Charades -
The Classic Party Game

Charades has long been a favourite at parties of all kinds.

It seems that there is something about a bit of acting up that appeals to party people of all ages.

The basic idea of charades is very simple. The names of celebrities, film characters, books or films are secretly allocated usually being drawn from a hat. Participants then have to silently act out their given name whilst others try to guess the name.

What makes a good character, celebrity or film to act out?

Choosing appropriate names to act out is very important. There is no point expecting Grandma to be able to guess the name of some hardcore goth band.

Similarly young people may struggle with even the most well known films and singers from yesteryear. Names should therefore be chosen carefully and be as inclusive as possible.

Some people prefer to stick with one category at a time whilst others like to mix and match.

The most common candidates to act out are:

  • Pop and Rock Stars
  • Pop and Rock Bands
  • Film Characters
  • Film Stars
  • Film Titles
  • Song Titles
  • Characters from History
  • Books

You can however pick any words you like if you think people's acting ability is up to the task.

How To Act Out Charades

Some names are very simple and an easy to do mime will soon draw out a correct guess.

For instance if you were trying to act out Robin Hood a bit of mimed arrow shooting might allow the guessers to easily come up with the right name.

If you were doing Michael Jackson a quick moonwalk might suffice.

For other more complicated names however the subject may need to be broken down into its component parts.

For instance if you had to act out Michael Douglas you might want to break that down into some actable chunks. Perhaps mime holding a mike (microphone) for the first word and then mime digging - dug for the second name - Mike Dug - Michael Douglas.

To help with more complicated charades a set of easy prompts have developed and are now pretty universal.

First charaders mime what it is that the guessers are working towards

  • A book - Hands are held together as if praying and then opened like a book
  • A TV show - With 2 fingers draw the shape of a rectangle in front of you
  • A film title - One hand forms an eyepiece whilst the other winds an old fashioned camera
  • A song title - One hand holds the heart whilst the other reaches toward the audience in the manner of a classical tenor
  • Singer - One hand holds an imaginary microphone
  • Band - The same as for singer but then hold you hands in front of you and pull them apart to indicate more.
  • Film Star - The same as for a film but then point to the stars

At the start of each charade after revealing what category is being mimed it is usual to hold up however many fingers are needed to indicate how many words need to be guessed.

After the number of words is revealed the mimer may then hold up a particular number of fingers to focus in on one particular word to be acted out.

Other useful pointers

  • Syllable Words can be broken down into their constituent parts. Tapping the inside of the left elbow indicates syllable
  • Bigger Holding your hands in front of you and pulling them apart indicates a larger, bigger or longer version of the word guessed
  • Smaller Holding your hands in front of you and pushing them together indicates a smaller, lesser or shorter version of the word guessed
  • The If your title contains The it is common to make a T shape with your hands.

The whole time the actor is performing their mimes everyone else calls out guesses and ideas.

If someone makes a guess along the right lines the actor will point at them.

In this way (hopefully) the group narrow down on to the correct name.

So there you have it

Charades - The classic party game
Give it a go - because there really is an actor in all of us
Just waiting for a chance in the spotlight!

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