Jedi Training Party 8yr - Far Away Galaxy Invite
Elizabeth in Beaverton, OR USA
December 2007 Winner
INVITATION: I designed the invitations on my computer, then had them printed in color at Office Depot (because of the amount of black ink.) They turned out really cool! The front read in blue writing against a black background with a blue border, You are invited to a galaxy far, far away, blue sabers drawn and glowing standing against a blue and black background. Inside the writing was in yellow against a black background. I wrote it to appear like the scrolling prologues from the movies. I couldn't tilt the font so each paragraph had slightly larger margins than the previous one. It looked great. The wording was similar to many invites on this site. It read "STAR WARS" with "Episode 8" underlined underneath it as the bday boy was turning 8. The rest said in Eras Demi ITC font "Eight years ago a baby boy was born. He was named Pablo and he was strong in the Force. Now he is ready to celebrate his eighth birthday and begin his training as a Padawan at the Jedi Training Academy. You are invited to celebrate with Pablo and learn the ways of the Jedi alongside him. If you are up to the challenge make your way to the Jedi Training Academy (# Street Name City State USA Planet Earth.) Your adventure begins 12-08-07 at 1600 hours. Younglings will be making and using their own light sabers and take a turn on the turn on the firing range with Academy-approved training blasters and laser cannons. (Galactic security measures require you leave your own weapons at home.) Please inform the Jedi Council whether or not you accept this invitation to celebrate with Pablo by sending an urgent reply.
At the bottom it read "Please join us You're our only hope! May the Force be with you!" I mailed them in plain white envelopes on which I'd done an ink drawing of Yoda. I put a coloring page picture of Yoda (shrunken to fit) inside the envelope then put it on a glass table with a light underneath. I then traced Yoda onto the envelopes. This took a while but the result was very cool. On the ones we delivered I wrote "To Pablo's party go you must in a speech bubble. The others were mailed with Star Wars postage stamps bought online from the post office. I bought extra stamps for the thank you notes and a two whole sheets for our kids to collect. The stamps are quite nice. When the kids rsvp'ed, I sent an email reply that had a short message from Pablo stating the date and ending time of the party and the fact that dinner would be served. Then I wrote, A Message to Parents from the Jedi Council (Pablo's mom and dad): If your child has a Jedi-style costume he's encouraged to wear it. Otherwise he will be issued a standard Jedi-style tunic. We recommend he wear (if possible) a solid neutral-colored long sleeve shirt tan or brown long pants and shoes he can move safely in. Also to assist us in our preparations please let us know his degree of knowledge of the Star Wars Universe by choosing one of the following descriptions: Star What? Padawan Learner Jedi Master The Force Is With Me Future Sci-Fi Convention-Attender. Thank you and may the Force be with you." We invited 10 kids (including the bday boy and his little brother.)
DECORATIONS: We decorated three parts of the house. The dining room (dinner/cake) the family room and kitchen (where much of the action took place) and the garage (saber fighting pinata dancing). I'll tell about each room's decor as I get to it.
ARRIVAL: The front of the house was decorated in white Christmas lights. As the kids arrived the Star Wars Theme played on the cd player and we (myself hubby and father) greeted the kids in Jedi costumes my mother-in-law made with me.
COSTUMES: I used tan and brown suiting material and Simplicity pattern #5840 and adjusted it to look more like the costumes from the movies. Another adult friend of mine dressed in Princess Leia's white gown from Episode 4. Pablo wore a Jedi costume we'd preiously purchased. The kids were brought into the family room and those who did not dress in a costume were helped into a tunic obi-tards (the long pieces that hang over the shoulders and get tucked into the belt) and a belt. I used 3 1/2 yards of 7 inch-wide tan felt to make 10 uniforms. The tunics were like ponchos just a 14 inch by 44 inch rectangle with seams at the shoulders and a v-neck opening. The obi-tards were also felt. In hindsight it would have been great to stitch them to the tunic at the shoulder so they wouldn't slip off. The belts were 2 inch-wide strips of brown fleece. Except for the shoulder seams there was no sewing required. COLORING: Then while waiting for everyone to arrive they were given a coloring page I'd drawn of Darth Maul's face and encouraged to color him any way they wanted. We had lots of variety Rainbow Maul etc. I wasn't sure how this would work out but they really got into it.
