My husband had this idea, and I spent hours and hours trying to get it all to work logistically. It did. It was a "Choose Your Own Adventure Honor Roll Party", and here’s how it worked.
The students received invitations in paper bags, paper airplanes, boxes, mustard containers, and few other weird things. We wanted to confuse them. We did.
We “borrowed” a whole mini-barn shop and lot for the evening. It helped that Lone Star Structures is right across the street from the school, and that its owner is our school board chairman. Yay for good school boards!
The students arrived as instructed at 6:00 p.m. with a back pack, an unbreakable plate, bowl, and spoon, and their art project from earlier that day, a medieval money pouch. I was dressed as a gypsy and met them at the door of the first mini barn. They entered, were put into three groups (the Purple Pilots, the Silent Singers, and the Yellow Yodelers), given ten “coins” (washers) to put into their money pouches which we made for art that day at school, and an envelope with a book inside.
The book was like one of those “choose your own adventure” stories, where at the end of each page they got to choose one of two locations to visit next. That was the hard part. But now that I have it all figured out and have a pdf of the books (as well as all the instructions, plans, and signs), I’ll share it with anyone just for the asking :-)-- if anyone is crazy enough to want to do this.
The doors were all over the mini barn lot, in the office, behind the shop, and in the shop. We had a variety of music playing in the middle of the lot (medieval, classical, etc.) and one of the moms was dressed like a pilgrim making a big bowl of soup in a kettle over a fire in the middle of the lot also.
All three groups had to go to all ten stops in random order as they choose what they wanted to do next.
Our principal had the group pick a leader to conduct them while they sang a concert for him. They sang inside a mini barn and he sat in the audience listening, clapping, sleeping, laughing, and doing a strange variety of other actions.
Land of Rest and Respite
We brought the same set of parents back dressed in their Mexican attire again, for the third time this year. But, instead of a Mexican restaurant, they had a Mexican jail. The students did get their rest though; they had to sit still for ten minutes without speaking.
Our first and second grade teacher surprised me with this one. She was inside her shop chopping on a large ham surrounded by raw chicken, sausage, and other meats. She took ketchup and smeared it all over the table and her apron. Before the students could buy sliced sausage and cheese with their “coins”, she had them do a Bible skit for them. All the food had been prepackaged in zip lock baggies. Students were instructed to put it into their backpacks to save until dinner.
Her sister ran the bakery. It was called “Bob’s Bakery” because Bob was supposed to be the baker, but he was away for a funeral, so we called in some extra help. At this stop the students had to sing her a song before she sold them crackers and cookies.
the Definition of Defeat
“Choose ye a man for you and let him come down to play checkers with me. If he be able to play checkers with me and win, then will we be your servants, but if I prevail against him and win, then ye shall be our servants. . . “
Each team did choose a champion and they played checkers with our “Goliath”, another school board member and dad of two of our students.
Ye Olde Health Shoppe
Two of our church’s young marrieds showed up on bicycles--very healthy. They made the students do a few exercises and then “sold” them apple slices and carrot and celery sticks. They also had candy bars. The few who spent their extra “coins” on these were jeopardizing their team’s standing at the end of the night. The group with the most coins left over got a small prize.
The Land of Beauty and Freedom
Behind the shop is a nice little field. The groups were told to split into two smaller teams and play Ultimate Frisbee until one team had three points. Then they could go back to their books and choose their next destination.
The Drink of Desolation
Traveling to this stop the group had to look very thirsty. They knocked on the door until I reminded them to remember their vocabulary words. All the high schoolers figured it out-- there was no one there. Inside was an envelope with their group’s name on it. They were instructed to find a water bottle with their name on it somewhere inside the mini barn.
A Perplexing Place
This was the office, with the regular office worker-- one of the youth ladies-- working as usual. She was instructed to keep working and to act like the students were bothering her (which she did very convincingly). She told them to put together three puzzles which were in the office. When the puzzles were completed, they could travel to their next destination.
The School of Hard Knocks
Students arrived at the rear shop door which had the sign “The School of Hard Knocks” hanging crookedly upon it. They were told to “Get to work!” and given brooms, dust pans, and shovels. After ten minutes of sweeping they were thanked and told to read their books to choose their next destination.
When they had traveled to all ten doors, we all met at the center of the lot where a large kettle held delicious chicken noodle soup. Everyone pulled out their baggies of food they’d collected along the way -- sausage, cheese, crackers, apples, carrots & celery sticks, and cookies. Sweet tea was served in camping cups. Groups compared stories, and the group with the most coins leftover got a little candy bar for each team member.
After a rather strange evening, we were all tired. The younger ones played kick-the-can amongst the mini barns while the older students and adult helpers loaded up cars and carried tables, chairs, costumes, kettles, coins, checkers, and whatnot back across the street to the school.
The students are already guessing what the last honor roll party of the year will be. But we aren’t telling. That is another surprise.
The next day as I washed cups and bowls, this is what I saw out the fellowship hall kitchen window.