Idea No.

23578

Middle-Earth Lord Of The Rings Party -12yr

Award

Date

February 2012

From

Elizabeth in Beavertonm, Oregon USA

February 2012 Winner

Book Reading Party

Middle Earth Style (Lord of the Rings/Hobbit) Birthday Age 12   Having just finished reading the final book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring series, our birthday boy asked for a LOTR themed party. I knew most of his friends would not have read the books but I thought many of them would have seen at least one of the movies.

INVITATIONS: These were printed on parchment paper in the font Aniron, then folded and tied with string. They read: You are invited to join the Fellowship as we celebrate Pablo’s 12th Birthday, Middle Earth-style. Come for second breakfast, contests, games and merriment, afternoon tea and birthday cake, followed by a showing of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King. The date, time, place and RSVP instructions followed.

COSTUMES: We chose not to wear costumes for this party but you could if you like and if so, you might want to make HAIRY HOBBIT HANDS AND FEET. Simply spread a little bit of white glue on the tops of bare feet and hands then add hair-colored thread and after it dries you'll look like a hobbit. It will peel off easily later. I also found many websites showing how to make pointed ears.

DECORATIONS: We took our color scheme from nature, using different shades of green and brown with red accents thrown in here and there.  The table was spread with a crisp white tablecloth and set with white ceramic plates and mugs, green linen napkins, a pitcher of branches covered in red berries, platters, wooden bowls and baskets. At each place lay a green leaf-shaped paper place card with guests’ names written on them in Elvish (a language made up by Tolkien and spoken by Elves in his books.) On the walls I pasted leaves I’d cut out of different shades of green construction paper and Happy Birthday signs I’d printed in a font called Hobbiton Brush Hand. I printed them on legal size white paper, then soaked them in coffee and dried them out to make them look like parchment. One sign posted on the front door read, No admittance except on official party business - a quote taken from the first book of the trilogy when Bilbo Baggins is preparing his eleventy-first birthday party. Our party was in December, so our house was full of candles and Christmas greenery with pinecones, grapevine balls, red berries and wreathes (no ornaments) so the overall effect was very natural and festive. It looked like it could have come out of the pages of a Tolkien adventure. If our party had taken place in summer we’d have decorated with vines, flowers and paper lanterns. Music played in the background throughout the party. It was difficult to find appropriate music because most of the songs from the movie soundtracks sound ominous rather than festive. The song Concerning Hobbits is very good, and I added some old English folk tunes and Christmas Revels music and put the playlist on repeat.

ACTIVITIES: ELVISH NAME TAGS - When guests arrived I taught them how to write their names in Elvish. The website www.starchamber.com/paracelsus/elvish/elvish-in-ten-minutes.html explains how. I printed the English-Elvish alphabet on parchment a few times and passed out leaf-shaped nametags in three different shades of green paper. I had already printed the kids’ names in English and their challenge was to add the Elvish translation.  Then we pinned on their name tags and divided the kids into three teams according to which shade of green leaf they were wearing.  The teams were Hobbits, Elves and Dwarves.

QUEST OF THE FELLOWSHIP  Each team was told to choose a navigator, a photographer and a person to be in charge of the scavenger hunt list. The navigator was given a map of the neighborhood I’d drawn on parchment in the style of the maps found in Tolkien’s books. (When forming the groups beforehand, I made sure that each group had at least one kid in it that lived in our neighborhood.) The photographer ended up being the kid in each group who had a cell phone with a camera. The person in charge of the list was given a pen and sheet of parchment listing all the scavenger hunt items and rules for the game.  The rules were: Do not go inside anybody’s house unless you know them. Stay within the boundary lines on the map. Mind your manners. Photograph each item; do not take any items with you. Return to the start in 45 minutes or receive a 5 point penalty. Below the rules was a suggestion of what to say: Good afternoon. We are on a Scavenger Hunt. Would you please take a moment to check for any items on our list that we could photograph?  All items were worth one point unless noted and had to do with the Middle-Earth theme. They included any book by J.R.R. Tolkien, a plain gold ring, a sword (realistic - 1 point extra), a cloak (with hood - 1 point extra), a hairy foot (human or hobbit, no pets - 3 points), a dragon, a horse, a wooden walking stick or staff, a stein for ale, a figure with pointed ears (2 points), a pointy wizard’s hat (2 points), a crown, a wooden bowl, a fish (alive or dead but must have a head), a pair of leather boots and a real live person with a beard and mustache. The kids had a blast running through the Shire (our neighborhood) collecting photos. My husband chaperoned while I remained in the kitchen. The kids returned and we tallied points to find the winners.  Each team had found most everything on their list.

PARTY SNACKS: Then we served SECOND BREAKFAST. I made Sausage Rolls, King’s Bread, Apple Turnovers (really apple pies from McDonalds, but let’s keep that our little secret), Mini-Blueberry Muffins, Grapes (purple, red and green), Apple Slices, Clementines, and Hot Spiced Apple Cider. Other foods that would fit nicely are fresh berries, nuts and cheeses, but we had to avoid these due to allergies. The SAUSAGE ROLLS were delicious, easy to make, and oh-so-English. Defrost two sheets of frozen puff pastry and cut along the folds so you have 6 pieces. Mix one pound mild pork sausage with 1 cup crushed herb stuffing mix, salt and pepper. Divide into six 3 ounce portions, form each portion into a link and roll each link into one of the puff pastry pieces. With wet fingers, pinch the pastry closed, lay seam-side down on a baking sheet and brush with a mixture of beaten egg and milk (we used rice milk). Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, cool slightly and cut into serving portions.  All the kids loved these (except for mine, ha ha!) The KING’S BREAD is a food and also a game based on our family’s Mexican heritage celebration of 3 King’s Day.  It’s an orange and almond flavored wreath bread. Before baking it, I hid a gold ring inside. When brought to the table, the kids took turns cutting a slice. The one who found the ring in his slice got to wear it on a chain around his neck like Frodo. The kids called him “My Precious” (because Gollum calls the Ring that) and soon everyone was taking a turn wearing it.

