Fear Factor

Remember that show from the early 2000s?  Here's a refresher: think Joe Rogan cheering on contestants while they chowed down on warthog intestine or walked a highwire 1,000 feet over a raging waterfall or some other crazy stunt wherein fear would most likely be a factor. 

Now tone it down a bit {after all, where would we get a warthog?} and you have our Fear Factor Couple's Date Night. 

Decorations consisted mainly of black tablecloths, caution tape, and fake bugs found in the Halloween section at the store. {Never been so happy to see Halloween stuff out in August.}  I googled and printed the Fear Factor logo to use for our bulletin board, and Mom brought over flowers... 'cuz only she could hook flowers into a Fear Factor theme.

Mom also sponsored the prizes, because you know first prize has to be something worth facing your fears for.  It brought the competition into the games.  Second and third prizes were just plastic trophies filled with gummy worms.  But the first place motherlode was basically everything you would need to go out to a movie--candy, bacon flavored popcorn, a gift card for the AMC theater.  Thanks Mom!

So grateful she stayed and put Camden to bed for us while we got the party started.  Seriously, isn't she the best?

We kicked off the night with dinner.  Beforehand we debated serving up cow tongue, but decided to go with sloppy joes {which are almost as nasty, in my opinion, but at least edible}.  Throw in some chips, watermelon, lemonade, and we had an easy dinner that went with the theme, but wasn't ridiculously vile.  

After dinner everyone filed outside.  The ten of us were practically shoulder to shoulder in our tiny backyard, we couldn't have fit another person.  There were five teams, couples vs. couples.  Game on!

Game #1:  Egg Roulette
This was a good one to test the waters.  Make sure we didn't have any party poopers who would get upset about something like, oh I don't know, egg yoke crusting into their eyebrows.  
To prep for this first game I boiled ten eggs and placed them in a bowl.  Everyone picked an egg at random, thinking that one of the ten was left raw.  The challenge was to smash your chosen egg into your forehead, and the person who had the raw egg would get covered in yoke plus be awarded a point.  One at a time, we each smashed our eggs.  When it got to the last two people everyone was stoked to see some yoke, and almost disappointed when they found out all ten were actually hard boiled.  It was just a trick, but it was good to see that everyone was brave enough to get dirty.  Good thing, because...

Game #2: Slimy Assembly Line
Each couple got three plates.  The first plate had a writhing wad of worms on it, and the objective was to get all of the worms onto the third plate--assembly line style--using only a plastic fork or spoon and no hands.  Two points were offered to anyone who would skip the utensils and transport the worms with their mouths, but no one was feeling that brave/crazy.  The first couple to get all the worms onto the third plate won!  Brian and Jane owned it, not nearly as squirmy with the worms as I was.

Game #3: Cold Feet
We filled Camden's pool with water, ice, and Legos.  The idea was to get as many legos out of the pool with your foot as you could in one minute, but the longer your foot was in the water the harder it was to do anything with it!  
First the girls circled around the pool, but before we battled it out we let our feet get good and numb for about thirty seconds.  Once the timer started the guys cheered on their teammates, but totally ended up making fun of us for getting so few pieces out.  I only got ten, which Roy thought was pretty hilarious.  All of the guys thought we were pretty wimpy.  {This is excluding Genie, who got something crazy, like 27 Legos.  What can you expect from a podiatrist's wife?}  
But then it was the guys' turn.  Oh, the whining--they were bigger babies than we were!  Roy {who you'd think would be awesome at this game, given his remarkably long toes} kept picking out ice cubes instead of legos.  In the end he only snatched six pieces, giving us a total of sixteen.  Last place, I think.  Needless to say, the podiatrist did awesome, and the Swenson's super feet kicked all of our bums.  

Game #4: Something Fishy
To prep for this challenge I bought six feeder fish from the pet store.  Apparently I should have bought more, because these things have pathetically short life spans.  By the time the game started we only had four fish.  I had them each in individual cups for this game.  I also borrowed a gymnastics beam from my cousins, which we placed above the icy pool.  The object was to carry your fish in your hands across the beam, blindfolded of course, and hand-off to your spouse, who would then cross back over the beam without falling into the water.  The team to do this the fastest would win.  Two points were offered to anyone who would transport the fish in their mouths.  But, given the lack of participation in the extra point for the worms, I felt confident we wouldn't have to worry about that.  

Okay, I was wrong.  
Heather and Paul set the bar when they jumped on going first.  They didn't want to transport a "used fish".  I guess the only thing nastier than having a little wriggling fish in your mouth is having a little fish in your mouth that was previously wriggling in two other people's mouths.
Therefore, looking back, I think Roy and I should have gotten bonus points for going last.  I don't know whose saliva our fish was covered in, but GROSS!

The fish "hand-offs" were the funniest part of the night.

I couldn't believe everyone was going for the double points, but that left Roy and I with no choice.  We had to go for the win!  So there I was, blindfolded and freaking out, waiting on the other end of the beam.  I didn't even hear Roy coming, and when he grabbed me I shrieked, which was embarrassing.  It wasn't a cute shout of surprise, let's leave it at that.  

When he passed the fish into my mouth and it landed on my tongue it really took every ounce of self-control not to spit it out immediately.  I scuttled sideways across the beam like a confused crab, but somehow we still got the fastest time.  Woohoo!

Game #5: Dessert
This one took a little more prep than the others, and I couldn't have gotten it done without Mom.  She whipped up something called Dirt Dessert, which is typically an Oreo pudding with gummy worms in it.  Really yummy.  The catch {or so I told everyone} was that the worms in this pie were real, hidden beneath the whipped cream topping.  Seven worms were in each pie, and you had to retrieve all seven of them without using your hands.  Two bonus points were awarded to the couple who ate them after getting all seven out.
Genie called my bluff, asking if they were really gummy worms.  I wore my best poker face, but let's be honest, I don't even know how to play poker, much less wear the face.  So I think everyone was fairly certain they were safe from worm guts when we dove in.  Well except maybe Paul.

The worms were different sizes, hard to find, and I got nervous for a minute that Mom didn't put them in every pie.  So at one point we all started using our fingers as well as our mouths.  The Dirt was so delicious I think I spent more time eating it than searching through it.  
The Crofts and the Swensons were seriously neck and neck, swallowing their worms like crazy at the final stretch.  In the end, Betsy and Dave took the win, and it was enough points to get them tied with Roy and I.

Since I didn't come up with a tie-breaker, we forfeited the prize to our guests.

Apparently for the Crofts... fear was not a factor.


  1. How fun! My aunt threw her son a Scare Factor birthday party when he was younger, and it was the coolest/ grossest thing ever! Everything she did was edible, but it was still creepy. She found these brain shaped molds and put peach flavored/ colored jello in them and we had to dig through the brains just using our mouths to find the spider in the center. It was so gross even knowing it was just jello. One year for my other cousins birthday she went all out and made a Haunted House since her birthday was close to Halloween. It was flipping crazy what she could pull off. I wish we were neighbors so Matt and I could take part in your crazy times.

    1. Alex, if you guys were our neighbors we would have a British themed party for sure! Maybe celebrate Guy Fawkes Day? lol!