The Candy Haystack Game!

candy haystack game

The candy haystack game is an old favorite with our family. Kids of all ages absolutely love it and I can almost guarantee that you will, too.


Candy games are a lot of fun, no matter what the occasion. If you want to make your guests smile, incorporate some candy into the activities when you have a get-together.


Growing up in the "country," we often hosted church gatherings at our house because we had the outdoor space to make the event comfortable for a large group of people.


My parents also got into the habit of hosting an annual Memorial Day picnic, 4th of July picnic, and Labor Day picnic, which lend themselves beautifully to outdoor candy games.

I don't know where the idea for the candy haystack game originally came from, but I've always kind of thought it originated with my own dad! :)


My dad took great pleasure in making sure there were plenty of fun activities for the kids to enjoy whenever we had a party or an outdoor event.


We'd have treasure hunts, play baseball, catch fish in the pond, enjoy sparklers and fireworks, and, of course, play candy games! I honestly think my dad had as much fun as the kids. ;)


If you can get your hands on at least one bale of hay, this candy in the haystack game will be a big hit.

How To Play The Candy Haystack Game

candy haystack game

It's really pretty easy to set up and play the haystack candy game. In fact, if you've ever had a candy scramble, it's not much different, except the candy is hidden in the haystack rather than scattered across a field.


What you'll need for the candy haystack game:

  • wrapped candy (enough for each child to "find" a decent amount)
  • at least one bale of hay (more if you're catering for a large group)
  • bags; one for each person playing (Party favor bags are great if you have a themed party or want it to be extra special, otherwise you can simply use brown paper lunch bags.)

You can prepare the game area ahead of time if you like, but my dad used to prepare it in front of the children to add to the excitement of the hunt.


He made a big show of emptying bag after bag of candy into the pile of hay and then tossing the hay thoroughly and mounding it up into a haystack ready for the whistle to blow and the game to begin.


If you're budget allows, you might want to add a bit more excitement to the game, just like my dad did. He would get several $1 bills and a few handfuls of silver change (mostly quarters and half dollars) and make a to-do about tossing and tucking them into the candy hay pile.

  1. Once the candy filled hay pile is ready, pass out the bags so each child has their own.

  2. Have all the players take a position around the outside of the haystack in a circle. Signal the start of the hunt by using a whistle or counting down, or simply saying, "Ready, Set, Go!"

  3. Keep an eye on any would-be ruffians so that they don't allow their exuberance to get the better of them. :) The game should be fun for all, so you don't want bullies ruining it for some.

  4. If you have a large range of ages in your group, divide them into smaller, age appropriate, groups and play the candy haystack game in "rounds" replenishing the candy in the haystack between groups.

Extra Tips:

***If you are dealing with toddlers, you may want an adult to "help" each child in the search, but otherwise keep the adults out of the game. (Honestly, sometimes they can be worse than the kids!)


***Keep a couple of favor bags with candy set aside, just in case you have tears and/or tantrums, or a shy child who isn't aggressive enough to get a fair result. The truth is, you don't want to have to steal some from your own kids or another child who makes a killing. Better to be prepared and keep all guests happy on the day.


I'd love to hear how your own candy haystack game went on the day. Or maybe you've got another great candy game idea to share with us. Either way, take a few moments and tell us all about it. We'd love to see photos of the event, too.


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