HOWTO have a D&D party for 8-year-olds

Tavis Allison staged a Dungeons and Dragons birthday party for a group of 8- and 9-year-old boys. He came up with a lot of clever rule-simplifications to make the game easy to learn and play, and it really sounds like a fine time was had by all!
2) Kids chose which color dice they want and which miniature will be their hero, both of which they got to keep as "goodie bags" from the party. We didn't have them do any further character creation (all heroes had the same stats behind the screen) except for name. Lots of the kids who hadn't played before had problems coming up with a name, so I asked if they wanted to roll for one. I didn't actually have a table, I just used the time they were rolling the dice to think them up.

3) The scenario was that the heroes set forth from their stronghold to explore the surrounding wilderness in search of magical items to claim and Pokemon to capture. We had the kids construct the wilderness using Heroscape hexes, and the stronghold using wooden Kapla blocks

What Made for a Successful D&D Birthday Party (Thanks, Jason!)

(Image: Painted Trophy: Red Dragon, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from benimoto's photostream)

(Thanks, Jason!)