Witch Doctor This tag variation would start by someone standing still and saying “Witch Doctor, Witch Doctor, Spook Man Spook. I’ll give you ten to hop the hoop. One, Two, …, Ten.” The other players would then run away. Once the Witch Doctor was done, they’d try to touch each person. Once touched, that person would become infected and would help the Witch Doctor get the rest. There was always a safe base, a sanctuary, where you could rest and not get turned into a witch doctor. We mostly played in our backyard, and we used some cement steps that lead up to a clothesline. I think anyone chasing or finding someone in the sanctuary could count to ten and the person would have to leave the sanctuary before the count was up, and the counter may have had to stand still until the count was up, but maybe not. So running to the sanctuary didn’t give much rest. The person left free at the end would then get to be witch doctor the next round. It was much more fun than straight tag, as no one got “stuck” being “it” and the infection spread rapidly with all the assistants so the rounds were quick. Being “it” was an achievement – but you couldn’t be “it” each time, so the Witch Doctor role would tend to circulate. The game was fun, and we’d play it in our neighborhood in Queens for hours in the late sixties early seventies. I have no idea of the origins.
In Re: “Ghosts” Ghosts, as “Hide and Seek” cannot be reasonably played in a car while travelling, but “Ghosts”, as a word game can be. Basically, someone names a letter, any letter, say, for example, “G”. The next person (this can be played with as few as two people) has to add a letter to the first letter, say “h” (all letters have to, ultimately, lead to a “real word”. Adding “x” to a “G” is unacceptable unless you know of a word that starts “Gx”, I don’t). The loser of the game is the one who finally forms a word of at least 4 letters. So, the 3rd person says “o”, the next “s”, and the last, and loser, says “t”. The loser gets a “G” after his/her first loss, an “h” after the second, etc., when they have spelled “Ghost”, they are out of the game, the game continues until all but one have spelled “Ghost” There is another version of this game called “Superghosts”, in this version the letters can be added to the front as well as the back (1st “G”, 2nd “h” [gh], 3rd “a” [agh}.
Yes, we used to play Hide and Seek (less the go). The “it” person had to cover his/her eyes and count to 100, the rest of the group went and hid. Ususally a common place or object was used as the “I’m Free or I’m Home” point. This was where all the rest of the gang, when not immediately sought out by the “it” person, could run fast before being seen (we always played this at nite)by the “it” person. If we got to that point without being “tagged” by the “it” person,then we would not have to become the “it” person for hte next game. Ususally the first to be discovered as to where they were hiding was the next “it” person. When nearly all of the kids were “home free” or the “it” person just gave up trying to find them, or if mom yelled for us to come it as it was getting late, the “it” person would call out “Ally, Ally in come free”, over and over several times. When doing this, all the gang had to face the “home or free” point and close their eyes so they could not see where the other good hiders came from so not to show their hiding positions. This came up just recently, so I had to share. Plus, this friend of mine, from down south, says no no no that is the game of Ghost. I had to disagree. We played a game of Ghost which was while traveling in the car. Does anyone have the “correct” definition of what Ghost is. My friend is ademate he is correct and I am wrong. I would like to hear of other versions of “Ghost”. Thank you!
