Wednesday, October 17, 2018

15 Ideas for Costume Club

Who doesn't love a YL style Costume Party? Below are a few ideas to help make it "YL'd" and festive.

Costume Scavenger Hunt

If your club meets in a home, check with your host to see if it's a good neighborhood to pull off this scavenger hunt. It's similar to "Bigger, Better, Best," but teams are searching for items to collect in order to make a costume for one of the team members. Divide up into teams of around 5 folks. Each team picks one person to dress up and one or two streets to hunt on. Don't let teams overlap streets and hit up the same house. Teams go door-to-door, asking at each home for one or two items they can use in creating a costume for their model. At one house they may get an old hat, at another some lipstick, at another a wig, and so on. Set a time limit, and a limit of 2 items per house. When teams report back to club, hold a competition for the best costume.

Pre-Club Photo Booth 

It's a great night to get some photos to post on Instagram throughout the week. Ask a high schooler to shoot the pics and post them up.

Entry Music

Here's a video you could have playing on the screen as kids enter the club room. It's old school, but still fun- a Halloween light show to Gangnam Style.

Monster Video

Use JibJab to make a Monster video with pics of 5 of your YL kiddos. It costs $ to download the video, but makes a funny transition between different club elements.

Costume Contest

Instead of your typical club mixer, hold a costume contest. Build a runway. Invite everyone wearing costumes to participate. Identify the best costumes before club starts, as those folks cross centerstage, pull them aside. Once you have the top 5 and everyone else is sitting down, vote by audience applause. Award 3 prize catergories: Creative, Insane, & Hilarious. Give a good prize.

JigJaw Jack-O-Lantern

This works well with a smaller club or larger Campaigners group. Divide into teams of 3 people per pumpkin. Give each a good cutting knife and ask them to be careful. Works best if there can be a leader with each team. They have 3 minutes to cut the pumpkin into 10 pieces. Play music while they cut (see songs below). Then have the teams rotate to a different pumpkin. Have a ton of round wooden toothpicks available. Give each team just 2 minutes to put the jigsaw puzzle pumpkin back together, using the toothpicks to hold the pieces in place. The first team to finish is the winner. Pumpkins must be able to stand alone to be considered.

No Costume Smackdown

You know those folks who are too cool to dress up for Costume Club, well this game is for them. Call up 4 folks without costumes and tell them you found the perfect costume for them to wear, then make them put on a sleeping bag. After they're wearing sleeping bags have a wrestling match. Pair off 2 at a time, winners face one another for the championship. Just a Costume Club spin on the old sleeping bag wrastlin' game. Make sure you don't do this on a hard floor. Carpet is key.

Pumpkin Head

Carve out some real big pumpkins with some funny faces. Cut a hole big enough in the bottom where kids can actually wear them as masks (while holding them). The funny part is the people actually wearing a pumpkin head, once that happens, you can go a few different directions with the game. Either have a running race, which is hard since they can't see well. Call it the "Pumpkin Run.'  Or you could cover the pumpkin in cake icing or whipped cream and have kids throw Halloween candy at the people wearing pumpkin heads, seeing who can get the most stuck on their pumpkin.

Seed Spittin'

Kids race to cut open a pumpkin, pull out the seeds and spit them towards their partners who are holding a plastic jack-o-lantern. The one with the most seeds after 90 seconds (with loud music playing in the background) is the winner.

Pumpkin Smash 

If your "Costume Club" happens to fall AFTER Halloween, you can get a good deal on pumpkins. Hold a pre-club "pumpkin smash."

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

Check out this link for all the details! 

Candy Apple (Onion) Eating Contest

All you need are 3 apples, 1 onion, 4 popsicle sticks and some caramel coating.  Cover the onion to look like an apple and have that eating contest. Pretty hilarious. Provide milk and breath mints for the contestant who draws the short straw.  

Pumpkin Prize

For one of the games or the costume contest, award a pumpkin with a crown on it as the award for being the 'Pump-king."

Background Music (to play during games)

Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
Rock Lobster (B-52's) 
Ghost Busters (Ray Parker Jr.)
Monster Mash (Boris Pickett)
Thriller (Michael Jackson)

Club Songs 

Thriller (guitar chords) Download the Thriller lyrics on ppt slides here.

