With spooky season now upon us, it's time to raise the best Halloween board games from their slumber and set the mood. You see, there's nothing better than dimming the lights and breaking out a creepy tabletop adventure to celebrate the witching hour.
To give you an idea of where to start with your own All-Hallow's Eve escapades, we've put together a list of the most highly-recommended Halloween board games here. Nothing will get you in the 'spirit' (sorry) of things more than making your way through a haunted house or horror story. And because many of these rank amongst the best board games anyway, you're guaranteed a good time.
You don't need to pay over the odds, either. Because our recommendations include where to get those Halloween board games at the lowest price, you should be able to save a bit of money too.
Oh, and one more thing before we go: there are suggestions to suit everyone below. We've been sure to include some friendlier options in our roundup, and you don't have to be a fan of scares to enjoy these Halloween board games.
Best Halloween board games
Ever wonder how long you'd last in a horror movie? This Halloween board game lets you find out. Setting players loose on a haunted mansion that's different every time it's explored, there's no way of telling what you'll face until it's much too late. That's because the title isn't an empty threat; one of you might be a traitor in disguise.
This results in a sense of tension that lurks beneath Betrayal's surface from start to finish. As an example, the board is built at random as you explore, making it impossible to know what lies on the other side of a door until you set foot inside. And seeing as you'll need the weapons or items hidden within to survive, you've got little choice but to risk stepping across that threshold.
When combined with 50 scenarios that are triggered by unique combinations of room tiles and artifacts, you're never sure what's going to happen next. This results in a simple but effective race to the finish that keeps us coming back over and over again rather than opting for more complicated equivalents like Mansions of Madness, so we have no problem recommending it for your Halloween games night (be it with the new version or the older Betrayal at House on the Hill 2nd Edition).
Nothing says Halloween more than vampires, mummies, and werewolves, so it's a real power move for this game to bring together monster royalty like Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Horrified creaks under the weight of nostalgia as a result, but it never rests on those laurels; it backs up brand value with clever gameplay and memorable situations. It's easily a front-runner for any list of the best cooperative board games.
A lot of that comes down to Horrified's love of the humble 'trolley problem'. Because you'll always battle a pair of monsters at a time (both are descending on the most gothic village you've ever seen with murder on their mind), tough choices become inevitable. Perhaps the Wolfman is moments away from consuming a villager while the Mummy corners another hapless soul. There's only time to rescue one, so who do you save? You can't be everywhere at once, and that gives this Halloween board game an edge.
Unique villain weaknesses add another layer to what is already a rich experience. All adversaries must be defeated in a specific way (like destroying Dracula's many coffins so he has nowhere left to hide), and that keeps things fresh. Fresher than the undead creatures you'll be facing off with, anyway.
As the next step up from classics like Mafia, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is one of the best party board games there is - it's elegant and straightforward, yet still has bite. With that in mind, it's what we'd recommend breaking out if you want to get your friends over for All-Hallow's Eve.
At its core, this version of Werewolf is basically wink murder on a grand scale; everyone has a hidden role, and the monster amongst you (if there is one, of course) must be found before the five-minute timer runs out. However, the twist is that players aren't killed each round; as the name would suggest, you only 'go to sleep' once. Besides keeping everyone involved from start to finish, this means you aren't able to sit on the sidelines and wait for things to blow over. You've got to make your case before the group turns against you.
New characters help shake things up as well. On top of seers who can check another person's card, there are other fun ideas like werewolf sympathizers, villagers who want to be wrongly accused, and drunks who are allowed to swap roles at random while everyone else is sleeping. Get your poker face ready, folks; you're going to need it.
Big-box adventure games have created more buzz in the tabletop community than over the last few years, and this has more than enough bite to stand amongst the best of them. Along with a gothic theme that's reminiscent of Bloodborne and the crunchy battles we've come to expect from Warhammer, Cursed City is the ultimate Halloween board game if you want something deeper with an RPG twist.
