There was never any doubt about the theme Brayden would want for his eighth birthday party. There was some doubt about my ability to pull it off, however, since all I knew about Minecraft was that it was basically an online Lego game with retro graphics. I was such a noob. Fortunately, Brayden was happy to explain the basics, and of course there were many ideas available online (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: what did parents do before the Internet?)
First up was a game of “Knock over the creepers.” I bought a bunch of green floral styrofoam cubes from the dollar store and put creeper faces on them with electrical tape. The kids stacked them up and threw a ball at them to see how many they could knock over…which almost instantly degenerated into chaos, but they had fun. I was wise enough to leave the plastic wrap on the cubes so my house wasn’t littered with bits of green styrofoam — score one for Mom.
Next came freeze tag with a Minecraft twist: Chris was a zombie out to get the kids, and when he tagged them they “died,” and they could only “respawn” when another kid touched them. The kids quickly figured out that Chris couldn’t get them if they hid under the trampoline, so I joined the game as zombie #2 to flush them out (I can fit under there). It was a surprisingly hot day, and there was so much running, so everyone was sweating by the time this one was done.
For a change of pace, we played a few rounds of Minecraft bingo. This was a freebie download that kept them quiet and still for almost 10 straight minutes — amazing.
Then it was on to some crafting recipes. I printed out a bunch of the Minecraft icons needed to “craft” a torch, a TNT block and some cake (hey, it’s a birthday party!) I hid the icons all around the family room and the backyard, split the kids into two teams and set them loose to hunt down the materials. Each team ended up with a redstone torch and a block of TNT (to be used later) plus the right to eat cake.
I used one brown and one green plastic tablecloth to make the table look like a grass block. Since everything in Minecraft is cubed, I used square black plates. The game even has certain foods, so I used that as the basis for the snacks: carrots, melon, redstone (strawberries), fish (goldfish crackers) and of course cake (courtesy of Wal-Mart).
When they’d had their fill, we moved on to the hotly anticipated grand finale: our version of “Light the TNT.” We had a couple big bottles of Diet Coke and some Mentos, and when you combine the two you get an explosion that boys of every age dream of. I swear that Coke shot up 25 feet in the air. Good stuff.
And now my baby is eight!