Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 1194 - Camouflage Themed Birthday Party

What to do when your son wants a Halo party.


Image Source
Darby is fully 100% into Halo.  For those of you without X-Box enthusiasts under your roof, Halo is a multi-billion dollar science fiction  game of combat where humans are at war with aliens.  I am very nervous about gun games for kids, so the rule in our house is the game must not have any blood splatter and we don't kill animals or humans, but we can shoot at aliens or robots.  (Until such time as aliens and robots become active friendly members of our society and then we'll have to ban that too.)



While I'd prefer not to do guns at all, I'd like to remain flexible given his friends and cousins play these games.  I don't want to alienate him (excuse the pun). We just talk about it to ensure he understands the difference between gaming and reality.  Like with angry birds ... it's fun ... but never ever throw a bird at a pig. It's just wrong.

Anyway (a bit of a diversion there for some self-coverage) it's Darby's birthday this week and yesterday was his party. He wanted a Halo theme.  Well, how did I manage that?



The Invitation
The party started with a game of Halo. We had two X-boxes set up in two different rooms of the house (we borrowed his cousin's X-Box and controllers) with a cord between them to system link.  That way we could have all eight kids involved in the game at the same time.  They played that for about an hour which gave them all a feel for the theme and got them ready for some good old fashioned solider action.

From there I took a KIA full of kids to the local pool for a sausage sizzle lunch and a cool down. They got to burn some energy so that the Nerf fight at home wouldn't be quite as energetic and testosterone driven as it may have been otherwise.  I mean, this war was taking place indoors so I needed some semblance of control.

Then we came back home ready to get our Halo on.  (I use the term "we" very loosely.  I did not participate in the fighting. I just refereed occasionally.)

After the war (which lasted an hour) we got ready for cake.  Now this is where I got a bit nervous a few days ago wondering what I had signed up for.  I mean, how does one do a Halo cake? I couldn't do the X-Box controller because I already did that last year.  I didn't want to do a cake shaped like a gun.  It felt wrong.  So instead, I did a camouflage theme.  While not strictly Halo, I felt it was somewhat Halo-esque.  Maybe?

(C) Deep Fried Fruit

(C) Deep Fried Fruit

(C) Deep Fried Fruit
I went to our local party shop - The Party Hive - for some inspiration, and came home with a packet of plastic soldiers, a plastic camo table cloth, napkins, cups and lolly bags.  They had camo paper plates as well (in the shape of t-shirts) but I had already blown my budget.  I added some swirly green balloons as the centre piece.  Then I did the cheats birthday cake and went for cupcakes.  Red velvet cakes in yellow cupcake cases, with green cream-cheese icing, and a soldier on top.

After we did cake and sang happy birthday it was time to hand out the gift bags. Just handing them over wasn't enough ... the kids had to work for their loot.  How? With a treasure hunt of course! I wrote about our treasure hunts here last week. This was the treasure hunt to top all treasure hunts.  To find the clues the boys were going out the front yard, out the back yard, up the stairs, down the stairs, into bedrooms, bathrooms, garden shed, laundry. They were on chairs reaching up to curtain rods, and on their hands and knees searching for clues.  They had to be careful though! There were snipers about (in the form of Tahlia and cousin Jess with Nerf guns).  They finally found the loot .... in the cupboard with the dog food (yum).

Loot bags consisted of lollies, chocolates, a "Trashie", a dog tag each and the two soldiers from their table setting.  The "Trashie" was not in theme. They're just popular collectibles at the moment so I added one each for good measure.

It was a fun party, but throughout I had a niggling fear that my theme may have been politically incorrect.

Would you ever have a gun-themed party?  

Was I being too "light-hearted" about war?

What was your last kids party theme? 

19 comments :

  1. Tricky one, but I think you handled it really well and LOVE the cakes.
    G's last party was her 3rd birthday in December, I let her chose a cake from 5 options I showed her pictures of and she chose a Dog. She is obsessed!

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  2. I think you handled that one perfectly. I made our 6 year party troop hunt for their treasure also. Was great fun!

