It’s been nine years since my family hosted our first Hobbit Party, a Sept. 22 celebration to honor the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. (Just in case you’ve been living in a cave deep below the Misty Mountains: yes, these are Lord of the Rings characters we’re talking about here).
Since our first celebration, the annual Hobbit Party has easily become one of our favorite annual family traditions. As the years have gone by and our family has grown, our Hobbit Parties have grown with us — from a simple Lord of the Rings movie marathon as newly married college kids to an all-day festival filled with food, drink, and games for the whole family.
If you’ve been hoping to host a Hobbit Party of your own but weren’t sure where to start, I wanted to share our Hobbit Party-planning essentials, as well as a few ideas I’ve picked up throughout the years.
What about second breakfast?
“And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them). They were hospitable and delighted in parties, and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted.” —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.
The most important part of a good party is, as any hobbit knows, the food. And because hobbits are known to eat six meals a day (when they can get them), this leaves a lot of room for creativity when planning your menu. Our Hobbit Parties are often an all-day event, beginning with first and second breakfast, moving on to elevenses, luncheon, and afternoon tea, and concluding with supper and dessert in the evening.
While breakfast is usually a light meal consisting of a sweet pastry and tea, second breakfast is similar to a full English breakfast and includes eggs, bacon, sausages, fried mushrooms, baked beans, tomatoes, and fried potatoes. For “elevenses” (the small meal served around 11 a.m.), we will offer a few different types of teas as well as homemade Lembas and scones, followed by a similar setup for afternoon tea after lunch. As a rule, hobbits prefer hearty, home-cooked comfort foods for luncheon and supper, such as stews, savory pies, mushrooms, meats and cheeses — all served with bread and butter.
Drink and be merry
In the evening, hobbits could usually be found gathered together in the pub of their local inn. The three most well-known inns from The Lord of the Rings are the Green Dragon, the Golden Perch, and the Prancing Pony, so we will typically offer at least three different types of beer during our Hobbit Party and label them after these inns.
We also create two signature drinks for the party: Ent Draught and Miruvor, the Cordial of Imladris. Ent Draught is a drink given to Merry and Pippin by Treebeard when in his company. To make this drink, we love to use something cool and refreshing, such as an herbal iced tea or sparkling cider. Miruvor is a colorless cordial given to the Fellowship of the Ring while in Rivendell, and it grants renewed vigor and strength to any who would drink it. For this drink, we like to use recipes that include elderberry syrup, floral flavors, or fruit nectar. Because there are no “official” recipes for either of these drinks, I encourage you to play around with ideas and create a signature drink of your own!
Because late September also marks the beginning of autumn, we also love to include apple cider, chai lattes, and spiced rum in our beverage offerings.
Middle-earth inspired party games
Along with plenty of food and drink, I recommend planning a few middle-earth inspired activities for guests to enjoy between meals. A few of our favorites:
Flower crowns with Eleanor the Fair: Place silk flowers, floral wire and tape, and small wire cutters on a table and allow guests to make their own flower crowns throughout the party.
Gandalf’s fireworks: In honor of our favorite wizard, grab a few packs of sparklers or small fireworks for guests to enjoy after sunset.
The desolation of Smaug: Find a dragon-shaped pinata, fill it with “dragon treasure,” such as chocolate coins, ring-pops, etc. Give guests turns taking their shot at Smaug!
Shelob’s web: Using white crepe paper, create a “spider web” in a designated area of your party space and hide a ring somewhere within the web. Give guests foam swords to slice through the web as they race to find the ring. To make this one even more fun, turn off all the lights and give guests each one glow sick (a “phial of Galadriel”) to guide their path.
Riddles in the dark: This activity is pretty straightforward — a riddle game! Guests take turns asking each other riddles; anyone who answers wrong is “eaten by Gollum,” and the last person left wins. You can write your own riddles, use Tolkien’s riddles from The Hobbit, or find riddles online.
Food and cheer and song
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
However you decide to celebrate, I hope you’ll enjoy this opportunity to gather together in fellowship with friends and family. In the end, hobbits know that hosting is not about having a perfectly clean home or a Pinterest-worthy tablescape — it’s about coming together for food and cheer and song. Whatever your Hobbit Party looks like, I know it will be a party of “special magnificence.”