Ghost Busters: It's pretty simple to play on guitar, just five chords. Here's a guitar chords link.  Download the Ghostbusters lyrics on PowerPoint slides here

Lean On Me: We re-wrote a Halloween version. You can download the lyrics and ppt slides here.

Pumpkin Olympics

If your club meets after Halloween, you can likely get really cheap pumpkins. If you have 30 kids at club, buy 90 pumpkins, so you have around 3/kid. Divide into at least four teams for the Olympic events. It's messy, so have them dress appropriately. Below are 8 different events you could use.
  1. Dodge Pumpkin. Everyone sits in a large circle with one person in the middle. Choose a large pumpkin and roll it at the person in the middle, trying to hit the person. Roll it, don't throw it. To make it interesting, increase the number of pumpkins. If a pumpkin splats, replace it.
  2. Pumpkin Bowling. Set up empty 2-liter bottles, cans, or bowling pins. Each person rolls a pumpkin once and tallies the total number of pins knocked down. A leader can be constantly resetting the pins.
  3. Pumpkin Toss. Similar to an egg toss, two people from a team toss a pumpkin back and forth, stepping farther apart each time, until someone drops it.
  4. Pumpkin Put. Put (as in shot-put) a pumpkin through the air and measure how far it goes. Competition may be based on using the largest person from each team, the smallest person, the largest pumpkin, or the smallest pumpkin.
  5. Pumpkin Catapult. Using a cinderblock with a board over it and the pumpkin on one end of the board, jump on the other end and measure how far the pumpkin goes.
  6. The Great Pumpkin Relay. Set up an obstacle course. Players carry a large pumpkin as they negotiate the course, then hand the pumpkin to the next player.
  7. Pumpkin Soccer. Dribble the pumpkin around a cone or other marker and back to the starting point, where the next person takes a turn. Time it.
  8. Pumpkin Pick-up. By the end of the Olympics, the grounds are a mess, so have a clean-up contest. Provide plastic trash bags and award megapoints to the team that collects the most pumpkin debris. Have a scale on hand to weigh the bags if possible.

Make sure the winning team takes home a prize!

*We found some of these great games on

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Sin Talk Illustration from Black Panther

This past summer, during one of my camp talks, I used this fight scene from Black Panther as an illustration of sin.

I started by reading from the beginning of The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The pages are pictured here.

After I read the adapted version of Genesis 3, here's what I said.

"This account of Adam and Eve and the serpent reminds me of a scene from a movie I saw earlier this spring. 

In this particular movie, there was a good king of the land and he was incredibly kind and powerful and loved his people. But that king had a horrible enemy. And that enemy didn’t just want to be a citizen in the good king’s kingdom. The enemy wanted to be the King himself.
So he grew proud and evil and full of hate. And he was seething with anger, looking for a way to hurt the good king. Let me just show you what happened." 

And then I played the clip. You can download it here.

After the clip, I continued.

In "The Black Panther," T’challa is the good king of Wakanda
But Killmonger wants to be the king, and there can’t be two kings. So they fight it out.

Killmonger said, “I lived my entire life, just waiting for this moment. I trained, I lied, I killed- just to get here. And all this death- just so I could kill you." 

Just so I could be the king.

That’s often our story, isn’t it?
We have a good king, but we often act like we don’t want him to be in charge.

If God isn’t the King of your life, who is?
The truth is- much of our life is spent wanting to be the king and acting like we’re the king. Wanting what we want, no matter the consequences, no matter who it hurts.

Even if it means killing the king.

But where has that way of thinking led us?

What happens to our world when we act like we’re in charge instead of God?

Our culture tells us that nothing should get in the way of our particular definition of happiness and pleasure. You should be able to do whatever you want with your body, it’s your body after all.You should be the king of yourself!

But it seems like when we try to be in charge and have it our way, things just fall apart."

And the talk continued.