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  3. Yeah that's a hard one. I have little girls so maybe won't need to tackle it. I think your approach was very thoughtful. We just had an Alice in Wonderland party. It was very pretty.

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  4. I think you did really well. I would have a gun themed party if asked. It's a game, not real life. My 13 year old plays these games including the blood-soaked ones and remains a kind boy who cuddles a cat each night.

    It took me a while to relax into these games but am now and quite blase. Very pro real gun control though!

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  5. I think you did really well. I would have a gun themed party if asked. It's a game, not real life. My 13 year old plays these games including the blood-soaked ones and remains a kind boy who cuddles a cat each night.

    It took me a while to relax into these games but am now and quite blase. Very pro real gun control though!

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  6. At the moment, my boys have no interest in guns at all. Their only interest is cars and trucks etc, and when they play on the Wii or Playstation, all they do is driving. I'm sure at some point I'll have to deal with the whole gun thing, but I'm not in a hurry for that to happen.
    I think you handled it really well. It seems the focus was more on 'soldiering' than the guns themselves. Well done :)
    xx

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  7. I think you struck the balance really well. Those cakes look scrumptious.

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  8. Great idea limiting the video game play to an hour, followed by real life exercise and fun. Those cupcakes are pretty adorable - when you don't think too much about real-life soldiers :)

    Kids have been playing "war" games forever. So many men that I know are fascinated by war and can watch anything on the History Channel, anytime (which I've dubbed the Hitler channel). Even I've had my interest piqued through watching Game of Thrones. I don't see great benefit in trying to quell boys' interest in war or in playing war.

    It probably is borderline 'politically incorrect' :) But that doesn't make it wrong and I bet they just loved it!

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  9. Sounds like you planned it really well. Boys of that age are going to be into that stuff, my 40 year old husband still likes to play those games, so they are going to be part of my boy's lives, I suppose it's just about helping them separate fact from fiction! Emily

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  10. Sounds like a great party! Good on you for putting all that effort it. I can understand why you were a bit concerned, but I personally think you did it really well. My husband grew up in a house where any guns (toy or otherwise) were completely banned, but he just secretly played with them at friends houses. And now he LOVES playing HALO. He also loves Call of Duty, but he doesn't play it around our toddler, its a bit gruesome.

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  11. I think you did a great job with the party and theme. I am terribly slack with children's parties. Rachel xx

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  12. The gun thing is hard, I'd prefer no guns too, but I have to say your party looked pretty cool!!

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  13. I think you did it perfectly. My brother and BIL have been obsessed with this game for a little while and thought I was quite the idiot when I asked where the angels were! Apparently its an acronym and not an angels head gear in this instance! Silly me!

    My Mum was never a fan of having toy guns, mostly because she always said that kids will make a gun out of anything so just let them use their imagination rather than giving them the real (fake) thing. She was write, we used to pretend our play drill was a gun and used to make them out of pegs as well.

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  15. I think you made an amazing party with the balance of commonsense and giving 'into' the birthday boy's passion. Of course no-one is pro violence nor guns as Seana says but if it's part of the hormonal surges and more than we women know little about then so be it. You controlled it. You set the parameters. You did well.

    By the way, ever tried telling someone NO you cannot ...what do they do anyway? Even though I "thought" I'd be no play guns allowed ...I got them & they became used, then abandoned. Denyse

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  16. Congratulations on be able to pull off a Halo camouflage party. Loved the decorations and cakes, although it was a bit difficult to see, given all that camouflage ;)!

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  17. It's a tough one but it looks like you did an amazing job! Boys will be boys, as I'm discovering myself. Sometimes you just have to be that mum that doesn't completely cave in to what they want, but think of the box to see how you can accommodate accordingly :) x

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  18. Lucky boy to have a Mum put in such thought and effort for his party, well done!

    Although I can see from previous comments I am going to be the odd one out. Given Halo has an age recommendation of 16+ I do think the theme was perhaps inappropriate. But that is just me.

    It looks like you all had a fun day!

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  19. Hi Leanne - I think you've done beautifully with this! Everything looks fantastic and your approach was spot on as the whole boys/guns thing can be a minefield (pardon the pun ;)
    x

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