Thursday 25 September 2014

Thursday Theme: Backwards Party

A fun and easy theme for a kid or teen party is a Backwards Party. You can be very creative with this theme. Just do everything you would normally do for a party, but do it backwards.

Backwards Invitations:
There are lots of creative invitation ideas for Backwards Parties. First off, you can send "thank you notes" saying "thanks for coming to my backwards birthday party, January 5th at 11:00, we had a really good time!" and putting all the birthday party info on it…

You can tell everyone to dress backwards (if it's inside-out, turned around, etc.). Tell them to get ready for backward walking, talking, playing, eating etc. as well as opening presents first (give them a hint that they can wrap the gifts with the gift-wrapping design on the inside or gift bags turned inside-out), eating desserts before the meals, eating under tables, and so on.

The invitation can open backwards, the information being on the outside and it can all be in backwards writing (remember to add a small 'right-way' hint to the bottom of the invitation to tell each guest that they will need to put the invitation in front of a mirror to read the backwards information, it can say something like "If you can't read me, hold me up to a mirror").

You can easily flip text backwards either in a photo editing software (like Photoshop, by clicking on 'Flip Horizontal'), or write all the information regularly and then when you go and print, select 'Printing Preferences', then go to the 'Basics' tab, and under the 'Orientation' section click on "Mirror Image."

For example:
Wear your clothes upside down or backwards
and when you come say 'Good-bye', when you leave say 'Hello'!
We're eating under tables (cake before the meal)... 
we open presents first, a really funny deal! 
Hope you can make it to my Backwards Birthday Party!

Once you put the invitations inside an envelope, write the guests name backwards and upside-down, if you add stamps and stickers or plan on drawing something, make sure it's upside-down! (this is only if you are hand-delivering the invitations... if you are sending via the Post Office you should either ask the postman how 'backwards' you could make the letters or just write regularly so that the Post Office won't have a hard time decoding the message).

For thank-yous it could be funny to send them out as invitations (just like when sending thank-yous as invitations), "You are invited to a Backwards party", add date and time, etc.

Backwards Party Food and Drink:
In keeping with the theme, serve the cake, ice cream and desserts before the main meal (most likely it will be the first time anyone has ever eaten their desserts first!) Kids love this and find it so wacky.. Also do zany things like serving spaghetti with a teaspoon, soup with a fork, etc. You can make little backwards signs for each of the dishes, for example for 'Pizza', write 'Azzip', or 'Salad' would be 'Dalas', etc. Also, ask right-handed guests to eat by holding the utensils in their left-hands and vice-versa. Anything will do for this party, just make everything backwards and flipped over!

All of the guests can eat under the table and then you can tell them to put their trash in a strange place other than the trash can - like in the dish washer (you can have the dishwasher open with a trash bag lining it from the inside, and then people could put their trash in it. When the party ends you can throw away the trash bag).
You can have an upside-down cake or cupcakes. Just take your cake or cupcakes, frost them as usual and put them upside-down on a see-through plate (you'll be putting the candles in the bottom of the cake!). Write on it in backwards writing and make sure to put trick birthday candles on the cake! (they are really funny candles that even when you blow them out, they light themselves again and again... so you really can't blow them out the usual way.

A nice upside-down dessert idea is to put an ice-cream ball on a plate and put an ice-cream cone on top - upside-down ice-cream!

Another cool and wacky idea is to bake cake batter inside ice-cream cones! You do this by first heating the oven to 325 - 350 degrees Fahrenheit (165 - 180 degrees Celsius), then make cake mix as instructed on box, then take flat-bottom ice cream cones and fill with cake batter (so that they are two-thirds full), and place each of the ice-cream cones upside-down (each on their own baking cupcake cup). Then bake for 15-20 minutes (or stick a toothpick in the cake and if it comes out clean then the cake is ready) and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Finally, remove the baking cups and frost each ice-cream cake cone as desired.

For a drink you can have dnL!! (upside-down for 7up). Make it 7-down by turning the cans upside down and poking a hole at the bottom for the straw! You can do this with any canned soft drink (use a can opener to create the hole for the straw).

Note: make sure NOT to shake the soda-pop, it may create an exploding fizz reaction because of the carbon dioxide gas in it. Once you turn each soda can upside-down, let it first settle a bit and cover it with a towel or wash-cloth before piercing the can.

