Just about pie time.  Yum!

October is upon us (by which I mean I’m writing this on the 1st, not that you’ll necessarily see it on the 1st). While I haven’t had to deal with one in well over a decade, I have no doubt that the “DnD* is a tool of the Devil” crowd are still out there and going strong, if a tad less vocal, and that one of the oddball bits of our hobby that make them point their finger with a bit of extra zealotry is that the leading holiday for running casual games and including our non-gaming friends, thus spreading our dark influence, is Halloween. While we could point out that, as a costume-wearing holiday, Halloween is a natural partner for games in which you pretend to be someone else, I doubt that would garner us many points since evidently dressing our children up as popular cartoon characters is evil too.

However, gamers as a group have never really paid much attention to the whole “Gaming is evil” mess so I’m not going too far out on a limb here when I assume you’re going to hold your own Halloween games. Heck, Halloween is even on a Friday this year, so your friends won’t have to be home early. This in mind, I compiled a short list of tips, resources, and ideas from my favorite resources and contributions from the other gnomes to make sure your unholy festival er… Halloween game goes smoothly. Most of these are from www.YouMeetInATavern.com because that’s my site of choice, and it seems to be a pretty popular discussion topic over there, but I solicited some additional links from the other gnomes, so it’s only mostly one-sided.

  1. Most Halloween games are horror themed games.  Make it scary.  Here are some links provided by our Gnomey Overlords. There’s a lot of info in this bullet point, so just click a few that look interesting.  Don’t get bogged down.  You can always check out the rest, NEXT year.
    Making the bugs scary (a post about making little touches horrific)
    What to do with a Haunted House
    The Cursed Carnival
    Doll Parts (What would horror be without creepy dolls?)
    What’s Scary? (About monster body parts and other creepy topics)
    The Evil Mules
    Creepy PC/NPCs
    Tips on running Horror.
    Horror Ideas (everything from child repellant to naughty nurses)
    Zombie Apocolype hideouts
  2. Many Halloween games have at least some players who aren’t “gamers” so it doesn’t hurt to bone up on presentation for that particular niche.
    Tips for running a game for non gamers (at Halloween no less)
  3. Because it’s a Halloween game, ambiance is terribly important, so here’s some links on creating proper ambiance and some to places to find the right materials.
    Creating Ambiance (or more properly a non-standard one)
    Music – Sound Track to the Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath film
    More Music – Land of the Blind
    Son of More Music – Midnight Syndicate
    Streaming Music – Part of soma fm, the Doomed collection
    More Steaming Music – More soma, the Drone Zone collection
    Wall hangings are just one type of prop
  4. Remember that Halloween games are usually one-shots or at minimum, not cannon, so it doesn’t hurt to try out a new system (or do things you normally wouldn’t for the sake of campaign play).
    Here’s a list of free horror RPGs
    Dread was personally reccomended by one of our gnomes
    I’m planning my Halloween game around My Life With Master
    Stepping out of your GMing comfort zone
    Change the “rating” of your game (with player warning)

This is just a pretty lopsided tip of the iceberg.  Leave your own links, and suggestions in the comments and I’ll toss out a follow-up if we get enough.  And tell us about your favorite Halloween games too.  We love gaming stories.  Especially those we can just pretend we read.

 *All RPGs really.  Just because you play “Hello Kitty Island Adventures” instead of “Kill Puppies for Satan”** doesn’t make you any less a pawn of Satan.
** Yes, both real RPGs. “Hello Kitty Island Adventures” is a bit of a stretch though. It’s an MMO.