A 7TH BIRTHDAY PARTY LIKE NO OTHER
Every party planner and event stylist worth their salt know that they have to be jugglers too. Jugglers in the sense that in every planning stage of a party, a balance must be struck between what the parents want, and what the celebrant wants.
And the funny thing about it is, there never really is a balance. For 1 year olds, it’s the parents wishes that come true, while for 7 year olds, quite the opposite happens. And the reason for this is simple: 7 year olds already know what they want!
This is where difference in gender truly becomes apparent: whereas 7 year old girls would be perfectly content with a musical and perhaps a song-and-dance performance, 7 year old boys are so different they might as well be on another planet.
So after some brainstorming, my friend mommy Margie and I came up with this wild idea:
What if we could have all the kids participate in this huge battlefield, and have them duke it out, ala Hunger Games? Since these are kids, firearms ideally would have to be non-fatal. Maybe use Nerf guns?
It was still rough around the edges, but both of us knew we were on to something here.
This is just a small fraction of what would end up to be Eron’s Ultimate Nerf Battlezone. Are you ready?
Big big thank you to Delightful Little Darlings for all of these amazing images!
Are you ready to get Nerfed? Enter if you dare!
Eron and Mommy Margie, all smiles for this special day!
POLISHING THE BIG IDEA
So, a Nerf Battlefield, where kids “fight” each other. But to what end? How are they organized? Will there be teams? How will one team “win”? Will it be time-constrained? Questions abound.
So it was time for me to hit research mode.
And this brings me to a point that I’ve never really said before: the Party Magic team and I don’t view ourselves as just “event stylists”. We don’t just come in to a venue, decorate, then get out.
We are invested in the happiness of our clients so much that we are willing to dive deep to conceptualize AND execute not just a birthday party, but a real experience.
Now back to research:
From the interwebs, I basically saw two types of Nerf parties: one was where it was just an all-out, free-for-all shoot out,
The other type of Nerf party involved some obstacle course, or challenge that the kids need to overcome:
So an obstacle course, and a shoot-out. Why not combine the two?
Here’s how everything ended up.
Or Nothing in Eron’s Party!
I love how these giant, balloon-filled letters lined up the bleachers, giving the party a festive, competitive feel.
Eron’s party was an event of many firsts. Besides being our first ever large-scale Nerf Battlezone, it was also the first time I tried to create these hanging letters with ultra-long ribbons streaming behind them. This was a real pain to set up!
THE MECHANICS OF THE ULTIMATE NERF BATTLEZONE
There will be two teams of 10 kids each: Blue Team (who will wear blue caps), and Orange Team (orange caps). Each of the kids will have a Nerf gun and will wear a vest and cap. The Party Magic team customized 2 display racks just for this, one for the orange team (left) and one for the blue team (right). See picture below.
The kids will fall in 2 lines, one for each team. At the blow of the whistle, they will run to complete the obstacle course as fast as they can, and I’m telling you, I designed it to be extra difficult!
First up in the obstacle course is the Garter of Doom:
The trick here is to not get caught up in all the garter bands. And to do that, the kids have to stay as low as they can.
That’s Eron, the king of the obstacle course. He was consistently the first to finish the whole course every time. It’s like his lithe body was made for this! Of course, it also helped that he’s the birthday boy and was always at the front of the line ;p
Once they’ve cleared the Garter of Doom, next up are 3 separate barriers that the kids need to climb over:
This is Eron, literally flying over this part of the course:
After that, they go hit the tires, military training style:
Next up, the balance beam:
Then a quick crawl under a very very low net. We call it the Low Net Crawl. Very creative huh!
When the kids clear the course, they get to finally hold their guns and do some freestyle practice in the shootout range:
THE MAIN EVENT: THE SHOOTOUT / CAPTURE THE FLAG
After the kids go through the obstacle course and shooting range, they’re now ready for the big event: the shootout!
I’m sure everyone would have been perfectly content if we had a no-holds-barred, free-for-all shootout, but for me that would have been too chaotic. Besides there being no clear objective, how do you decide when the fight is over?
So I decided it would be better to use a capture-the-flag mechanic. Here are the rules:
- Any kids who gets hit by Nerf bullets (even once), is out. “Referees” are placed all over to ensure this gets enforced.
- The Blue team’s flag is nestled at the heart of Orange team’s base, and vice versa. Whichever team gets to capture their respective flag, carries it over to their base, and plants it there first (we placed empty flag holders), wins.
The rules are simple, but winning is not easy.
For one thing, this is what you would see if you were at the front lines of a team:
Any kid who even tries to rush into the opponents base is deemed suicidal, as there are multiple barriers where defenders can hide and shoot from in relative safety, as what Eron did below:
Here’s another view of the battlezone, this time at the demarcation line:
AN INTERESTING SOCIAL EXPERIMENT
What I love with this concept is that it was so interesting to see how the kids reacted under a stressful environment. Some were bold, kamikaze strikers:
While others chose a more defensive, prudent approach:
In the end though, all that mattered was who got the flag:
The happiest, funnest 7th birthday to our courageous warrior, Eron!