It’s kind of a shame that our collective politically correct sensibilities make me wonder if it’s ok to use the word Halloween. Patrick McKenzie, and the people looking for bingo cards, apparently have no such qualms with the word. (If you don’t know, Patrick is a guy who sells software that makes bingo cards). Also, just so you know, I’m a big fan of his micro-isv experiment where he posts what seems like every detail of the business on his blog. Given his generosity of sharing hard-won business experience, I think it’s a worthwhile cause to link to his stuff.
He’s got a deal going right now where you can get a free set of eight Halloween bingo cards at Daily Bingo Cards, a site where he posts a new set cards every day. Just download and print, pretty easy.
Here’s his take on why this is a good idea for Halloween:
1) Decorate the cards with your children using Halloween-themed stickers, which you can find just about anywhere this time of year for about a dollar a package. Kids love stickers. Or you could have them draw a ghost or pumpkin on top.
2) Play Halloween bingo after trick-or-treat, as it is a good nighttime activity for continuing the festivities after you might not feel comfortable with the children being out. You can use candy as markers for the spaces which have been called — young kids, in particular, love this one. It is also a sneaky little way to prevent them from overindulging on the candy they have collected, since they’ll need it to play bingo with. An alternative to using candy is using a halloween stamper, which you can find at crafts shops for about $2 when you include the ink. (This doesn’t scale as well as candy — you’ll need about one stamper for every two bingo players.)
3) You probably want to give a prize out for bingo, but your children are going to get far too much candy for their own good anyhow, so you can give a “prestige” prize: the winner gets the very first candied apple, for example, or the winner gets to design one of the jack o’ lanterns. They’ll be happy that they won, but everyone else won’t be crushed as they get the same thing, just a minute or two later. (I am a former teacher, and we can be downright devious when it comes to incentivizing competition without crushing the spirits of the folks who don’t end up first.)