Sassy party games of the past

Think party games are a new thing and targeted only at kids? Think again! Even decades ago, party games were very much “in”. Let’s look at some of the wackiest party games history has seen and are probably still played by those who love old-fashioned fun.

Illustration of woman playing the hunt for peanuts game
Illustration: © Rama Ramesh

The hunt for peanuts

Unbelievable yet true, one party activity back then was to hunt for peanuts. Imagine the frustration of looking in every nook and corner to find them before anyone else could and wait until every one of them were found. More amazing is the patience involved in hiding, remembering, and accounting for every hidden peanut!

Man playing sugary scrabble
Illustration: © Rama Ramesh

Sugary scrabble

Did you know that a fancy party game involved inking letters on sugar cubes and handing them over to guests? Wondering what the point is? Guests sat around a table and threw their cubes (which had letters on each side) like dice. They continued doing it until someone spelled out a word from the letters. The prize for the winner was the set of sugar cubes that made the word. Pretty poor compensation for all the effort, huh?

Ready to rush blindly, folks!

Ever played blindman’s buff? Well, if you thought that was riotous fun, wait until you hear about the Bellman game that was wilder. Instead of one blindfolded catcher, there are several blindfolded catchers trying to get their hands on a person ringing a bell. As you’ve easily guessed, there are plenty of chances of people colliding with each other or knocking things over in the process. That makes this party game as good as home rugby!

Elderly man playing the mitten challenge
Illustration: © Rama Ramesh

The mitten challenge

This game involves party guests being made to wear thick mittens and perform a variety of tasks, including buttoning up baby clothes, picking up grains from the floor to even eating dinner. Hosts who took party games seriously ensured that they served foods particularly difficult to handle with mittens. Whether the guests would have left the party feeling stimulated or frustrated after the game is anybody’s guess. History says that this was a game greatly favoured by U.S. President George Washington!

Swinging shoes

Yes, swinging a shoe tied to a rope at party guests standing in a circle was an actual outdoor party game! Keep in mind that back in the early 20th century, shoes were made of heavy leather and for the guests, it wasn’t necessarily a dodging game – it was escaping from a concussion to the head or a split lip!

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Rama Ramesh
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Rama Ramesh

Rama Ramesh is a creative writer who has written stories and features for children’s magazines and has co-authored a series of nanotechnology books for kids.