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Urban Sidewalk Games for Bored Adults

Updated on June 22, 2011

Life is too short to spend all one's time being serious, busy, and important. Even urban professionals need to get goofy every now and then.

Though weekends are often used for letting go, I recommend goofing off during one's daily commute and lunch hour as well. One of the best ways to do this is to play little games on the sidewalk while ambling about from one meeting to the next.

You don't have to have a special phone or game console to play these games, nor do you have to understand a complex set of rules. All you have to acquire (or rediscover) is a sense of humor and a bit of childlike playfulness. Stop being so serious! It's just life, after all. Let's play.


Smile Chicken

Smile Chicken is one of the easier and more altruistic sidewalk games one can play. It is similar to real chicken, in that:

  • It involves two parties
  • Each party is moving closer to one another
  • One party adopts a specific line of behavior
  • The other party is expected to change its behavior

... except with Smile Chicken, you smile instead of plan a collision course.

Yep- that's right. All you have to do to play Smile Chicken is to smile at folks as you walk by. If they end up smiling back, or smiling as well, you've won!

The fun thing about Smile Chicken is that you can actually improve others' moods by smiling at them. What's more, you'll have the amusement of knowing that you have just mentally messed with and manipulated another human being. Crafty!

The only downsides to Smile Chicken involve people taking it the wrong way (e.g. you're coming on to them / being creepy / being insubordinate), but this almost never happens... and the potential for danger makes the game even more exciting!

Copy Catwalk is far too much fun.
Copy Catwalk is far too much fun. | Source

Copy Catwalk

Copy Catwalk is one of my favorite games to play, especially when my arms are free and I'm not carrying anything. Though Copy Catwalk is fun to play alone, it is most enjoyable when played with another person in a competitive manner (or for entertainment value).

To play Copy Catwalk

  1. Hit the streets
  2. Find someone who has a unique walk (not because they've got physical problems- this is not a game about making fun of people)
  3. Follow behind them and sync your steps, then mimic the person's posture and arm movement to the best of your ability
  4. Do so as long as possible without your mark noticing

I want to emphasize that Copy Catwalk is not about making fun of people who walk funny. It's more a game of empathy, for by taking on another's gait and posture, you can get a pretty literal idea of what it's like to walk in this person's shoes. It is also a great way to consider another's perspective.

I highly recommend finding marks as dissimilar in gender and personality to yourself as possible. If you're a lightweight woman, for example, try to find the most bulky, tough, manly man you can. You can also try Copy Catwalk on your own friends without them noticing.

Whether you do this alone or with another person, you'll find that the game is rather chuckle-inducing and full of surprising revelations.

How silently can YOU follow?
How silently can YOU follow? | Source


Similar to Copy Catwalk, Ghosting is a relatively new street game that involves following as closely behind someone for as long as possible.

Unlike Copy Catwalk, the goal is not to mimic the person you're following as accurately as possible, but rather to follow them undetected for as long as possible. This game is definitely enjoyed better as a group, because it helps to have someone else do the timing, plus it is more fun when practiced in a competitive manner.

For more on Ghosting check out the video below. And just a note of caution: don't follow anyone who might be angry when they find you out!


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Rock on, Garrett Mickley! I'm sure a bunch of different folks call it a bunch of different things. And hahaa- I sometimes get frowns, too! But that makes me smile even more. It's kind of adorable when old people frown.

    • Garrett Mickley profile image

      Garrett Mickley 6 years ago from Jupiter, Florida

      I've always played Smile Chicken but didn't realize it had a name. I just liked watching their reactions. A lot of times I get a frown in return. Especially from older people. Sorry for smiling at you, Grandma.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you so much, mslizzee!! And I know! Those shoes are insane. But I love them... almost as much as I love playing smile chicken!

    • mslizzee profile image

      elizabeth 6 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      You are very, very funny and clever. I went to your blog and read about the pointy shoes. Whoddathunk? I like your smile chicken game.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I know, hehehee!

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 6 years ago from Oz

      LOL, and for the ultimate Team Ghosting event: the Rumba-Ghosting-Line. Gotta laugh at Hamish and Andy.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa! Definitely.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Fun ideas! If the person I'm copying turns around and hits me, I guess copy catwalk will turn into copy catfight, eh?

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hehee, that's awesome! Smile Chicken is definitely my favorite :D

    • ConspireToInspire profile image

      ConspireToInspire 6 years ago

      Ha! Great hub! I find that I do these things on a regular basis, especially smile chicken.