Other fun silly food ideas:

  • You can serve backward hot dogs where the bun is between a hot dog sliced in half (use toothpicks to hold the hot dog slices to the bun, just make sure you let everyone know about the toothpicks)
  • Serve pizzas in cups or bowls and tell the kids to start eating from the crust of the pizza.
  • Make sandwiches but put the turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato on the outside of the bread.
  • Cut hamburgers to the shape of hot-dogs and eat them as if they were hot-dogs.
  • A nice dessert to eat first is to let the kids create their very own backwards ice-cream sundaes. Give each a cup and let them start by putting in a cherry, then the whipped cream, then ice cream, and last put the brownie on top (they can create any type of sundae they want, just make sure it's created backwards)

Place a paper tablecloth on the floor under the table and have everyone sit under the table to eat.

Backwards Decorations:
You can start by making your house into a backwards house. Pictures can be turned around or upside down along with all kinds of items in the house as well. You can put streamers on the floor and hang balloons upside down from the ceiling (they definitely don't need helium), as well as turn them inside-out before blowing air into them (best if the balloons have text on them, that way the text comes out backwards).

For this kid birthday party theme, you can have an "EXIT" sign on the front door, and an "ENTRANCE" sign inside on the back door (written backwards if you'd like), as well as an "Attic" sign where the basement is and vice-versa. Print out banners that are written in backwards language (!emocleW and !yadhtriB yppaH) or in another way "Birthday Happy" and "Party Jenny's to Welcome!".

You can have your guests enter through the back door or have them enter backwards through the front door. When they come say "Goodbye, it was nice having you, I'm glad you could come!!" and "Hang up your shoes and throw your coat on the floor". At the end of the party, when everyone leaves say "Hello, welcome to my party". Everything should be backwards: "yes" is "no" and "no" is "yes" etc.

You can start the backwards kid birthday party theme by opening presents (allowing each child to open the gift they brought!). If the birthday child will be opening presents, he/she can open the present first and then the card. Then eat cake and desert, then the real food, and last the games and activities.

You can then have the chairs facing out at the table, and can put the tablecloth on the floor under the table putting down the silverware first (upside-down), then the napkins and the plate (upside-down) over both, and also the cups (upside down as well). To eat, the kids have to sit on the floor (under the table!). If you have small tables, turn them upside-down (with 4 legs pointing up), put a tablecloth on the bottom and let the kids sit on the floor and eat from the upside-down table

You can take backward pictures where everyone has their backs to the camera and put these up as pictures on your wall for the party. If you have a digital camera, you can take backward pictures during the party as well and print these out with a color printer to give as the kids leave. Another type of backward pictures is to take pictures of each kid standing on their heads (they can put their head on a pillow and lean against a wall).

Your whole family can dress backwards and inside-out, with ponytails on their foreheads, zippers and buttons in the back, sun-shades or glasses on the back of the head, different pairs of shoes on, a watch around the ankle, underwear over clothes, the zaniest and silliest things are the best! You can also encourage kids to put their earrings in backwards, wear the left shoe on the right foot and right shoe on left foot, etc.

As each kid arrives (walking in backwards), you can tape their backward names on their back and call them by their backward name. Also give each kid their very own name tag, just make sure to write their name backwards! Then tell everyone they need to call eachother by their backwards name, for example David would be 'Divad', or 'Jenny' would be 'Ynnej', etc.

When guests just arrive, you can say funny backward things like "Hang your shoes and throw your coat on the floor", or "It was great to have you at the party!" (while you motion them to come into the house/party area).

Treat and Favor Bags:
Here's a list of the zaniest things to put in the favor bags: Silly putty, silly string, backward pictures, pop rocks, silly straws, practically anything wacky and goofy will do. Another excellent option is to personalize items in backward language.

At the party tell all the kids to lie on their backs on the couch and hang their heads down, then with a bandanna, blanket or hat have them cover each of their noses, eyes and foreheads (so that you only see their upside-down chin and mouth).

Then with little sticker circles, lipstick, and/or eyeliner draw two circles on their chin as eyes (try and draw different eyes for each kid, as well as adding mustaches to some and eyelashes to others, etc.).

Take a group picture and/or a picture of each upside-down kid. These pictures are great to send with your thank-you notes!

