An unexpected party begins in Middle-earth! You can make the story come alive by bringing bits of the story into your children’s hobbit party! This is perfect for a hobbit birthday party or just an anytime party – also see our children’s birthday invitations which we can personalize for any birthday theme.
1. Use plastic party murals to create instant atmosphere. For instance, a stone wall mural (usually used for medieval parties) can imply Rivendell, the Lonely Mountain, Thranduil the Elven-king’s dungeon, and other places on the journey.
2. Create a banner with wording in common speech and in runes. Here is one translator for translating common English into runes.
Then baa-baa-baa! was heard, and in came snow-white sheep led by a large coal-black ram. One bore a white cloth embroidered at the edges with figures of animals; other bore on their broad backs trays with bowls and platters and knives and wooden spoons, which the dogs took and quickly laid on the trestle-tables.*
3. Decorate the food table like Beorn’s table with a white covering. Place stuffed sheep toys, white horses, and/or dogs peeking out from under the tablecloth. Use lots of wooden-looking dishes and rustic crocks for serving the food. Make sure that the only metallic-looking things on the table are knives.
“We [hobbits] are plain quite folk and have no use for adventures…Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them,” said our Mr. Baggins…*
A Hobbit party calls for piles of yummy food, and you can serve foods and drinks that characters had in the book. Here is a list of mentioned foods in no particular order:
- seedcakes and other kinds of cake (kids in my family are partial to lemon poppyseed cake)
- beer (root beer for kids)
- ale (ginger ale for kids)
- scones with butter
- chicken (Gandalf mentions cold chicken, but I think chicken cooked your favorite way would be close enough)
- biscuits (cookies)
- apples and apple tart
- bread with butter and honey (label it as “honey from Beorn”)and clotted cream
- eggs (mmm, candy eggs!)
- eggs with ham
Games & Activities
Before the guests arrive, set up a separate table and spread on it: false beards, gold dwarf belts, and elf ears. For the belts, you can either use lengths of wide ribbon or spray-paint children’s belts from the dollar store. Invite the kids to choose something to wear when they arrive.
1. Ice breaker – After everyone has arrived, put a name tag sticker on the back of each person, using names of Hobbit characters. Each kid asks others for clues to guess what name is on their back.
2. Troll Tag: Play this game outside or in a large indoor space. Appoint 3 guests to be the trolls and tell the kids where the game boundaries are. All of the other kids play the dwarves and the trolls are going to try to catch them by tagging them. Trolls have a set amount of time to catch the dwarves before time runs out and the sun comes up to turn them into stone. When time runs out, yell “Dawn!” and the trolls freeze. If the trolls tagged everybody, they win. If any of the dwarves are still free, the free dwarves win. Repeat play as often as you like, choosing different kids to play the trolls.
He [Gollum] was looking out of his pale lamp-like eyes for blind fish, which he grabbed with his long fingers as quick as thinking.*
3. Cave Fishing: Before the kids arrive, dimly light a room with rope lights, night lights, or whatever you prefer. Fill a kiddie pool with some water and put plastic fish in it. Instead of using kiddie pools, you can also put bowls of water on low tables. Let kids catch the fish in the dark, just like Gollum had to. Block the entrance or close the door if possible before the kids arrive. You can also hang a sign that says “Gollum’s Cave.” Let the kids trade the plastic fish for Swedish fish candies.
Riddles were all he [Gollum] could think of. Asking them, and sometimes guessing them, had been the only game he had ever played with other funny creatures sitting in their holes in the long, long ago…*
4. Bilbo vs. Gollum: Divide the guests into teams for a riddle game. Before the party, write up a bunch of riddles that are age-appropriate for your guests. Each team member takes turns reading a riddle and then getting the rest of his team to say the answer. He can act out parts of the answer too, but he can’t say anything other than the riddle. Just for fun, you can also use the riddles used in the book/movie.
The spider evidently was not used to things that carried such stings at their sides…Bilbo came at it before it could disappear and stuck it with his sword right in the eyes.*
5. Sting The Spider (or Free The Dwarf): Buy a spider piñata, and the guests can pretend to be invisible as they “sting” the spider with a stick or plastic sword. The children take turns stinging until it is dead and all the guts – ahem, I mean treats – fall out. If you are the crafty type, you can create a piñata by wrapping a paper bag (filled with treats) in stripes of white crepe paper. Then pretend it is a dwarf stuck in the spider’s nest. Guests take turns whacking the bag until the contents spill onto the ground.
“That stone of all the treasure I [Thorin] name unto myself, and I will be avenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it.”*
6. Dwarf Treasure Hunt: Do a treasure hunt for the Lonely Mountain treasure! If you are entertaining Hobbit diehards, tell the kids that the play area is the dwarf kingdom within the Lonely Mountain and that they (the kids) are dwarves hunting for the Arkenstone, the giant jewel that Thorin Oakenshield treasured above all.
7. Arming For Battle: If the guests are going to take part in the Battle of the Five Armies, they must have good shields! Before the party, cut out shield shapes from cardboard boxes. Spray-paint the shield shapes before the guests arrive (in gold, silver, or bronze). If you think that some guests might be disappointed if they don’t get their first choice of color, make them all the same. On the unpainted side, make handles out of duct tape. Have available permanent markers, plastic jewels, and adhesive if your jewels do not have an adhesive backing. Guests will have fun decorating their own shields.
Party Favor Gift Ideas
At their birthday parties, Hobbits give their guests little presents to take home, so party favors are the finishing touch to your party. Here are some ideas:
- chocolate gold coins, available in party stores and old-fashioned candy stores. Attach a note on ivory paper saying, “Part of your share of the Lonely Mountain treasure.”
- plastic or foam swords
- anything with a dragon (pins, toys, masks, etc.)
- plastic goblets in metallic colors, preferably with plastic jewels on them
- mechanical toys with a label marked DALE. The toy market of Dale was the wonder of the world when the dwarves supplied it with toys (before Smaug came).
- tiny toy/cardboard barrels filled with apple-flavored candies
- little animals, such as eagles, ravens, or ponies
- little paper treasure chests, available at party stores, filled with treats
*from The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.