Moonlight Starlight


B.L. LietzauDo 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.

Game Setup: 

  •  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.”

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