Milestone Birthdays

Milestone Birthdays

It has been a while since I have posted. July was a little depressing with everything going on. I trust you are all staying safe and pray the world heals itself soon. Although we have experienced more virtual events during this difficult time, smaller parties are starting to emerge. Today I want to discuss the ever- popular Milestone Birthdays. Even with pared down get-togethers these ideas can help make that something-0 landmark special! Although younger milestones (1, 16, 18 & 21) are important we usually begin focusing on age markers starting at 30.

AT 30 you bid the 20’s goodbye. You are in hopes that all those stupid mistakes you made in your youth can be forgiven and you are independent and, on your way, now. Some may have started a family; others are working at their ambitious careers and yet others are exploring the world. AT 40 you are on the brink of middle age, perhaps starting a new chapter or just dealing with the challenges of your life. AT 50 you’ve made it half a century on the planet! Your circles are flourishing, with friends, colleagues and family, some of whom have flown the proverbial nest. It is time to focus on you. AT 60 and beyond your life is full, a rich tapestry of love, experiences and memories. You have much to celebrate and so many people to celebrate with. AT 70, 80 & 90 you’ve witnessed so much change; technology and science have made huge leaps, the world has become smaller, our ambitions bigger. Families have spread further afield, yet we’re more connected than ever. AT 100 you need to give yourself a cheer, this doesn’t happen often. Only .02% of the population find themselves at this momentous milestone! You have been gifted with time and love.

Starting off with an invitation to your party, this idea can be done on Photoshop if you or someone in your family have expertise with the program. Otherwise paper and a pair of scissors will due. Find photos of yourself throughout the years. They can be with your significant other. Then cut them out into silhouettes and arrange them in order on an 11″ x 14″ piece of paper. The plan is to fold the paper as a four-panel accordion style invitation. The front of the invitation would be copied on the backside and folded over to be the front of the invitation. The text is printed on your computer and arranged so that it fits in-between the folds of the paper. Use a spray adhesive to glue the text and the photos in place.  Then take the original copy to a business that can make the 11″ x 14″ color copies. Hand fold and mail them in brightly colored envelopes. A smaller version of the same idea can be done on a standard 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. The invitation would then be a tri-fold brochure type. The printer can fold them for you too, for a minimal charge.

When choosing a theme for your event be selfish! Do something you want. If you choose a humorous approach there is plenty of “Over the Hill” décor available commercially. You can always crack out your Halloween stash to mock a funeral party. You can also decide to go with your hobby or interest such as fishing, hunting, gardening or sports. Choose a favorite place you have traveled to. Perhaps a tropical paradise or foreign destination. There are many international theme decorations available too. Celebrate “The Best of Times” by creating a pictorial timeline of the special moments in your life. You may choose a particularly happy decade of your life and plan the party around that, like the 50’s (Rock & Roll), 60’s (Hippie, Flower Child), 70’s (Disco) or 80’s (Dance, Digital). Have everyone dress in a decade costume. Last but not least is a focus on a certain color scheme that puts a smile on your face. This can make your party decorations very personal.

Balloons are a must for a milestone age. There are the large and small foil numbers that can be incorporated into the balloon décor. Match whatever colors work with the theme you have chosen. Air-filled Columns and centerpieces make great additions to the festive environment. And if you are doing the party virtually, they make great backdrops.

