What it is: I Spy Bingo is a version of classic bingo. In classic bingo, everyone has a 5 x 5 grid of randomly placed numbers. Someone reads off a number at random, and players look for the number on their playing card and mark it off if they find it. Players try to get 5 marked-off squares in a row. First person to get 5 in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) shouts out “Bingo!” and wins. In I Spy Bingo, instead of listening for numbers called out loud, you’re watching for things you might see in real life.
Best for: 1 to 6 players.
What you need: Everyone will need a game card. You can make your own or use my free printable ones! (see end of post). Everyone will also need a pen or something else to use to mark off squares (like candy, especially M&Ms, which are our favorites). You also need somewhere specific to play: in this case, a Halloween costume party, or the day at school when everyone comes dressed up, or trick-or-treating night…basically anywhere you can see lots of people in Halloween costumes.
How to play: Halloween costume I Spy Bingo is pretty simple. Everyone gets a 5 x 5 grid of squares. In each square, write a costume you think you might see someone wearing this Halloween. (My free printable cards already have costumes written out.) Once you’re at your party or school day or wherever you’re going to play, just keep a lookout at all of the cool Halloween costumes going by and cross off any costume you see on your card. First player to get 5 in a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) shouts “BOO!” (instead of “bingo”) and wins!
You can also play the blackout version – where you have to cross off all your squares, not just 5 in a row, to win. Other than that, you can set up your own rules however you’d like! Here are some suggestions.
On the printable cards I made below, some of the costumes might overlap (e.g., fairy and Disney character; if you saw someone dressed as Tinkerbell, that could count for both). But I say you can only use each individual costume to cross off one square on your card. However, it’s up to you if you want to use Tinkerbell to cross off fairy or Disney character, bringing in a slight element of strategy. But if you do see two or more Tinkerbells walking around on Halloween night (from what I can gather, it’s a pretty popular costume), you can cross off both. You might have to settle some disputes as you play (like whether Princess Leia counts as a Disney princess), but that’s all part of the fun.
You can set a time limit, or just make the game last the duration of the party. You can play at a costume party, at school, or Halloween night (especially if you’re the one stuck at home alone handing out the candy. Why not call up another friend at home and have them play, too? Text each other pictures of your finished card when you win). Play by yourself or with a small group; it’s a very adaptable game. You can even have prizes for the winner(s), like pre-purchased candy bars, or some sweet deal like winner gets all the Snickers bars of the Halloween candy haul. Make it fit your group and make it fun!
Variations: There are lots of variations to I Spy Bingo. In addition to holidays or holiday parties, you can play on a road trip, in the airport, at the mall while people watching… I have some other ideas I’m working on that I’m excited to post, so stay tuned!
Printables: To make your Halloween Bingo easy, here’s some free printables! The first one comes with 6 unique cards already filled out. (But even if you want to play with more than 6 people, it would probably work just fine as long as there’s enough variation in the costumes you all see). The second one is blank so you can fill in your own costumes. This would be a great way to play and encourage creativity. Just come up with some basic rules, especially if you’re playing with a lot of people, and let the fun begin!
Happy Halloween! I hope you all enjoy!