Don’t Eat Pete

What it is: A classic party game that works great for younger kids. My siblings and I played this at all of our birthday parties when we were little.

Best for: 4 to 10 players.

What you need: Small, hard candy (we always used M&Ms, but Reeces Pieces or Skittles would work great, too) and a Don’t Eat Pete game board. Don’t worry, it’s easy to make one. You just need a grid of nine faces, like this one:

You can get creative with the colors and faces you use. You could probably even have more than nine faces. That’s just the number I’ve always played with. It works well. It’s also best if the grid is large, like on a poster board, but if you want to download a mini version, click here.

How to play: Put the game board in the middle of the room and have everyone sit in a circle around it. Next, lay out one piece of candy on each face. Then choose one person (or have someone volunteer) to leave the room and cover their ears. Say Bobby is the one to leave. While Bobby is gone, the rest of the players secretly choose one of the nine faces to be “Pete” for that round. Then you can call Bobby back into the room. But, shh! Make sure everyone keeps the identity of Pete a secret.

Bobby then gets to start choosing pieces of candy to eat while everyone else watches in anticipation. As soon as he touches the candy that’s on Pete, everyone yells as loud as they can, “DON’T EAT PETE!” Then Bobby’s turn is over and someone else gets to go. Bobby only gets to eat the candy that he chose before he touched Pete.

So then fill up the board with candy again and let someone else go! It’s a lot of fun for little kids: something about the anticipation, the suspense, the colored smiley faces, the candy…I don’t know. But I loved it when I was a kid, as evidenced by this video of me describing my five-year-old birthday party games.

Aren’t I cute? (Many thanks to Aunt Melissa for documenting this precious moment of my childhood. :-))

Printables: Click here to download a mini Don’t Eat Pete board. Have fun!

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