Although cynics may assume it's riding on the coattails of Gloomhaven with a gritty palette-swap, this version of the Quest series is much more novel than that would imply. To start with (and as you'd hope for something with 'Warhammer' in the title), its combat is meatier than rivals - you can definitely see the wargame DNA coursing through its veins with different layers of strategy and interplay between units on show. In addition, the blend of theme and gameplay is rather clever.
Plus, those miniatures are to die for. While we're big fans of the models featured in Descent: Legends of the Dark, Cursed City's might just be our favorite compared to similar RPGs. And sure, you've got to put them together yourself, but they're much easier to construct than you'd think thanks to being push-fit. That accessibility is true of the game in general, actually; the instructions feature step-by-step tutorials that ease you in gently.
Want a good Halloween board game that won't scare off family members or lumber your kids with nightmares for life? This Haunted Mansion tie-in is ideal. As an adaptation of the beloved theme park ride, it's family-friendly while still being delightfully spooky.
As the ride's song says, your goal here is to 'socialize' with as many of the house's happy haunts as possible. That means collecting ghost cards while exploring the mansion itself. Because each one offers a different kind of reward, there's room to forge your own way to happy haunts. Should you round up low-paying ghosts to win through weight of numbers, or is it better to hold out for big payouts that require a set of matching cards? Everyone will have a different strategy, so keeping an eye on what your opponents are doing can give you a heads-up on which ghosts to prioritise... or steal.
When you add Hitchhiking Ghosts that will reduce your score if they touch you, not to mention the ability to dump a rival in their path, Haunted Mansion develops a wonderfully duplicitous edge. This gives Call of the Spirits staying power, so it's one of those board games for families you'll be happy to play even after the witching hour is long gone.
Anyone that fancies themselves as an armchair detective should try Mysterium. Despite being a good old-fashioned whodunnit, there's a big difference - one of you is the murder victim. In fact, you're helping other players solve your death from beyond the grave.
Seeing as the ghost can only communicate via surreal, deliberately vague 'vision' cards related to characters, places, or weapons that may have done the deed, your powers of deduction will need to be up to snuff. Did they choose that artwork of fields and woodland to make you think of the suspicious hunter, for example? When you throw a time limit into the mix, this Halloween board game becomes a tricky nut to crack; good teamwork and a methodical approach worthy of Sherlock Holmes are your only hope of breaking the case wide open before dawn.
It's not a total bust if things careen off the rails, though. No matter whether you claim victory or go down in flames, it's a lot of fun that has the atmosphere of a 1920s seance. Its two expansion packs - the bonus cards of Hidden Signs (opens in new tab) and extra storylines seen in Secrets & Lies (opens in new tab) - simply heighten that vibe. The same is true of the game's two-player counterpart, Mysterium Park (opens in new tab).
We've all been there: the end of the world is here, eldritch monsters are about to pour into our dimension, and you're stuck struggling with chronophobia ('the fear of time'). Or maybe you're calming yourself down with a spot of liquid courage while being haunted. Either way, Arkham Horror is a weird, brilliant, baffling experience you have to try.
Based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, this is a more focused version of the popular Halloween board game that shares its name. Streamlined and simplified, it's a snappier adventure that cuts to the core of what made the original great. To be precise, the consequences of your actions carry from session to session. Described as a 'living' game, it's something you can really immerse yourself in. That's especially true because of the talent, tool, and flaw cards that make up your character. You quickly get a sense of who they are and what they're about.
Still, what's most impressive is Arkham Horror's ability to vomit up bizarre, emergent moments that'll stick with you. The combination of cards you draw will create an engrossing story that's different for everyone, making this one of the best card games around.
Everyone seems to have a zombie survival plan, but few Halloween board games allow you to test them out. Dead of Winter is the exception. Dumping you into an apocalypse where everyone's either struggling to get by or is hungry for brains, it casts you as a survivor in a community on the ropes. Your job is to keep it afloat, so each turn challenges you to hunt for supplies, survive the horde... and survive each other.
