Quest Golden Skull -8yr- Backyard Adventure
Lisa in San Antonio,Texas,United States
My son recently turned 8 years old and is really into Indiana Jones (especially the LEGO videogame). So we decided to create a birthday adventure for him that he would never forget.
For the invitations I used Treasure Chest kits purchased from Oriental Trading Company. On the outside I pasted travel pictures from places that Indy has visited(Peru, Egypt, Venice, Cairo, etc.). I got the pictures from the National Geographic website. Inside the treasure chest I put gold coins and jewels (both from the kit) along with sand, pebbles,plastic spiders and a scroll that read You are needed to help Indiana Garrett as he searches for the Golden Skull (time place) Are you in? Call Sattem expeditions at " I also added a wax seal at the bottom for added effect. On the front door we used brown packaging paper(Home Depot) and made a sign that said "Indiana Garrett and the Quest for the Golden Skull". We had a picture of Indy with my son's face photo-cropped in.
Upon arrival all of the kids were escorted upstairs. We had them decorate these compass bracelets(Oriental Trading Company)until all of the kids arrived (there were only 12 kids and a bunch of adults). Then my son read them a note: "Sorry I'm not there. I have a mission for you. If you're interested go to base camp and I'll fill you in on the details.-INDY" The kids were super excitedbut had to first pass a test before they were deemed brave enough to go on the mission. We bought this giant "design your own" beach ball from OTC that we spray painted to look like a boulder and found this small skull and spray painted it gold to look like the Idol. Then we made blow guns by blowing q-tips out of big plastic straws with skulls on them-they worked really well. We had each kid grab the idol and then run/walk down the stairs with the boulder chasing them as we blew q-tips at them. This was all under direct adult supervision-we tried it out before hand to make sure it wasn't dangerous. The kids loved it and of course thay all passed the test. They then headed to base camp in the backyard.
We had four different areas set up in the backyard:
1. Base Camp- which had boxes with Top Secret/Army stenciled on them ammo cans(empty) an army helmet A fake campfire army shovel an old army gas can (empty) and a table. Hung in the trees were hats(brown safari style-OTC) and Indy style satchels(OTC-with each kids name stenciled on them.);
2.The "Sands of Nepal" -which was a pile of 7-8 bags of sand and a table with small shovelsdinosaur books pieces of cloth and a hammer.;
3.The "Cave of Doom"- we acquired a giant drainage pipe (3.5 foot diameter)that was the mouth of the cave that the kids had to crawl through. Surrounding the mouth were two columns made out of PCP pipe and cardboard-to look like ruins. The cave was an above ground tunnel that was 21 feet long in the shape of an "L". We set it up along the back fence. Parallel to the fence we placed a 2x4 with a cross beam to the fence every 4 feet or so. We then draped painter's tarps (camouflaged with spray paint)from the fence across the beams and to the ground to create the tunnel. Inside the tunnel we used black cloth strobe lights cobwebs gold coins and lots of plastic bugs. The cave exited into;
4."The Temple of the Golden Skull"-which was an inflatable Haunted House purchased at Sam's Club.Inside the temple we had a fogger strobe light and the "Well of Souls" that we made out of a plastic tub and cardboard. We put green water in the tub and placed cobwebs over the top. Once the kids got to base camp and geared up with their hats and satchels the quest began.
Indy(my husband) had left a map for them at base camp that showed them what and where all the areas described above were and another note that said "Call me". We fake called him with a walkie talkie(we had amps set up in the backyard so Indy could talk to them and everyone could hear.)He then began the story "Hey kids sorry I'm not there -here's the thing- 2000 years ago in the area you are now there lived the Machu Picchu tribe. They were a very wealthy tribe with lots of gold. There chief foresaw that a great flood was coming and to try and save some of their wealth he hid their treasure-to make sure they could find the treasure later he hid four skull necklaces all over the region with clues that would lead him back to their riches. Well the flood completely destroyed the tribe but the treasure remains and I know where those necklaces are.
The first one is hidden in the Sands of Nepal the second one is in the Temple of the Golden Skull that can only be reached through the Cave of Doom the third one has already been found by a real slimy character his name is Maharajah Bobaruba-he goes by Bob and lives in Pankot Alley. He is real greedy and can be bought off with gold. So on your quest collect as many gold coins as possible. The fourth necklace is in Peru where I am right now. There is only one problem -the Nazi's know where the necklaces are too and they're after meso we have to be fast. I know that if we work together we can find the Treasure of the Golden Skull. Good luck kids." We added machince gun sounds at the end for dramatic effect (as if the Nazi's were closing in on Indy).