The food should be something you want too! It is all about you, anyway right? If you are having a specific theme try to choose the appropriate ethnic blend of food and drinks. But remember, it has to be stuff you like! If it is a generic motif pick your favorite foods to serve. Have your favorite restaurant(s) deliver the meals, individually is best with social distancing. (see my post on Covid-19 Party Guide https://pjspartyrentalandessentials.wordpress.com/2020/06/15/covid-19-event-party-alternatives/ )

Some terrific party favor ideas for your guests is candy bars with your photo and information on them. You can find an assortment of styles here https://www.whcandy.com/ You can also have labels made for wine bottles. Pick your favorite flavor of wine at a discount outlet and paste the personalized label on them. They are a perfect keepsake. Find the labels here https://www.personalcreations.com/ You can also find personalized M & M’s on their website. Plus consider personalized napkins or bookmarks from Carlson Craft here https://viewonly.carlsoncraft.com/ Another cool idea is to make cd’s or maybe a flash drive (cd’s are becoming outdated) of the American Top 40’ #1 song for each year of your life, as well as a few faves thrown in. It will be quite lengthy and interesting for the 100-year-old! Ask your family and friends to mail you a great memory they have of your relationship with them. You can put these memories in a scrap book. Remember to ask for pictures if they have them!

If your party includes real live guests you can have a “Roast” for the birthday person. Play Jeopardy! Set up a Jeopardy game board for guests to participate in. Instead of general trivia questions, they can be questions about the birthday guest of honor. Choose a handful of topics about the birthday man or woman, and then create 5-7 questions within each topic. You can either choose specific topics about the person or make each topic a decade of their life (if they’re old enough to have at least five topics). The harder the question, the more points they’re worth. Instead of having individuals play, you can divide your guests up into groups. That way, there’s some teamwork involved.

Whatever you do keep it safe! I am turning 70 soon and am excited about looking up all the #1 hits for the last 70 years! That will be quite a mix! God Bless!

Covid-19 Event & Party Guide

Covid-19 Party Collage

It’s graduation season, wedding season – and Father’s Day is coming up. And birthdays keep coming—last week I supplied balloons for a birthday “parade”. They all drove past the kid’s house honking their horns. I’m sure the neighbors were thrilled… actually they probably were. Anything to break up the monotony.

You can still have that bachelorette party – and all your other events, and they don’t have to be boring. You are your biggest hurdle – think creatively! Try to think about ways people can still have fun at a social distance. And put in place some important safety measures. Here are some ideas.

I would first start by not thinking of it as a pandemic celebration – that feels so anti-celebratory! You’re creating a celebration, a gathering, or an event that happens to be during our “temporary new normal”.

In-person events are going to be a challenge, but can be achieved. As the host I know you have the right intentions, but haven’t been prepared for the attendees’ mindset around coming together in person. You need to realize that the attendance may be much lower than you anticipate, because your guests might not be prepared to gather in person, after being separated for so long. Lack of attendance is not a personal reflection on you, just a normal human reaction. Perhaps you should consider a hybrid event between live and streaming?

Keeping guests down to a smaller group is the first thing that must be followed. When setting up tables and chairs for your friends and family lessen the settings per table. A 60” round table or an 8ft. banquet table usually seats 8 people per. Spread the chairs apart to seat a maximum of 4 to 6. If you want to place 8 chairs at a table, fill a few seats with large stuffed animal friends to bring some joy to the process. If placing only chairs around the party area make sure they are 4ft to 6ft apart. If someone wants to get closer it is on them to move. You have done your due diligence. Make sure all the tables and chairs have been sanitized properly before guests arrive. Rigorous cleaning of the other areas of your home or venue should be done too. Wipe down with appropriate disinfectant agents. Remember door knobs, hand rails, bathrooms and counters. When setting your tables supply hand sanitizer on each table and perhaps some baby wipes.

For the health of yourself and your attendees conduct temperature screenings as they arrive. You can purchase a no touch forehead thermal thermometer for around $30. Individuals with temperatures higher than 100 F should be gently asked to leave. Make face masks available for everyone, if they feel unwell. Implement a “No Hand-Shake” policy at your party. Use fist bumps, “ebola” elbow bumps, virtual hugs, air waves and hellos, and other mechanisms to replace the handshake during the crisis. You can supply people with small pom-poms for hello waves. Wash all hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after any eating, blowing of the nose, coughing, sneezing, and using the bathroom.

