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Halloween - Where Is My Hat?

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Halloween - Where Is My Hat? App Poster Image
Whack-a-mole meets Simon Says in fun impulse-control game.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to work on impulse control and combining quick visual processing with following the rules of a game.

Ease of Play

A hand icon and simple text instructions show kids how to play the game.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

A small icon on the home page leads to ads for other apps from the same developer. Upon tapping on any of the ads, a simple addition problem acts as a parent gate to keep kids from accessing the app store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Halloween - Where Is My Hat? is a holiday-themed version of a kind of whack-a-mole game. In the game, little characters continually pop in and out of holes, and kids tap only on the ones wearing a target hat (or other accessory). The Halloween theme is mild and mostly consists of some spider webs, a smiling skeleton character, and some funny costume accessories. A hand icon shows kids what to tap on, but later levels also include short text phrases with further instructions. Non-readers will need someone to read to them, or will just learn the new rules by trial and error. The app developer claims that Halloween - Where Is My Hat? is adaptive, meaning that new levels get introduced based on how well kids have performed in previous levels. It's easy to get caught up in passing through level after level; parents may want to make their expectations about screen time clear before handing over the device. There's a two-player mode in which the screen is split in half and two kids can play at the same time. The bigger the screen on your device, the easier this will be to do. That is, phones might be hard to use in two-player mode, particularly for younger kids. Occasionally a pop-up window asks users to rate the app, though there is also an option to tap "not now." Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Start by choosing from single-player or two-player mode in HALLOWEEN - WHERE IS MY HAT? In single-player mode, kids see a variety of animals and other silly characters pop in and out of two holes. The game is to tap on the ones wearing a target hat, which is shown on the bottom of the screen. After catching 10 targets, the hat changes. As kids progress, the task gets more complicated: More and faster moving characters to monitor, different accessories to look for (e.g., a bowtie), combinations of accessories as target (e.g., bowtie, glasses, and hat), and specific characters (e.g., a skeleton) that should not be tapped even if wearing the target accessory. Two-player mode is exactly the same except that the screen is split down the middle and two kids can play separate games at the same time.

Is it any good?

This game of fast reflexes is mostly about having fun, though it does challenge kids who are working on impulse control and visual processing. Halloween - Where Is My Hat? starts out slowly and lets kids get acclimated to the game. But things quickly get more complicated as the target changes and the screen fills with more and more little characters popping in and out of holes. For young kids, it may already be quite a challenge to hold back their desire to tap everything they see instead of waiting for the correct targets. Then come the characters that kids should not tap even though they have the target accessory, and the task gets really hard. In fact, some kids might find it next to impossible. Since all the progress kids have made in a level gets erased when they tap on these no-no characters, some kids may get quite frustrated. The levels do adjust based on kids' performance, however. So if the algorithm is working well, kids shouldn't be stuck for long in levels that are too challenging for them. The two-player mode is a nice touch and allows for parents to join in the fun too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the accessories in Halloween - Where Is My Hat? Which ones do your kids like? Gather up a bunch of hats, scarves, glasses, ties, headbands, and more and encourage your kids to play dress up and try them on in different combinations.

  • It's so easy to want to play level after level. Make your family rules about screen time clear before your kids start playing.

  • Play in two-player mode and have some family fun time. Don't forget to laugh together as you pass through levels and when you make mistakes and tap where you shouldn't have.

App details

Themes & Topics

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