I remember these games: Freeze tag, tag (lots of versions!), hide and seek, keep away, King of the mountain (on snow-hills in winter, it involved pushing off whoever tries to ‘take over’ the ‘mountain’), red rover (I loved that one!). Some tag stuff: -you had to decide whether or not ‘electricity’ was allowed- whether or not, if someone is on goal, they can grab someone who isn’t and make them ‘safe’. -the rhyme to get people off a goal: “One two three, get off my father’s apple tree or you are it” -I remember kids would call goal different things… I always used to call it glue, and someone called it ghoul! I played these in the 80s/ early 90s
Where I grew up we had the absolute PERFECT set up for Kick the Can!!! I grew up in Co-op City, the Bronx NY (http://welcome.to/coopcity) in the late 70s. It’s a cooperative community full of 33 story buildings with pillars that supported the second floor above the lobby. Since the lobby wasn’t that big, it left a maze of pillars to sneak behind. Then to top it off there were long expanses of retaining walls and man-made hillocks to belly crawl behind. It wasn’t really Kick the Can anymore….not the way we played it. It was WAR! There was a circular metal drain in the exact middle of the courtyard just outside the lobby. The building’s sides were a V surrounding it (with the pillars, don’t forget the pillars!). The can was placed on the metal drain. The one of the benches in the courtyard was ‘Jail’ and the person that was ‘It’ had to stand outside of the octagonal brick work that surrounded the metal drain. (It was perfect! We couldn’t have set it up better ourselves!) ‘It’ would face away from the building, cover their eyes, and count to 20-30 and we would scatter under the building. The trick was to maneuver your way to the pillars closest the can with out being seen by ‘It’. Goodness was that hard! Once ‘It’ saw movement all they had to do was identify who it was and which pillar they were hiding behind. “Tap tap tap! I see so-and-so behind the third pillar!” Not only did you have to tap the can on the metal drain but you had to scream “Tap tap tap…” at the top of your lungs. Lucky for us, most of the time they ID’ed the wrong people. Come to think about it…..we were some awfully honest kids. We wouldn’t play with someone if they didn’t come out when they were legitimately caught. Given the fact that all that was needed was a proper ID, you couldn’t talk lest they pin point who you were and where you were hiding. But inevitably some stealthy and swift footed kid would free the slower ‘Jailed’ kids. If not, and we gave up (all the players were NEVER caught) the first kid would get to be the next ‘It’. I’m tellin’ you it was perfect! So much so I never came upstairs when the street lights came on. And my mother always yelled at me for that. God forbid if I came home with grass stains all over myself. Diving for the ground so that you wouldn’t be spotted will give you plenty of grass stains that’s for sure! I want to thank the webmaster for this forum! I’ve enjoyed it immensely!
Hot peas and butter! The choice game for a boring hot NY summer hanging around the block. It was even better if we played without our shirts on! YEOUCH!
Correction: “Red Hot PEA’s and BUTTER” Maurice
In sheepshead bay Brooklyn, in Mellet Park (which we use to call Mellow Park) there was a mean ass game of tag we use to play, we called it “RED HOT PEE’S AND BUTTER” or at least that is what I think it was called. First off, you would need a belt or a switch for a tree, if it was a tree branch, it was better if it had some bend in it. It hurt more that way. The rules are: Someone would hide the belt or branch while everyone closed their eyes. This was strickly enforced. If someone looked and cheated, it was 5 lashes, sometimes even if we thought they cheated, 5 lashes. Anyway, the kid who did the hiding called out the hot and cold as everyone looked for the painful weapon. “Duggy you’re hot, you’re burning, you’re smoking!!!” Now, you had to decide if you wanted to get closer to Duggy, knowing that if he finds it, you are the first to get wacked but you did it anyway. Or Duggy could just be faking you out, looking right at the dreaded thing, just baiting you in, to get a few good shots. Then when it was picked up, everyone had to get to the bese to avoid getting their ass wipped. That was it, just Tag with attitude.The person who found the belt or switch would get to hide it nexts. I think was used to play it just to make it more interesting. It always is, when you have more to lose, like your skin. Maurice
Hey! Kick The Can goes back to southwest Minnesota during the depression. One person was “it” and was blindfolded (or just didn’t look) while everybody hid all over the neighborhood. As the “it” person located the hidden people, they would all go to jail, which was somewhere near the can. If everyone was found and in jail, a new “it” person was elected. HOWEVER, if a kid avoided being seen and raced to the can…and kicked it…everybody in jail was set free and the process started all over again. A stupid game that was a lot of fun…always played at dusk in an area with lots of good hiding places.
We spent every summer evening when I was in elementary school playing kick the can. Best places to hide were in the basement window wells and as high as we could climb in the apple tree. We also had a babysitter named Shirley Gamble and when she came to sit we played the “Shirley Gamble Game”, where she would hide everyone but the person who was It. My parents never learned that she once had my little brother (age 4) hang by his fingertips from inside the laundry shoot in the upstairs bathroom (the shoot ended in the basement!). How did we ever survive childhood?