Safety measures for food preparation can be difficult. It is suggested if you have a buffet setting that you need to have splash guards and sneeze guards. Since this isn’t something readily available in a home environment you might think about getting individual box lunches/meals delivered or pick them up. You can do this on your own by wrapping sandwiches and placing salads in inexpensive plastic containers. Cookies and other snacks can be purchased in individually wrapped packages. You can also buy individually wrapped plastic cutlery at Walmart or a restaurant supply. Drinks can be served by the can or bottle. Make sure you place hand sanitation devises near the meal station. Some folks may not have been able to get into the bathroom to wash their hands. Just try to be on the safe side.

Setting up an area to carry on a Virtual Party for the people who could not attend will help include everyone. The right chat platform will be different for different groups. I like Zoom because it’s user friendly and it’s easy to send invitations to anyone. The drawback to Zoom, though, is that the free version will only allow for a 40-minute group meeting. Google Hangouts, Facebook, and Skype are all viable options, and there are many more. Choose whichever platform your family and friends are most familiar with or like best. Be sure to give your virtual people instruction on how to use the service you choose, especially the older folks.

Designate one of the younger “geekyer” family members to monitor the Virtual station. They can give the networked guests a blow by blow description of what is going on. They can guide everyone at your event to make sure they stop and visit the electronic invitees. Decorate the Virtual area with balloons and streamers to make it stand out. You can also hook up to a flat screen television to make a bigger impact.

I trust these ideas will help you begin to get back to a place where we can all be together again! “And Party!”

Plan a Game Night Party

There really isn’t anything more fun than introducing your kids to classic games that you loved when you were a child or getting together your adult friends to indulge in your guilty pleasure!  I don’t know about you but a classic game of Monopoly, Scrabble. Twister, Parcheesi, Candyland or Sorry are more fun and engaging than everyone sitting on the couch focused on their phones, not communicating and self-absorbed.  Who knows, planning a game night with friends and/or family might start a trend of talking and laughing with each other regularly! Here are some ideas to get you started on this new adventure!

Greet your guests with a fun “Move ahead 12 Spaces” sign, laying down directional squares (like a game board) made from colored napkins or construction paper, and brightly colored balloons. As your friends enter the party area, make sure your food table hits them in the face with the fun theme. Make a backdrop from air filled round foil balloons in different colors. Tape them together to resemble a twister game mat. Attach to your wall with Command strips. If you don’t have the budget for balloons use colored paper plates.  Pile up games as risers for glass containers or bowls filled with brightly colored candy. Wrap water bottles with candy dots; add a homemade Monopoly inspired “Water Works” sign. If you are serving sparkling drinks serve them in candy rimmed glasses. To do this dip the rim of each wineglass in melted white chocolate and then press into a saucer filled with confetti sprinkles. Use scrabble tile food signs next to your food’s trays. Serve simple foods that can be taken to game tables and eaten casually during the evening or day (based on the timeline of your event).  Popcorn is an awesome choice, make Domino inspired popcorn bags using white bags and colored card stock. You can find instructions here https://www.hwtm.com/2015/12/game-on-5-easy-creative-ideas-for-game-night/ Make crispy treats, cookies or a cake and decorate with M & M’s. The bright colors and circle design mimic so many board games. Some other heartier food items that tend to be mess free are Miniature Corn Dogs, Miniature Pizza’s, Hero Sandwiches, Taco Dip and Chips, Cheese and Crackers, Pigs in a Blanket or Chicken Fingers.

Making decorations for your game theme party may need a trip to a thrift store. You can make garlands from Uno Cards or Monopoly money. So, not to steal from the game you are using to play with, take a trip to a second hand store and buy up any games you can find to tear apart and use for decorations! Tape game cards on helium balloon ribbons, hang from the ceiling and use as place cards or invitations! Use Poker Chips or gold Coins to scatter on tables like confetti. Fill flower vases with poker chips and place flower stems inside. Wrap paper cups and cutlery packages with playing cards. You can hang game boards from the wall behind game tables or beverage stations.

