I realized I never gave you guys a report on my son’s Greek Heroes 9th birthday party! It didn’t rain after all–thank goodness! We’re studying Ancient Greece and Rome this year in history, so it seemed the perfect time to do a Labors of Hercules/Jason and the Argonauts party, though once I started looking on pinterest, I realized that other people had done Percy Jackson themed parties with lots of good ideas that I could use. In the past, we usually have had 1-4 friends over for low-key games and cake, but our new culdesac has 10 boys between the ages of 4 and 10, plus T’s homeschool buddies, so I told my son this was the year to have a big party. But you know me–I’m a bit of a tightwad–I wasn’t going to rent a facility and spend hundreds of dollars. So I came up with two hours’ worth of homemade fun at the soccer practice field hear our house. Fourteen boys meant sword fighting, obviously, so I bought a bunch of foam swords on amazon. They were under $2 apiece but are still going strong out in our culdesac after two and a half weeks of heavy use. And we completed nine labors for T’s 9th birthday!
The First Labor: making their personalized shields. Used box-cutters to cut out cardboard shields the night before (free) and bought about 6 different colors of duct tape to decorate them (cheap, and a BIG hit–seriously, the party could have ended right there–the boys were obsessed with the duct tape). We made handles by folding the duct tape sticky sides together to slip the arm through and taping down the ends repeatedly with more duct tape. Huge hit.
Second Labor: fighting the cyclops (a Monster’s Inc helium balloon that they attacked with their swords until the ribbon broke and he flew away, to uproarious laughter)
Third Labor: free team flags from frozen enchantments (I froze flags for capture the flag in tupperware containers and was planning on having the boys bring their supersoakers and melt the ice to get out the flags…but it ended up being 58 degrees, so we nixed the waterguns and just let the boys throw around the ice blocks until the flags were out. Boys getting to throw around and break up ice chunks=free fun)
Fourth Labor: Capture the Flag (I admit, this was just a steal from the Percy Jackson books, but that was the only source of mythology knowledge I figured the 8 public school boys would have, and I was pretty much right. Capture the flag with foam swords? Ten times the fun.)
Fifth Labor: Medusa Freeze Tag (I taped a bunch of long, thin balloons to a hat and made the boy wearing the hat Medusa. Goal was to pull off her snakes without getting tagged [frozen]. Got pretty rough, but the boys loved it.)
Sixth Labor: Destroy a skeleton “army” like Jason and the Argonauts. (I couldn’t find a skeleton pinata in my price range, so my husband made one with a couple paper grocery bags and duct tape. Worked great. I will never buy a pinata again.)
Seventh Labor: Throw bocce balls into the three (cone) heads of Cerberus. (I was going to do a pin-the-head on the monster type thing, but we were out on a field with no place to put up a headless monster, so bocce was better for our venue. Apparently our boys are better with foam swords than they are with precise ball-throwing skills, which was fine. This bought us time to get the pizza set up.)
Eight Labor: Olympic discus throwing (aka, playing frisbee)
Ninth Labor: Feasting on pizza.
There you go! The only creative thing I’ve done all month, but lots of fun for all involved. I’ve been to multi-thousand dollar parties out here, with actors, face painting, bouncy houses, and catered food, but I honestly think the boys had just as much fun running around with their swords and duct tape shields. Little J turns three this Sunday, and we’re just having one of her buddies and his family over for dinner and cake. Simple can be fun!
What’s the most over-the-top birthday party you’ve been to? How do you handle birthdays with your kids?