DECOR: Above the kitchen table was a Jedi Training Academy sign I'd drawn on posterboard. I copied the logo that Disneyland uses. It was really cool. I used blue and orange markers and crayons. In the family room I replaced our mantle painting with a poster we'd purchased at D'land of Yoda against a blue background with the JTA logo on it. I surrounded it with blue glass pieces and gold star votive holders. Two toy Yodas (Happy Meal toys) flanked the poster. On our bookcases I replaced a few decorative items with Star Wars spaceship toys and printed photos off the internet of Jedis from the movies and put them in all the gold picture frames that usually show pictures of our kids. To get the pictures just google "star wars images" and select "large images only". I also displayed three coffee mugs I found at the grocery store that looked like the helmets of Darth Vader a Storm Trooper and Boba Fett. These are now pencil holders on our son's desks.
WELCOME: I brought the kids into the family room and welcomed them to the JTA introducing myself as Jedi Master Chabela student of Jedi Master Yoda and JTA instructor. I introduced my hubby as Jedi Master Ro-Modi my dad as Jedi Master Mac Nosidda and my friend as Senator Mariah Windu. I made these names up based on our real names and nicknames. It was fun for me but the kids couldn't remember them so I might as well have said my name was Jedi Master Pablo's Mom. Ha ha. I had music from the Star Wars movies playing in the background. Good songs to use as background music are "Yoda's Theme Yoda and the Younglings The Moisture Farm Anakin's Theme and the main title theme. Then I said, Before you begin your training you must take the Jedi Oath. Stand and repeat after me: A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense never for attack."
Then we had our first class; FORCE TRAINING: I said "We're going to play a game called "Who Am I?" to help train you in using the Force. Each of you will be assigned a different human alien or droid and you must correctly guess who you are. Be mindful of the living Force. Concentrate on the moment. Use your instinctsâ€¦ If that doesn't work you may ask questions of your fellow younglings. However your friends may only answer "yes" or "no." May the Force be with you." Each child took a turn standing in front of the class wearing the helmet part of the Darth Vader Voice Changer mask/helmet. On the forehead part of the helmet I taped a clear plastic envelope (like scrapbooking stickers come in) into which I slid a 3 by 5 photo of a different Star Wars character (I made about 30 to chose from printing them from the internet.) Above the photo I printed the name of the character. This was where it was handy knowing how familiar the boys were with the Star Wars movies. This game turned out to be very popular and after the children all had a turn they insisted the adults try it.
Next was FIGHT TRAINING: I told the kids "While light sabers are the traditional weapon of the Jedi it is also important to learn to use the more barbaric weapons of the age. Today you will each get a chance to work with both blasters and laser cannons." I divided the kids into two groups and we did two activities at the same time so there was less time for them to wait in line. One group went to the bottom of our stairs and shot nerf balls from spring-loaded guns (the Laser Cannons) at about 9 large Star Wars action figures (the size of Rescue Heroes) placed on the stairs. This was brilliant placement as all the balls rolled back down the stairs so we didn't have to chase them down the hall. We had the kids shooting two guns at a time and they each had 2 turns. The other kids shot nerf darts at a target I'd sewn out of gold and black felt with the faces of a storm trooper Darth Maul and Darth Vader sewn on it. This took about 12 hours to make but it looks awesome and it will be put in the playroom for future target practice sessions. (I used a mask from the internet to draw the storm trooper helmet on white felt using a black Sharpie pen. For Vader I used a coloring page as reference and painted the lines using black shiny fabric paint on black felt. Maul was the hardest. I blew up a photo of his face traced the facial features and tattoos on paper then used them as a pattern and cut out all the black tattoos. I stitched them by hand to a red felt face and then added tan horns and white eyes that I colored red yellow and black using markers.) While one kid was shooting darts an adult reloaded a second weapon. The kids loved these two activities.
