Game On! Relive Your Childhood With A Retro Game Party
by Gwendolyn Y. McNutt, CSEP (@gmcnuttplans)
To say that I loved playing games as a child is an understatement. Oh, and by the way, I still love them. Not that I don’t enjoy video games, because I most certainly do, but I also miss playing good old fashioned board games in the basement with my sister. I think we had every Milton Bradley and Hasbro game ever invented. Not only did I love playing board games as a child, I was also consumed with games and toys like Twister, Etch a Sketch, Jacks, Silly Putty, Slinkys, and of course my Rubik’s Cube. I spent countless hours trying to figure out how to align that crazy 3-D combination puzzle. Thank you very much Mr. Ernő Rubik. And, oh yes, I can’t forget about my View-Master. For you youngsters, that’s a very early version of virtual reality. If you’re too young to remember any of these games and toys, my heart breaks for you; and I could go on for hours about my favorite toys including my Easy Bake Oven, but, I digress.
My personal walk down memory lane and into toy box heaven, has made me really nostalgic for the toys and games of my youth; and, therefore, I asked my friends to join me for a retro game party. A night featuring childhood memories, games and the food and snacks we loved as kids. Along with a jam-packed table of board games and retro toys to play. Think, Jerry Seinfeld playing with the antique toy collection, but everyone has permission to play; and food and favors have been added to make it a real party. However, if I’m really being honest, I actually just wanted to play some of my favorite childhood games.
Throwback theme parties are by far my favorite events to plan. There’s so much opportunity to be creative and incorporate things you loved from the past. For this party, I selected a retro games theme, but you can pick from a variety of theme options like era, location, movies, etc. There are a wide range of possibilities to celebrate good food and good times with your friends.
Games, games and more games. Since this celebration is centered around games – and no party is complete without them, we’ll start there. Make sure your guests bring their competitive nature and playful spirit to the party. But, before settling down with your board games, kick off the night with a spirited Rubik’s Cube competition or Karaoke contest. Those interactive games are sure fire ways to get your group excited. Once you get everyone into the competitive spirit, break out the games and toys and revisit your childhood – one game at a time.
Now that you’ve lined up your games, don’t forget about the food. We weren’t fancy when we were kids, so why should we be now. Remember, you’re revisiting your childhood, so you might as well eat like one too. You can keep it simple with pizza, half sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and other fun and easy finger foods. However, you can still embrace the theme by giving your sandwiches and snacks game inspired names like “Texas Hold’em Turkey” or “Pool Ball Cheese Balls.” And top off your meal with some game inspired sweet treats like “Domino Brownies,” “Monopoly Cookies,” or a “Stacked Deck” of cupcakes.
Add in some clever nostalgic drinks from the vault like classic sodas in bottles or milkshakes to share with your guests. And just because you’re reliving your childhood, that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some adult beverages into your party plans. In fact, they may actually enhance your game playing fun.
Finally, tie it all together with decorations and fun favors for your event guests. Start with a focal point in the room, such as a board game tower centerpiece. Your guests will get to check out all the games they’ll have a chance to play later in the evening. Using the games as a centerpiece will save on your budget by playing double duty. Some fun favors for your party include vintage candy like ring pops, which are always a retro fan favorite. Yo-Yos, Silly Putty and Slinkys also make great favor gifts for guests. Another fun activity I like to have at my events are craft tables. It allows your guests to not only interact, but also show their creativity. A great craft activity for this party are Shrinky Dinks, guests can color their plastic pieces, and then the host can pop them into the oven while the games kick-off.
In just a few simple and inexpensive steps, you have the makings of a great night in with your friends. You can make your party as simple or as elaborate as you like. The idea is to connect and interact with one another. So, head up to the attic, pull out those old memories, and let the games begin!