How to Play Hooking Halos

This outdoor game could be the heaven-sent addition you need for your next neighborhood barbecue or gameday tailgate.

Looking for a new way to test your ring-tossing prowess when it comes to a backyard game? Hooking Halos may be the challenge you need.

Hooking Halos requires players to use both skill and strategy in their quest to become a champion at their next outdoor gathering. This Pro Tips guide breaks down the rules and gameplay, so you won’t be needing any divine intervention to overcome the competition.


To play Hooking Halos, you’ll need the following items:

  • Two playing surfaces.
  • 18 pins (nine for each playing surface).
  • Eight ring-shaped bean bags (aka “halos”), four of one color for one team, four of another for your opponent.

To set up the game, rotate the kickstand out from underneath each board and place them on a flat surface.

Next, you’ll need to install each pin. To do so, press the bottom end of the pin into the playing surface and twist clockwise until it locks into place. You can store any pins you’re not using in a bag stowed underneath the playing surface.


The goal of the game is to toss the halos at the playing surface and “hook” the pins. You can play the game one-on-one or two-on-two. Players should stand 10 to 12 feet away from each playing surface and alternate throws. Each side should toss four halos per round.

There are two main gameplay options: elimination rules or bean bag toss rules.


Under elimination rules, the game begins with nine pins on each board. Players can earn a point by hooking a halo around a pin and removing it from the board. But if a player on the opposing team hooks the same pin as you, they cancel each other out and the pin remains in play. The game continues until all pins are cleared from the board. The player or team with the most pins wins.


Under these rules, players receive three points for hooking a pin and one point for landing a halo on the board. One added perk in this style of gameplay is that you can arrange the pins any way you’d like. Some popular configurations include:

  • Diamond
  • 4-corners
  • T-shape
  • I-shape
  • One center pin

This style of gameplay also uses cancellation scoring. So, if one team earns six points and the other team gets four, the team with the higher total receives two points. Games are traditionally played to 21.

Regardless of how you decide to play, a “shootout” determines which team goes first. During the shootout, one player from each team tosses a single halo. The team with the highest score gets to start the game.


Hooking Halos can also be set up and played similar to three other popular styles of games.

  • Horseshoes: Like the traditional lawn game, the goal is to hook a halo around a single pin in the center of the playing surface. In this format, each player will toss two or four halos, depending on what rules you agree upon.
  • Tic-Tac-Toe: This style of play involves setting up all nine pins and trying to hook three in a row. For added competition, if the opposing team hooks a pin, you can reclaim it by hooking it with one of your own halos.
  • Traditional Ring Toss: This format uses five pins set up in an “X” pattern. Players will toss four halos, scoring points for each pin they hook.


Don’t hesitate to experiment when finding a throwing style that’s right for you. Some recommended techniques include:

  • “The Flip:” Throw the halo end over end, like tossing a horseshoe.
  • “The Disc Toss:” Rotate or spin the halo, as you would when throwing a traditional flying disc.
  • “The Lob:” A simple underhand toss, like those used in traditional bean bag games.

Determining the best technique is up to you. But there’s only one way to find out ­– and that’s to get out there and start playing.

Looking to become a true bean bag master? Check out our Pro Tips guides on other lawn games, including How to Play Cornhole and How to Play Bounce Back.