Yay Holi-Day! (Or, How To Throw A Kid-Safe Colour Fight Party)


*This post was first published in June 2014.

We held a colour fight yesterday and someone asked why we were doing it when Holi was long over. I decided to hold my tongue and save the corniness for the title of this post.

So, we threw only our second colour fight ever in honour of the June holidays, and I think everyone needs to do something like this once in a while, because it’s liberating to forget that the rest of your life exists for an hour and focus only on attacking others with colour and trying to avoid getting hit. One of the kids asked if we did this every day, and well, if we did we’d probably cure ourselves of migraines, stress, depression, and maybe even prevent cancer. It does feel that good.

The funny thing about colour fights is that you’re yelling at one another and getting all physical with your hands on people’s backs and faces, whether you know them or not, and there’s zero awkwardness because everyone looks ridiculous anyway. It’s intimacy, almost. But after the shower and a change of clothes, you have to get back to sitting politely and saying things like, “So uh… what do you do?”

That’s real life for you.

Will we do this again? Everyone around was saying we needed to do this next year and every year after that, so I think the answer is yes. It’s pretty easy to hold a colour fight, and here’s how you can do it too:

* Guests. Anyone can participate, but if I’m honest, I’d say that the enjoyment of this activity probably increases with age. Not all toddlers will play; Z had to be sent home with my mum-in-law because he burst into tears the second I smeared a bit of colour on him and was inconsolable.

* Location. You’ll want a place with easy access to water (important because you will probably need to rinse out your eyes a few times), shower facilities, and proximity to a play area in case kids decide that colour fighting is not what they want to be doing.

* Protection. Not everyone plays nice and you will get stuff thrown in your face, and more specifically, in your eyes. We grown-ups let out a couple of swear words (and maybe a few tears) whenever that happened to us! So make sure every kid has a pair of goggles, and is wearing them. Sunglasses won’t do the job.

* Colour supplies. We were lucky this year because my friend travelled to India and brought back lots of coloured powder packs for me. I also asked everyone to bring a pack of edible colour to share. Flour, coffee powder, Milo powder, red sugar, lemonade powder–these are all good. Food colouring will stain so you’ll want to be sparing with that. I made something that was a cross between kid-safe paint and slime, following this recipe but replacing the corn starch with potato starch. It was gross but some kids enjoyed it. Next year, I’ll try making my own coloured powder.

* Timing. We had people come in at different times during our fight, which was fun because we would yell “Newcomer!!!” and go in for the kill. But it was also nice the way we did it the first time where we waited at home to collect all the participants and headed to the field together. But well, timing isn’t really within your control as the host, so it’s probably best to keep it flexible.

* Food. Forget catering. Stick to pizza or anything that can be delivered in an hour, because bad weather could force you to cancel or postpone your colour fight.

* Cleaning. It’s easy to clean up after a colour fight. Most of the colours will land on you, and whatever lands on grass will eventually be washed away. We’ve been lucky to have it rain right after both our colour fights! And oh, I warned guests to wear their worst clothes, just in case. But I tossed our clothes, Layla’s bag, and even my shoes into the washing machine and ran the 29-minute cycle three times, and was pleasantly surprised to find that there was hardly any staining!

Update: Official pictures from our fight are over at my girlfriend Steph’s blog. Some of our family members were able to make it to the colour fight, including Michelle, who wrote a recap post here.


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