came from, everyone in unison should say "It is time to go home" and turn your mirrors face down. Turn on the lights, cut the rope circle open, and pour the glass of alcohol outside. 

You can now look at your photos.

15. The Midnight Game

The Midnight Game is one of the most horrifying games there is, so play at your own risk! 

To play, you need a candle, pen and paper, matches or a lighter, salt, a wooden door, and most importantly and grotesquely, a drop of your own blood.

Write your full name on the piece of paper along with a drop of your own blood. Turn off all of the light and place the paper in front of the closed wooden door. Light the candle and put it on top of the paper. Knock on the door 22 times — the last knock should land exactly at midnight. Open the door, blow out the candle, and then close the door — the Midnight Man is now with you until 3:33 AM. 

Light the candle again and spend the next few hours avoiding the Midnight Man. If your candle goes out, it means he's near you. Relight the candle within ten seconds and get away!

If at any point you can't relight the candle, surround yourself with a circle of salt, where you'll stay until 3:33 AM.

If the Midnight Man attacks you, you'll start hallucinating and seeing your deepest fear as he harvests your organs.

Sounds fun, right?

16. Dark Reflection Ritual

This game is all about negative energy, so the more people you have to play it with, the better, as the negative energy will be bestowed upon you all making it less severe for each person. 

At sunset, grab a mirror and take turns looking into your reflection and breathing onto the glass, making it fog up. This links you to the mirror and transfers your negative energy into it. 

Once everyone has had their turn, light the candle and hold it to the mirror to agitate the negative energy — the longer you hold the candle to it, the more intense the negative energy will be. Next, break the mirror and start running to get as far away from the negative energy as possible. 

The negative energy is attached to you now and will follow you the rest of the night, slowly getting more and more intense. But if you make it through dawn, you'll be rewarded with good energy just as strong as the negative energy you're leaving behind.

RELATED: 50 Frighteningly Scary Movies To Watch This Halloween

Scary Games for Two People

You don't need a whole group of people to play these games. Just a friend you trust with your life!

17. Red Door Yellow Door / Doors of Your Mind

Red Door Yellow Door, also known as the Doors of Your Mind, is a game that definitely gets scarier the older you are. It's basically a guided meditation through the deepest parts of your brain. You visualize your mind as a long corridor with multiple doors, and you choose which ones to open.

First, lay down face up and make yourself comfortable. Your friend should slowly rub your temples in a circular motion to get you into a meditative state.

Next, your friend should guide you down the corridor by giving you a description of a long hallway filled with doors and ask you to begin exploring. As you explore in your mind, describe to your friend exactly what you're seeing as it happens.

I know I've got some downright vile stuff bouncing around my head, and I don't care to open any of that up, thank you very much.

18. Cat Scratch

Also known as Catscratches or Black Cat Scratch, this game is eerie but won't leave you in any pain.

To play, sit down on the floor while your friend lays on their back with their head in your lap. Tell them a scary story about a cat as you rub their temples. End the story by saying "cat scratch" three times.

Your friend should get up quickly right away and lift up their shirt to find red claw marks up their back.

19. Charlotte's Mirror / Charlotte's Web

According to the lore, "Charlotte" is a 7-year-old girl from the 1400s whose mother was burned at the stake after being accused of being a witch. After her mother's death, Charlotte ran into the woods where she eventually died, but apparently can now chat with curious people through mirrors. 

To play, you and a friend should set up two chairs about two feet apart facing the same direction. Put a mirror in front of the chairs so that you'll be able to see your reflections when you sit down, and a table behind the chairs with a toy of your choice on top. You should be able to see the toy's reflection in the mirror from the chairs. Turn on a flashlight, turn out the lights, and sit in your chairs. 

In unison, look in the mirror and say "We want to play Charlotte's Web." Watch the toy in the mirror. Important: never look away from the mirror, not even to look at your friend. Your eyes should be on what's going on in the mirror at all times.

If nothing happens, Charlotte doesn't want to play. Look into the mirror and together, say, "Goodbye Charlotte" and turn on the lights. If you're lucky (or unlucky?) Charlotte will pick up the toy. You can chat with her, but never look away from the mirror.

