'Classic' Birthday Party Games That Should Be Banned for Inappropriateness

girl hitting a pinata

People have strong opinions about kids' birthday parties. You've seen the rants against extravagant celebrations and individual goody bags, but if you ask me everyone's missing the most important topic of all. When it comes to children's birthday get-togethers, there's one area that needs a COMPLETE overhaul, because "doing it like it's always been done" isn't good enough. It isn't safe enough. In fact, it's downright foolhardy and in some cases should frankly get parents thrown in jail for their carelessness.

That's right, I'm talking about birthday party games. Traditional party games should be viewed with a modern, educated eye for the shockingly inappropriate activities they truly are.


It seems somewhere along the way people woke up and realized lawn darts are basically as dangerous as giving children live grenades, because you rarely see those anymore. But for some reason, no one's aimed the same criticism at these other party games.

For instance, piñatas. How many videos have you seen of a piñata party gone wrong? With blindfolded children wildly swinging a wooden object directly into the groin of a well-meaning adult guest? Sure, these clips are often presented as "humorous," but is there anything funny about a grown man being hit in the crotch by an overexcited toddler? I don't think so. Piñatas teach children that problems can only be solved through stick-related violence, and do I really need to get into the offensiveness of having kids play "blind"? And if you aren't hand-creating your papier-mâché animals from recycled paper and organic glue, you may as well just be stabbing the earth in the FACE.

Pin the tail on the donkey? People should just call this game what it really is: purposefully mutilating a likeness of animals historically significant in transportation and in agriculture whose populations have drastically declined in the past decades and are now regarded as endangered species, thanks to human activities. HELLO.

Twister. I'm not interested in having my innocent children participate in a game that's tantamount to a '70s-era key party, thank you very much. Think I'm overreacting? Just ask yourself, does this look like a wholesome activity for young people?

vintage Twister game

Musical chairs. This isn't structured play; this is bullying. The entire object of the game is to shun and exclude one child at a time in a warped act of relational aggression. You don't get a chair because you weren't fast enough. Now you can't play anymore. This is for all practical purposes banning someone from a community, one of the most hostile and damaging social acts a group can do.

"Button, button, who's got the button?" More like "Toxins, toxins, who's got the carcinogen?" Hiding a button for children to find is fine ... as long as you check your button for phthalates, bisphenol A, and vinyl chloride ahead of time. You didn't bother to do that, did you? Hope all your kids' party attendees like their take-home treat of insulin resistance and endocrine disruptors.

Water balloon tosses are hardly any better. First of all, the use of physical force should never be encouraged amongst impressionable young children. Second of all, with one-third of the world's population living in countries that are experiencing water shortages, it is unforgivable to waste water by throwing it around in a ballon. Thirdly, balloons in general are horribly dangerous when popped. Come on, people. Why not just put "TREACHEROUS CHOKING HAZARD GAMES FROM 1-1:30" on your invite?

In conclusion, these so called "classic" games need to be banned once and for all. Back in the old days, we didn't know any better, but now we're far more aware that safety, political correctness, and thoroughly evaluating every potential danger ahead of time are far more important than having fun.

PS: I'd also like to suggest that parents start adopting the far more inclusive birthday song, "Happy Birthday to You (and All the Other Children Who Are Gathered Here and Elsewhere in the World, Unless They Practice Nationalistic Neutrality and Don't Celebrate Holidays and Customs They Consider to Have Pagan Origins, in Which Case, Happy Whatever Today's Date Is)".


Image via allwiredupjd/Instagram; 6warwick/eBay

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