More Camp Ivanhoe than Salute Your Shorts
November 5, 2012 10:29 AM   Subscribe

What music/food/activities would be fun for a summer camp themed party?

This weekend I'm throwing a nighttime summer camp themed party for around 20-30 (adult) guests. I'm planning on hot cocoa (with add-your-own-booze) and a craft table (with God's eyes, natch) in the kitchen, a blanket fort with flashlights and ghost stories in the study, s'mores and sparklers in the backyard, and snacks, drinks, and mingling in the living room. What else can I add to make the evening super fun?

I was thinking of organized games or campfire songs, but my crowd is pretty laid-back and might not take to planned loud or physical activities. I'm planning on printing up little merit badge stickers so people can give each other badges. Are there any other activities that could be available as ice breakers for those who want to participate without it being required? What music would set the mood? (so far all I'm thinking is the soundtrack to Where the Wild Things Are and Peter Paul and Mary) What snacks? Perhaps most importantly, what cocktails???
posted by EmilyFlew to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Bug Juice-(kool-aid-with vodka?), Jello Shots for cocktails. Boone's Farm Wine if you really want to be authentic (I don't recommend this).

S'mores, but done with chocolate fondue, although I did S'mores using a fire-stick and marshmallows on a skewer (works decently well)

Weenies are always good, whether done on a fire or in an oven.

Yummy doctored up baked beans.

Trail Mix as a nibble.

Chips of every kind, you can even buy snack bags (like you might have bought in the canteen) and ice cream novelties.

M&Ms, because really, why have a party if you aren't serving M&Ms?

I'd get Meatballs and show that on the TV, and other summer camp movies.

For music, pick a couple of years when your cohort would have been at summer camp (when you were 10 or 11 or 12) and then play the poppiest music from that era. THAT'S what was really playing at camp.

Sounds like fun!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:39 AM on November 5, 2012

Oh my god this is awesome.

Games: One of the things my own summer camp did was called a "singdown" -- think like a singing version of Scattergories. The leader called out the category and the teams all had to think of songs that mentioned things in that category and would sing them. We got a set number of points for each successful match. Me and my friends got so into this that we'd do it around the house the rest of the year. (And they don't have to be campfire songs either - one of my team leaders one year made a very convincing argument in favor of Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" being included in the category "plants".)

Quieter activities - maybe a chance to write "letters home from camp"? Or better yet - a contest for the most pathetic-sounding "letter home from camp". People can write multiple letters if they want, at any point (you're collecting them in a hat all night or something), and then at the end of the night you open them up and read them all and there's some prize for the most pathetic/funny/whatever letter.

And "pop music from when we were all eleven or twelve" is spot-on for the music. If you want to go "camp" themed, maybe get a copy of Camp Lisa by Lisa Loeb - it's all covers of summer camp songs, plus a cover of the song "Ready For The Summer" from Meatballs.

Junk food is spot on - think like vending machine stuff, yeah. Or stuff that looks like it would have come in someone's care package from their mom (maybe a whole bunch of oatmeal cookies served in a ziploc baggie tucked into a box).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:20 AM on November 5, 2012

My favorite campfire activity was not telling ghost stories, but sharing most embarrassing moments. I'm sure the juiciest ones were made up, but still - so much fun. Most people are pretty bad at telling ghost stories, but everyone wants to hear about the time you got pantsed in the state championship soccer game, or whatever.

Oh, and sing-a-longs, if your friends are musically inclined.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 11:21 AM on November 5, 2012

Tie dye? Spin the bottle?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:32 AM on November 5, 2012

posted by empath at 11:38 AM on November 5, 2012

Panty raid
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:52 AM on November 5, 2012

You could make calamine lotion colored cake balls and call them mosquito bites.

For rooms you want people to stay out of, you could string the door (as if someone had sneaked into your cabin during the night and wound yarn or string all over everything, except just do this across the door frame). Or hang signs on them that read 'No Campers Allowed'.

Have a dinner bell or triangle that gets rung whenever a new food or drink is brought out to the tables.

Play songs from The Parent Trap and Wet, Hot, American Summer

You could hang a hockey mask and a machete on the wall in the bathroom or somewhere as a nod to Camp Crystal Lake (I'm picturing guys peeing getting a kick out of it, which is why I suggested the bathroom wall, but really it could go anywhere).

If you make a mix to play at the party, you can intersperse the music with camp announcements.

This would be my favorite party ever. Great idea (that I will probably steal from you one day).
posted by Brody's chum at 12:07 PM on November 5, 2012

I had a flour fight with my adult friends and it was killer fun.
You can read a post about it here:
Flour fight
Simple, cheap and really silly :)
posted by SarahBarton401 at 12:14 PM on November 5, 2012

Never-Have-I-Ever was a game we loved in our camp cabins that makes an easy transition to drinking. You go around the circle, and each person in turn has to say "Never have I ever..." and then something they haven't done. Anyone who has done that thing has to take a drink, but if nobody else has done it, the person whose turn it is has to finish their drink.

Homemade camp-related Mad Libs left out for people to complete, and to be read out loud later in the night, could be good. This works best if you don't just print out 10 copies of the same Mad Lib, because the readings get boring after a couple of the same story, even with different adjectives and nouns. Leave out colored pencils or skinny markers for people to write with, rather than boring pens or pencils.

If you could find a Nerf bow and arrow (with the suction-cup arrows), it's be pretty cool to have targets up on the wall.

Maybe a silly sign pointing to the "make out corner" or whatever they would have called the shadowy spot at your camp where people would sneak off to make out?

You're having a bonfire in the backyard, right?
posted by vytae at 12:34 PM on November 5, 2012

Smores trail mix: mini marshmallows, Golden Grahams cereal, chocolate chips.

Also, in case of inclement weather, you can make damn fine smores in a toaster oven.
posted by Flannery Culp at 1:11 PM on November 5, 2012

We did this a few times after college. Ours typically revolved around kickball and one of those massive parachutes that you play with in elementary school gym class. Everyone showed up in camp attire, pajamas or awkward gym short/t-shirt combos.

S'more roasting, Hi-C based drinks, and popcorn tended to be our foods of choice. Everyone was assigned a camp "buddy" who was your partner for most activities. I believe we had fake camp names and made laminated nametags for ourselves. We played a lot of MASH and built Cootie Catchers. I think I made a dreamcatcher at one of these parties as well, at a crafts table. We wrote long letters to mutual friends who couldn't be there (people who were sick or lived out of state) which were a riot as you got more intoxicated throughout the night.
posted by JannaK at 3:34 PM on November 5, 2012

Whatever type of cocktail you make needs to be served out of one of those giant orange coolers.
posted by missriss89 at 6:23 PM on November 5, 2012

Thanks so much everyone!! I was going for more nostalgia than rowdy, but I have had at least 4 people ask me when we will be singing camp songs so I may have underestimated my friends' rowdiness potential. Regardless, cootie catchers, smores and smores trail mix, bows and arrows, pop songs from 1992, and bonfires will definitely be on the menu.
posted by EmilyFlew at 7:11 AM on November 7, 2012

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