Create several game stations. Set up games in various corners of the room. Using 3ft or 4ft card tables and chairs (4 at each table) is a perfect setup. If you don’t own these, consider renting them. Divide guests into groups of 4 and let them start a game circle. Set a timer for a specific time (15-30 minutes) and let the fun begin. When the timer rings, guests move to the next station noting who was the winner at each station. After everyone has played all the tables the best 4 people will have a playoff. The champ gets a prize, like a special edition of Monopoly.

Everyone walks away a winner when you reveal the biggest surprise of the party: secret prizes hidden behind the balloons (or paper plates) at the buffet! As you setup your twister backdrop, tape scratch off lottery tickets on the back of each balloon or plate. Then at the end of the party ask each guest to pick one for their prize!

I hope you try this fun party and find you have created new bonds with friends and family! My family always plays board games on holidays but after writing this blog post I think we need to get together more often! God bless!

Communal Dinner Party

Communal Dinner Party

Communes were plentiful in the 1960’s & 1970’s. Communities of people sharing everything and living off the land were pipe dreams of peace, brotherly love, harmony, blah, blah, blah. Today there are a few left but the disillusionment of communal living started when the “Laid back attitude” translated to “they have absolutely no ambition”! However, the idea of sharing a meal with friends and/or family is still an attractive and heartwarming experience. So, this dinner party is taking the best of the communes of old and spinning them into a fun and relaxed night with people you love!

It’s a peaceful, easy feeling at your table. We can even imagine someone’s legs thrown over the corner of the table. The menu here is very simple. Just like it was in communes. Soups, Salad and lots of home baked bread. If you don’t have all day to simmer a variety of soups, pick them up at a deli or look for some hearty frozen soups. Soups like Navy Bean & Ham Soup, Potato or Broccoli Cheddar, Cream of Chicken, Barley Vegetable and Clam Chowder are perfect. Toss a salad with plenty of greens and place out a homemade vinaigrette dressing. Have baskets of fresh bread, breadsticks and croutons to accompany the yummy delights. For dessert bake up some Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chip Cookies. For communal type libations have pitchers of Sangria, Ice Water with Lemons and an assortment of teas. Serve in big mugs or mason jars.

The Décor will be down to earth too! Bring in greens and flowers from the garden or purchase at your local grocers’ floral shop. Set out votive candles with an assortment of different sized candles along the tables. Hang string lights around the party area. As hostess, put on a peasant dress if you have one or look for a similar type of loose-fitting garment from the thrift shop.

For background music you have to choose a mellow blend of tunes. Look up some New Age artist like Kitaro, Enya, Yanni, Secret Garden, David Lanz, Jim Brickman, Shadowfax or Suzanne Ciani; which are among my favorites. If you prefer to tap into the 60’s vibe choose anything by Peter, Paul & Mary, Donovan, The Association or Crosby, Stills & Nash. If one of your friends plays and instrument invite them to serenade the group.

This party is mainly to have friends share a meal. But if you want to add an activity or two that will incorporate a bit of “how well do you know each other?” here is a couple of suggestions.

  • At each place setting, include a pen and pad of paper. Have each guest write two statements about him or herself that are true and one that is false. The statements should be things the other guests would likely not know. An example would be 1) I once hitchhiked across Europe; 2) I had my picture taken with President Reagan; 3) I played the Tuba in the high-school marching band. Other guests then determine which is the false statement. Play for points or for fun, and play at least two or three rounds.
  • Purchase an inexpensive white tablecloth and colored permanent markers, one or two for each guest. During dinner, invite guests to doodle, draw caricatures of themselves or of one another, or sum up their life philosophies in one sentence each.

Enjoy the night breaking bread together and be at “Peace”!

