Examples of Forfeits Paid in Old-Fashioned Themed Parties


If you missed my last post about earning forfeits during parties over a century ago, click here. Paying game forfeits was a fun ending to an evening’s entertainment. To give an idea of the types of forfeits, here are a few of the penalties that players suffered.

  1. Laugh in one corner, cry in another, sing in another, and dance in another.
  2. Place one hand where the other hand can’t touch it. (Hint: This will take some thought on the player’s part, but it is accomplished by placing the right hand on the left elbow.)
  3. Bow to the wittiest, kneel to the prettiest, and kiss the one you love best.
  4. Lay a newspaper sheet on the floor. Without leaving it, place two people on it in a way that they can’t touch each other with their hands. (Hint: This one also requires thought. The answer is to put the newspaper half on one side of a door and half on the other. Have two people stand one on either side and they can’t touch each other.)
  5. Make a wallflower of yourself. If the one paying a forfeit is a lady, she must stand with her back against the wall and remain there until she has been kissed twice, once each by two different gentlemen. (She has to invite them to kiss her.) If a man is the wallflower, he stands against the wall until a woman takes compassion on him and releases him from his punishment by kissing him.
  6. Say “Quizzical Quiz, kiss me quick” six times without taking a breath.
  7. Smile without laughing in each corner of the room.
  8. Kiss a book inside and outside without opening it. (Hint: This is another forfeit that requires a bit of thought. The solution is to kiss the book inside the room and outside the room.)
  9. Place a candle somewhere that everyone in the room can see it but you. (Hint: Place the candle on your head.)
  10. Push your friend’s head through a ring. (Hint: Place a ring on your finger and push a friend’s head with the fingertip.)

These are just a sampling of the type of forfeits given for making mistakes in games, intended to spark good-natured laughter and fun.

For other old-fashioned party ideas, read  Evening Amusements for Old Fashioned Themed Parties – Part 1 for food ideas. Part 2  explains the Game of Concert. Part 3  shows two games that allow guests to show their creativity. Read part 4  to find how to play a fun game called “Tip It” or “Hands” that moves quickly.

-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.