Feel free to borrow this illustration if it helps you communicate the power of sin to your middle, high school, and college friends. -Drew

*It's a pretty intense movie clip, so I'd recommend not using it with WyldLife.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Orange and Black Logo

Thanks to Chandler Chittom and Claire Bertram at the University of Georgia for sharing this orange and black logo for you to use in your slides at club this week. You can find tons of ideas for Costume Club here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Tons of Hoe-Down Club Ideas

The fall has arrived and its a perfect time of year to plan a Young Life hoedown club!


  • Borrow a barn!
  • If you can't find a barn, find a field. It's better to do the field party earlier in October so it's not dark as early or as cold. Daylight Savings Time ends on Nov. 4, so after that, it will get darker earlier.
  • If you use a field without lights, you could circle up cars and use headlights. Bring jumper cables in case you drain a car battery! 
  • You'll also want to make sure a bathroom is close by. You can rent port-a-potties for $150, maybe even get a parent to sponsor it. Who doesn't want their business logo on a sign taped to a portable bathroom?
  • If you can't find a barn or a field, you can do it anywhere, just make sure to decorate!
  • Christmas lights are a must.
  • Aluminum bins filled with ice and bottled cokes.
  • Hay bales are great. Try and get them donated, but if not, you can probably get 30 for $100 from a local supplier. 
  • Checkered tablecloths
  • Tons of ideas on Pinterest


Finger Countin

Use your skit characters to do a funny game sell about how their mama taught them to count and add. Stand back to back, each person holding out one hand. On that hand they can hold out no fingers, 1, 2,3,4, or all 5. When they turn around (on the count of 3) they add the fingers together with their opponents. First one to yell the correct sum moves on to the next round.

Seed Spittin'

Kids race to cut open a pumpkin, pull out the seeds and spit them towards their partners who are holding a plastic jack-o-lantern. The one with the most seeds after 90 seconds (with loud music playing in the background) is the winner.
You can also spit sunflower seeds into a cowboy hat.

Plunger Olympics

If you're going for more of a red neck theme instead of a barn party, you can make up all kinds of games using plungers.
  • Ring toss on the plunger
  • Unrolling toilet paper race with the toilet paper roll on the plunger
  • Using the plungers as gloves to catch balls being tossed
  • Get creative

Pie-Eating Contest
Few things are as redneck as eating contests. You can go many different directions with this one. Just call 3-5 folks up front and pick one of the options below or create your own.
  • Fill pie tins with gummy worms and whipped cream and have a race to see who can get all the worms out first without using their hands. Start a rumor in the crowd that real worms are mixed in with the gummy worms.
  • Fill pie tins with M&Ms and flour and have a race to get the M&Ms out using no hands. Make sure to have water for them to drink after getting a mouth full of flour. Take pictures!

Turkey Head
If you're doing it in November, you can do a slight twist on the ol' surgical glove on the head game, because it does look like a turkey. Get three volunteers to pull the glove over their head, just below their nose. When the music starts, they race to blow it up as big as they can. It can get huge! Take pics.


Here's a link to download the script we used for our program characters. They were Hot Sauce Cowboys and the "bad guy" was a cranky old man. 


  • Make a good country music playlist to have going as kids arrive. Ask a kid to help make it (but make sure it's clean.
  • Here's a Spotify playlist a friend made for a hoe-down club, but it's a couple years old.
  • Use eyeliner to draw freckles on girls, like we do at camp.
  • Considering getting 2 skit characters to host the whole night. They can learn some redneck jokes and do a little routine throughout club.
  • Get someone to come call a square dance or learn to do it yourself by watching Sean McGever at


Download a song sheet we made here. It feels more "hoe-down-ish" to pass out song sheets than to use a screen and slides. It includes the following songs:

  • Mama Don't Allow
  • Wagon Wheel
  • Chicken Fried
  • Springsteen
  • I Saw The Light
  • Amazing Grace

Download guitar chords for all the songs above here.

Last year we did use slides. Download PowerPoint Slides for all the songs below here.

  • Wagon Wheel
  • High FLyin Lord
  • Let my light shine bright
  • Barefoot Bluejean night
  • Chicken Fried
  • Banana Song
  • Springsteen
  • Let there be light
  • I could Run Away
  • I am Yours

What other Hoedown ideas do you have? Email us here and we'll add them to the post.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A New Spin On The Old "Dog Toss"

Here's a new spin on an old club game. We used to duct tape solo cups to guys' chests to catch hot dogs flying through the air.

