A Game Of Hangman Turned Dinner With My Girls Into a Party

Image: Nicole Wakelin
Image: Nicole Wakelin

There are some games that we come back to again and again no matter our age. Hangman is one of those games. It’s a great way to pass time stuck waiting for things like a plane or dinner and you can feel like you’re doing something educational. It’s a spelling lesson in disguise!

Hangman is also a good choice because all you need is something to write with and something to write on. A barely there stub of crayon works just as well as a perfectly sharpened #2 pencil, and a napkin will do instead of a clean sheet of paper. It’s the game you can play almost anywhere, anytime.

Last night I took my girls out to dinner after a busy afternoon running errands. Dad was out for the night so it was just the three of us sitting in our favorite Italian place waiting for our meals. As the girls colored, I grabbed a crayon and my drink napkin and started a game of Hangman.

Image: Nicole Wakelin
Image: Nicole Wakelin

We sat there eating our rolls and sipping our drinks, and took turns coming up with words. The waitress jumped in on the action checking to see how we were doing and even taking a couple of guesses, until my oldest daughter came up with a word that we just couldn’t get.

I stared at that napkin, covered in crayon scribbles from our previous games, and had no idea what half-formed word was staring back. I even thought that maybe she was spelling it wrong because it just didn’t make any sense. We kept guessing. We kept missing. And our little man bit the dust, but was given a reprieve thanks to my daughter’s creativity.

She decided to give him a hat. And clothes. And a face. We still didn’t get the word. She added a sun and then a bird and a couple of clouds and we were hysterically laughing as she kept trying desperately to save us with art. We had the most fully realized Hangman scene in the history of Hangman!

Killing time by stacking creamers. Image: Nicole Wakelin
Killing time by stacking creamers. Image: Nicole Wakelin

I finally figured out that the word was butterfly. Don’t judge. That word does not jump out at you without the right letters! We started our next game which, of course, required an equally ridiculous level of detail. I don’t think we’ll ever play plain old Hangman again because drawing the scene became half the fun. One hangman even had a ninja executioner!

Dinner arrived, and we were having such a ridiculously fun time that we didn’t dig right in, but finished up our game first. I even had to put on the brakes and make the kids eat before they started in on the next word.

Last night, all I wanted to do was take my girls out after a busy day and enjoy a meal that I didn’t have to cook. Instead, we had our only little party at the back table with ninjas, butterflies, and the chance of death looming with every letter.

It’s a dinner I won’t soon forget.

Get the GeekDad Books!