Roaring 20’s Theme – 2020 New Years

20's Roaring 2020 Party

People have always enjoyed the glitz and glamour of 1920s or The Great Gatsby themed New Year’s Eve parties, but this year, as we ring in 2020, this theme is very “BIG”! At your party, turn back the clock 100 years to a time filled with dimly lit speakeasies, homemade gin cocktails, jazz, art deco and iconic fashion trends. Ask your guests to arrive in their best flapper dresses and tuxes and you’ll be well on your way to a party fit for Gatsby himself.

Keeping in the fun Speakeasy feel have “security” at the front door asking for a password, which you can include in the invitations.  The color scheme you will use is Gold, Black, Silver and White. You can find New Years Party Kits that will include Top Hats, Tiaras and Noisemakers in these colors.

Activities If your budget won’t afford renting Casino tables, set up a few Poker Tables and you can find Felt Game Sets that include Blackjack and Craps. Beistle’s set includes the craps rake, cards, dice and instructions, you just need a table to place it on! Hire a Jazz band or put together a play list, you can see and hear the top 20 hits of 1920-1929 here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07f0TPfNLnk to give you some inspiration. Play classic movies during the party (with or without sound) these are a some of the classics of the 20’s, The Kid – Charlie Chaplin, The Jazz Singer – Al Jolson, Safety Last – Buster Keaton, The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Charles Laughton, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – John Barrymore or Steamboat Willie – Mickey Mouse.

Décor for this theme will also be in Gold, Black, Silver and White. Hang strings of clear lights and have plenty of candles around the party area. Use Gold and Silver shimmer curtains as a backdrop for buffet tables, the bar area and a photo area. Include beads and feathers (signature items for the 20’s) in your centerpieces. A cool idea is to glue glitter on to wine bottles and then add beads and feathers. Balloons can be used too! The balloons pictured above are called “Bubble Strands” and they have the theme colors plus clear balloons filled with gold confetti in the arrangements. These are perfect for a Gatsby touch, and what would New Year’s Eve be without large 2020 numbers? Use them in your photo area or stage. Use both colors, mix or match.

Food – At this time in American history, Wonder Bread was fresh on the scene and foods such as Chinese and Italian were considered ‘exotic.’ Glam up your party with crab stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, tea sandwiches with different meats and vegetables, and glazed hams. To achieve an elegant feel, you can hire servers to pass plates or create a presentation incorporating gold and silver sprays, confetti, balloons and feathers. Elaborate cheese, olive, and nut displays are right on theme, involve no actual cooking, and can be set out and replenished throughout the night. For sweets, pineapple upside down cake, lemon cakes, and Jell-O were all popular.

Cocktails – Combining a holiday and a decade that revolved around spirits makes this part of planning exceptionally fun. Champagne, or your favorite sparkling wine, is a must. Unlike the champagne flutes we use today, the coupe glasses were most commonly used in the 20s. You can find this style at most party stores. As for cocktails, gin was in. This was during Prohibition when bathtub gin was the common spirit. You can find the recipes for the classic mixed drinks of the day here https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/57719/origins-10-popular-prohibition-cocktails

Here is to a wonderful New Year, thank you for reading my Blog, I promise to try and continue posting great ways to celebrate life! Happy 2020!

 

Thanksgiving Day Games (that aren’t about football)

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be all about Football, try some of these games to bring the family together without betting on a team!

DINNER TABLE GAMES

For Thanksgiving I Had Game: This memory game incorporates your Thanksgiving feast and can be played while everyone is eating. The first person starts by saying “For Thanksgiving dinner I had turkey,” and then each subsequent player adds a food and repeats the entire reel of dishes said prior to his or her turn. Each person who can’t remember the full list is out. But don’t concentrate too hard—you wouldn’t want the stuffing to get cold.

The Thankful Alphabet Game: This one’s pretty straightforward and is another one you can play while eating dinner—plus, it’s also a great way to get everyone talking about what they’re thankful for. All you have to do is have each person share one thing they’re thankful for, but the catch is, it has to start with the next letter of the alphabet, starting with A (the next person’s response will start with B, and so on). Go around the table until the alphabet’s been filled—yes, even X and Z.