My cousin and I both dressed up as archeologists(khaki pants hiking boots safari hats) and helped lead them through the adventure. We started at the Sands of Nepal where my sister also dressed up as an archeologist and helped them with their dig. In addition to the necklace which was hidden in the sand we also placed dinosaur bones(OTC) and treasure rocks(plaster of paris rocks -recipe at familyfun.com) with gold coins and jewels inside. The kids had a blast finding everything especially the necklace(all skull necklaces bought at party city). My sister helped them break open the rocks and they collected all of the treasure inside. After all was found we headed back to base camp.
We then went through the cave. The kids collected all the coins (and some bugs too) until they hit a "dead end". We placed some brown butcher paper up right before the tunnel exited into the Temple. There was a gold spray painted skull on it. We broke through the paper and entered the Temple. On the fence outside the Temple but still in the tunnel we painted some hieroglyphics that my trusty assistant deciphered for them. It talked about the flood and had a message "The Crescent Moon Rises in the East"-we told them to remember that because it might be important later.
Entering the Temple they collected more coins and found the second necklace in the water of the "Well of Souls". Excited we rushed back to base camp. We had the kids dump all of the gold they had collected(which they had been storing in their satchels) on the table so we could take it to Pankot Alley and trade it for the third necklace. We then set off to visit "Bob". At this point all the adults were just as excited as the kids and traveled with us down the side of the house around the front and towards the other side of the house. My other sister dressed as a Gypsy greeted us at the entrance of "Bob's" place(we set up sheets -to create a room on the side of the houseand decorated with wind chimesrugscandlesand a bunch of colorful scarves). She told us there was no Maharaja.We told the kids to try the phrase we learned in the cave so they yelled out "The Crescent Moon Rises in the East" and were let in.
My brother in law played Bobaruba and was so good one of the kids took one look at him and yelled "He's evil!". After quite a show that ionvolved bones and eyeballs in a cup he traded the necklace for the gold. With a sinister laugh he told us to leave and yelled "Give my regards to Dr. Jones!" While we were on our excursion my husbanddressed as Indy sealed himself on the side of the house behind brown butcher paper. When we got back to base camp we called Indy on the walkie talkie to tell him we had collected all three necklaces. There was silence on the other side and then the Indiana theme music blared from the amps and my husband crashed through the butcher paper and into the backyard. The kids were so thrilled. He showed them he had the last necklace and they gathered all three together. Indy pointed out that on the back of the skulls there were symbols(earth wind fire and water.) He identified them as ancient tree symbols.
Up in four of the trees we had placed clay discs with these same symbols. When the kids found the trees with the symbols we connected them with twine criss cross(North to South East to West) and it formed an "X". We buried a small treasure chest in that spot that held an ancient map. The map was the same one Indy had left them in the beginning only more ancient looking("the way things used to be"). There was a hieroglyphic message on the map that when deciphered read "Only the sands of time will reveal the treasure." My husband put an "X" on the map with chapstick before he buried it. Indy tells the kids that the "sands of time" is a clue and told the kids to go get some sand! The kids ran over to where the "Sands of Nepal" were and dumped it on the map. Magically as the sand wass removed a sandy "X" appeared where we had placed the chapstick.
We then followed the "X" to a hidden room on the side of the cave where the treasure is discovered behind some brush. We first put the "treasure" in a bigger box and spray painted the box to look like old wood. We covered the inside of the box with foil and put battery operated lights inside so that when they opened the "crate" to reveal the treasure it glowed. The Treasure of the Golden Skull was a bankers size box spray painted gold with fringe around the edges and a gold skull glued to the lid. Inside the box was tons of candy and more skull necklaces so each kid could have one.
Needless to say the kids loved it the adults loved it and my son was beaming.The food we served was regular backyard bar-b-que food(brisket potato salad queso dip).But we made these really cool Mummy sugar cookies (gingerbread man cut-out with white piped icing all over and two black eyes). Instead of a cake we took two cupcake pyramid holders and decorated them with Indiana Jones LEGO figures(we had a rope from one cupcake stand to the next with Indy holding on while a bad guy chased him etc.)The cupcakes were so easy to serve. All the kids took home stachels full of candy dinosaur bones bugs and snakes and their hats. Thank you to this website for a lot of the ideas we used in making this party one our son will never forget. Next year it's Batman!"
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