Published by ShawnKinley on


Halloween traditions see young ghosts and goblins going from door to door begging for treats in North America. They yell “TRICK OR TREAT!!!” at the door expecting their sugar and chocolate payment. 

You can support their greedy little objectives with a tasty treat. Deny them their wish and you might pay the price – evil tricks: eggs thrown at your door, the house wrapped in toilet paper, or worse.

Trick or Treat – is also an impro game that supports objectives or creates torment. In fact, the game does both. Torment your partner and then give them what they want… and maybe a little more torment again!


ORIGIN: Shawn 

BENEFITS: Narrative and Variation in scenes, playfulness, torment, emotion, change in scenes.

# PEOPLE: Scene – 2 or more

GOAL: Alter and affect your partner by shifting the narrative between conflict and support and back again.

  • The TREAT phase supports your partner’s objectives.
  • The TRICK phase turns positive treats into conflict.

PROCEDURE: (with Example)

  1. Start a scene. (Example: a job interview)
  2. Establish a stable, base reality between characters. (Example: Believable status, competent job hunter)
  3. Have one character support the other character’s goal. (Example: The Boss of a company is positive and supportive of someone who wants a job)
  4. Turn whatever seemed like a treat into an active conflict (the Trick). (The Boss eventually admits the position had already been filled and apologizes for wasting the applicant’s time.)
  5. While attending to the reality of the scene, turn the trick into a treat. Whatever went wrong has positive outcomes. (Example: The boss walks the dejected applicant to the elevator but then takes him into an empty office and says, “You were too good for the other job. We gave it to someone else because we want you to have this office as acting Vice President of the company”.)
  6. The pattern can switches back to the negative state after staying in this positive phase for a while. Trick, Treat, Trick, Treat….


Try not to be arbitrary when switching between the Trick or Treat. The reason for the Trick should make some sense eventually.

The trick phase can end with an admission that the person in charge was:

  •  lying – “Sorry, I didn’t want anyone to hear me telling you the actual situation, but now I can be honest. YOU’RE HIRED!” 
  • manipulating –   “It was just a test to see how you react to conflict”  
  • clarifying – (a misunderstanding). “I didn’t explain clearly. We really want you to work here. We just want you in the best position that you deserve.

KEEP THINGS SIMPLE! Overcomplicating ideas creates too much work for the audience and messes up an elegant back-and-forth emotional connection between characters.

This type of narrative relies on TORMENT. The protagonist of the scene is in a constant back and forth situation where relief is followed by torture. Things should get worse each “trick” phase. There should be some relief during the “treat” phase.


Have someone outside the scene say the word TRICK or TREAT when you want the performers to move between the two states of raising and crushing the other character’s emotional state.


DON’T PLAN AHEAD!! When you create the conflict, don’t be thinking that the conflict is going to be just a trick. Commit to the reality. Then, when things seem un-fixable, dive into the change. (Surprise yourself. Be in the moment.)


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