Before moving to Utah, I'd never heard of the game. Here, everyone knows how to play. And really, it's pretty simple. First, you start with a game board:
Obviously, I made mine. A sheet of white paper and my daughter's markers. The big thing is that each face is different. If you'd like a little more detail or different expressions, by all means, do your own! I probably should laminate it one of these days, as little fingers tend to smudge and leave prints. I've had to remake the board a few times.
Next, you need a small treat. Typically, we use M&Ms or chocolate chips. You could use anything that your kids like (obviously, mine like chocolate...): Skittles, Smarties, grapes, another variety of M&Ms, Reese's, olives, kumquats...whatever. You don't want it too messy or your board gets ruined, so no chili beans.
Now, you pick who goes first. This is usually the hard part in our family. I try to make it a reward. "The Boy sat still all through FHE, so he can go first," "Da Boo made her bed without me asking her to so she goes first," "Daddy came home before dinner today, so he gets the first turn," or "Mommy went all afternoon without crying, so I go first!" Whoever goes first, leaves the room. When they're gone, the remaining family members pick which face will be "Pete."
Set up the game by placing a small treat on each face, remembering which one is Pete. Yell as loud as you can for the other person to come back in the room. Make sure you yell several times, just in case they didn't hear, even though they are already sitting back down.
Now, the game begins! The Chosen Person chooses a face. While reaching for the candy on that face, glance nervously around at the family, looking for any indication that you are indeed, going to eat Pete. If no one says anything, the Chosen Person gets to eat that candy and then repeat the process by selecting another face. If, in fact, the Chosen Person is reaching for the pre-determined Pete, then the rest of the family must scream "DON'T EAT PETE!" as loud as humanly possible, causing he/she to drop "Pete" and clutch at their ears in agony. All involved collapse into giggles until normal hearing resumes.
Another person is then Chosen and the game resets.
A couple tips:
- You don't eat Pete. Just like the name says and everything. Clever, eh?
- If the Chosen does select Pete first, we usually let them have that one so they don't feel cheated and start crying, run from the room and loudly declare that they hate Pete.
- You'll notice that my board has only nine potential Petes. The first board I made had 12. The Boy had the uncanny ability to work his way through the board without touching Pete until the very end. Makes for a long round, especially when you haven't had your turn yet and there's only one package of M&Ms.
- I've seen/heard of the game played with turkeys, elves, hearts, etc., to fit the season.
- WARNING: Your kids - especially the younger ones - will love this game. They will ask to play it frequently, not just on Monday nights. In fact, you might want to hide the game board rather well and pretend it doesn't exist or you'll get requests to play at the strangest times: during breakfast, when they are supposed to be napping, while they (or you) are on the potty.