Sunday, August 29, 2010

Greek Party, Part 4: Creating the Scene

To transform our home into Ancient Greece, we started at the front door.  A while ago, I went a little crazy with chalkboard paint, so I have many of these framed surfaces from the dollar store.  Earlier this month, we happened to go on a lucky yard sale expedition with my four or five of the yard sales we hit that day, my kids found Happy Meal toys from "Hercules".  Those toys came in handy for the party!
We put a few more yard sale characters around the Temple of Party Favors.

For lunch, we served olives (my kids love putting black pitted olives on their fingers before eating them), ambrosia (marshmallows, pineapple, pear, Cool Whip, cinnamon and nutmeg---gross, but delicious!), fruit, pita bread sandwiches (make-your-own, with lunch meat, hummus, mayo, cheese, etc.), and junk food (of course!).  We made up labels for the food, such as "Poseidon's Goldfish" and "Hydra Necks".
The Nectar was a sherbet punch made with rainbow sherbet, ginger ale, and pineapple juice.  The cake was a trident (my son dressed as Poseidon).

Perhaps the most exciting part of the decorating was creating a labyrinth in our back yard.  While researching for this party, I learned that what the ancient Greeks called a labyrinth is actually what we now refer to as a maze (who knew there was a difference??), so I used a simple 7 X 7 grid to create a maze.  I found that any size smaller than 7 X 7 created a maze that was just too simple to solve. Each of our panels were about 30 inches, and we made many of the panels 'double length' to use less bamboo stakes.

Using a 300ft plastic table cover roll, I cut panels to secure onto bamboo garden stakes, which can be purchased at a garden supply store at very low cost.  I punched holes on the sides of each panel and fed the bamboo stakes through the holes. We used tape to make a small flag under the top hole so that the panels would not slide down the poles.
My husband and son put paneled stakes into the ground, following the maze plan I drew on graph paper.

We had two problems with the labyrinth.
One is that our cat would not leave it alone.  She needed to be kept inside during the set-up and party.  Some panels needed to be taped where her little claws made their mark!
The other problem was the wind.  It wasn't strong enough to knock down the bamboo, but we had to tell the boys that if they were in the labyrinth when the wind blew, they should just stand still and wait for it to stop (as opposed to pushing against it and possibly tearing it).
  They did a great job following that advice.  It was kind of funny to see them all 'freeze' when the wind started up.
The labyrinth was a big hit, both during the party and afterwards.  The boys used it for a game during the party, but after the party, kids used it to play house, to play hide-and-seek, and even to try to navigate once it got dark.  Even the adults were having a great time with it.


  1. hi. I love your backyard labyrinth and would like to do one for my daughter's percy jackson party. I'm wondering how many of the bamboo rods you used.

  2. I drew the labyrinth on graph paper and bought a pole for each intersection in the design. I believe it turned out to be 40 or 50 poles, but they were sold in the garden section of Home Depot in packets of about 10. It was much easier and cheaper than I expected it to be!


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