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Pokemon: How to throw a Pokemon party; Jane Gordon is one brave woman. She threw a Pokemon party just so she could offer you some tips. Here's how it went.

It was, in a small boys' terms, something of an A-list party.

Everyone who was anyone wanted an invitation. The hand-made cards with the carefully traced picture of Pikachu were, as soon as they were delivered, nearly as much of a collector's item as a No 150 Trading Card (that's Mewtwo to the uninitiated).

The Pokemon League has taken over from the Premier League in the hearts and minds of most boys (and a good many girls), making last year's soccer or swimming parties seem passe.

A child that wakes up talking about how astonishing it is that he has caught a Dugtrio (the rarest Pokemon in Diglett's Tunnel) and goes to sleep reciting the attack tactics of Tangela (constrict, bind, absorb, poison powder, etc etc) is only interested in one kind of party this year - The Pokemon Party.

It was only after we had sent out those invitations that it occurred to us to think what exactly we could do with 26 boys at the dangerously sexist age of seven going on eight (two girls were invited and wisely decided against coming) for two and a half hours.

Since there is not, as yet, any Pokemon party merchandise in Britain - or any guidelines on how to throw a party - we had to make it up. It was never intended to be fancy dress - to do so is effective cruelty to parents many of whom have neither the time nor imagination to recreate the kind of costume you would need to be a convincing Charizard or Caterpie - but nonetheless many of the boys came dressed up.

My son Rufus, as birthday boy (it was his eighth), chose to be Ash, the boy trainer which thankfully involved a minimal amount of work: a cap made - with the aid of some cut-out and sew-on felt - into a replica of the one Ash wears, a pair of dyed green cotton gloves with the fingers cut off and a bottle of wash out black make-up for hair.

The more inventive of the costumes involved a little more work and ingenuity. Harry Short, for example, was only able to evolve into Charmeleon after a great deal of effort from his mother, Kate, who dyed an old jumpsuit red, sewed on a yellow breast patch and made a convincing tail out of a sock stuffed with paper. An old pair of red Y-fronts formed his hat, a yoghurt carton his horn and his nose was a sponge attached to his head via a piece of elastic. Henry Astley, meanwhile, had been transformed into Mewtwo with just a pair of brown stockings (stuffed for his tail and sewn on as a kind of cod piece at the front) and a Tubigrip bandage which, with slits cut for his eyes, nose and mouth, made a menacing mask. It wasn't possible to create themed food - well I'm not Jane Asher. But since what food there was was either wolfed down, or thrown in an impromptu fight against the evil Team Rocket, it didn't matter. We did manage to produce a Pikachu birthday cake (below) with ready-to-roll icing and it's appearance lead to a brief change of pace. Instead of cries of "Gotta Catch 'Em All" we had a raucous rendition of Happy Birthday To You. But the key to the success of any children's party is the entertainment and in the absence of a clown we had to create Pokemon games...

THE GAMES

1 Pass The Pokemon A special edition Pass The Parcel. Although at the outset the boys declared this babyish they all joined in - ripping the paper from the parcel every time the music - The Pokemon theme song - stopped. The final present - inside 16 layers of different papers and 16 Pokemon lollies (so that every child gets something) - was a set of Pokemon sliders. And yes there was a certain amount of debate as to whether Callum (who won) had held on to the parcel for longer than was strictly fair.

2 Pin The Tail On The Pikachu A special edition

Pin The Tail On The Donkey. We drew a picture of a large yellow Pikachu (as simple and as easy to copy as Mickey Mouse) minus his tail. We made a cardboard ziz-zag tail and got each child to try to place the tail in the correct position whilst blindfolded. Alfie won (another item of Pokemon merchandise), to cries of "We was robbed" and suggestions that the whole thing had been rigged.

3 Guess the Pokemon We put a stick-on

label on the back of each child on which a Pokemon name was written. They had to find out who they were (without looking or adult collusion) and the first to guess got yet another item of Pokemon merchandise.

4 Pokemon Treasure

Hunt Best played on a dry day

out of doors and not, as we did, on a wet muddy day. A series of Pokemon- themed clues led the teams through a number of challenges until they found the prize. Yes, another piece of Pokemon merchandise (no wonder Nintendo have made pounds 60 billion out of this phenomena).

5 The Pokemon Tug of War At the point at which

we were ready to string up the children, we divided them into two teams - Pikachu versus Charmander - and let them battle it out over a length of rope.

6 Pokemon

Mastermind Quiz Astonishingly, the most popular game we played was the quiz which involved the children dividing into six groups of four and sitting down and answering the questions, listed right. If only they could memorise the three Rs as easily.

THE QUIZ

1 Can you name the Pokemon

that is numbered 5?

2 What kind of Pokemon does

Misty like to collect and train?

3 Can you name all the members

of the Evil Team Rocket?

4 What has Kangaskhan got in

common with your Mum?

5 What does Jynx wiggle

when it walks?

6 How would it put its opponent

to sleep?

7 What is the name of Professor

Oak's grandson?

8 Can you name four cities in

the Pokemon World?

9 How does Oddish evolve?

10 What does Koffing evolve

into?

11 What effect does Chansey's

magic power have on his trainer?

12 What is at the centre of a

Starmie?

13 What would a Scyther do to

a grass Pokemon?

14 What does a Magikarp

evolve into?

15 What fighting techniques

does Machamp use?

16 Name the three beginning

Pokemon.

17 Name the large island off

the Pokemon World.

18 Name five pink Pokemon.

19 Which Pokemon has a male

and a female version?

20 How many heads does the

Exeggutor have?

Answers

1 Charmeleon. 2 Water. 3 Jessie, James with Meowth and their boss Giovanni. 4 It's a parent Pokemon.

5 It's Enchanting Hips. 6 With a Lovely Kiss. 7 Gary. 8 Cerulean City, Saffron City, Vermillion City, Fuschia City, Pewter City, Viridian City, Celadon City. 9 First into Gloom and then into Vileplume. 10 Wheezing. 11 It makes him happy. 12 A jewel that glows in the seven colours of the rainbow. 13 Attack it with quick attack, leer, focus energy, double team, slash, swords, dance, agility. 14 A Gyarados. 15 Karate chop, low kick, leer, focus energy, seismic toss, submission. 16 Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. 17 Cinnabar Island. 18 Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff, Clefairy, Clefable, Ditto, Chansey, Slowpoke, Slowbro, Lickitung, Nidoran (female). 19 Nidoran. 20 Three.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Gordon, Jane
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 26, 2000
Words:1235
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