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Don’t let the dark extinguish your fun. There are plenty of fun and entertaining activities and things you and the family can do when the lights go out.

Next time you’re left in the dark, try some of these ideas to keep the family entertained.

Camp out

Pitch a tent in the garden and sleep outside. Treat the children to a midnight (or thereabouts) snack. This way you can do your bit and more by keeping the lights off the whole night. If it’s a bit chilly, build a fort in the lounge with cushions and blankets and pass the time with some of the activities below.

Candlelit dinners

Do something different for dinner by planning a picnic on the lounge floor or outside if it’s warm enough. Or try a fondue: make the cheese sauce (or melted chocolate) beforehand, keep it warm with a tealight candle, and then dip away.

Community effort

Invite your neighbours or friends over and make an evening of it. String up some Chinese lanterns (non-electric) and fire up the braai. Add a lively soundtrack to the evening by organising a drum circle or invite someone along who plays an acoustic guitar. The adventurous can even find a fire dancer to light up the night.

Creative flair

For those with a creative flair, try making art in the dark: cover your floors with old sheets, put down paper and paint, and turn off the lights. This is bound to be fun, and a bit messy, and you may want to light a candle every once in a while. If you’re looking for something more dramatic, hold a shadow puppet show.

Game on

Computer games are obviously out, but there are games the whole family can play that don’t require electricity. Try a board game by candlelight: Monopoly or Risk for the power hungry; or budding artists can try Pictionary. You can also play card games or charades. Word games can also be fun, like “I-spy” or “I went to the zoo and I saw…” (here you list animals starting with each letter of the alphabet – the next player has to recite all of the animals previously mentioned and then add a new animal starting with the next letter). If you’re open to using torches, plan a treasure hunt around the house and garden. You can also play hide-and-seek, but perhaps stay indoors for this one.


With the lights out over the cities, the stars should be shining brighter than ever (if it’s a clear evening and if as many lights as possible are turned off). So, if you’re looking for a tranquil way to pass the night, take a blanket outside, or onto the roof if it’s safe enough, and do some stargazing. See how many shooting stars you can count – and don’t forget to wish upon a star.

Story time

Huddle up on a bed and tell stories to each other. If you have the nerve, tell scary ghost stories. But if this is going to cause nightmares, try a pass-it-on story. One person starts the story off however they like and after a while passes the storytelling on to the next person. They carry on the story as their imagination leads them, until they decide to pass it on. You will be amazed where the story goes.

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Tamlyn Vincent