Do you recall the kinds of games you played outdoors as a child? Do they bring back fun memories? As a child of the late 1960s, I spent many days every summer at my Grandma’s 100-acre farm in Hamel, Minnesota. My cousins and I would run and play outside until we were ordered to come in at night.
Our favorite outdoor running game was called Moonlight Starlight. It was a game that had slightly different versions throughout the U.S. The game involves running from scary ghosts. The ghosts attempt to grab you while you run around the entire perimeter of the house to goal (the front porch) where it is safe from those ghastly ghouls.
- Number of players–4-6
- Playing cards-1 ace (the “real” ghost); 1 King (the runner); two to four
- Numbered cards (extra ghosts)
- Lots of bug spray for everyone
- Well tied running shoes
Shuffle the playing cards and fan them out face down. Each person picks a card. I pick the runner card so I am the only one to show my card to everyone. I stay on the front porch and count aloud;
“One O’clock, two O’clock, three O’clock, four O’clock, five O’clock, six O’clock, seven O’clock, eight O’clock, nine, O’clock, ten O’clock, eleven O’clock, twelve O’clock, Moonlight Starlight hope to see a ghost tonight.”
The rest scatter near the house to hide in bushes, under trees and dissolve into the dark corners of the old pump house waiting to scare the daylights out of me.
As the runner, I dash around the perimeter of the house and get back to goal as quickly as possible. I don’t know who the real ghost is, so I must run from all ghoulish figures in the yard who scream and chase me. As I touch the first step on the porch I yell, “1-2-3 goal!” This is the triumphant cry screamed out indicating I am safe and the dark forces can no longer seize me. If I don’t make it to the porch, then I must run again.
It’s hard to say who had more fun, the runner or the ghouls. Either way, we all received great heart-pumping exercise and a fulfilling night of thrills.