Lawn Darts

Lawn Darts Doodlewash

A trip down memory lane wouldn’t be complete for me if I didn’t mention a favorite backyard game called Lawn Darts. This is an ultra-quick doodlewash as I’m traveling today and tomorrow for work and don’t have very much time to paint. But all these little memories of retro things got me thinking about these scary little guys, so there you have it!

This terrifying game consisted of sharp, weighted metal stakes with colorful fins, like a hideously enlarged dart you might find in a neighborhood bar. Large for a dart, but still a rather compact little game that could be easily taken from house to house. These little “fun for the whole family” missiles were stupidly dangerous, and attempts to ban them in the 70’s failed, not succeeding until 1988. So, of course, my family kept playing with them assuming they must be safe.

I remember my older cousins used to play this game and when I got older myself, I tried it as well. The goal was pretty simple as you just had to get your dart to impale the grass inside the little yellow hula hoop. Thankfully, everyone would usually hide on one side while flinging the little missiles across the yard, and at least for my family, there were never any casualties. But that didn’t mean it was actually safe so much as we were just rather lucky. If someone had marketed a family game called “Be A Circus Knife Thrower” heads might have turned, but these little weapons managed to sail the skies for decades.

Being a little child in the 70’s was actually quite easy as there were absolutely no rules. No helmets to wear if you wanted to ride your bike somewhere and no seat belts to bother with when riding in a car (it wasn’t required to even put them in a car until the late 60’s). Looking back it seems astonishing that any of us survived, but I guess now there are worse things to be afraid of, so maybe it’s not so different after all.

Although I miss some things from childhood that were removed out of fear, I highly support the fear of lawn darts. These things were just stupid. But even so, the memories of my family gathering together at my aunt’s house are wonderful. Playing lawn darts meant we were just “killing” time until dessert was served, which was my favorite part of the day. Though a less lethal game would have been appreciated, we at least came together often to enjoy a little family fun. That’s something we stopped doing as we all got older and that’s really the thing I miss most.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Yellow, Azo Orange, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. That Aussie Geek 7 years ago

    I never saw those, but yeah, they look like a very. bad. idea.!

  2. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    I’ve not owned or played with these but my hubby introduced me to the joys of horseshoe tossing when I dated/married him and attended their family reunions. Almost as dangerous and freaky as lawn darts! 😆 I think you made them much prettier and attractive than the real things. 😉❤️

    • Author

      Hehe….thanks Teresa! 💕😃 Oh yeah, we had horseshoes too…somewhat less harrowing since they didn’t have the sharp spikes, but equally terrifying! 😳lol

  3. Jacob 7 years ago

    Oh my goodness! Circus knives indeed – this sounds as if it was just asking for trouble! It’s a darn good job I never came close to these beasts; my luck as it is, I’m sure something bad would have happened. Your lawn darts are deceptively lovely, though – great shadows on and around them and teal! Yay for teal!

    Bon voyage!

    • Author

      Hehe! Thanks Jacob! Glad you liked these! Even though I would warn you to stay away from the real things for your own protection. 😊lol They were scary! Glad you never had to deal with these!

  4. Kari 7 years ago

    Here is one thing I’m glad I didn’t have. Horseshoe was bad enough, I’m sure I would have hurt myself with those darts. Love the shadows here. Safe travels, Charlie!! ❤️

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! ❤️😃 Yeah…it’s best you didn’t have to deal with the real thing. These are crazy dangerous! 😳

  5. Carmel Campbell 7 years ago

    Never played lawn darts. You have such a good memory and are an excellent writer and painter.

    • Author

      Awwww thanks Carmel! 💕😃 and good you never had to risk your life with these things. It’s wasn’t worth it! Hehe

  6. Another sparkling piece of joy right here, my friend! Enjoy your travel and I’m so glad you are continuing to post your artwork! <3

  7. Cathe 7 years ago

    It does make me wonder how we survived and to your point, who thought that was a good idea?! But the lawn darts sure make for a great doodle wash and story. Brightens a dreary winter day for sure. Can’t wait to see what you unearth tomorrow. I have a few ideas on my mental list that I’m channeling to you…we’ll just see!

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe!! 💕😃hmmm…I’m trying to receive your message, but the freakish cold of your Minneapolis may be clouding the vision! Lol 😉 It snowed here today!

  8. cindy knoke 7 years ago

    You are so talented. Lawn darts sound dangerous.

