Dead Man Tag (game)


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Disclaimer: I am posting this for fun and because people enjoy reading about these things. If you choose to play any of these games then you do so at your own risk.

How to play


  • This sort of game is pretty old and is similar to one that I played as a child. There are lots of different variations from the creepy pasta it originated from, but this is based on the one I played.
  • Each person playing should have their own equipment.
  • This game can be played alone if you want, although it makes it more dangerous as whatever is out there will be solely fixated upon you.
  • You should play this outside, somewhere with a landmark or that is surrounded by a fence – you need something to represent home so you will probably want to agree this in advance. We used to play in the woods, although I have heard of people playing in old graveyards or ruins. It doesn’t really matter as long as there is space to hide and run along the way.
  • You can play this without a torch, but it’s the quickest way to a broken leg or worse, so I’d recommend having some form of light.
  • If you have anyone who is especially unfit or otherwise slowed they should probably be closer to home to allow for that. You want everyone to reach home.
  • Each person should start alone, two people cannot choose the same starting spot and ideally everyone should be out of sight of the other players.
  • It is said that if anyone is caught they can become possessed and will begin to target other players.
  • The danger is that you don’t know what is out there in the dark and what price they will demand if they catch you. It is said that if one of you doesn’t reach home then the game can never end and you will be haunted for the rest of your life.


  • A torch (optional, but advised).
  • A watch or timer.
  • A whistle.


  • You should be at the place you want to play in before it gets fully dark and find somewhere roughly in the middle of the play area to begin.
  • At this point everyone should make sure they have their torch, watch and whistle.
  • As it gets dark (or once it is dark) you should start.
  • Stand in a circle (or alone if no one else is playing) and join hands.
  • One person should now say something like (there are no agreed words) ‘I invite the local dead to play a game. Home is (name whatever you have decided as home). Once home we blow our whistle and we are safe. Once we are all home the game is done. You may count to (name a sensible figure). The game begins once my whistle blows.’
  • At this point you should set your watch for the amount of time the dead will have to count. Also the game leader who spoke the words should give a time when he/she will blow their whistle for the game to start.
  • Each person should now go to wherever they wish to start the game.
  • At the agreed time the leader should blow their whistle to begin the game and shout ‘you’re it’. Just before this, or after they hear the whistle each person should start the countdown on their watches. You have until the timer runs out to reach home.
  • Hide any time you hear someone approaching and you shouldn’t run with another person.
  • If the conditions are right then at some point you will become aware of something large out there in the dark looking for you. If you see or experience anything strange then you should get home as soon as possible.
  • As soon as you reach the agreed home location you must blow your whistle to be safe.
  • Once all of you are home the person who began the game should say ‘game is over, thanks for playing’. If someone does not reach home then someone else can say this in their place.


Safety first

  • Running around in the dark can lead to injury.
  • There can be other people around who are scarier than ghosts. Be sensible if you play any sort of game outdoors in an unfamiliar area. For those non supernatural reasons I’d avoid playing this game on your own.

Risk factor

Medium to high if you’re unfit.

Would I play?

I have played.


One thought on “Dead Man Tag (game)

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