a peek inside the fishbowl

20 Jun, 2005

Jello is not just for eating anymore

Posted by andrea in: Misc. life

Friday night we were invited to Jeff and Leah’s street party. I’d never actually been to a street party. The road was closed to traffic. Everyone pulled out their barbeques, tables and chairs and a prepped a whack of food. There was music, a basketball net, games for the little ones and a raffle. We stood around, talked, ate and drank beer. It was all pretty sweet.

Early on Emma was told about the annual Jello fight. She was keen participant at the get-go. This kid was not going to leave without having been in a Jello fight. She begged, pleaded, cajoled and charmed, but mostly just begged with hands clasped in front of her chin: Plllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese can I be in the Jello fight? She made it seem as if her life depended on it.

We caved. Even though it was well past the girls bedtime we decided to stay. As it turned out afterwards, she had no idea what a Jello fight was. I think she only heard the word JELLO and went with that.

The residents of the street had collectively made enough Jello to drown a horse. There were multiple trays of the stuff: big bowls and little ones, plastic yogurt containers and Tupperware. It was a rainbow of gelatin. As I took shelter near a tree I wondered how this was all going to unfold.

The kids were lined up, facing each other, about 12 per side. The Jello was in the middle. The rules were explained. The first rule about Jello fight is that you don’t talk about Jello fight. That rule notwithstanding, it was explained that the throwing of the Jello was to happen up and down the length of the street, not side to side (where the audience was standing). And there was to be no violent throwing of the Jello. On the count of five, everyone was to run toward the Jello. Emma and Sarah, as they were among the youngest, were told they could get a head start. Emma made it to the bowls first. She grabbed a handful, turned to look at us and said: what do I do with it?


Afterwards she explained that she thought this whole thing was about Jello THROWING, throwing it on the road but not actually AT someone. (Because as we know THROWING is BAD and shouldn’t be done. Ever.)

But by this time the other children had descended. It was gelatinous chaos. It was flying everywhere. Kids were pelting each other left and right. And where was our little Sarah? Where else, but grabbing fistfuls of Jello and eating it. I could practically hear her thinking: Why are these people throwing it around when they could be gorging themselves? In fact, I even saw her pick some out of her hair and eat it.

That’s my girl!

At the end of it however, Emma was in tears. Not because she was hit in the face, or because she was the recipient of an unlawful dumping of Jello directly from the bowl (picking up the bowl was expressly verboten) but because she was sticky.

What did you expect would happen, we asked.

She was unsure. She thought she’d receive a cloak made out of a garbage bag, which she had heard was the case the previous year. We explained that she had the opportunity to back out before it started, or even at the beginning when things were starting to get a little sticky.

But I think she was having so much fun that she forgot how icky it is to be sticky. Lesson learned.

When the Jello was all gone, smeared across the road and over every arm and leg and wedged in every nook of every body and face, the other kids proceeded to have a water balloon fight.

We washed our girls hands and tried to pick as much Jello out of their hair as we possibly could. It was a good night.

3 Responses to "Jello is not just for eating anymore"

1 | Leah

June 21st, 2005 at 11:49 am


I think the image of Sarah pulling Jello out of her hair to eat it will stay with me forever. That was just about the cutest thing I ever saw.

So, did they need showers when they got home, or did you just plunk them in bed and wash their sheets the next day? Inquiring minds want to know.

By the way, you should have seen the street the next morning. There was a colourful sheen of squashed jello interspersed with bits of even more vibrantly coloured balloon. Whenever you drove over it, your tires would kind of stick to the pavement and make an intersting squelchy kind of sound.


2 | Martha

June 21st, 2005 at 7:18 pm


What a great story! I laughed very hard. It made me think of doing paper-mache with two kids who hate to get their hands dirty. They thought it was the most disgusting thing they had ever been asked to do.

3 | Joe

June 21st, 2005 at 8:54 pm


“The first rule about Jello fight is that you don’t talk about Jello fight.”

I must remember to use that at next year’s street party jello fight.

See, I organized the street party you attended and I refereed the jello fight. So, you could say I was kinda Tyler Durden–mind you wearing a cowboy hat and my Hawaiian shirt.

During the street party, Emma came up to me several times to ask when the jello fight would be taking place. I told her that she might be too young to take part, but she was so sweet about wanting to be included–not to mention her persistence–that I said she should ask her parents if it was okay. Well, when I saw her lined up along with the bigger kids and some smaller, I decided I’d give the smaller kids a headstart, to avoid the rush and the onslaught. She kept her ground. I think I rewarded her with an official street party t-shirt.

The photos of the street party–and the jello fight!–should be posted in the coming weeks at Flickr.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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