  9. Jodi 7 years ago

    LOL! We had a blast with lawn darts too! No injuries that I recall, but looking back – it’s a wonder! I am so impressed you took you paint and art supplies with you on your travels! We sure appreciate it! Would miss you if not! 🙂

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks Jodi! ❤️😃It’s pretty easy to travel with my meager art studio! It’s just finding the time to paint and write that gets challenging! 😊

  10. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    What were are parents thinking? My brothers had a set of these too. I was so much older I never played with them. Probably a good thing, too. Cool doodlewash Charlie, safe travels. 🎯

  11. Teri C 7 years ago

    Even quick you do an awesome illustration!

  12. brad young's art 7 years ago

    These were epic!

  13. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    Oh, I loved playing this game! We always played it safe when little Jimmy was getting ready to throw his lawn dart. Hehe! 😬 Hours of fun with this game and croquet! 😜 Enjoying your doodlewashes down memory lane, Charlie! Are you sure you didn’t live next door to me?! Lol! 💖👍💕

    • Author

      Haha! I only wish I lived next door to you Jill! 😉💕😃What fun we would have had! Lol And oh yes!! Croquet too! Haha! How could I forget that!

      • Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

        The best part about croquet was sending your opponent’s ball across the yard… As long as you missed your foot in the process! Lol! 😳😳😳

  14. Phil Cooper 7 years ago

    Yikes, they look vicious, I’m glad we never had those at home when I was a kid. Great drawing though, and I love the musings on the lack of health and safety awareness in the olden day lol. The things we got up to, oh well, I guess it was all character building stuff 😉

    • Author

      Thanks Phil!! 😃 Yeah… It’s just as well you didn’t have these. There was plenty of other dangerous things to deal with back then! Hehe

  15. Tori 7 years ago

    Great drawing Charlie 😊 We have a set of lawn darts which we play in the Summer. No injuries so far but we have to make sure that the hens aren’t free ranging when we are playing!!!

    • Author

      Thanks Tori!! And haha! Yes! You would likely spear a hen if you weren’t careful!! 😳hehe… was a fun game from what I remember, but I was always a little terrified. Lol

  16. memadtwo 7 years ago

    I love how you made the points just a bit irregular…showing they had been used.
    It is amazing we survived. On the other hand, I’m not sure all the “protection” we offer our children now has really been any more beneficial. Ok seatbelts have saved lives, those can stay. (K)

    • Author

      Thanks Kerfe!! 💕😃Glad ya liked the doodlewash. And I agree…I think seatbelt a were the good thing to come about, but there were so many other unnecessary things that came as well unfortunately.

  17. Rachel Murphree 7 years ago

    Oh Charlie, you are way too prolific, my friend! I moved followed blogs to following them only in the reader (as opposed to emails) and then I forgot to look in my reader….and thought…hmmm, wonder why Charlie isn’t posting? I felt less sluggish for my fits and spurts of blogging because you were “taking some time off too”. HA! And then the lightbulb moment came today… oh yes, look in your reader! so now I am working my way through your fab posts. This is great. those darts scared the beejesus out of me, in someone else’s yard. I think my mom didn’t trust my aim with them!

    • Author

      Haha! No worries…I’ve accidentally unfollowed people before and wondered where they went. 😊hehe… And yeah, these things were super scary! Sort of glad they got banned! Lol

  18. […] of the outdoor games I remember most at family gatherings, after lawn darts which I doodlewashed last year, has to be croquet. For some reason, our family stumbled upon a croquet set, often associated with […]

  19. […] of the outdoor games I remember most at family gatherings, after lawn darts which I doodlewashed last year, has to be croquet. For some reason, our family stumbled upon a croquet set, often associated with […]

  20. […] While I loved lemonade as a kid, our art challenge prompt for today, it occurred to me that I haven’t had a glass in years. Mostly because my childlike metabolism left me years ago and one sugary glass of the stuff would now take me days to work off the calories. But lemonade was definitely a drink of summer in my family. It appeared at every family gathering and I couldn’t wait to have a glass. It wasn’t freshly squeezed or anything elegant, though placing lemons near the pitcher was often done for decoration. It was simply made from a powdered mix, as the miraculous convenience food inventions were all the rage back then. Just “add one thing,” because you couldn’t be troubled with more than that, and buying something entirely pre-prepared just felt lazy. So we would “make” lemonade each time we came together and it was delicious. Filled with tons of ice, it managed to take the heat out of the day and provide a refreshing break for the famly before going back to risk our lives playing with steel-tipped lawn darts. […]

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