Backwards Games and Activities
When it comes to backward child birthday party game ideas, everything goes! You can play any classic child birthday party game and transform it into a backwards game, by changing the order of things, starting from the end of the game, having the players play but not walking forward - rather walking backwards, if the guests are standing in a line to start the relay, then the last one in line starts, etc. Have a scavenger hunt (but with all the clues written in backward language), or play "Pin the Donkey on the Tail" or even better "Take the Tail off the Donkey", etc. (the zaniest you get the better!).

The winners of each child birthday party game could also be the ones that would have lost if it was a regular birthday party, for example if your having a backwards obstacle course, and your are timing each guest to see how fast they go through the obstacle course, award the prize to the slowest time! (important not to tell the kids this beforehand, let them play as if they think they need to get the fastest time). Or if you're playing 'Pin the Donkey on the Tail', award the prize to the person who pinned the donkey farthest away from the tail!

Here's a selection of backward child birthday party game and activity ideas:

Pinatas – For this peculiar birthday party theme you can take any pinata and hang it upside-down! Another cool backwards pinata idea is to make a hole in the pinata and let the kids try and toss candy into the hole.

Inside out Pinatas – Have each kid blow a balloon up and tie it (you should have extra balloons to replace the popped ones). Then dump a huge bag of wrapped candy on the floor (or so that the kids won't fight over the candy, give each kid a bag of candy). Then give the kids scotch tape and let them cover their balloons with candy (Voila!! An inside out pinata!). You can then hang these inside-out pinatas backwards from the ceiling (to be part of your decorations) and later give each kid a pinata balloon to pop and take home the candies…

Drawing Backwards   – Set up a table with papers, markers and/or crayons. Give the kids simple pictures and tell them to try and copy the pictures but using the other hand (if they are right-handed tell them to use their left-hand and vice-versa). You can also ask them to look at the picture and try to draw it upside-down while they are looking at it right-side up!

Backward Songs (and/or Videos) – Choose songs that you know the kids like and know. In your computer make the songs play backwards (using "Sound Recorder" or any other sound or video software). Then, at the party get all the kids together and play each reversed song one by one. The kids need to guess the song that is playing, the first one to guess a song gets a point. Whoever has the most points towards the end of the game, is the winner (you can also do this with teams). Another variation of this activity is to take a song the birthday kid loves the most, reverse it, and let the kids try and see if they can learn the reversed words and sing the song backwards!

You can also do this with videos, if you have video editing software just reverse videos you have (possibly of the birthday kid). The kids will love to see backwards-playing videos, it can get really hilarious!

Backward Freeze Dance – In this child birthday party theme game you freeze when the music starts! Have someone start and stop the music, when the music is playing all the kids need to freeze in their place... then when the music stops they need to dance and go wild! If a person dances when there is music and/or stops when there isn't music - that person is out. The game continues until there is one person left who wins the game.

Egg on a Spoon (Backwards!) – For this child birthday party game, you'll need dessert spoons and either hard boiled eggs, silly putty eggs, ping-pong balls or any other form of "egg". The goal here is to run from a starting point to a finishing line with an egg on a spoon, if the egg is dropped, the kid has to start again. For the backwards party - kids need to walk backwards!! You can work this as either a competition between teams, an individual timed race on an obstacle course, or just see who can make it the farthest without dropping their egg.

Backwards Charades – On each guests' back tape a piece of paper with some kind of action or activity written on it. All the guests sit on the floor and one is chosen to stand up and show everyone what is written on his/her back. Different from regular charades, the whole group needs to act out, and the standing guest needs to guess. (Examples for actions that can be written: typing on a laptop computer, going through a car wash, sleep walking, eating spaghetti, peeling a banana, riding a roller coaster, etc.).

Backward Animal Guessing – Put pictures of animals or write down names of animals and tape them on kids' backs. Then the kids have to ask the other players only 'yes' or 'no' questions to figure out which animal they have on their backs. Here's the twist: yes=no and no=yes.

Limbo (Backwards!) – Limbo is one of those classic child birthday party game ideas! Get two people to hold a long stick or pole (starting very low). Then turn on music and have everyone jump over the pole (instead of going under). Once everyone has had a go, have the two people lift the stick a little bit more and all the guests have another go. If someone isn't able to jump over - he/she is out. The last person to jump over the highest stick wins.