Thanksgiving Mad Lib Game: Mad Libs are a great Thanksgiving game because they can pass the time while you wait for dinner, or you can even play while you eat and the whole family can participate. Have everyone take turns calling out words until the whole sheet is filled, then read what is sure to be a funny (and at least somewhat festive) story aloud. Download the card here https://smallstuffcounts.com/thanksgiving-mad-lib/ 

WHILE THEY WATCH FOOTBALL GAMES

Turkey Bowling Game: With the help of some brown plastic cups, some construction paper, and some googly eyes, you can challenge the family to a friendly Thanksgiving bowling tournament. Use mini pumpkins or a tennis ball to bowl with, and try to knock down these super cute DIY turkey pins. You can find the tutorial here https://www.theseasonedmom.com/thanksgiving-game-turkey-bowling/

Thanksgiving Pictionary Game: Pictionary is always fun and you don’t have to be a seasoned artist to play. This Thanksgiving version is great for families to play after dinner, before dinner, or any time during the Thanksgiving season! I mean who couldn’t use a little movement after eating a huge slice of Pumpkin Pie! Printable cards and instructions are here https://www.playpartyplan.com/thanksgiving-pictionary-game/

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, thank you for following my blog!

 

 

 

Teen Parties Volume II

Teen Parties Vol II

In this second post for teen parties I have uncluded two amazing events that your teen will love! The first party, and the most relaxed and easy to do is a “Bon Fire Party”.  Few things can beat the pleasure of a night out with friends, music, and a bonfire. It is also easy to set up outdoors rather than frantically cleaning every corner of the house. It’ll be a great idea during winters.

What you need:

Small chairs, sitting mats or hay bales, Bluetooth speakers or a guitar (optional), fairy lights, small candles. If you don’t have a fire pit already in your backyard there are many available at hardware and home stores.

What you can do:

  • Decorate the place with candles, fairy lights, small cushions, chairs or hay bales, and sitting mats.
  • If your teen’s friends love playing musical instruments, ask them to bring them. Maybe, they can all tune in together for a warm party.
  • Keep the s’mores, roasted marshmallows, cake, pizza and refreshing drinks ready.

The next party is a bit more challenging but if your child’s friends are fans of Cosplay this party will be something talked about for a long time. Here are some ideas for an “Anime Cosplay Party”. The term “cosplay” is a contraction of the words “costume” and “play” and simply means, “the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genre of manga and anime.” If this group of friends have a particular game, comic book or movie they favor, make the party a single underlying theme: Examples: Dungeons & Dragons, The Avengers, My Hero Academia, Overwatch or Super Smash Brothers.

Decorations can be character specific or general. Decorate with Comic Book character posters, bright colored balloons, bright colored streamers, bright table covers for tables and wall décor and bright paper lanterns and tissue decorations. Incorporate Anime cutouts into centerpieces and table décor. Make sure you have an area that the guests can get together for photos. This is a must at every Anime Convention, so it will be at the party as well! Put anime in photo frames. Go to a craft store or dollar store and purchase a dozen or so photo frames. If you have photo frames around the house, you can use those instead and put the original photos back in them after the party. Print out some great anime screenshots or images that will fit in the frames. Place them around the party area.

For games you can play charades, karaoke and maybe twister. Pick up a character pinata, every age kid loves candy after all! Maybe you want to play anime video games or trivia. You could also do a twist on Pictionary by playing an anime-based version. Another idea is to play card games, such as Beyblade or Yu-Gi-Oh! card games. Glow in the Dark items can be a great activity for this type of party too. Conventions usually have Glow Parties after the day’s events. Set out bowls of Glow Sticks, Glow Necklaces and Bracelets for guests to use when they want. Prepare music playlists. Find anime songs online. Make some playlists that will last about as long as you think the party might run. Set up speakers or plan to stream the music from a Smart TV with an internet connection. Consider playing anime on TV or DVD. You can play it with the sound low or off if you don’t want it to compete with the music. If you have a projector you can use with a DVD player or computer, you can project anime onto the wall. You may want to watch some classic anime shows like Yu Yu Hakusho, Pokémon or Dragon Ball Z.

