Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alex's Nerf Wars Party

So much going on lately...

We held Alex's 9th birthday party on the Sunday before his actual birthday. We picked Sunday afternoon because we never get soccer schedules early enough for me to plan his mid-September party around it, and I just have to hope we end up conflict-free.

Despite our many pleas to have his party somewhere not at our house, he wanted a home party. With Nerf Guns. He wanted to shoot his friends, and he wanted to play Capture the Flag.

So we sent out this evite.

And let him invite his nearest and dearest, prayed for good weather, and got down to planning out all the details.

Alex didn't want much in the way of decorations, and he wanted a cookie cake. This broke my heart a little bit, but I honored the birthday boys wishes. My days of hosting cool birthday parties may soon be over. :(

First up, we had to inventory our own Nerf Gun stock, and our foam dart stock. Guns = good. Foam darts - not so good. A few e-bay orders remedied that problem.

Next, during my internet sleuthing (read: pinterest), I had fallen in love with the idea of the kids using big cardboard boxes to hide behind during their nerf battles. I spent many a lunch hour dumpster diving for boxes, and then Carl re-assmebled then and spray-painted them to look sort of camoflauge-y. Alex found these to be acceptable party "decorations," so there was much happiness all around. It was also nice that these were FREE decorations, since we just used spray paint on hand from various projects. Carl even came up with the red target ideas when we ran out of the green-black-brown colors.

My other big project that I tried to replicate from online ideas was that I wanted to make t-shirts for the kids. I thought they all looked so cool in the all black shirts, and it would make for great photos. Alex went to party a while back where they all came home with personalized t-shirts. He LOVED his shirt, so I decided to make a "Nerf Wars" tshirt. This was much, much more work than I thought, and since it necessitated the purchase of a new color printer for us, more expensive than originally envisioned. (I should note we have been in need of a new printer for quite some time, so it worked to get it, it just seems a bit crazy that I had to go out the day before the party and spend $100 to make the shirts happen.). Anyways, I spent $2 per shirt at Michaels (they were on sale) and then $20 on the iron on transfers, which meant $60 total on the shirts.


I also wanted to get the kids sunglasses to wear because 1) eye protection seemed like a good idea to the lawyer in me, so that no one shot their eye out on my watch, and 2) it looked cool in the idea photos I had seen. These I picked up for $1 each at the dollar store, so $20 total. And I also wanted to get them bandanas, since with everyone wearing the black t-shirts, Capture the Flag could be tricky. I picked neon orange and yellow, two "Nerf" colors, and these were $1 each. The shirts, glasses and bandanas served as any party favors, since I don't think nine year olds really need the normally cheapy goody bag items.

We also spent about $40 on various PVC pipes.

We had planned for the boys to make marshmallow shooters and have a big marshmallow fight, as a way to break up the monotony of just Nerf Guns.

Carl made some water bottle labels up for us, like we had done for Ryan's party. This is so simple to do, and we just tape them on over the bottles - I don't bother with waterproof labels which would raise the price quite a bit.
 We also served orange and yellow gatorade. No one mentioned my color coding the gatorades - not sure if it just went completely unnoticed, or if the other parents thought I was too sane to have planned that out.

I also don't think anyone noticed that we only served color coded foods, in oranges, yellows and greens. But I noticed, and I think it all popped really well with the white tablecloth and serving bowls.

Alas, it rained all day the day of his party. The party was set from 2-4pm, and around 3:45, the rain stopped falling. Thanks, rain. Carl decided we needed a Plan B, so while I started moving all breakables out of harm;s way, he got busy and decided all the boys were going to make a movie. He wrote a script up, and we divided the kids into the Orange and Yellow Teams. He and our neighbor Tatianna would be busy filming while we had other smaller games for other team to play or keep  busy with downstairs. *I'll also note that his movie set sign seen below couldn't have been printed in color if we hadn't replaced our broken color printer. ;)

First, Carl explained the rules of Nerf Gun shooting to the boys: nothing at close range, and nothing above the neck.

Then, everyone got decked out in their shirts, glasses and bandanas.

 Some of the games we played included: shoot the Green Army Men off the mantel.

Shoot the spray painted cans off the hearth.

Shoot the paint ball gun out the back door at the target, but not actually going outside.

And assemble your own marshmallow shooter from PVC pipe.

We had a big marshmallow battle inside, but a note to other parents that marshmallows and hardwood floors don't mesh very well.

Because of the last-minute decision to make a movie, Carl used our good camera for video purposes. Which left me with just my phone for many of the pictures. A lot of these are fairly poor quality, but I'm trying to console myself with the fact that there is a video I can watch.

This wasn't the big Nerf Wars party we had originally planned, but all the boys seemed to be having a great time, and I think the finished "movie" will be a nice thank you for everyone. Assuming our technical support ever gets finished with its editing, that is. ;)

And since all good movies need a preview of coming attractions:


Here's an image of the t-shirt design. Fell free to use it for your own personal use.


  1. fun party! i am hosting a nerf party for my sons 9th birthday as well. i love the idea of giving the t shirts as their goodie gift and wearing them for the party. do you happen to have a template for the nerf wars on their shirt??

    1. I updated my post above with an image of what we used to print out the iron on transfers for the t-shirts. Good luck with your party!!

  2. Hi Annalynn,
    I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! for posting the template for the Nerf shirts and all the other great suggestions you had! You don't know how much easier you made it for me to plan my son's Nerf party thanks to the information you provided.

    My son's b'day is Jun 2013 so I'm getting everything ready for that and am so, so grateful that it's now been made so much easier for me.

    Keep the great posts coming!


  3. This is so cute. But what do you print the images on to make them into iron ons? Is there a certain type of paper that does that? Thanks!

  4. Momtomjoe,
    I purchased iron-on transfer paper at Target that were specifically made for dark clothing. It came out to $1/sheet, but I edited the size down to get 3 / page. We've washed their shirts 20+ times, and the iron-ons are still holding, much to my amazement.

  5. Do you happen to have the directions for the marshmallow shooters?
    Thanks! tarakluth at gmail dot com

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