BUILD YOUR OWN LIGHT SABER: I told the kids "You have proven to be very skilled with the blasters and laser cannons. But more than mere skill is required to master the use of the light saber. It takes many months for a Jedi to construct this single perfect weapon that he or she would keep and use for a lifetime. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster it is an elegant and powerful weapon and only those who are strong in the Force can use them. Today we'll be building training sabers which we'll use to learn some basic fight combinations." I showed them a picture of a dissected saber from the Star Wars Ultimate Visual Guide (a book). In a silver and frosted glass bowl we had power cores (5 inch dowel lengths wrapped in aluminum foil) and focusing crystals (green blue or purple plastic crystals bought at PetCo. They are called Aquarium Accents and are about $4.00 for about 25 crystals.) Each child was given a pool noodle (blue green or purple). Prior to the party I cut about 8 inches off the end of the noodles as they were too long. Also I cut an 8 inch T shaped slit in the base of the noodle and wrapped three lengths of silver duct tape around the noodle just above the slit. This is the light saber handle. The kids then inserted their crystals and power cores and we taped up the slit as we covered the rest of the handle in duct tape. This was where having four adults came in very handy. Two cut tape and two helped wrap the handles. Then we cut lengths of black electrical tape and the kids got to decorate the handles any way they wanted. We also wrote their initials on the bottom using a Sharpie. I asked the kids if they knew why we were making training sabers instead of real ones and got the right answer we don't want anyone getting killed at the party. The kids asked a few times "Do we get to keep these?" They were really excited. We then moved to the garage which had been cleared out with the walls covered in black plastic (from Home Depot) and black bedsheets. Chairs lined one side.
SABER TRAINING: I said "Before we begin here are the safety rules. Use the Force to ensure that you DO NOT HIT ANYONE including your light saber instructors. Saber training is restricted to this classroom. Anyone breaking these rules will have their saber taken from them until the end of the day." I had to tell the kids a few times before we even got to the garage that there was no saber fighting allowed in the house. The great thing about these pool noodles is that unless you really try to hurt someone they don't hurt. (Oh I had extra noodles so I made a double light saber for each of my sons but did not have them out at the party.) We spread the kids out in the garage and they all faced me to learn a combination. I used to be a certified stage combat performer but this combo (that we took from a performance at Disneyland) is so easy anyone can do it. First I showed them how to attack and parry (block an attack) at the right and left shoulders and legs and the head.
Next I said "Place your lightsaber on your right side. You will strike your opponent's right shoulder and then left shoulder." Then I borrowed this joke from the D'land show. "Do you know what happens when you cut off your opponent's arms? You disarm him." (Beat. If no one laughs which they won't wipe your hand across the air in front of you and use a Jedi mind trick. Say "You will find all my jokes funny.") The combo went like this. Left shoulder right shoulder left leg duck (opponent slashes the air above the kid's head) stand left leg right leg to the head (opponent holds their saber parallel to the ground above their own head as the kid strikes perpendicular to the ground.)" After they learned the combo everyone sat down against the wall and one at a time they fought against me as I talked them through it. This was fun except for the last kid who really tried to hurt me. I had to stop him and tell him to take it easy. Afterwards the kids lined up with their sabers for a group photo and then had fun posing in battle positions for some action shots.
After this we hit the DEATH STAR PINATA: I said "Well done younglings. As a final challenge and reward we've got a model of the Death Star for you to practice your saber attacks on." They hit the pinata to Star Wars music. I made the pinata out of paper mache using a blow up beach ball as a mold. I painted it grey and used silver glitter glue to draw the lines. The Star Wars Party book shows this pinata on the cover. I wrapped a broomstick handle with red and silver duct tape and black electrical tape to make it look like a red light saber. This was the palo (pinata stick). We always have a safety string running through the handle that the pinata hitter loops around their wrist. If they let go of the palo it can't fly off and hit someone. The pinata was filled with glow in the dark super balls (OTC) saber-colored confetti and curling ribbon Hershey's kisses and different silver foil-wrapped candies. I thought I had made my pinata very strong but found that homemade pinatas can never be strong enough. The goodie bags were paper lunch bags I decorated. I cut the top of the bag with pinking shears and put a sticker I made of a painting of Yoda (Clone Wars cartoon-style) against an orange background with the child's name in orange ink below it. We moved back inside for
GRADUATION: As the celebration music from Episode 1 played I said "Students you have proven yourselves to be worthy of training to become a Jedi Knight and you are now all Padawans. Congratulations." I passed out certificates printed on goldenrod copy paper that read (like the ones used at D'land) "This certificate announces that on 12-08-07 "Name" has proven to be worthy of training to become a Jedi the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. The bearer of this honor is now a padawan a student devoted to the ancient training of the Jedi Knights. From this day forth remember a Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense never for attack. The Force will be with you always." My hubby and I signed it on the bottom right corner (using our Jedi names) and on the opposite corner I had a JTA symbol that I copied and pasted from the web. I passed them out along with a blue and gold JTA button I'd bought at D'land ($1.50 each) as I said "May the Force be with you."
