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Blanket Fort Party
July 30, 2009 10:13 AM   Subscribe

In approximately two weeks, I will be holding a Blanket Fort Goodbye Party on almost the entire top floor of an apartment building. Given the excellent ideas I got from this previous party thread, I thought I'd ask what you crazy kids: what would you want to see at a blanket fort party?

"Blanket fort" means the same thing as "couch fort;" there's a local band named Couch Forts I'm trying to not get us confused with. We're looking to enclose as much of an area as possible with blankets, high enough for tallies to be able to stand up straight in. We're also having three DJs play in a backroom, a straightforward "here's a song, now here's another song" DJ to get things started and then two wildly popular and talented local superstars to play the height of the party.

We have the top floor of the our apartment building to work with. It was apparently a hotel back in the 1920s so imagine that we have the size of 3 large hotel rooms, connected by hallways. Two of the apartments are completely empty. I am completely unconcerned about moderate damage to walls or leaving it particularly spotless. I'm not very concerned about keeping the blankets flawless, either. The ceilings are too high to reach, and we're going to have to try to build a ceiling out of blankets.

Our apartment building has a long history (apparently going back to the 1980s) of being an underground music venue that has raves and hardcore punk and noise and experimental electronic shows in the basement. This is the first major party that's going to be held in the upper floors. A lot of people can be expected to show up; not quite as many as a hardcore show (typically 80-100 people throughout the night) but more than our previous house parties (we usually get around 20-something people to show up).

How do we hang up this many blankets and sheets? My current shopping list includes a hammer, nails, lots of rope to string between nails and keep the "ceiling" suspended, clothespins to attach fabric to rope, safety pins to attach fabric to fabric, thumbtacks to attach fabric to walls.

Where do we get them? Thrift store sheets still run $2-$3. I was wondering if it'd be cheaper to buy yards and yards of fabric from a fabric store. We're also going to borrow as many extra sheets and tapestries and etc as we can.

What different areas should we have? One apartment is devoted to the DJs and dancing; how should we set up the stage? There will probably be a projector playing on a white sheet. I'm also thinking of devoting a small bedroom to being brightly lit with a nice sheet in the background to take people's Polaroids (it's our goodbye party, I'm going to miss everyone) and having the living room as some sort of lounge area. What should we have in the lounge area? Candles to toast smores over (fire hazard? people are definitely going to be smoking, anyway), lots of pillows, what else?

Any amazing examples of huge blanket forts on the internet?

What would you want to see at a party like this?

Yes, you can come, if you live within driving distance of Columbus Ohio and I didn't weird you out at the 10th meetup.
posted by Juliet Banana to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Andy Warhol look alikes, go-go dancers, and lots of psychedelics.
posted by diogenes at 10:21 AM on July 30, 2009


Ball pit and a slide.
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:23 AM on July 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


thrift store blankets will be cheaper than yards of new fabric, because a bolt of fabric is only 1 yard wide, even if it's still $2/yd. Also, old blankets are the right 'feel' for this thing.

I'd suggest getting as many couches and easy chairs as possible, you can even turn them end up for high vertical hanging surfaces. However, part of the awesomeness of couch forts is that sometimes you do have to crouch, so make some low-ceilinged parts too.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:27 AM on July 30, 2009


What different areas should we have? One apartment is devoted to the DJs and dancing; how should we set up the stage? There will probably be a projector playing on a white sheet. I'm also thinking of devoting a small bedroom to being brightly lit with a nice sheet in the background to take people's Polaroids (it's our goodbye party, I'm going to miss everyone) and having the living room as some sort of lounge area. What should we have in the lounge area? Candles to toast smores over (fire hazard? people are definitely going to be smoking, anyway), lots of pillows, what else?

I'd definitely set up a non-sheeted (or fire safe) smoking area. Drinking + fire + blankets everywhere sounds like a bad, bad idea. Instead of candles you might consider flameless candles or even just cheap flashlights, which I think are the best lighting for forts, anyway.

Honestly, at something like this I'd most love to see lots of little private areas and nooks--that's what blanket forts are all about, right? I'd wall off a couple little areas, and stock them with funny children's books from thriftstores for good convo pieces. Then again, I was a little nerd back in my blanket fort days.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:29 AM on July 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


(Childish but honest answer:) I'd want to see some Ghostfights!

Seriously -- I don't know if you ever did this as a kid, but having play-wrestling matches where everyone is wearing a blanket (sort of in this manner) is pretty much ultimate fun. The blankets soften all the possible hurt, and pretty much every match devolves into clumsily rolling around on top of one another. The more people the better!
posted by Rumpled at 10:36 AM on July 30, 2009


You should have various-shaped cookies and 10 to 15 different colors of frosting (as well as sprinkles and those little silver edible balls). People can decorate cookies!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:49 AM on July 30, 2009


However, part of the awesomeness of couch forts is that sometimes you do have to crouch, so make some low-ceilinged parts too.
Yes.