ACTIVITIES: Next we got ready for battle with an ORC-KILLING CONTEST. Outside on a bench stood six plastic cups (or you could use empty soda cans) with a photo of a different Orc or Uruk-hai (the nasty bad guys in the stories) taped to the front. The best pictures I found online were photos of collectable statues of these ugly goblins instead of still pictures from the movies. We tried knocking them down with balls launched from sling shots, but it was too hard, so instead the kids took turns seeing how many they could knock down by throwing the balls. This was really fun. Back inside, the kids shot suction cup arrows at targets taped behind a big picture window in LEGOLAS’ ARCHERY PRACTICE.  The targets were photos of Lord of the Rings characters from the movies that I’d printed from the internet and mounted on green paper. This activity was hard to do but they all wanted to try it.  SHELOB’S LAIR was the most fun and took place in our living room and dining room. Before the party I cut long lengths of yarn (probably 50 feet or more each), one for each person at the party. Each guest had a little scroll of paper tied to the end of his string. The end of the birthday boy’s string was tied to a giant rubber spider (Shelob.) Working backwards and with one string at a time, I placed the scrolls in different spots in the room and unwound the string wrapping it over, under, around and through all the furnishings and fixtures in the room. I hung Shelob from the dining room chandelier and then unwound that ball of yarn as well.  This took a long time to prepare. When finished, the two rooms looked like the lair of a giant spider. (I thought about doing this in the garage and making it look more like a cave, but there wouldn’t have been any obstacles to wrap the yarn over, under and through.) I started the kids a few at a time by giving them the end of a length of yarn and telling them to wind it up as they followed it carefully to the end. After they got into the room a little I’d send in a few more kids. They loved this and amazingly, nothing toppled over or was broken, but I did remove a few of my more valuable breakables from the room beforehand. Pablo said he felt like a secret agent crawling around trying to avoid lazers. The guests were instructed to hold on to their scrolls for the next activity:

GOLLUM’S RIDDLES.  There’s a whole chapter in The Hobbit in which Bilbo must save himself from Gollum by asking and answering riddles. Each guest had a riddle and the answer to it written on the scroll they found in Shelob’s Lair. Guests took turns asking Pablo their riddle and he had to figure it out (with hints if needed) before he could open that person’s gift. I found riddles in library books and online and I even made some up. It was tough to find ones that fit in with our theme. I didn't want to use any from the Tolkien books because Pablo would know the answers and it wouldn't be a challenge. Here are some I used:  What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries? Answer: a towel. I look just like you but can be taller or smaller, fatter or thinner. I grow darker as it gets lighter and lighter as it gets darker. What am I? Answer: your shadow. I am light as a feather, but even the strongest man cannot hold me for more than a few minutes. What am I? Answer: your breath. You throw away the outside then cook the inside. Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat? Answer: an ear of corn on the cob. What is the beginning of eternity, the end of time, the beginning of every end, and the end of every place? Answer: the letter E. Tell me the names of three days that follow one after the other, but you may not say Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Answer: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. I have holes in my top and bottom, my left and my right and in the middle. Even with all those holes, I still hold water. What am I? Answer: a sponge. You are trapped in a house with a room full of hungry crocodiles, a room filled with angry gorillas, and a room full of lions that haven’t eaten in a year. Which room is the safest to enter? Answer: The room of lions. If they haven’t eaten in a year they must be dead. Is it legal for a man to many his widow’s sister? Answer: No. If his wife is a widow that means the man is dead and dead people can’t get married. 

CAKE:  Hobbits eat six meals a day, so we had to serve more than one meal at the party. We called it AFTERNOON TEA and served a basket of chocolate cupcakes frosted and covered in sprinkles. Crystalized edible flowers would have looked nice, too. We had leftovers from second breakfast available to eat as well. I’d have loved to have served tea, but none of the kids at our party would have liked tea. We sang “Happy Birthday” and ate cake then passed out the prizes for the games.

FAVORS: All the kids got a prize, which was big package of candy to eat while watching the movie. Game winners got to choose first.

ACTIVTIES:  The second half of the party was spent watching the final installment of the Lord of the Rings MOVIE trilogy. Warning: This movie is three and a half hours long. On the invitation I gave everyone the option of leaving at the end of the party proper or staying for the movie and they all chose to stay and watch the film. While my son and a few of his friends enjoyed every minute of it, the other guests couldn’t sit still and pay attention that long and goofed around a lot. I had one other activity planned but never got to it, and that was a MIDDLE-EARTH CROSSWORD PUZZLE that I made using the brilliant software at http://www.discoveryeducation.com/free-puzzlemaker/?CFID=1037219&CFTOKEN=85166838. You can make all sorts of puzzles with your own clues. After all his friends went home, Pablo had fun filling in the crossword. Now I had hoped to end the party with FIREWORKS while waiting for parents to arrive (the wizard Gandalf brings fireworks to Bilbo’s birthday party) but the stash I thought had been saved from our Independence Day celebration had been used up and there was no place to purchase more. Even without Gandalf’s magic, it would have been a spectacular finish! Regardless, it was a party to remember, and as long as my son keeps wanting themed parties like these, I am happy to plan them!

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