Hosting a Nerf Night is a lot of work but a ton of fun. These are great events to draw in new students. I always tell people they’ll have a great time even if they’ve never touched a Nerf Blaster.

I’ve included the slideshow we used for the event. This is what we used for explaining the rules. It seems like a lot and it is but, as I always explain, it’s only fun if everyone’s on the same page and following the rules. I’ve also included some notes for leading the event. This is what has worked for our groups but please change whatever needs to be changed for your group in the rules, the slideshow, or the graphics.

GENERAL INFO

  • In advertising for the event, I told students they could bring their own blasters and accessories but no darts. I told them they could bring anything that uses the regular Elite darts. I did this because I didn’t want to have to deal with multiple dart styles (Elites are the most common) and I didn’t want students to worry about going home with the right amount of darts.
  • I bought off-brand darts on Amazon because they are WAY cheaper. Each game has a dart allowance. These numbers are pretty flexible. Just make sure everyone starts with an equal amount. You can, obviously reuse darts for each game but buy extra to compensate for the darts that will, inevitably, get lost as you play.
  • I bought cheap safety glasses and sports pinnies in two colors.
  • Leading up to the event, I searched rummage sales, thrift shops, eBay, and Craigslist for used Nerf blasters. I wanted them to all be equal so I bought a bunch of Strongarms and Mavericks. They’re cheap but good. I wanted a stash of blasters for those who showed up without a blaster.
  • Have students mark their blasters with permanent markers and masking tape as they arrive.
  • We played in our whole building because the classrooms provided amazing cover and hiding spaces.
  • Make sure the capture points and other things that come in pairs are evenly spaced, sized, and styled.
  • Marking out capture points and spawn areas was just done in masking tape.
  • For our slideshow, I added countdown timers on screen so players could see the time remaining. They are not included in the file download because I do not own them.
  • We played epic orchestral music during the games.
  • Make a detailed agenda that includes cleanup and rule-giving time for the whole night.
  • We included dinner and a short devotion time which took place during dinner. We told students this would be a great event to invite friends who aren’t Christian and might not be willing to come to a regular youth event. We did a simple devotion outlining the Gospel message.

ORBS

  • Start with 24 darts.
  • We used ball-pit balls as the orbs and small laundry baskets as the containers to hold them. You won’t need a lot; it’s pretty hard to capture the orbs.

VIP

  • Start with 24 darts.
  • See how the game goes. I have never done the 3 lives rule but I’m sure there would be times when this would be needed. Most rounds last pretty long and I’ve only ever done one life for the VIP. Decide once you start playing.

SPIES

  • Start with 6 darts.
  • This is definitely one of those games that is easily ruined by someone thinking they’re funny and sharing identities but is super fun if done right.

HUMANS VS. ZOMBIES

  • Start with 24 darts.
  • You can use any small object as the flags.
  • Don’t make it too hard to find the flags.
  • Finding the right Zombie to Human ratio is important. I’d recommend starting with two zombies for ten people and adding a zombie for every additional five people.

Nathan Ballard is the Director of Youth Ministry at Brookfield Lutheran Church in Brookfield, WI where he works with 5th-12th grade students and their families. Prior to that, he served for eight years as a volunteer youth worker in Milwaukee. Nathan loves spending time with his wife Erin and his son Grayson.

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