When you're done playing, both of you will say, "Goodbye Charlotte" and turn on the lights. 

20. The Binoculars Game / Eye Spy

To play, you'll need: one flashlight for every window in your house, paper and pen, at least 17 feet of rope, scissors, a timer, and lastly, a set of binoculars. 

Start at sunset. Close and lock all doors and windows and put a lit flashlight on each windowsill. Put a chair or other heavy object that you can use as an anchor near a door and tie one end of the rope to it. Put your friend (perhaps one you don't mind losing, for they might not want to be your friend after this) near the anchor but far enough from the door that they can't touch it. Tie the other end of the rope around them. They're to remain silent for the rest of the game.

On the piece of paper, write, "We welcome you. You shall not be harmed." Slip the paper under the door near your friend. At 10:30 PM on the dot, turn off all lights in the house except for the flashlights. Put your ear on the door by your friend and listen carefully.

If you don't hear anything, the game is over. Turn on the lights, untie your friend, and burn the note you slipped outside. Probably best if you leave the house!

If you hear knocking, take the binoculars and scissors and move about the house checking each window. As you get to each window, turn off its flashlight and look outside with your binoculars until you see a figure in the distance. 

Once you see it, yell: "Forgive, for I am mistaken." Close your eyes and quickly reopen them and look outside again. If he's gone, the game is over. If not, you better hope you locked all entrances to the house. Take your scissors and go looking.

21. Sara Sarita

Playing Sara Sarita is easy to play and if you're successful, you'll be in contact with two young girls who are said to have been murdered in Mexico. 

To play, you just need a friend and two coins of the same value. Each of you holding a coin, sit on the ground and face each other. In unison, say: "Sara Sarita, can I enter your game?" Toss the coins over your heads so that they land on the ground behind you.

If both coins land on heads, it means you're in the game. Ask questions and throw the coins to receive your answers, heads meaning yes, tails meaning no, and one of each meaning maybe. 

You end the game the same way you started, saying instead, "Sara Sarita, can I leave your game?" And you must keep playing until you both get a yes.

22. Dead Man Dead Man Take Me To Your Grave

This game will make your arms rise up on their own. To play, you just need a friend to help.

One person closes their eyes while the other says, "Count to 10 in your head then nod." Once that's done, the person speaking will move the other's arms back and forth above and below each other 10 times.

You'll repeat this process a few times, going from 10 times to five, then seven, then three. Once you're done, the person speaking should snap their fingers three times and repeat "dead man, dead man, take me to your grave" until the other person's arms start lifting up on their own.

Scary Games to Play Alone

Only the bravest of the brave dare to give these games a try.

23. Bloody Mary

You know there's nothing to it — you could chant Bloody Mary's name until you turned blue and no one more interesting than your brave self would be staring back through that mirror.

But... what if?

The whole point of this scary game is to prove you don't believe it's possible to summon a vengeful, murderous witch by something so silly as chanting in front of a mirror. But the game's been around forever. So maybe there is some truth to it?

24. The Candyman

A lot of people think this is the same thing as Bloody Mary, and well... they're mostly right. But it's Bloody Mary with a twist.

First off, you have to say The Candyman's name five times. Then, he'll only kill you if he catches you before you turn a light on. (Presumably, he'll also be very upset if you mention the questionable 1992 movie about him, and he'll kill you regardless of whether you get to the light or not.)

As an adult, I know I'm not as agile as I used to be, and I seem to have forgotten where half my light switches are. So if the Candyman shows up in the mirror at midnight, I'd probably be a little thrilled and also a lot dead.

25. Charlie Charlie / The Pencil Game

Sometimes known as The Pencil Game, Charlie Charlie is a way to contact a specific ghost, a little boy named — you guessed it — Charlie.

