Idea No.


Survivor Party -40yr- Very Creative Challenges



May 2007


Andrea in Cochran, Georgia, U.S.A.

Runner Up

Survivor Party

Survivor Birthday Party 40  After a rough couple of years during which I survived a bad car accident and donated a kidney to my uncle among other things - I really wanted to do something special for my 40th birthday. I felt like I had survived some major events in my life and being a big fan of the reality TV show Survivor, I decided I wanted a Survivor-themed party.

We created our own personal invitation asking our family and friends if they could survive Andrea's 40th birthday party complete with the Outwit, Outlast, and Outparty theme. We also included at the bottom of the invitation the following quote, We don't quit playing because we grow old. We grow old because we quit playing. We had purchased some plastic bottles complete with a miniature lei, umbrella, and sand. We then mailed out our message in a bottle. Everyone loved this unique invitation. My husband decided to play the part of Jeff Probst and be the host the night of the party. Since we live in the south, we started the party at 6 pm so that we would have plenty of daylight for the challenges. We asked people to decide ahead of time whether they would participate or spectate and to bring their lawn chairs.

We had 18 people decide to participate, which worked out perfectly since we had planned for 3 teams. We divided the teams by having people pull leis out of a tropical themed bag. We had put 3 colors of leis in the bag: blue, green, and yellow. Those that choose the blue leis were on the Bula Bula team, the yellow leis were on the Yeng Yang team, and the green leis were on the Gingko Ginsu Team. Each team had 6 members and by chance the men and women were evenly divided among the teams and no husbands and wives were on the same team.  I selected a yellow lei, which made me a member of Yeng Yang. We listed the nine challenges and a place to record the winner of each challenge on a dry erase board so that everyone could see all the upcoming events.  Our first event was Iron Toes. We had 3 tubs filled with ice, water, and marbles. We had over 100 marbles in each tub. The first team to get all their marbles out of the tub would be the winner. Each member was given 30 seconds to remove marbles before they had to swap out with another team member. The Yeng Yang team was the first to remove all their marbles.  

The next event was Give the Dog a Bone.  We had 6 of our spectators help out with this challenge. We had 3 trays with 18 milk bone dog biscuits on each.  Three people stood at the starting point holding the trays. Three others stood about 25 yards from the starting point holding plastic bowls.  Team members took turns grabbing a dog biscuit in their mouth (no hands allowed) and racing to deposit it in the food bowl.  They then had to race back to the starting point and tag their team member before the next team member could pick up their dog biscuit. Once again the Yeng Yang team won.  Now that we were all out of breath, we all needed a break. We had canned drinks and water in tubs set out under a decorated tent in the yard along with some appetizers (fruit tray, veggie tray, cheese and olives, mixed nuts, and spicy chex mix) for everyone to enjoy between the challenges. 

The next challenge, Match Game, was less physical since we were all out of shape. For the Match Game, my husband had cut out 30 pieces of wood (9x12). A good friend of ours then painted a Tiki head on one side of the wood. My husband then took and stapled a picture to the wood. He used 15 tribal-inspired images to carry out the theme. (I did not get to see the images ahead of time). He had 15 matching pairs. He then scattered the pairs randomly around a small section of the yard. Team members then took turns trying to find the matching pairs. This game looked easy at first but turned out to be very challenging. Ying Yang ended up tied with the Gingko Ginsu team. As a tiebreaker, my husband had the two teams pick one person to represent the team. The two representatives had to use a pitching wedge to hit a waffle ball into a small blue velvet bag held by a pink flamingo. The Gingko Ginsu team won the tiebreaker.  Our next challenge was the Wet T-Shirt contest. Each team was given a t-shirt and a bucket of water. They had to race to a coffee can placed about 25 yards from the water bucket and ring the water out of their t-shirt. The first team to overflow their can would be the winner.  The Gingko Ginsu team was the first to overflow their can.  

Next, we slowed the pace again with the Three Blind Mice challenge. We set up 3 ladders with a bucket at the base of the ladder. One hundred balls, 25 of each team color and 25 red distractor balls were scattered in the yard. Each team then had to pick one person from their team to be the caller. The caller stood on the ladder. The remaining team members took turns being blindfolded. The caller directed the two blindfolded team members to locate one ball of the correct color and return it to the bucket. Once they had  done so, another team member went off to locate another ball. This game was a favorite of the spectators and very challenging for the team members. Bula Bula finally made it on the board when they won this challenge.  Our next challenge was Hot Shot. My husband made 3 old-fashioned wooden slingshots. He found miniature ceramic Hawaiian shirts that corresponded to our team colors to be the targets. He then hot glued these shirts to a 2 x 4 and placed the wood between two of the ladders. Team members then took turns shooting at the shirts with marbles. The objective of the game was to break the other teams shirts. The team with the last shirt standing would be the winner. He also added in 3 red shirts since red was not a team color. If you hit a red shirt then that person got to shoot 3 more times. The Bula Bula team's shirts were knocked off first. This left the teams of Yeng Yang and Gingko Ginsu to battle it out. The Yeng Yang team proved to be better shots and finally knocked off the last green shirt. 