That's because there might be a traitor in your midst. You see, every player is given a secret objective at the start of the game that must be completed for that person to win. Even though most are public-spirited (if selfish at times), some are far less altruistic. More specifically, it's possible for teammates to wind up with a 'betrayal' card that has them quietly working against the colony. This sows more than a little mistrust around the table, meaning flesh-eating monsters aren't your only concern.
While it's a trope that's been done to death (no pun intended) across movies and TV, being thrust into that situation yourself makes Dead of Winter's 'we're the real monsters' shtick feel fresh. Mix in scripted events that force you to make tough choices and you're left with one of the most gripping board games for adults out there.
Don't be fooled by its cute, whimsical art style; the Hocus Pocus game is as tough as nails. A test of deduction and non-verbal skills, it's a surprisingly difficult board game for 2 players that draws you in by the scruff of your neck.
Just like the 1993 Disney movie, your job is to banish all three Sanderson sisters by turning their witchcraft against them. How? Brewing a potion, naturally. Powered by gross but thankfully cartoony ingredients like dead man's toe, your aim is to put down five cards with matching colors or symbols.
The trouble is, you can't communicate with your teammate or show them which ingredients you have. Indeed, the only weapon in your arsenal is a "yes" or "no" question about their card's type and color. That makes coming up with strategies for this Halloween board game a fun challenge, particularly because it's easy for the other player to undo your hard work if they're not paying attention. It also means you'll need to pivot quickly if things go pear-shaped - waste too many cards and it's game over.
- Read more: Hocus Pocus: The Game review
In space, no one can hear you scream - but they will hear you swearing loudly when the xenomorph corners your character. Even though this Halloween board game can't replicate the terror of the 1979 movie, Fate of the Nostromo still manages to raise hairs on the back of your neck.
That's because it's definitely out to get you. To begin with, the xenomorph is an unstoppable force stalking its way toward the nearest character; you can only ever delay its advance. What's more, you can never be sure what lurks around the next bend. That's because the board is littered with random encounter tokens you have to flip when you enter rooms. Even though some are blank, others spring a surprise attack on you. This moves the alien to your position, lowers morale (which is understandable, considering the fact that it's trying to murder you), ends your turn immediately, and forces characters to run away as fast as possible. While that may sound lenient in the grand scheme of things, morale dipping below a certain point loses you the game and leaves all players to become a xenomorph snack.
It also wastes time you might need to complete your mission. You see, each game throws a different objective at you. Some are time-limited, while others force you to collect items that must be made using your crew's already-finite resources. This lends Fate of the Nostromo an anxiety that's true to the film in smart, unexpected ways, so it's well worth adding to your collection.
- Read more: Alien: Fate of the Nostromo review
If your little ones are keen to join in on the Halloween board game shenanigans, Zombie Kidz gets our vote. Thanks to an amazing elevator pitch (the undead have invaded school so must be fought off with toys like the best Nerf guns) and equally great mechanics, it's a clever little monster that has plenty of gas in the tank.
As a 'legacy' game, Evolution also changes every time you play. Bonus abilities for characters and zombies unlock as you progress, and that shakes up the gameplay whenever things begin to settle. It gives a satisfying sense of accomplishment too; because these extras are unlocked via special achievements and tracked with a sticker chart, Zombie Kidz has longevity to spare.
Seeing as it's easy to get into and emphasises teamwork, this is one of those board games for kids that ticks every box. Plus, a goofy, light-hearted tone keeps it suitable for ages seven and up.
If you'd prefer something a little more traditional to play over Thanksgiving or the Holiday season (it's really not that far away), be sure to take a look at our recommendations for the best classic board games. And if you're keen to make your money go further, you should definitely be on the lookout for Black Friday board game deals in the coming weeks as well. It's always a great opportunity to save cash on must-haves, and they're often some of the most tempting Black Friday gaming deals of them all.