The brilliant minds of WVYL decided to take the dog toss to the next level.

The Dog Toss

  • Borrow "dog collar cone"or (buy on Amazon for $8.99
  • Put it around the neck of your game contestant at club
  • Have another person toss hotdogs from the other side of the room and see how many their partner can catch in the collar cone.
  • You can substitute hotdogs for anything, but it’s always funny to see raw pork flying in the air and bouncing off foreheads, plus they’re cooked and cheap.
  • Goggles could be helpful and funny looking.
  • Two cone collars could make it a more intense competition.

Shared by Paul Dick, YL staff in southern West Virginia. If you have ideas to share, email us here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Young Life Fried Night

As a southern boy, I naturally associate the month of October with the fair coming to town. In addition to the pig races, one of the best parts of the fair is the "fair food." I mean, where else can you get deep fried Mac-N-Cheese and Krispy Kreme Burgers?!

I'll tell you where. Young Life club.

It's a fun, low-key idea for a theme night this fall. All you need to do is gather some deep fryers (ask parents and your YL committee to borrow a few). Have kids bring any food items they want to fry, the possibilities are endless. Bring some extra random foods for kids who forget to bring something. 

Fun Foods To Fry

  1. Candy bars
  2. Ear of corn
  3. Hotdogs
  4. Avacado
  5. Cookie dough
  6. Bacon
  7. PB&J
  8. Cheescake
  9. Oreos
  10. Bananas

Pro-Tip: Ask some responsible parents to come and help be your fryers! 

Here are some instructions for frying a snickers bar. 

1. Place the Snickers bar in the freezer until it is hard so the candy bar does not melt when it is fried. This step is optional because the candy bar will be delicious either way. However, an unfrozen Snickers Bar will be stickier and messier.

2. The safest way to fry a Snickers is in a deep fryer. Don't panic if you don't have one because you can also use a deep pot with a glass lid. Preheat peanut or vegetable oil to 375 degrees.

3. Prepare batter to coat the Snickers bar. You can use funnel cake batter, cake batter or pancake batter. Take the Snickers out of the freezer and completely cover it in the batter.

4. Use tongs to place the Snickers into the deep fryer or deep pot with the heated oil. When it's golden brown, remove it from the hot oil using the tongs. The total frying time should be about three minutes, but keep an eye to determine when it is ready.

5. Let the fried snack cool for a few minutes because the inside will be hot and you could burn your mouth. You can top it with powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, caramel or any other sweet treat.

*Never put water on a grease fire, but instead put it out with a glass lid or baking soda.

Another great idea would be to sing the song, Chicken Fried.

HT to Ken Tankersly for sharing this idea!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Top-Kan: A Fun New Game for Club

Some of you have experienced the wonder of playing "Top-Golf," the driving range of the future. Many of you have played Kan-Jam, the yard game of the decade. Last week, we invented a game called "Top-Kan," a combination of the two...and it was AWESOME! 


- Find a bunch of paint buckets, laundry baskets, pack-n-plays, and storage bins.

- Borrow as many frisbees as you can. You could also add it other random objects you can throw, like stuffed animals. I think balls would be too easy.

- Get white printer paper, a thick sharpie, and tape.

- Set the buckets up in a field and tape different point values to each bin. Mark a "throwing line" using cones or tape or chalk.

- Test drive the throwing and make it difficult but do-able.


There are a few different ways you can play. We did 2 rounds, one as a mixer involving everyone and one as a game involving just 6 folks. 

- Make sure to have at least 2 folks designated as score keepers. It helps if they have pen and paper to write down the scores.

- For the mixer, divide the group into 2 teams. Each team can pick 5 folks to be the "retrievers." It would be funny and safer to make these folks where bike, hockey, lax or football helmets. Also a good excuse to interact with the Athletic Director or lacrosse team to borrow 10 helmets for the night.

- You can choose for each team to go at the same time, if you have enough space and buckets for two fields. We did it where each team went one at a time for a 3-minute round. 