FOOD AND CAKE: We celebrated in the dining room. On the wall was a poster of Pablo as Anakin in the podrace that we had made at D'land. Blue green and orange streamers hung from the ceiling. The tablecloth was white linen with orange melame plates orange and green Darth Vader party napkins and glass glasses with blue magic color-changing straws in them. The centerpiece was Pablo's toy Millenium Falcon surrounded by his brother's Star Wars Galactic Heroes figures and silver foil cupcake tins filled with "Wookie Cookies" (chocolate chip cookies my son doesn't like cake). Kids ate pizza (from Pizza the Hutt) and drank Jawa Juice Yoda Soda and rootbeer floats. We played the Cantina Bad music from episode 4 in the background then sang while he blew out his candles which we'd stuck in ice cream as the cookies wouldn't hold the candles.
GIFTS: Pablo opened his presents next. I took a picture of Pablo with each child and their gift so I didn't have to write down the gift list for thank you notes later.
DANCING ON TATOOINE: We returned to the garage which was now transformed into the Mos Eisley Cantina with disco lights strobe lights and a fogg machine. The kids danced to music (Jabba's palace band cantina band other party music and two Weird Al Yankovic songs about Star Wars called The Saga Begins and Yoda.) We also played hot potato in the dark with a light up kooshball and we called it "Pass the Thermal Detonator." When the colored lights in the ball went out (about 15 seconds after being activated) whoever was holding it exploded and was out. This was an activity I had cut from the original schedule and saved to do in case we had time. The kids loved it. As the party ended and people started going home some kids fought each other in the garage with their foam sabers while others danced. One friend was invited to sleepover and they got to watch "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" which my son had not been allowed to watch until he turned 8.
OTHER: I had other activites planned but cut them for time. I'll just tell you about the two activites that are new ideas. One was MECHANICAL SCIENCE where the kids were to build their own droid models out of all sorts of cans wires bottle caps electronic parts and things that I'd saved over the months prior to the party. Adults would have helped with drills and glue. I had droid pictures for reference. The other activity was ALIEN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE TRAINING. "Knowing how to communicate with aliens is essential to keeping the peace. Offending alien creatures is detrimental to negotiations and may get your arms torn off. For example when dealing with the notorious Hutt gangsters you must chose your words carefully or you may find yourself being fed to a Sarlac or Rancor. To illustrate this we are going to take a speech made by Luke Skywalker to Jabba the Hutt. First we will read it Basic (English). Then I'll ask you to chose a Huttese word or phrase that would fit in the place of certain Basic words and phrases. When we are finished we'll reveal what the Huttese words and phrases mean in Basic and we'll see how well you would have done if you were negotiating with Jabba the Hutt." I had the speech taken from episode 6 on posterboard. Certain words and phrases were underlined and had to be switched out like a Mad Libs game. The Huttese words/phrases to chose from were written on white cardstock and once chosen were stuck over the English word/phrase. Then when we translated I'd lift a flap on the cardstock to reveal the English translation. The speech ends up being really funny full of insults like "You're a low-down Imperial fool" words like "slimeball vomit idiot" etc. and phrases like "Nobody move or the Wookie here will tie you legs in a knot." I used the Star Wars Galactic Phrase Book and Travel Guide by Ben Burtt and the speech Luke gives in Jabba's palace in "Return of the Jedi" to write this. Afterwards I'd have said "This is why you need to learn alien languages or at least have a good protocol droid around."
FAVORS: Kids took home their sabers costumes JTA buttons superball and candy extra wookie cookies graduation certificate and Darth Maul drawing.
THANK YOU NOTES: We were so tired from all the party prep that I bought Star Wars thank you notes from the party store. We mailed them with more Star Wars stamps. This was a really fun/successful party for us and for the kids and not as exhausting as my hubby thought it would be. Everyone had a different favorite part of the party. Have fun planning your Star Wars party and may the Force be with you!"