If you’re planning to have a large party, it might be easier to order food than make it. Find Japanese restaurants in local directories online or in the yellow pages. Ideas for main dishes include teriyaki meat or salmon, and stir fry with chicken or beef, noodles, vegetables, and toasted sesame seed sauce. Some examples of appetizers or side dishes are sushi, fried rice, soup, clams steamed in butter, and fried shrimp with dipping sauces. There are various Japanese-themed drinks you can serve at your party. Some examples are green tea, cherry blossom tea, soy milk, and Japanese sodas from a local Asian grocer. Use cake decorating supplies to draw anime faces or characters on mocha, cookies, donuts or cake pops. Make or buy cupcake picks of different characters for use on a cake or cupcakes. Enjoy your teen!

 

Fun Camp Out Party

Camp Out Party

Any scout can tell you what makes the great outdoors so great – the cool accommodations! At this party the action is centered around a large tent set up in the yard. It can be organized as a sleepover or just an afternoon/evening event. Now that fall is upon us, evening temperatures are not sweltering and more pleasant for this type of celebration.

Of course, the main décor item for this theme is the TENT, but you can spiff up the inside with crepe streamers and tie helium filled balloons on the fence surrounding your back yard. If there is a tree near the tent site, consider colorful pennant banners tied from the tree to the tent. A large Happy Birthday banner can be hung across the face of the tent. Tissue balls and party lights can be hung in all the trees surrounding the area. Make a fun “Camp *******” sign to stake in the grass. Make up animal tracks and place on the ground to guide guests to certain areas of the party. Set out tin cups with each camper’s name written in permanent marker at each place setting along with compasses, flashlights and/or binoculars. Use red gingham table covers or lumberjack designs.

Party activities can be classic camp games like one legged race game, nature scavenger hunt or flashlight tag. Having a real campfire is a plus. If you don’t have the capacity for a pit in your back yard use a hibachi or rent/buy an inexpensive fire pit. You can sit around the fire and tell spooky stories, sing songs or play an interesting I spy game. What could be better for kids than classic camp out crafts. Decorate t-shirts, make keychains and make popsicle stick picture frames. Designate an area for taking pictures. Purchase a Camp Out theme photo prop set along with fun hats, jackets, backpacks, lanterns and other camping props.

The highlight of the evening can be an outdoor Movie. Reclaim the spirit of old Drive-in theaters, it will be a unique experience for little ones. Borrow or buy an inexpensive projector (maybe on Craig’s List) and use a bed sheet for the screen. Have fun snacks like popcorn, smores and trail mix. The main meal can consist of Hot Dogs and Hamburgers, cook over the fire or on a barbeque. Bake up a Camp theme cake or cupcakes. Have fun and enjoy the outdoors!

Time for Oktoberfest!

Celebrate Fall and German Heritage with a fun Oktoberfest party.  This is a perfect celebration to sample various beers, listen to fun upbeat music and to enjoy good food with family and friends. This is also a great theme for Bachelor Parties, Male Birthdays, Fund Raisers and Sporting events as well.

Oktoberfest Facts:

  • Oktoberfest is a 16-day to 18-day festival held in Munich, Germany every year, from late September to early October.
  • The first Oktoberfest was on October 12, 1810 in Munich to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.
  • The event has been canceled 24 times due to cholera outbreaks and war.
  • Large amounts of German food and beer are consumed every year during the festival.
  • In 2007, the Oktoberfest in Germany attracted 6.2 Million visitors.
  • The colors of Oktoberfest are white and blue, the colors of the flag of Bavaria, Germany.

