My first party when we moved into our new home in Columbia, Missouri was a Lord of the Rings Halloween party. Unlike previous parties at our old house, this time I really went all out on decorations, food, and activities for the kids. It was a great success, which led to more parties, including what has now become a fun tradition: our yearly Halloween party at the Shire (the nickname given to our house by our friends).
It all began with this Lord of the Rings party. Some of the decorations are quite simple, and some are a bit more complicated. Here's a quick hint if you want to try this yourself: buy one of those inexpensive projectors at your local hobby store. Don't try to free-hand the door leading into Moria or the sign at the Prancing Pony Inn. I'm crafty, but not that crafty!
If you like the ideas you see here but aren't up for putting this all together yourself...not to worry. We rent our Lord of the Rings party decorations! You can find out more by visiting our Party Decoration Rentals page or our Rental Pricing page. Enjoy!
"I will be waiting for you at the Inn of the Prancing Pony"
The sign at the Prancing Pony Inn was prominently displayed in the first Lord of the Rings film as the four hobbits made their way through the village of Bree to join Gandalf. This sign was drawn on a piece of foam board to make it stand out and appear more 3-dimensional. The wood backing is a pre-made sign from a local craft store.
I used a decorative metal sign as the background for this memorable quote from the first Lord of the Rings film: No Admittance Except on Party Business! The font is "Party Business," which I found online for free, along with a couple other LOTR-themed font styles. We placed the sign on our front door, and I heard a few snickers from guests who read it as they entered.
The Eye is Always Watching
Although I am not much of a painter, this worked out fairly well. The eye is a yellow balloon which I painted with short brush strokes in red, orange, yellow, and black. The tower of Barad-dur is simply black poster board. In retrospect, I would have preferred a more 3-dimensional tower (second photo), which I could have used as a table decoration, but time was limited (the tower we rent out is more 3-dimensional).
One Ring to Rule Them All
Our Ring of Power was much simpler to deal with than the real thing, I imagine. It is constructed from a white, styrofoam floral ring, which you can find at your local craft store. I chose the white (vs. green) styrofoam as it meant I wouldn't have to use as much gold glitter spray paint to get good coverage. This prop (if covered with a clear coat to keep the glitter from going everywhere) can also be used for a spirited game of "Hot Ring of Power" (a.k.a. Hot Potato).
Although I didn't think of this at the time, a couple of handmade flags hanging alongside the One Ring would have looked nice. These would be fairly simple to create with a good stencil.
Speak Friend and Enter
So this project looks much more time consuming than it really was. Luckily, I had some white butcher paper on hand for my kids art projects that I used to create this striking entrance into the Mines of Moria. A projector, pencil, silver paint pen, and one night was all it took to bring the door to life.
The Old Forest
There are four forests mentioned in the Lord of the Rings books, but recreating one of the gorgeous trees from Lothlorien wasn't really an option. Instead, I decided to go with a lovely fall tree from the Old Forest, located between the Shire and Bree. This tree is made using packing paper, tacks (to secure it to the wall), fall leaf garland, and a strand of purple Halloween lights. Just be sure to wrap the lights around the tree as you secure it to the wall...trust me, it will save you time.
I've used this idea for other parties as well. For our Tim Burton-themed Halloween party, I designed a black tree (using black paper) with scattered black and white leaves, a strand of purple lights, some torn/ripped black tulle, and a couple of decorative crows.
You Shall not Pass!
This is arguably Gandalf's most famous line out of all three movies...so I couldn't leave it out, right? I used these door hangers to keep guests from wandering into bedrooms and my craft room, which is where we put all the stuff we don't want anyone to see during parties.
This map was a prop we used for the "Fellowship Quest" (scavenger hunt) we sent the kids on after dinner. It's drawn on a piece of posterboard I found in the education supplies section at a local hobby store. The kids referred to the map throughout their quest to figure out where they needed to go next.
When I first decided on the theme for our party, I knew I had to have some kind of epic adventure for our little Hobbits. After all, the movies were epic, so why shouldn't our party be too? I searched far and wide (across Middle Earth) to find a scavenger hunt online I could use...to no avail. So, I put on my thinking cap (and watched one of the movies as a refresher) and came up with my own version. Although the props were a bit time consuming to create, the hunt itself was pretty simple.
This Hobbit door would be a great decoration for an entryway...and super easy to craft!
Welcome to Shelob's Lair!
This is another prop for our Fellowship Quest, and one I just had to mention...mostly because installing this creepy webbed passage down our stairs nearly killed me! I started at the top, but halfway down realized I didn't have enough string, so I had to crawl all the way back up (on my belly) to get the supplies I needed. Not as easy as it sounds, trust me. I did manage to set up a fairly intricate break-away system that would allow adults to get down the stairs quickly if necessary, but the kids were forced to slide down on their behinds (like I did) if they wanted to see what was waiting for them at the bottom (hint: it was big, black, and had 8 very fake legs). Add a black light, and the effect was complete!
A Supper Made for a Hobbit
Although it was a lot of work, I managed to cook a full meal for a house full of Hobbits (and elves, and orcs, and dwarves)! We served Hobbit Stew, Gandalf's Smoke Rings (onion rings), Eyes of Sauron (deviled eggs), Samwise's Po-tay-toes, Lembas Bread (wrapped in fabric leaves), Hobbits in a Web (hot dogs wrapped in croissants), and an awesome cake designed by a local baker to look like a Hobbit house.
Looking for Some Help?
If you're looking for some help designing your own Lord of the Rings party, you're in the right place! If you live in central Missouri, we offer a party decoration rental service. The Lord of the Rings package rents for $75 for 24 hours. Set-up requires an additional fee, but we will assist with tear down at no extra cost. If you'd like something more all-encompassing, we can create a complete party package for you as well, including a party menu with recipes, supply lists, activities/games (like our Fellowship Quest, for example), custom goody bags, etc. Just contact us and let us know how we can assist you.