You awake to the sound of ear-splitting screams. Your heart immediately goes into overdrive. Has someone been injured? Has the violence of the nearby neighborhood finally spread to your own?
Part of you wants to get out of bed and investigate. The other wants to hide beneath the covers and hope whatever caused the screams will stay outside.
But you can stand it no longer. You have to discover the source of the unrelenting shrieks. You get out of bed and slowly make your way toward the bedroom window. Despite all the warnings of your fearful conscience, you stretch out your hand and pull up the blinds.
These screams and shouts are a nightly occurrence in some neighborhoods; in others, only a ban keeps them from happening. But whether in their own neighborhood or another's, nearly every Top of Utah teenager has participated in the rambunctious and entertaining activities called night games.
"It's so fun to run around in the dark and have fun and be crazy," Kole Frazier, a senior at Syracuse High, says.
Like Kole, many Top of Utah teenagers enjoy the running and craziness night games involve yet others, like Olivia McNeely, a senior at Syracuse High, just enjoy the games for the socialization.
"I don't hate them but I don't like them because I'm not very sporty. I just like to hang out with people," McNeely says.
Sometimes the biggest problem with night games isn't that no one enjoys them but that it's difficult to find games everyone enjoys. Many games can be one-sided, allowing one team or person to have fun while the others don't.
Here are three games and tips that are fun for everyone:
Capture the Flag
This is probably the most well-known night game out there. It's also rather simple and, unless teams are split unevenly, both sides have the same objective and have just as much fun as the other.
Players are divided into two teams separated by a boundary line. Both have a flag and hide it somewhere difficult for the other team to find. The two teams then attempt to cross the boundary, find the flag, and bring it across the line. If you are tagged while doing so, you go to jail and cannot get out until you are tagged by another teammate.
Cops and Robbers
Players are separated into two teams -- cops and robbers. The robbers are given time to run from an appointed jail place and hide. The cops then search for the robbers and take them to jail. Another robber may then come to the jail and tag their robber buddies back into play (as long as this person isn't tagged by the cops in the process).
Although this is a truly one-sided game, one way to satisfy both teams and let all be robbers is to set a time limit. Use an electronic watch with a timer; set the limit at 20, 30 or however many minutes you desire. At the end of the time limit, if even a single robber is stuck in jail, the cops win and you both switch sides. If all the robbers are out of jail, then the robbers win and you still switch sides.
Ghost in the Graveyard
Both the hider and the seekers have a good time and this game usually ends quickly. There are several ways to play but the typical version involves an appointed "ghost" who hides while everyone else counts. The other players then search for the ghost and when they spot him shout, "Ghost in the graveyard!"
The first player to be tagged by the ghost before reaching the safe zone is It. For another added level of fun, you can also give every seeker a fixed position they must "freeze" into when they reach the safe zone. If the ghost catches anyone moving when he gets back, then that person is It.
If you constantly play the same games over and over again, it can become monotonous and boring real quick. So here are some less common games and how to play them:
One person is the seeker, everyone else is a hider. Before the game begins, the seeker points out three or more objective points that the hiders must touch (in no particular order) before running back and touching the seeker. The seeker then shouts, "Mission impossible!," closes his eyes, and counts to 10. When 10 seconds are up, the seeker opens his eyes.
The point is for the hiders to stay out of sight once the seeker reaches 10 because, although the seeker can't move more than a few feet from his original spot, if hiders are spotted by the seeker and he shouts their name, they are out. Once a hider has touched all three objectives, he must run back and touch the seeker before he reaches 10. The hider who does this is now the seeker of the next round.
This is basically a shortened version of Cops and Robbers but after the first robber is captured, his teammates must try and get him out of jail. Should any of the teammates reach the robber and tag him without being tagged themselves, the game is over.
Bigger or Better
Bigger or Better is basically a scavenger hunt without a list. You start with something small, such as a thimble or tack, and progressively get bigger or better items from neighbors by knocking on their doors and asking if they have anything bigger or better than what you currently possess.
People then find something in their house and trade you for what you have. It is typical to split into two or more teams and set a time and place to meet back and see who has the biggest or best object. If neither team can decide which object they think is bigger or better, they knock on another door and ask whoever answers it to decide.
Shane Goudy is a senior at Northridge High. He loves writing and running. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.