Star Wars Light vs Dark -8yr- Yoda Soda
Beth in Columbus, Indiana, USA
For my son's 8th Birthday party, we chose a Star Wars theme - concentrating on the "Light" versus the "Dark" side of the force.
For the invitations, I purchased stone-looking computer paper and made up a Star Wars story stating that Darth Vader had risen, strengthening the dark side of the force (as this coincided with the release of Episode III, it went perfectly with the storyline), but all was not lost if the young Padawans (ie, the guests) would come to train in the Jedi Arts on our peaceful (Family Name)planet. I asked that they advise the Jedi Council if they would choose to accept the challenge and train alongside a promising new Jedi (ie, the Birthday Boy) who had shown particular strength in the force. In addition to the story, I had found a cool picture of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader battling with their lightsabers that I cut out and traced around on the top half of the computer paper (my story appeared on the bottom half of the paper). With red and green blow-pens (sold at craft stores), I outlined the traced line with blown color, so that there appeared to be green "electricity" radiating from Luke's side and red "electricity" radiating from Darth's side and then pasted the picture lined up with the traced outline on top of the blow-penned colors. It was a simple project, but the effect was really neat - and much to my delight, I had a Mom say that they were planning on framing the picture from our invitation for her son's room! We had a lot of fun with the decorations as well.
Our party was set outdoors, on the side of our house. We purchased the two posters (again released with Episode III) depicting Anakin Skywalker's face divided - one half featuring his Jedi appearance (along with the "Light" side of the force characters) and the other featuring his Darth Vader appearance (featuring evil "Dark" side characters) and hung them, side by side, on the side of the house above the main buffet tables (the two table ends were bumped up against each other, like the posters, and the Jedi side was covered with a light green tablecloth with a white tablecloth laying across the middle, and the Sith side was covered with a red tablecloth with a black tablecloth laying acoss the middle) which reflected the posters.
The other tables, where the kids sat, were set with the same color combinations as the head table - the Sith side was lined up with either yellow or red tables with the black across the middles, and the Jedi side was either light green or light blue tables with white across the middles. In addition, I purchased Darth Maul and Darth Vader balloons for the "Dark" side (along with yellow and black balloons) and the Millenium Falcon and R2-D2 balloons (along with light blue and light green balloons) for the "Light" side. I found all the character balloons on E-bay. It all worked together to create a really cool effect, and the kids enjoyed choosing which side to sit on.
Our party took place on a 90 degree day, so the children swam for the the first hour and a half. After their swim, we had a neat Star Wars food buffet for them to snack on. Each snack had a "Dark" or "Light" version that the kids could choose between. The "Dark" side snacks were layed on the red portion of the head table under the Sith side of the poster, and the opposite was true for the Jedi "Light" side snacks. I made chocolate light sabers by taking chunky pretzel sticks and wrapping some foil around 1/4 of one of the ends and dipping the other 3/4 of the pretzel rod in colored chocolate melts (red for the "Dark" side and Light Blue for the "Light" side); Trail Mix called "Darth Mix" and "Jedi Mix" which consisted of Raisins (dark for "Darth", and golden for "Jedi"), M & M's (Darth Mix for "Darth" and Jedi Mix for "Jedi"), "Crunchberries" fished out of Captain Crunch cereal (red and purple for "Darth", blue and green for "Jedi"), peanuts and pretzel "grids".
After mixing up the two different variations of trail mix ingredients separately, I scooped them into colored ice cream cones for "holders" (red for "Darth", green for "Jedi"); Anakin's "Mechanical" hands (popcorn stuffed into plastic one-time use gloves) and ice cream cups (chocolate for the "Dark" side and vanilla for the "Light" side). But hands down, the two "stars" of the food line-up were our drinks and cookie "cake". My son has never been a birthday cake eater, so I made a huge "mound" out of sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies that I had baked. As this made it difficult for the topper, I took a small plastic bowl lid and covered it with foil - then tinted some vanilla icing grey and smeared it thickly on the top. I then recreated my son's favorite light saber duel scene with Darth Maul, Qui-Gonn Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi action figures firmly planted in the thick layer of frosting. I completed the look by taking spray paint for frosting in red and green, and sprayed Darth Maul's side with red and the Jedi's side with green (a great throw-back to the invitation!) and froze it until it was time to use it, just to make sure the action figures stayed put!