Ball in the Bucket – Kids need to stand with their back to a bucket and try to throw soft balls/hacky sacks into the bucket behind their backs. To make the game more interesting, have a few buckets located in a row, each a bit farther away from the next. On the first bucket tape the number 1 to it (meaning it is worth 1 point if they get the ball in that bucket), the second bucket with the number 2, and so forth. Each kid gets five tries and sees how many points he/she can get.

Sardines – This is the name of the backward "Hide and Seek" child birthday party game. One person hides and everyone else seeks them. When the players find the person hiding, they hide with them and the last person to find them is 'it' for the next round.

Backwards Running – Setup a starting and finishing line. Give each kid a numerical number. Have the kids run backwards and in backwards numerical order. You can time each kid and after all are finished, reward the one who took the longest time to finish!! Do not announce that this is how you are going to reward or they won't try to finish first. (Also, make sure if you play this game that there are no obstacles in the way so that kids won't trip. It could be fun to also play music backwards while the kids play this backwards game).

Pin the Donkey on the Tail – This is a great one! The kids have to pin the donkey on the tail. Remember, whomever is the farthest in getting it right is the winner!!

Take the Tail Off the Donkey –   Tape the donkey’s eyes, ears, legs, tail, etc. in the wrong places, and the guests who takes off the tail is the winner.

Backwards Treasure Hunt – Tell the kids you're having a treasure hunt, but instead of using clues to find the treasure chest they start by seeing the locked treasure chest. The kids have to follow the clues to find the key to unlock the chest. You can use a small padlock with a key. If you have a large group, use two padlocks and divide the group into two teams following separate clues. Both teams must find their key or no prize! We filled our treasure chest with small bags of foil covered chocolate coins. Sample clue: "Find the only purple flowers in the yard. They hold the next clue." The next clue is tied to the bush with the purple flowers, etc.

Backward Fashion Show – Set up a runway area, put on some good (possibly backwards) music, and have a backwards fashion show. You can provide an extra box of dress-up clothes to complement what kids have already got on (encourage them to put the clothes on backwards and upside-down). Then just let the kids walk backwards on the runway!

Backward Cake Eating – Each kid gets a partner and one of the kids sits in front of the other. The kid sitting in front gets their hands tied (so they can't use them), and the kid sitting behind gets their eyes covered with a blindfold (so they can't see). On the mark of 'GO', the kid sitting behind has to feed the kid sitting in front a piece of cake, since one can't use their hands and the other can't see, this can be quite hilarious!! The first team to get the piece of cake completely eaten is the winning team.

Read Books Backwards – Find a book you and the kids like and read the book from back to front.

Upside-Down, Inside-Out – For this child birthday party game, have all the players dress-up normally... then someone is chosen to leave the room. While they are in the room, have a guest take an article of clothing (shirt, hat, pants, etc.) and flip it backwards and/or inside-out and/or upside-down. Then call the player to come back and have them guess the change that was made.

Totally-Twisted Musical Chairs – Set up chairs in a circle (one less than the number of players). Have the music playing and the players need to walk around the chairs, then when the music stops, everyone sits down (even if a player needs to sit on someone's lap). Then a chair is removed (but all the players continue to stay in the game) and the music starts again, etc. This continues until one chair is left and everyone eventually sits on top of each other! If there are a lot of players you might want to stop at two chairs (or whatever you think could hold the load!), this version of the game can be really hilarious!!

Message Deciphering – Write all kinds of messages backwards and print out on many pages. Then let the kids try to decipher the messages. First one to figure them out wins.

Backwards Bowling  – Spread out a few plastic bowling pins or bottles and have the kids take turns bowling a ball trying NOT to knock down the pins. They win a prize for 5 times in a row without knocking any down but they have to bowl between the pins. Set up a few stations like bowling lanes if there are a lot of kids so a few can play at once.

Backwards Trivia  – Write out a sheet of questions backwards like "what's my middle name" for example. Then get everyone to guess what it is but they have to write the answer backwards. The one to get the most right answers is the winner.

Backwards Water Balloon Toss – Have the kids divide into partners. Have one child throw the water balloon behind their back and the other kid has to catch it. Each time they catch it, the have to take a step away from their partner. The winners that don't pop their balloon can walk backwards to the prize box.

Guessing Game – Fill three containers with jelly beans, gum balls and coins (or anything else of the sort) and ask the guests to guess how many are in each container, the person who is farthest from the actual number wins! (Don't let them know this beforehand so that they will try and get the correct number right.)

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