- Teams line up single-file and when the whistle blows, the timer starts, and they start throwing. As soon as a person tosses a frisbee, they run to the back of the line. The retrievers are gathering frisbees and running them back to the front of the line. *Don't let retrievers throw the frisbees back, that will get too dangerous and complicated. 

- A player scores when their frisbee hits the bucket. If their frisbee lands in the bucket/basket, they get double points. 

- Whichever team can get the most points in 3 minutes wins!

- After the team round, you can pick the best 6 throwers (3 from each team) to compete. Everyone gathers around to watch. Each thrower gets 5 shots. It's an accuracy competition, not timed. Whoever has the most points total after 5 shots wins lunch with their leader later that week! 

- This is also a great game to use if you're doing a semester-long competition between teams

Let us know if you play and how it goes! Send us a video and we'll post it on the blog and social media. Enjoy! 

-Drew Hill and the Young Life Leader Blog team 

Friday, October 5, 2018

"Come With Me" by Jeramy Williams

When I was younger I wanted to go running about as much as I wanted to eat broccoli. However, as we get older we take on new activities and exercises to stay in shape, or get in shape, or try desperately to change our current shape.

Six years ago in an effort to keep my "shape" from getting any bigger, I decided to start running a few times a week. Like a three-year-old forcing down his broccoli, I would lace up my shoes, plan out my 3-5 mile route and get it over with. The number of miles I ran each week fluctuated; the number of times I ran each week fluctuated, but one thing stayed the same.

My daughter Gracelyn would always ask, "Dad, can I go with you?"

I was glad she asked, but three-year-olds aren't looking for company when forcing down their broccoli, they just want to get it over with. I felt the same way about my running. I just wanted to get it over with.

"When you get older you can come with me." I would say.

Guess who's gotten older. A lot older. She is no longer a cute little pig-tailed 5-year-old girl. Gracelyn is a beautiful, dynamic 11-year-old middle schooler.

I have gotten older too, and running, or as I sometimes like to say "scooting" has grown on me as a way to stay active and stay in shape. Guess who still asks, "Dad, can I go with you?"

Gracelyn has started lacing up her own running shoes and hitting the road with dad. In fact, the very first run we went on together was a doable 2 mile run through town. I led the way because I had been on this route many times before. I looked over my shoulder often just to see if she was "keeping up." As we turned the final corner and headed to our finish line I realized I didn't have to look over my shoulder anymore. A middle school ponytail went bobbing right by me and she beat her old man to the finish line.

I was so proud that she beat me to the finish line, and I am so glad she was with me.

So much of what kids want is to simply be with us.

We don't have to turn every moment into a Sunday School lesson, we just have to do what we are going to do anyway, and invite them to be WITH us when we are doing it.

"When we read in the Gospels that Jesus chose twelve 'to be with him,' their being with Him was not some extra privilege they enjoyed. It was the heart and soul of their discipleship and learning." -Os Guiness

I do the same thing with the high school football players I disciple, and the college guys I spend time with.

Workouts? Come with me.
Costco runs? Come with me.
Airport runs? Come with me
Work trips? Come with me.
Getting new tires? Come with me.

That was the heart of what Jesus did with the Twelve, and it doesn't have to be complicated, we can keep it simple.

When Gracelyn and I go on runs together here are a few things we do;

1) We check in with each other before we start and as we stretch.
2) We always push to the finish line.
3) We pray for each other when we finish every run.

It has become a truly sacred time for us. We are closer to each other, we are practicing being healthy together, and every time I hear her pray my heart lights up. You can do it too!

Don't overthink it, don't overcomplicate it, just ask yourself what you already do on a regular basis that you can invite your middle and high school and college friends to do with you.

Be filled with hope my friend, for you are deeply loved.

Jeramy Williams is a story-teller, speaker, and spiritual director. He has worked with thousands of adolescents and college students over the last 20 years, with 13 of those years being on full time Young Life Staff. He loves helping clear the obstacles in people’s lives so they can experience healing, hope, and wholeness in Jesus.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tips for Hosting Club in Homes

Written by Andrew Crockett, WyldLife leader in Hendersonville, TN.

Hosting club at a home is no easy task. Below are some helpful tips.

