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  • Tina

Indiana Jones Birthday Party

Updated: May 24, 2021

Running your son's friends over with a giant boulder.

What do you do when you are an 80s kid and your son cannot think of a theme for his 8th birthday party? You convince him that an Indiana Jones party will be epic! He bought it and my husband and I got to work. As a kid, when I got the question of what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always, "Indiana Jones."Not much has changed.

I knew I wanted to use elements from the first three movies for the party. I began by doing research on items I would need to buy instead of make. First up, the fertility god from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I found one on Etsy! I could not wait to get this thing in my hands. I planned to use it in an obstacle course to be exchanged for a bag of sand. Once it arrived in the mail, however, there was a tremendous problem. Thing is, when you watch the scene where Indiana gets to the idol in the cave, there is dramatic music and your heart is still pounding because of Indy nearly plummeting to his death just moments before. He is so close, there is wonder and amazement in his eyes. He is about to make the exchange. Will there be enough sand in the bag? The only thing you notice of the fertility god is its gigantic head with an odd smile.

That is no smile, my friend. That is a painful grimace of a woman, idol thing, pushing a baby out of its nether regions!

Check out the back. Even better! Ugh, I was so disappointed in my lack of attention to these details. I paid way too much money for this thing and there was a no returns policy. I was going to have to figure out how to incorporate it into the party without alienating all the guest's parents and likely the cancellations of future play dates for my son. More on that later.

Next on the list were the chilled monkey brain cups from the dinner scene in the Temple of Doom. I searched high and low and found only one, new in box, from the 80s for $150. We had 22 guests on the list. I was at a dead end for about 5 minutes when I remembered my good friend, Julie, is a sculptor. I called her immediately.

"Julie, how would you like to help me make chilled monkey brain cups?" I asked.

A slight moment of silence followed by roaring laughter.

"I'd love to!"

The dead end opened to a new pathway! The planning began.

How we made the monkey cups:

We used 8 oz. bronze mason jars as the base and molded the faces with air-dry clay. Once the clay dried, there was some cracking, which we filled in with white glue. We also had to glue the faces onto the jars. Once completely dry and the danger of the faces coming detached was past, we hot glued gray fur material to the back to complete the construction of the "head". The cups Julie did look like monkeys. I cannot explain what happened to mine. We then painted the faces gray with black eyes and, Voila, chilled monkey brain cups. I added red jello to the cups just before serving to simulate monkey brains. It was a tremendous hit with our guests.

What would we need to tackle next? The boulder! Oh yeah, a realistic boulder which would need to intimidate the bravest of all 8-year-olds. It needed to be huge, fast, and look like the real deal. We bought a 6' beach ball from Amazon and got to work. I used brown packing paper, torn into uneven chunks, crumpled the piece into a ball and then uncrumpled it. This gave a bumpy texture. I used mod podge slightly diluted by the bucket loads and adhered each piece of paper to the beach ball. I had to enlist some friends for help. It was a monumental task.....but worth every minute.

The boulder marked the beginning of our obstacle course. The storyline was this: You are Indiana Jones and Lau Che just poisoned you. You must get Coronado's Cross to the finish line (museum) while searching for the antidote to the poison you just drank.

I enlisted the help of one of the dads, a fellow 80s kid, to push the boulder from the start line for about 20 - 30 feet. It was the guests' job to play Indiana Jones and run like the dickens from that boulder. I timed each guest for competition and effort purposes.

There were casualties.

After escaping the boulder, Indiana had to grab the gong (spray painted wooden table top from Lowes) and dodge bullets from Nerf guns.

Indy narrowly makes it out of Lao Che's club. Then it was over the dead bones of failed attempts past and up the rock wall.

Atop the platform, Indiana found the antidote and drank of its healing powers. (Glass vials filled with blue Gatorade)

You may think it saved Indy but remember, he has to get the cross to the museum! Indy found a zipline to escape the platform to make his way to the last leg of this journey.

There was a bouncy house which has its own built in obstacle course. When Indy came down the slide at the end of the course, the cross was safely in the museum, where it belonged.

That was going on outside. Let me take you on a tour of what was going on inside the house.

At the front door, a Crusader knight and a choice of drinking vessels met our guests.

The sign reads, "Thank you for joining us. You have chosen wisely."

Once inside, there was a food table. Behind the food table was a hanging fabric map (amazon). I used red thread to plot Indy's travels throughout the first three movies.

I had a friend make a fabulous cake, shown below. I got the food labels from Etsy.

Do you notice anything on the food table? It's our old friend, the fertility idol.

Here she is all nestled in some moss with all inappropriateness covered. She was also high enough up on the crate that no one was tempted to pull her down for a closer look.

A closer view of the map.

Last, but certainly not least, is the banquet table from the Temple of Doom. I racked my brain for a way to make eyeball soup without using real eyeballs. I have my limits. I could only find eyeball gum but thought the dye may wash off in soup. We already had the monkey cups, so I let the eyeball soup idea go. It still stings a little.

My husband made the table out of a sheet of plywood which had 2x4's as the base. This raised the table a little over 3 inches above the floor. The seats were pillows I bought from Amazon. The centerpiece was a coiled cobra to represent snake surprise, surrounded by the chilled monkey brain cups. I used gold paper plates and plastic ware from Party City. The candles are battery operated.

If you cannot already tell, my husband and I had a great time with this party. I admit I got a bit carried away, but it was so worth it. The kids had fun; the parents had fun and my son had an amazing birthday with his friends!

Supply links:

Fertility idol

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