Societal Issues Targeted:
- Reducing distance and distrust between those who haven’t met, bridging demographics
- Showing everyone that they are surrounded by positive, happy and friendly people
Pillow Fights 4 Connection are a wonderfully engaging and fun way to bring your community closer together. Just grab a few friends, ask them to bring pillows then pick a place and go!
If you can gather a small (or big) pile of spare pillows it becomes really, really easy to get hundreds of people to join in -just stand next to a busy place where lot of people walk passed (making sure not to block the path) and offer a pillow to everyone you see. If they smile at you its a sign that they like the idea so throw a pillow for them to catch. Once its in their hands nearly everyone who smiled cant resist joining in, laughing and having a great time with people in their community they haven’t met before. What a wonderful outcome in a time when adults are often afraid of talking or communicating with people they haven’t met before! You can grab cheap pillows for under £1, 1e or $1 from many shops. Animal rights groups would prefer you don’t use feather ones – apparently they are not collected in a very nice way.
This event is perfect opportunity to inject connection into the daily lives of people going about their lives in your community. Each event we run makes these positive communication between strangers more normal in our daily lives, reducing the distance between us all and bringing where you live one step closer to a place where everyone feels connected to a warm and welcoming; friendly and safe community!
..and it also gives great story about their day to take home to their friends and family to people who joined in and started their day with no idea they’d find themselves inside the mayhem and excitement of a Pillow Fight!
Pillow Fights 4Connection can draw big crowds, although the most successful Pillow Fights I’ve run have always started with just a small group of friends. Big groups i find are soo busy having fun with each other that they get distracted from inviting people passing to join in (so i make some kind of points system for getting people to join with a drink at the end as a reward). Smaller groups naturally try harder to invite the people walking passed to come, join in and have fun with us, and so are better at spreading the idea of using events to reach out and connect with our local community.
On our Road Trip I have regularly taken 40 pillows alone to a busy place as a great way to meet people and make friends. After upto 30mins of looking rather silly i always get a few brave folk to join, and after that its easy – if i decided to stay for 3 or 4 hours i can easily get hundreds of passers-by interacting and having fun with people they wouldnt normally have talked to (the numbers tend to go in waves when there’s a crowd everyone wants to be part of it, so it’ll build up and then quieten down, then build up ..and so on). If you and some friends can gather some spare pillows it is probably the easiest and one of the most effective Focallocal events to run, and those pillows can be washed and reused again and again! Many of those who don’t join in still get a lift and smile just from seeing that people would give their time and energy inviting others to join in something so out of the ordinary and fun.
Please read: To succeed in bringing your community closer together everyone has to feel welcome and invited to join in! Please offer pillows to the old, young, all genders, ethnicities and everyone equally; and if anyone gets too aggressive (not pointing fingers here guys in your teens and early 20’s) please ask them to chill out, because many people wont feel welcome, comfortable or safe to join in if they see them going crazy – and then it’s not a connecting event as it’s no-longer open and welcoming to everyone.
Find an open space beside a path lots of people walk on, so you can invite many people to join in without blocking a public path. Check that there is space for a soft, fluffy battle to expand into as numbers grow – a busy park in the centre of a city works well.
Bring a sign saying “Join Us!”
Everyone will be having soo much fun with each other that you will have to encourage/remind people to invite passers-by to join in ..especially with big groups. I give them points and the winner we all put a few pence in to buy a drink at the end.
Cheap pillows rip quickly and can scratch faces so pillow cases are helpful!
Feather pillows upset animal rights activists, apparently the feathers are not collected from the birds in a humane way.
There are always a few people who turn up without a pillow, make sure to remind everyone regularly to bring two, and perhaps you and some friends could find or buy a few extra to make the event work as well as possible!
At the end of the event ask to collect any unwanted pillows and take them home ready for the next pillow fight (I have over 100 that were in my house and are in my van. wrapped up in a big sheet of fabric they make excellentmassive bean bag/cushions.
Remind people to bring pillow cases for their pillows as the cheap ones can scratch faces and always rip after 5mins.
Lots of passers-by ask why we are doing what we are doing ..and often if its a religious thing??? I tell them we are just trying to bring people closer together and spread smiles! Please help bring more people in to our movement for local connection, everywhere by telling them about focallocal.org and to search for Focallocal on FB and Twitter.
Please write, or ask people who came to write an article to share the experience with the rest of our community, and inspire others to make a Pillow Fight 4 Connection where they live!
Legal Stuff (how it worked out for us)
No money changes hands and so long as your event is not blocking people walking on a public path or on private property it shouldn’t be breaking any laws. I’ve had plenty of discussions with police and park wardens who often ask us to stop, but in most countries there is no law i know of against people coming together for a positive activity that benefits their community.
At the time of writing in almost 2 years none of our events have been stopped. A good line I use when approached is that ‘if its ok to bring a ball or frisbee and ask people to join us and play, why can’t we bring our pillows?‘. I also would always say that it is a “gathering” of local people doing something fun for a good cause, rather than an “event” – as by-the-book folk associate events with red-tape and permissions.[template id=”6580″]