My brother's and I had a tree fort. It wasn't a little wooden box in a tree, though. We lived on a slough and next to that slough was a grove of trees with overgrown brush around it. We used hedge trimmers to create a path into the grove. These weren't electric hedge trimmers - we snipped branch by branch. There was a summer's worth of blood and sweat put into that fort. After painstakingly clipping bushes that looked like poison ivy, we had more work to do.
We nailed pieces of wood to the trees for sitting and climbing. One tree had a long thick branch at ground level that had been reaching out for the sunshine. My oldest brother, our undisputed boss, created a giant desk out of it. It was from this desk that he would coordinate our attacks on neighborhood kids and would convene meetings of his minions (siblings).
We had put boards on one of the trees to aid in climbing up to a high upper branch. From this branch, one could see people entering into the fort before they were visible. It wasn't possible to walk into the fort quitely, though, so it was completely useless for anything but making one feel awesome. Whenever we were playing in the fort, someone was stuck on watch duty. The watch duty got cooler when we attached a shish kabob weapon to the lookout (For those who haven't read Bullies, this weapon is made with a straw and a rubberband to shoot a wooden shish kabob stick at high speeds).
We found many natural items that could be turned into weapons. Our main goal was to find projectile weapons that wouldn't get us in trouble but that would get people out of our fort. We tried to throw pointy sharp seed buds from weeds. Unfortunately, we couldn't get them to go very far. They were weapons to be used when we failed at taking down our enemies from a distance. A handful of them thrown at someone's shirt will make them stop to pick them out. Those suckers scratched like crazy.
The best weapon we found was at the slough. We found that before catails were old enough to first flower, they had small and heavy pointed roots (the adult ones had longer, thinner roots). These made excellent throwing spears. The point wouldn't pierce but created a satisfying thump and the light shaft made them fly pretty far when thrown well. The drawback of this weapon was what it took to collect it. One had to crawl through a rabbit hole to get to where they were. Because of this difficult crawl we could usually only transport one at a time from the source.
There weren't many kids in our neighborhood who cared to play in the slough. Most of them wanted to play indoors or on their patches of lawn. So we didn't have many enemies to fight despite really really wanting some. We taunted the neighborhood kids, telling them how cool the fort was and asking if they didn't wish sooo much they could get in. The response after a few suckers was a solid "No way, you just want to attack us." Lacking enemies, we spent our days in the fort practicing with those spears and sparring each other using large tree limbs as fighting staffs. I can't count how many times I had my fingers smacked by the staffs.
When we got bored of fighting practice, we decided it would be really cool to make traps. The few people who did play in the slough started to know that they could expect trip wires in and near our fort. In order to get into the fort without tripping, I tied a piece of colored yarn to a stick and held it in front of me. The trip wires were made of clear fishing wire that hid well in the darkness of the grove.
Not tripping one of those wires was very important as we had rigged up a trap that swung either a large rock or small boulder at one's head. When my brother fell out of a tree and needed my step-dad to carry him back into the house, he spotted our trap. Needless to say, he didn't like the idea of us killing a neighbor. He made us take it down and grounded us from play in the fort for a week. (I never managed to sneak into the fort when we were grounded without being caught!) I don't think we ever got the trap to work right but he was rather worried we would some day.
We eventually expanded our empire to a large open field of tall grass across the slough. Hence we had to graduate up to holes in the ground instead of trip wires since we lacked the camoflauge we had in the fort. We weren't very good at camoflauging the holes. I came up with a trap that I thought was ingenious. It was an obviously visible trip wire at mid-shin level with a hole trap on one side of it. So when someone approached it, they'd shrug at how stupid this trap was and just jump over it. They wouldn't notice the very poorly camoflauged hole behind the string because they wouldn't be expecting it.
We should have outgrown the fort much sooner than we did. Eventually, a park went up in the open field with swings and basketball courts. I'm sorry, but playgrounds just aren't as fun as home-made projectile weapons and dangerous traps. It was the construction of that park that ended our play in the fort.