Lord of the Rings - Horse Rides
Courtney in Spencer, MA USA
Ok, this party was very extensive and took some time (about a month of planning!). I have a full-time job too, but i just love being crafty. (oh, and i don't have any kids, so i guess that makes it easier, NOT that it can't be done with a full household!! get them involved!) I had a LORD OF THE RINGS party, but since some of my friends are not as huge of fans of the films/books i had to create a party that would be both enjoyable for my crazed fan friends and those who were not. as you will see throughout these ideas, ALL of the activities, save perhaps one, is entirely UN-related to lord of the rings and can therefore be enjoyed by all!
Basically i planned out the day with activities that would incorporate each race from the books; men, elves, hobbits, wizards, and dwarves. We started the day early (9am) and our first activity was an outting. The activity was going to represent the Men. I thought specifically about the Rohirrim and decided to take my guests horseback riding. This can be quite a pricey ordeal, but i was fortunate enough to find a place in Agawam, MA that took you on an hour trail ride for $20. (If horseback riding isn't in your area, i would suggest finding a carousel! Sometimes you can find places that have historic ones that are still in operation, such as the one here: http://www.paragoncarousel.com/ (if you are in the boston area!))
Since we were so early in getting up and out of the house i packed bagged breakfasts. In the bags were one mini bagel, a fruit parfait (with vanilla yogurt, granola crumbles and fruit (strawberries, blueberries, apples, and kiwi (to represent the New Zealanders!) in a small gladwear container, chocolate covered banana halves covered in chocolate sprinkles (put the banana on a popsicle (craft) stick and freeze them until ready to go), and some string cheese. I packed a cooler with creame cheese in it and mini (hobbit sized!) juice boxes.
On the paper bag that held all their breakfast goodies in it i had found a paper foot cut out at my local craft store (used for scrapbooks) and wrote "Bilbo's Catering Service" on it and glued it to the bag. When we got back we were definitely ready for our second breakfasts/lunch. So, for the hobbits, I created a meal with mini things to eat. I made mini sandwiches (cucumber/turkey, turkey, ham & cheese, and pb&j), cooked mini pizzas, and had mini Ritz pb & crackers, mini Famous Amos ch. Chip cookies, mini apple cinnamon rice cakes, and veggies (cut to hobbit size!) and dip. For drinks I bought mini sodas and waters and also had some apple cider (aka mead) cooking in a crock pot!
After lunch we got ready to represent the Wizards in us. We first adorned our heads with mini party hats (aka wizard hats) and I found a recipe for lip balm (purchasing containers off of Oriental Trading) and finding the recipe on marthastewart.com . After that we made a love/friendship potion. Prior to the party I told my guests to bring with them something that, to them, symbolized love or friendship. I just made up the potion ingredients and had each person share their item, then we let the ingredients fester throughout the day so that it would soak up all the friend/funness from the day. In the evening we put the potion (that had shredded pieces of paper, glitter and flower petals in it to say the least!) in little bottles (also found on Oriental Trading).
After making the potion and increasing our bond as a fellowship we went to go wack the heck out of some Nazgul pinatas! I had made a witch king pinata that…well, didn't come out too well, so I bought a horse pinata and spray painted both of them black (filling the horse pinata with candy). I also found a clip online from the movie where the witch king approaches eowyn and says "you fool, no man can kill me….die now" and then eowyn says "I am no man". I found the clip here: http://www.audiblebeauty.net/returnking.htm then the guests had to do the screaming bit at smack the pinatas to pieces! It was quite funny!
