The Red Indian Race - Driving. Blindfold - Spoon and Potato Races - A Menagerie Race Pig-sticking on Pickaback
In order to make it go with a swing, the games and competitions should be carefully planned out beforehand, and all the accessories put in readiness, so that on the day itself nothing remains to be done but to mark out the various courses where each event is to take place, and put up flags about the garden for starting-points and winning-posts.
From twenty to forty children can easily take part in the festivities, and invitations should be sent out a couple of weeks beforehand, the nature of the entertainment being mentioned, so that the little guests may come comfortably clad in smocks and jerseys, and wearing their running-shoes.
The children should be asked for three o'clock, and directly everyone has arrived the competitions should begin.
A Red Indian Race in war-paint and feathers will prove an immense attraction
The following programme, printed in large red letters, with the help of red ink and a big paint-brush, on a large sheet of cardboard - the lid of a white cardboard dress-box answers the purpose admirably - should be hung by a red ribbon bow to the verandah railing or some other point of vantage where everyone can see it:
1. Spoon and Potato Race.
2. Red Indian Race.
3. Driving Blindfold Race.
4. A Menagerie Race.
5. Pig-sticking on Pickaback.
For the Spoon and Potato Race the competitors, each one armed with a small wooden spoon and a large, well-scrubbed potato, stand in a row behind a white chalk line with a flag at either end of it, and at the signal "Go!" they have to run a zigzag course - marked out by small coloured flags all about the garden - in and out of big flower-beds, round the fountain, if there is one, and generally made as twisting and turning as possible, which adds tenfold to the difficulties of carrying the potatoes at a run without dropping them. Each time a competitor drops a potato, he or she must stop and pick it up again, with the help of the spoon only, before continuing the race, and any competitor touching the potato with anything but the spoon is disqualified, and must drop out.
The racecourse should end with a straight run of a couple of dozen yards at least before the winning-post is reached. When all the difficulties have been negotiated and a couple of competitors get on to the straight run home, the greatest excitement prevails, for she who drops her potato at this point in the proceedings is inevitably lost.
The Red Indian Race is provided more especially for the boys of the party, though small girls will thoroughly enjoy entering into the fun, too.
A wigwam must be erected from sacking, or an old tablecloth or rug, and three stout branches or clothes-props, the whole edifice surmounted by a flag. In front of the wigwam several lines of flags - stuck into the ground on short pointed sticks, placed two or three yards apart - must stretch for twenty-five yards up the green turf.
As many sets of Red Indian head-dresses, belts, anklets, armlets, and bows and arrows as there are lines of flags - from six to eight is a convenient number - must be arranged in little piles in front of the wigwam. These can be contrived from farmyard feathers, sewn a couple of inches apart into bands of red Turkey twill, the two Turkey twill ends joined by a strip of elastic in order that they may fit any head, waist, wrist, or ankle, so that competitors of varying sizes can easily put them on.
Driving a blindfolded team between lines of empty bottles. The bottles must not be knocked over
To begin the Red Indian Race, the children stand in a row at the point where the flags end, twenty-five yards from the wigwam - one child to each line of flags.
At the signal "Go!" each competitor must zigzag in and out of his or her own line of flags to the wigwam, and proceed to don one of the Red Indian outfits as quickly as may be, before zigzagging back, in and out of the flags, to the starting-point - now the winning-post - again.
The Indian brave who arrives first, with his outfit properly put on and carrying his bow and arrows, wins the race, which is so popular that if a number of children are present it probably will have to be repeated before the Driving Blindfold Competition can take place.
For the Driving Blindfold Competition several pairs of gaily coloured ribbon reins and ribbon-lashed whips should be provided, and if the reins are adorned with tiny bells it adds still further to the general festivity.
As many lines of large empty bottles as there are sets of competitors must have been previously arranged down the length of the tennis-lawn, in and out of which competitors have to drive their blindfold teams without upsetting the bottles.
A Race of Blind Steeds
The children are blindfolded and harnessed in pairs, and at a given signal the race begins, the drivers having been previously warned that teams must be driven, not pulled along from in front or led, and truly the Olympic Races can hardly have caused more frenzied excitement in competitors and onlookers alike than does a children's blindfold race in full swing.
It will now be high time for tea, which may be served either in the dining-room or in a shady corner of the garden underneath the trees, plenty of bread-and-butter with sponge-cakes and fruit and cream being provided to supplement the birthday cake, whose gay exterior, adorned with chocolate or pink-and-white sugar icing, belies its wisely plain inside.