Evening Amusements for Old-Fashioned Themed Parties – Part 2


I wanted to host an old-fashioned theme party for a few friends during the Christmas season. Read  Evening Amusements for Old Fashioned Themed Parties – Part 1 for food ideas.

The local library contained a book written in the 1880s on evening entertainments filled with various games, card tricks, forfeits, and even chemical surprises.

With a little planning, a dozen of us got into the spirit of the evening and enjoyed playing games that history seems to have forgotten.

I thought others might enjoy planning this type of evening so I’m sharing games we played with you.

The Game of Concert

  1. Elect a conductor who will lead an imaginary orchestra.
  2. Assign instruments, such as violin, harp, drum, trumpet, trombone, flute, cymbals, clarinet, tuba, bugle, fife, bass, etc.
  3. Conductor hums a tune and all join in noisily using their pretend instruments. The conductor waves imaginary baton and everyone ceases.
  4. Time for “solos.” Conductor makes motions to play a particular instrument. The person who has that instrument immediately joins in and pretends to play. If they don’t, they are out of the game.

Conductor continues with solos until everyone has played.

Historically, contestants earned forfeits for losing that were “paid” at the end of the evening. For our purposes, continue playing until only one player remains who claims the prize.

One of our guests had attended college to become a band leader but never found a job in that field. How fun to find out that tidbit early in the evening and be able to elect him as conductor!

He had to speed up to catch “band members” off guard. He did such a great job that everyone agreed that he won the prize.

Next time we will talk about more party games. Hope you can join in the fun!

-Sandra Merville Hart



Planche, Frederick D’Arros. Evening amusements for every one; a collection of mirthful games, parlour pastimes, shadow plays, magic, conjuring, card tricks, chemical surprises, fireworks, forfeits, &c., illus. by George Cruikshank and others, Porter and Coates, ca 1880.


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