Move ALL Furniture
If you don’t want to break anything, take it out of the room. If you can't get it out of the room, turn it around and push it up against the wall. If you don’t, people will sit on it. A lot more people than it will hold, and it will break. Trust me, I learned this the hard way when my couch broke in two from too much weight.

Take EVERYTHING Off The Walls
If it’s not physically screwed to the walls, it will likely fall down. All those kids packed in will knock something off the walls or break something hanging up, so just take it down.

Protect Your Carpets
If you have a rug, roll it up and move it. If you have carpet floors, try to get kids to take off their shoes. You’d be amazed at what kids have on their shoes so it’s best to just have them take them off. If a game is going to be messy bring a sheet, or a tarp or anything to put on the floor to protect the carpets.

Carefully Pick The Front
You want to make the front of the room, the stage, be where something valuable or dangerous is. We always put a screen up in front of my TV because we didn’t want anyone to hit it or somehow find a way to break it.

Set Up For Clean-up 
Put a trashcan by the entrance, more people will throw stuff away if they can easily find a trashcan. Have a roll of paper towels on standby. You will use them.

Make It Comfy
The kids will thank you and you will thank you. Go ahead and crank the AC way down before club, you want it to be really cold so that way when everyone gets there it won’t be as hot. Also, set up fans around the room before club so you can turn them on if needed. Invest in some crazy creek camping chairs to make it more comfortable to sit on the floor.

Figure out ahead of time where the best place is for everyone to park. If the ground is wet, use some orange cones to keep folks from tearing up the grass in the yard. Think through traffic flow for after club is over and for parent drop-off and pick-up.

The After-Club "Uh-ohs" 
Once everyone leaves you will likely find something is wrong:
  • Gum in the carpet: I've found that if you put ice on it for a minute, it will kind of freeze. That’s when you slide a comb or a for under it and scoop it up. It’s not just going to slide out, but you can get it.
  • White ring on wood: When someone leaves their cup with condensation on something wood a white ring will appear. No need to fear though, why? Mayonnaise. Yes mayo will get that ring out. As weird as this sounds, if you just rub a good layer of mayo on the ring, let it sit for a good 10 minutes or so, then wipe it off that ring should be either gone or barely able to see.
  • Stain on carpet: If it’s really recent, water and a paper towel will probably work. But, if it’s too late for that get some club soda. The stuff does wonders on stains. Remember dab the paper towels don’t rub or wipe.

Make sure to remember to write a THANK YOU note to your host home. Throwing in a YL camp shirt or bringing a $7 arrangement of flowers from the grocery store is also a nice touch!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Compass: A Life Changing Summer Discipleship Experience for High Schoolers

Do you have a high school friend that is ready for the next step in their faith? This summer, they can do it in Iceland! 

COMPASS is a month-long adventure that trains students to live out their calling as a disciple of Christ. Compass students spend two weeks backpacking through the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York and studying theology with professors at Gordon College. Then they take the lessons they’ve learned to serve children and families with the Root Cellar in Portland, Maine or the Salvation Army in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Compass is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the student-leader you know is ready to be challenged. They will be pushed to step outside their comfort zone, whether that’s carrying a 50-lb. backpack up a mountain or wrestling with scripture. Through adventure, intense discipleship, and cross-cultural service, Compass equips students to return to their schools with a fresh vision of their role in God’s kingdom.

Most students participate in Compass following their junior year, but sophomore and senior applicants are also considered. Compass participants are nominated by their pastors, Young Life leaders, or teachers. In order to apply, students must also seek a mentor who will commit to mentoring them for three years following the completion of the summer program. This is a great opportunity for a Young Life leader to walk closely in a discipleship relationship with students.

The early-bird application deadline is January 31st. Now is the time to begin talking to folks you think may be interested.

Compass partners with Young Life leaders across the country to identify, mentor, and equip students to be servant-leaders who have a personal and deep faith in Christ. Since 2001, Compass has hosted over 470 students from 3 countries and 30 states. Many of these alumni are now pastors, teachers, administrators, missionaries, and Young Life staff.

Learn more about Compass on their website and recommend a student for the program with their online form. The 2019 Compass Program is from June 26- July 25. Compass students fundraise to support their trip. When you tell your students about Compass, it's helpful to share with them the highlight video from the Compass website.