At this time I also had 'tea time'. And offered regular tea, herbal teas, Chai and hot chocolate. I also made some mirangue (sp?) mushrooms. Basically you make the mirangue and spout it onto a cookie sheet in stump and top shapes and then cook them and then connect the stump and top with melted chocolate. After killing nazguls a gal's gotten pamper herself, so to incorporate elves into the party, we had a spa session! Using natural ingredients we made a sugar scrub, and a simple face mask. What made it extra fun is that I had found some paper bags, one from Victoria's Secret and one that had an apple on it, and I put the ingredients for each spa mixture into each bag and covered "Victoria's" with a label with "Galadriel's" on it to make it "Galadriel's Secret" and then I put a tag on the apple bag and had it say "Rivendell's Orchard". The spa got messy, so I made sure to put down some towels (four shower sized towels) for easy clean up and to prevent mess. After spa time it was time for dinner. I had cooked chicken (but I had cut the chicken breasts in half…again, hobbit sized!). Very simply by putting mayonaisse and dijon mustard on them sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. (if some of your guests have an aversion to mayo you can just skip it!). Mashed potatoes, green beans and corn, and of course lembas bread. I found the best recipe here: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=Lembas
After dinner we represented the dwarves (with a little comic relief!)by playing my favorite game of all time: Celebrity Hat Game. (this game has many names but this is what I call it). Basically you get a hat, or a bowl and you cut up a LOT of small strips of paper and then everyone writes down as many celebrities, famous people, sport stars, characters, superheros you can think of, fold the paper, and toss it into the pot. (just to clarify, Jaws, Mary Magdalen, Zeus, Tom Cruise, The time to make the donuts guy, Molly Ringwald, and Babe Ruth, are all examples of 'celebrities'…you can even put people in that maybe a couple of people in the group know, such as a college professor, or someone who's in the room!) and then you break up into teams of at least 2 people and, with one person holding the bowl during each turn, you get a minute to try and have your teammate(s) guess the name of the celebrity written. You can say anything you want except for what is written on the paper. The team who has the most when the bowl is empty wins! For dessert we had a walnut honey cake (courtesy of Martha Stewart again) and petit fours.
Now, that was just the activities and food, now let's talk about all the decorations I made! I made the two Argonath statues (using plaster used for body casts found at local craft stores) (just plastering the top part of my body, keeping it above the belly button) and toilet paper for their robes, all spray painted silver. I hung them on either side of the door to my house where people would be arriving. I made a wooden sign painted yellow with the words "no admittance except on party business" to hang between the Argonath's on the door. I made a Prancing Pony sign to hang at the end of my driveway (and incorporated it into driving directions I gave out as a landmark to look for) For the dining room where we had our hobbit feast I made little paper lanterns (the ones you made in 1st grade!) and hung them on string around my dining room along with christmas lights to make them look like they were lit. I also made a HUGE yellow birthday banner that said "happy birthday Courtney (last name)" just like Bilbo's.
The color theme in the room was green and yellow so I bought material on sale from Walmart to make a table cloth and used the left over material from the banner to make napkins. I also bought green and yellow sparkly ribbon to hang from the ceiling to the center of the room (attached to the center lamp). I gathered some thin sticks (about the length of my arm) and put them in a metal vase that had a ribbon tied around it to represent the 'party tree'. Had my guests make me 3x3 or 3x4 handmade cards with a ribbon to hang on the party tree. (it was REALLY pretty when all the cards were on there, and my friends were REALLY creative!) also, as you may know, when hobbits have birthday parties they do not get gifts, they give gifts. On the invitation I told my guests to bring no gifts. (although they didn't listen, I got some anyways!) I bought some fleece material (you don't need much) and cut it into long strips, fringing the edges to make scarves to my guests to take home. I tied the scarves to the tops of the chairs in the dining room.
I also printed out the riddles found in "The Hobbit" in the Chapter "Riddles in the Dark" (there were 8 I think, not including the famous "what's in my pocket" one) and made paper clips out of wire to hold the riddles in. (I put the answers in different colored paper, folded the answer and stuck it in another paper clip) and then stuck the riddles and their answers into apples around my table. It was great entertainment during the meal! Since the doors in my dining room don't close due to items in their way (an organ and computer table!) I made simple curtains to hang in my dining room doorways so people would not see the dining room until lunch. My sister even made a sign that said "do not enter! Failure to obey will cause person to be thrown into mount doom". Lastly, I made music cds for each race so that while we were doing the different activities we could listen to music that represents men, elves, hobbits and wizards. (not much dwarf music)
And, as a final note, I made each guest a small bag of green material with a pull string for guests to put their lip balm and potions in. I also had my cousin make Shrink-ee-dink lothlorien leaf pins. If you don't know what Shrink-ee-dinks are, and I think I spelt it right, it was a very cool craft item from the 80s. Im sure you can do an internet search and find out all about it). So those pins went in their bags as well. I also put a copy of the recipies for the lip balms, sugar scrub, and face mask in there. And LASTLY I made FEET sugar cookies. I found a foot cookie cutter from Walmart and when the cookies were done I smeared the cookies with egg whites and dusted them with cinnamon and sugar to make it look like hair! So, all that and all my guests had to do was bring $20, a handmade card and an object that to them represented love or friendship. Not too much to ask from your guests, but a whole lot to give them! I think that is it. It took a long time to plan, but it was REALLY worth it! Everyone had a GREAT time and were all wow-ed out by everything that I had done! HAPPY PLANNING!
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