For our drinks, we loved the names of some drinks we found in the Star Wars cookbooks - "Darth Malts" and "Yoda Sodas", however we didn't think the recipes would appeal to all children, so we found a recipe on this website and adapted it to our theme and called them by those great names. We took clear plastic 16 oz. cups and combined equal parts of Red Hawaiian punch and Sprite (about 3/4 cup of each) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for our "Darth Malts" - and did the same with Green Hawaiian punch/Sprite/scoop of vanilla ice cream for our "Yoda Sodas". Red and Green straws completed the look. The mixture looks neat through the clear cups, and they taste great! (We are still debating on which one is the best!) The kids seemed to get a BIG kick out of the food - I even saw some light saber duels going on with the pretzels, and was asked for many of the recipes! We then braved the heat to play some games. We, of course, had to have a "Gungan" water balloon fight to combat the heat.
Then, we moved on to "Defeat the Deathstar" - I had drawn three Deathstars out of chalk on our driveway and divided the children into three teams, each lining up with a Deathstar drawing. Teams were given water balloons and instructed to stand at a boundry line a few feet away and try to erase the Deathstar drawing by hitting it with water balloons. The first team to do so, won. We also played "Release Han Solo". I used two of my son's Han Solo action figures and placed them in plastic rectangular containers. I then filled them with water, just so that Han was covered, and froze them solid. I explained to the kids, that in the movie "The Empire Strikes Back", Han was frozen in carbonite and that we were going to release him from his icy prison! We divided into teams, and the kids formed a bucket brigade line by dunking small buckets (one to each team) into large water-filled buckets (that I had set in the sun to heat up slightly), and passed them down the line and poured them over their frozen Han that was laying on the driveway in front of the last person in line. The first team to release Han won.
We were also planning on an obstacle course featuring a "Dagobah" tunnel (with green material shreds hanging down from the top of a long cardboard box), planks in which to walk over lava (red plastic tablecloths), and a "black hole" (a large cardboard box painted black inside and out with small holes poked through to simulate stars, in which the kids were to use silver tongs to retrieve small prizes wrapped in black paper). Along with a game called "Thermal Detonator Pass" in which I had purchased three plastic round novelty snack holders at a local discount store and spray painted them copper. I was then planning on playing the Star Wars theme music and having the children pass the "Detonators" around a circle in which they would be sitting. Whoever was holding the "Detonators" at the time the music stopped, could open them and retrieve a piece of candy from a bunch that was hidden inside of them.
And lastly, we had planned to play "Flying Through the Grid" in which I had drawn a huge grid on the pavement of our house in chalk (we had 18 children playing - so I had four rows with 6 equal squares side by side - a few more squares than was needed.) Each child was to be given a small plastic spaceship and a piece of chalk and told that they were to try and navigate their spaceship across the radar grid. They would be told to choose a square and stand in it, and promptly draw a line across it with their chalk. They were then to choose a neighboring square in which to move, and with every move they were to mark out the square that they were standing in. If someone was boxed in and unable to move because of every surrounding box being marked, that person would be out. The person left standing would be the winner. Sadly, because of our concern about the dangerous heat, we felt that the kids should get back in the pool after playing the first three games, and we didn't get to our obstacle course or the other remaining games.
The games that we did play went really well, and the kids seemed to have a ball playing them. To keep their prizes as they played, I gave each child a white paper bag with a handle that I had affixed a cool black and white silhouette picture, from my son's Star Wars coloring book, of either Darth Vader, a Clone Trooper, General Grievous, or a Jedi after copying them and cutting each one out and pasting it on the cover of the bag, and using my trusty blow-pens, I trimmed each picture in color, creating the same "electric" look of color around each picture.
For take home bags, I ordered lightning boxes from Birthday Express on-line and opted to fill them myself with assorted toys that I purchased from US Toys, Oriental Trading, and E-Bay, such as glow-in-the-dark space balls, light-up "Light Saber" looking suckers, plastic spaceships, light-up spaceship keychains, putty in plastic planets, Star Wars M & M's tubes, Star Wars "Crazy Hair" candy tubes, Star Wars stickers, Star Wars rings, etc.
One thing that I found to be true was that E-bay was extremely helpful in finding older Star Wars movies party supplies and prizes. My son's favorite movie is Episode I, and I found a group of 30 assorted fast food meal toys from that movie for a very reasonable price - and my son was thrilled. Many ideas were adapted from ideas found on this website. I feel very gratified at the outcome of this party after receiving many kind compliments and watching the kids enjoy themselves so much! As Yoda would say, "A great party, we had!"