To play Charlie Charlie, follow these four steps: 

1. Draw an X on a piece of paper.

2. Label two of the resulting v-shaped sections “no,” and two of them “yes.”

3. Place two overlapping pencils on each line of your X, crossing them in the middle.

4. Ask, “Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” and then ask your question.

The kid is kind of like a spirit version of a Magic 8 Ball, except that if Charlie doesn't want to play with you, he'll try to stab you with one of the pencils you need for the game. Lovely.

26. Hide and Seek Alone

Popularized in Japan, this game is simple: hide in a closet and ask if something wants to take you into the darkness. If you hear something, light a match and run away.

If you don’t hear anything, I’d still light a match and run away. Because if you do hear something and don't light a match and run away, you get pulled into eternal darkness forever.

The fear factor is pretty high with this: you have to find a closet you can fit in without claustrophobia setting in, there's the chance you'll accidentally light yourself on fire in said claustrophobic space, and on top of that there's the usual fear of dealing with a demonic spirit you've summoned for kicks in the middle of the night.

27. Tsuji-ura / The Fortune Game

Also known as the Crossroads Fortune Game, this one's a little easier to play — but just as creepy!

You just need a comb, a crossroads, and nighttime. Run the comb over your teeth to make some noise, and then say "Tsuji-ura, tsuji-ura, grant me a true response."

If a stranger approaches you, ask them your fortune. Presumably, the stranger is unearthly and terrifying, but you're supposed to hide your face when they approach, so it's tough to tell.

28. The Triple Mirror Game

To play, you'll need three big mirrors (that can stand on their own and that you never want to use again after this), three pieces of fabric (they should be able to cover each mirror), a white candle, matches or a lighter, and salt. 

Turn out the lights and ensure no light is getting into the room. Put a line of salt in front of all possible entrances to the room, like windowsills and under the door.

Now, this is where it gets a little confusing. Place one mirror so that it is across from the door, but turned at an angle so that it reflects the door into the second mirror. The second mirror should be perpendicular to the door so as to reflect the door's reflection into the third mirror, which should be directly across from and facing the second mirror. You should now see the door's reflection in all mirrors. 

Place the candle in front of the door between all mirrors and light it. Stand outside the mirrors adjacent to mirrors one and two so that you can see what's reflected in the third mirror. Note what you see — look closely — but don't look into the mirror for too long.

To end the game, cover up each mirror but never step into the middle of the three mirrors until they're all covered. Extinguish the candle and turn on the lights. Without uncovering the mirrors, place them away from each other with each one facing a wall and keep them there for at least 72 hours. 

Once the 72 hours is up, you can store the mirrors with or without the covers but be sure to throw some salt on them. And most importantly, never use them to look at your own reflection ever again.

29. The Bath Game / Daruma-san

The Bath Game is like a super creepy version of a spa. Before going to bed, sit in the full tub in the dark facing the faucet. Close your eyes and wash your hair as you chant: "Daruma-san fell down. Daruma-san fell down." Continue chanting the entire time you wash your hair.

You'll picture a Japanese woman standing in the tub, who will fall and slip onto a rusty faucet which will gouge her eye out and kill her. At this point, you'll hear and/or feel her in the tub with you — this means you've summoned the ghost. But don't look! Ask her: "Why did you fall in the bathtub?" Then, get out of the tub and go to bed, but don't turn any lights on and most importantly, don't drain the tub until morning.

When you wake up in the morning, the one-eyed woman will be with you. You'll feel her presence, but don't let her catch you. If she gets too close, you can say "Tomare!" which will put distance between you. 

To end the game — which you must do before midnight or else she'll kill you in your dreams — you have to look at her and say "Kitta!" as you make a chopping motion with your arm, which will cut her loose.

30. The Closet Game

To play this game you just need a dark closet, a match, and zero regard for whether you live or die. 

Just kidding. Sort of. 

To get started, turn out the lights in your room and get in the closet. Stay there quietly in the dark for two minutes, then hold the match in front of you as you say "Show me the light or leave me in darkness." If you hear whispers, light the match immediately. Don't light it if you don't hear anything. 

Either way, once you're ready, leave the closet, close the door, and for good measure, never open it ever again.

31. Baby Blue

Like Bloody Mary, but with a horrifying baby instead. 

