Villagers are the grunty and passive indigenous people (well, sort of people) of the Minecraft world. There are different kinds of Villagers of both baby and adult variations and everything, but their real relevance to our Minecraft party is their capacity for barter.
Villagers will trade valuable things for emeralds. Again, another bizarre conversation was spawned by my inquiring into how this trading system worked.
Kid: You just trade!
Me: Yes, but how does it work? Do the Villagers have a basket of goodies that they show you and you pick out what you want and ask them how many emeralds they want for it or what?
Kid: They only want one emerald.
Other Kid: But each Villager trades different things!
Other Other Kid: And each Villager trades only one thing. It depends on what job they have.
Me: Okaaaay. And so you just hold out your emerald and they give you, say, a fish?
Kid: No, you right-click to see what they have available.
Me: Er, we can't right-click at a party.
Other Kid: Oh, right! But there's a menu that appears when you right-click. . .
Kid (in despair): And the menu tells you what the Villager has!
(I tear my hair).
Other-Other-Kid: I know! We'll make a paper sign!
Thank heavens somebody had the sense to improvise.
We also made Villager heads - the children's idea. They reminded me multiple times that the Villagers had extra-long noses. They then painted the faces and I cut out eye slits.
I also cut shoulder arches so the box masks could rest on the shoulders of the actors.
During the party, the kids went to each Villager, held out their emerald and received something in exchange:
Perler bead swords that the girls made on rainy afternoons in the weeks leading up to the party,
and which we turned into keychains for hanging on backpacks;
bags of edible candy jewels,
and a grass block containing a Minecraft mini-figure.