Flashlights rather than candles; if there's an outdoor area (patio or something?) toasting s'mores would be rockin'.

Maybe a treasure/scavanger hunt? Hide things in the nooks and crannies?
posted by Neofelis at 10:51 AM on July 30, 2009


walkable areas between rooms should be designated as lava, with cushions and pillows used as stepping stones.
posted by rocket88 at 10:56 AM on July 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


This childhood-meets-adult atmosphere sounds right for several rounds of hide and drink.
posted by PunkSoTawny at 11:00 AM on July 30, 2009


My wife recently got a play hut on Freecycle. It's a collapsible cube with holes on each side and attachable tunnels. That kind of thing would be a fun addition. Maybe post a wanted add on Freecycle for play huts?
posted by diogenes at 11:11 AM on July 30, 2009


Ahhh, be really careful with smoking and candles around blankets hung from the ceilings. If you even set off the smoke detector, your party will at the very least be shut down, and you could be written up for a fire hazard (no idea what the laws are in Ohio, but I'd imagine the landlord and/or fire department would not be amused). Designated smoking areas would be a good idea.

One of the things we did when we turned a room in my old art student house into a blanket fort was to get a bunch of markers and draw on the walls. We were really into drawing on the walls in general, so it was kind of a natural extension, but something about sitting on the floor under a blanket scribbling on the walls with a marker really brings out your inner kid. I guess paper would work as well, but there's something pleasantly destructive about wall drawing.

Also, make a game board and play You Must Obey the Game.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:16 AM on July 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also-- thrift store blankets nailed to the wall are the cheapest and sturdiest way to do this.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:23 AM on July 30, 2009


Seconding the smoking-zone being a non-blanket zone.

Don't forget that blanket forts are dim! Poorly lit!
posted by mdonley at 11:54 AM on July 30, 2009


A wide variety of old-school sugary breakfast cereals. A television or two playing reruns of the Price is Right with Bob Barker. Flashlights. Lots of flashlights.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:09 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lots of flashlights, tons of pillows, some good kids books like the giving tree and where the wild things are scattered about and twinkies and dingdongs. Maybe a whole table just piled up with gross kids junk food.
posted by Sophie1 at 4:30 PM on July 30, 2009


Candles to toast smores over (fire hazard? people are definitely going to be smoking, anyway)

I think it should be a "no fire indoors" party. Seriously. You're going to put 60-ish people into a visually confusing, enclosed and segmented space full of flammable materials, on the upper floors of a building? And drunk? No way is that a good idea.

Blanket fort party, excellent idea. But NOT compatible with fire in the fort space.
I would also try to be sure that the exit routes/bathrooms are easy enough to find, maybe keep the lights on in the hallways and keep those spaces clearer? Or keep some clear passageway. (the "lava floor" idea would work with this, maybe have a pathway of cushions or colored carpet/paper floor squares in the hallway, but no blankets?


Ghost story room, lit only with flashlights. Glowsticks.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:01 PM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


And get a roll of butcher paper for drawing on.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:03 PM on July 30, 2009


A tape recorder and some crappy/blank/mix tapes.
posted by knile at 7:01 PM on July 30, 2009


Smores, for god's sake, are absolutely necessary for this.

And christing fuck I wish I could go!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:15 PM on July 30, 2009


I was all "whatever, non-smokers" to the people who said we couldn't smoke in the couch fort. However, there was a huge punk show in the basement last night and I woke up at four in the morning to a chorus of shrieking fire alarms and my third floor apartment filled with smoke. Turns out someone tossed a cigarette into a pile of flyers and empty beer boxes in the basement, leaving it to burst into flames after everyone left.

For a minute, I was seriously terrified for my life, and even after we doused it my sleep was ruined. I just had horrible nightmares while rubbing my smoke-irritated eyes.

I never want go go through that again. You all are right. Thank you.

Jon Evil, you're right, thrift store was still cheaper. I spent $20 and got an IMMENSE amount of sheets, like, enough fabric to make the most giant blanket fort ever, which is what we're going for.

23 skiddoo, I went to an art opening based on old school cartoons this weekend and they served little cups of sugary kid's cereal as dry finger food and it was actually awesome. Your idea is perfect, we're totally serving cereal and little cut up bananas.

Oinopaponton, we are most definitely going to be drawing on the walls with markers. Anger at the landlords + art school kids = drawing on the walls galore.

PhoBWanKenobi, you get a best answer for being the first person to suggest flashlights (duh! why didn't I think of that?) and being awesome.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:12 AM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


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