Pete Gilbert">

Do toy guns have a place at kid birthday parties?

I should have known this was going to be a memorable kid birthday party from the moment the invitation arrived in the mail. The cover of the invite was a picture of all the Duck Dynasty guys. Interesting choice, especially for a five-year-old’s party. The birthday boy was from my son’s school, so I didn’t know the family that well and had no idea what to expect.

When my son and I arrived at the party and were given red, white and blue bandannas, I could tell this was going to be a one-of-a-kind ordeal. The first thing I noticed was all the toy guns, everywhere. There were two different video games set up with hunting games on them, some type of deer hunter game on one, and Duck Hunt on the original Nintendo for old school guys like me. There were Nerf guns set up at a table where kids could shoot inflatable ducks.

Guns, guns, guns were everywhere.

It was the exact opposite of what a politically correct child’s birthday party “should” look like. Parents have very strong reactions to their kids playing in others’ houses if there are guns in that home. They also debate and get down right angry over whether or not kids (especially boys) should be allowed to have toy guns or pretend to play with guns. It seems to be a decently controversial issue, which was why I was so surprised that this family would have a party that seemed to revolve around guns.

But the more I started to think about it, the more I realized it wasn’t a “gun party,” but a hunting party. I watched as the host parents made sure kids were not shooting each other, but “hunting” animals instead.

Even though it seemed a little strange to walk into at first, the kids all looked like they were having a great time. Isn’t that the point anyway?

What do you think about this type of party? Would you be comfortable sending your kids to a party like this?

-Pete

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