To play, go into the bathroom, turn off the lights, and lock the door. Look into the mirror and position your arms as if you're holding an infant, and say 13 times: "Baby blue, blue baby."

If you do it without any mistakes, you'll feel the weight of a baby in your arms. The baby will start scratching at you. Before it gets too heavy, you have to flush it down the toilet. If you take took long, a screaming woman will appear in the mirror asking for her baby back and will kill you if you're still holding it.

32. The Little Finger Game

To play, you need to read a story. Either out loud or in your head is fine, but you should never read the story unless you want to play the game. 

That's it. That's all you need to do. Then, you wait. 

Within seven days of reading the story, you'll have the dream the story describes. A woman in your dream will ask for help looking for her little finger — it's advised that you say yes. And you'd better hope you're good at hide and seek.

33. The Dice Game

If you're willing to risk it all, this game is for you. 

To get started, you'll need two dice, a table to play on, an opaque, lightweight cup, the board from your favorite board game (any game, it doesn't need to require dice to play), a stopwatch, and your most fervent desire.

Place your board on the table and put of the dice on one end of the board. This is the first die. The second die will go inside the cup, which you'll place right side up on the opposite side of the board from the first die. 

Say: "The game is set. Care to make your wager?" After a moment, state your desire. Then exit the room and close the door. 

After seven minutes but before 11 minutes, reenter the room. If everything is as you left it, he doesn't want to play — dismantle the game and dispose of the second die. 

If everything is as you left it but the second die is no longer in the cup, you've made him angry. Dismantle the game and do your best to find the second die and destroy it.

If the cup is upside down with the second die inside of it, it's your turn. Pick up the first die and roll it. Noting the number you've rolled, pick up the cup and compare your roll to the second die. If your number is higher, you win and within a couple of days, your wish will come true. If they're the same, it's a tie and life will continue on as it was. If your number is lower, you lost, and you will suffer the consequences.

34. Queen of Spades

Queen of Spades is said to be the Russian equivalent of Bloody Mary, so you know it's scary!

35. Devil Face

If the name isn't scary enough and you still want to actually play it, you'll need 12 black candles and a lighter.

Before midnight, lock yourself in the bathroom and turn out the lights. Standing in front of the mirror, light the candles and close your eyes until midnight on the dot. Once you open your eyes, you'll see the devil's face in the mirror. 

36. The Gambler Game

If playing card games with your friends isn't high enough stakes for you, then you can wager your life to The Gambler. While the reward is great luck for the rest of your life, the consequences of this game are severe!

37. The Telephone Ritual

This game is basically like making a prank call to a ghost. To play, you must be in a house alone — no pets, no parents, no friends — and in the dark. The house also needs to have a landline, so good luck with that.

To play, go into the bathroom and scatter salt on the threshold outside the bathroom door. Then close and lock the door. Turn on a flashlight and point it into the toilet, then using your cell phone, call the house's landline and see who answers.

Scary Games to Play Online

If you're not totally in the mood to contact dead people (we get it) or let evil spirits into your home (understandable), try playing some of these scary games online.

38. Scary Maze

This is an OG scary online game and a perfect way to prank your friends at a sleepover.

Just have a friend start the maze and be sure to have your camera rolling for the perfect jump scare TikTok.

39. Jeff the Killer

The premise of Jeff the Killer is that you've awoken from your sleep by a strange noise in your house. It's a first-person game in which you're left fighting for your life in your own home.

40. Ouija Voices

Don't have an actual ouija board? Try using one online!

41. Slenderman Must Die

A first-person shooter game that puts you face-to-face with Slenderman (or face to whatever it is that Slenderman has) as you try to escape from his grasp.

RELATED: 10 Best Family Halloween Movies That Won't Scare Your Kids (Too Much)

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Catherine LeFebvre is a writer and editor living in LA with her goldendoodle, Grover Cleveland. Her husband and son live with them too. She’s done time with Martha Stewart (here, not here), Food Network, and Nickelodeon. You can follow her on Instagram @discolefebvre.