It was now time for another race. We called this challenge Big Foot. My husband had made 3 pairs of giant feet out of plywood. He had attached straps to them so that people could slide their feet in them. Two team members at a time could walk on the feet. He filled 3 bags per team with puzzle pieces. He took some plastic board and wrote the phrase from the party invitation on it (We don't quit playing because we grow old. We grow old because we quit playing). He then cut out the words and randomly distributed the words in the 3 bags per team. He attached the bags containing puzzle pieces in three trees scattered around the yard. Each puzzle bag had a colored ribbon that corresponded to that particular team's color. The race started with two team members at the starting line racing with the wooden big feet to the first tree with the puzzle pieces. They had to find their bag and untie it from the tree. They then had to swap out with their two teammates who were waiting by the tree. The waiting team members then had to put on the feet and carry the bag with the puzzle pieces to the second tree where they had to untie the second bag of puzzle pieces and swap out with the next two teammates who were waiting. These teammates then put on the feet and carried the two bags of puzzle pieces to the third tree. They had to untie their bag and hand it off to the waiting teammates. (Because we only had 6 on a team, the two-team members who started the race had to also participate in the last leg of the race.) The waiting team members then had to race to their mat placed in the middle of the yard, dump out their puzzle pieces, and solve the puzzle. The first team to put the words correctly together to make the phrase from the invitation was the winner. This was the most action-packed challenge with lots of missteps and a few falls. Bula Bula was the first team to get their phrase together correctly.  Our next challenge was Chip and Dip. When the participants first saw this on the board they thought that we were going to make them eat something gross on a chip but they were wrong. (Only because my husband would not let me make people eat anything weird!).

We had set up a volleyball net in one part of the yard. We then had teams divide in half. One side was for the chippers and the other side of the net was for the dippers. The chippers were given a golf pitching wedge, a plastic doormat, and six plastic balls from the Three Blind Mice challenge. The dippers were given a plastic butterfly net. Each team had 3 pitchers and 3 dippers who took turns hitting and catching the balls. The first team to get all 6 of their balls over the net and into their butterfly nets would win the challenge. Bula Bula was the first to catch all six of their colored balls.   Going into the final challenge, Yeng Yang had won 3 challenges, Bula Bula had won 3, and Gingko Ginsu had won 2. 

We had saved the Name That Tune challenge for our last challenge. My husband had put together a play list of over 20 songs that had some type of survivor like theme (Jungle Boogie, Jungle Fever, Hot Hot Hot, Message in a Bottle, etc). Each team was given a small dry erase board, marker, and eraser. Working as a group, the teams listened to only a small portion of a song. They then were given 30 seconds to write the name of the song and artist on their boards. You got one point for each correct answer. Therefore, if you got the song title and artist correct you could get 2 points. The first team to get 20 points would be the winner. Gingko Ginsu won this challenge creating a 3-way tie for the championship. Of course, my husband had thought of everything and was prepared with another tiebreaker. Once again, teams had to pick one person to participate in the tiebreaker.

For the tiebreaker, each participant had to tie a pair of pantyhose around their waist. One leg of the pantyhose contained a crochet ball and that leg had to hang down between their legs. They then had to race about 25 yards hitting one of the plastic balls from the Three Blind Mice game with the croquet ball. The first team to hit their plastic ball into a hula-hoop located at the finish line would be the winner. In a dramatic finish, Ginkgo Ginsu won the challenge and the championship by a fraction of a second. We had made immunity necklaces out of miniature tiki heads that we awarded to the winning team.

I had recruited my family members who did not want to participate in the challenges to be in charge of putting out dinner. I made sure everything was ready ahead of time and all they had to do was warm up the barbecue and take dishes out of the refrigerator and place on the food tables set up under the garage.  Our dinner consisted of barbecue, Brunswick stew, cole slaw, potato salad, chips, and birthday cake. We had decorated the garage with a Tiki theme and had found Tiki tablecloths, plates, bowls, and napkins. We also set up card tables in the yard that were decorated with Tiki candles and festive tablecloths. We also had found some plastic tiki tumblers and had written on the back of them, I Survived Andrea's 40th. Everyone who came to the party went home with a Tiki tumbler. I was also able to show my uncle who had received my kidney and was at my party, that we could have more fun with one kidney than most people can have with two.  I don't know who enjoyed it more, him or me. It was one of my best birthdays ever.

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