so, we had a party… it was pretty epic. feel free to skim over and admire the photos, or continue reading and find out how you can have an epic party too – i’m even sharing party printables!
each year, around june i ask my son what he wants for his september birthday party. i love parties, so i get excited early and i’m eager to start planning! the rest of the year we’re busy and we have to say “no” to a lot of stuff, but birthday time is SACRED! so far we’ve had “alice in wonderland”, “space” and this year he asked me for a “willy wonka/charlie and the chocolate factory” themed party. i thought that was pretty neat considering he share’s his birthday with roald dahl and we’ve read the book multiple times and watched both movies many multiples of times.
this theme is a blessing and a curse, though. you have so much inspiring material to begin with that its not like you need to brainstorm too hard, but then both the book and the movies provide such awe inspiring descriptions of the factory that that’s a BIG job to try and live up to!
i started off “small” with the invitations. the obvious choice was to send out bars of chocolate with golden tickets! and who am i to question the obvious choice?! however i’m neither made of postage money or chocolate so i opted for 2D double-sided paper wonka bars that were cheaper and simpler to post.
i made you a special printable version to use for your own wonka party! and don’t forget to ask your print shop to print them double sided – just hand write in the party host, the location, time and date, your phone number and “RSVP by” date.
please note: i do not offer tech support, or customization on printables.
pinterest came through big time with decor ideas, and the rest was just some creative thinking. above are some of the inspiring bits and pieces that pinterest delivered. i didn’t use them all, but maybe you’ll find them useful.
the big issues i had to solve with making this party all that it could be were:
a) making a big impact, on a small budget and scale
b) not wasting too much stuff (food, money, materials)
a tight color palette is the answer to all of life’s problems, but it helps parties look well put together with minimal effort and expense. turns out there’s not much chocolate brown party supply out there so i happily used the groovy pink/orange/yellow color scheme of the wonka bar packaging.
you can make a big impact with a knock-out buffet display – let the food display be part of the decor: decorative AND delicious! i really lucked out finding a groovy striped plastic table cloth in those colors which served as the backdrop to the table AND the table cloth (it was long).
we had pink and orange plates and cups from our birthday shindig, so i mixed in some new yellow ones, and some orange striped napkins. some of the plates even made their way into the decor as cellophane wrapped candies (see down a little further).
in my intensive, focused, scientific, party research phase i loved the jars of candy i was seeing at other people’s parties – but we will never eat three full jars of candy in 1000 years so that was just wasteful in our situation. my solution was to whip up some graphic faux candy! i printed out paper inserts for the jars and some paper lollipops too. these would be fun to do with your kiddo – get them involved in the preparation by stamping, drawing or painting some candy jar fillings!
we made up some plastic plate candies to stick around, some $2 paper lantern lollipops for the garden and helium baloons en masse in the party colors filled out ceiling space and were easy to do on the morning of the party.
~ Menu ~
fizzy lifting lemonade
everlasting bubblegum cordial
(if you’re in australia, cottee’s make “gubble bum” flavor cordial)
pretzels, chips, popcorn
mini candy bars
lots and lots of candies!
and i was instructed to make a “chocolate birthday cake, with chocolate frosting, and chocolate” to follow. i made just that! and i decorated it with smarties (candy covered chocolates like flatter m&ms) in the shape of a 5. this cake is kind of an homage to my own 5th birthday cake which my clever mama and grandmama made in the SHAPE of a FIVE, covered in smarties. it blew my tiny mind and i’ve never quite recovered.
i had every intention of also making a rainbow platter of fruits with honey yoghurt to dip, and vegetable crudité with hummus but a) i’m a chronic over-caterer and always feel wasteful after parties and b) what kid is going to eat veggies when there is a table full of candy?! we all know candy is a sometimes food, but parties are only sometimes events so i saved the fruit and veg for us to enjoy during the week. and i skipped the fairy bread too. i know, i’ll just give up my australian citizenship right now, huh? shame on me.
so there was candy for all, and sugar highs on the horizon. the only solution was to burn off some energy and distract the kids from grazing on the sugar by playing lots of fun games! here’s what we did, how we did it and what you need to do it yourself!
mike teevee’s tv quiz
think up 5-10 tv related questions your kid’s will be able to answer. give chocolate money prizes.
for example, we asked the 5 year olds:
“what color is oscar the grouch?”
“on the wiggles, what color shirt does jeff wear?”
“what type of animal is pingu?”
“on yo gabba gabba, who said they had a party in their tummy?”
“who can tell me the name of the island that thomas the tank engine lives on?”
charlie bucket’s bucket basketball
a large bucket or tub
a lot of breath or a balloon pump
veruca salt’s bad egg and spoon race
eggs; real, plastic or chocolate depending on the age of participants
silver spoons or dumpling spoons (easier for little kids)
each participant gets a spoon balanced on an egg and they must make it around a race course without dropping their egg. no holding the eggs with your hands, though!
augusts gloop’s donut race
mini donuts for each guest
a long stick, or broom handle
using the kitchen twine, tie the mini donuts to the string, then tie the length of string attatched to the donut to the long stick. make sure they’re equally spaced leaving enough room for everyone to stand/eat comfortably.
to play, hold up the stick with the donuts hanging down and have the children put their hands behind their back. the first to eat all of the donut without using their hands wins!
violet beauregarde’s blueberry baloon bonanza
blueberry colored balloons
small prizes you’ll be able to fit into un-inflated balloons eg: mini candy bars, small puzzles, whistles
fill blueberry colored balloons with small prizes then inflate them. get the kids to pop (squeeze, sit on) the blueberry bubbles to win their prize. have a push pin on standby for you to use in case your kiddos are too light to pop the balloons on their own.
to finish up with, i REALLY like party favor bags. its like having a little extra party after the party, so i tend to make a bit of extra effort to send home some fun treats. this year i got organized early and it paid off! i found handmade soaps (by sailormouth soaps on etsy) in the shape of frog candies, and i redeemed myself with the guest’s parents by finding a bunch of cute animal toothbrushes. packed up in gold bags with some bubble mix, and a couple of extra candies the favors made leaving the party a little less upsetting.
sure there are people who will say i’m probably spoiling my kid, but we ALL had fun – both father and son asked for the same party next year) and there’s only a few years you can be spoiled for. my mum threw fun parties for me so i like passing on those special memories to my son as its a way of keeping her fun spirit alive, but i think whatever effort you make for your children will be happily received and treasured.
maybe its the sugar talking, but i think i’d quite like to make parties happen for a living, so y’know… call me! who knows maybe we can have a pilgrim party blog.