During Oktoberfest, large tents are set up and each one decorated according to their own theme and colors.  If you don’t have enough space indoors, set-up a pop-up tent  or pop-up canopy in your back yard or function space to mimic the Oktoberfest celebration and decorate with blue and white streamers, balloons, or themed gossamer.  For a party indoors, create a canopy over a dining room table with crepe streamers or Oktoberfest plastic décor tape available online or in some party stores.

White and light blue are the colors of the flag of the state of Bavaria, the largest state in Germany.  These colors are customary for Oktoberfest events but some people like to add a darker blue to the decorations. Get table cloths, plates and party supplies in white and blue, either solid colors or diamond pattern. Obtain posters from travel agencies to put all over the party room. A simple centerpiece to put together – get a dinner plate, place a beer stein in the middle.  Fill the stein with fresh flowers and add in small Oktoberfest or German flags.  Fill the plate around the stein with lots of large fresh pretzels.  Place on the party table with an Oktoberfest table cloth.  An instant simple, yet effective Oktoberfest centerpiece!  Make sure you have German music playing in the background by tuning into a Pandora station or picking up a German Polka CD. Have a Polka Dance lesson and contest for your guests. You can learn the steps with this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVnfVUWiBTU Have a German Costume contest too. Pass out German hats, blue beads and Oktoberfest theme horns to the party-goers to get in a festive mood.

Set up a table with a line-up of the beers available for tasting.  For each one, put out a place card with the name of the beer, origin, and any other trivia you may know about the beer and brewery. You can make up a simple food spread with assorted sausages, German potato salad, cooked Red Cabbage and lots of large warm pretzels. For dessert serve a German favorite Apple Strudel or Americanize the dessert and serve German Chocolate Cake (you know it was named after a person’s last name – not that is was a German recipe). “Prost”! (German for Cheers!)

 

Circus Theme Carnival/Party

A Carnival can be for a family Birthday Party, a School/Church Carnival or Neighborhood Get-together. A Circus Theme is favorite of mine. So colorful and entertaining. Try some of these ideas in your planning.

Balloons, Concessions and games all make a Circus/Carnival theme fun for everyone.

A “must” is hiring (or if a friend is able) a Clown to make Balloon Animals and other creations for the kiddos. If you have some children that are afraid of clowns many professionals offer friendly clowns. Some of these companies can offer Face Painting as well, which is a much-loved activity. Otherwise, you can have some of the older kids set up their own booth. You can see a tutorial on what you need to “do it yourself” here: https://www.howcast.com/videos/418834-how-to-set-up-a-face-painting-booth

Some games you might want to set up are a Bean Bag Throw and a Circus Shootout. For the bean bag throw, make a target out of plywood or foamcore. Paint the board with a circus related design and cut out holes large enough for the beanbags to go through. Each player gets to throw three beanbags at the target. You can make a shootout game by setting out ping pong balls decorated like clowns or circus animals on top of weighted 2-liter pop bottles. The player must shoot the ball off the bottle using a water or nerf gun. If you want to offer prizes for the game booths you can choose instant prizes that all the players win for participating or organize a Redemption system, where players earn tickets or punches on a card that they can redeem for larger prizes.

If you have the budget Petting Zoos and/or Pony Rides are an outstanding and memorable experience for party-goers. If you are lucky you may have a willing horse and/or animal owner in your group of friends that might volunteer. If not and you do not have the budget to hire, how about creating a petting zoo with stuffed animals? Find or borrow animals found in the circus – Lions, Elephants, Monkeys, Horses, Tigers, Giraffes, Zebras, Llamas, Birds, Bears, Sea Lions, Cats and Dogs. Surround the stuffed animals with a plastic fence, add some hay bales for effect and the kids will love it!

Food choices for this party scream Concession Machines. You can find Popcorn Machines, Cotton Candy Machines and Sno Cone Machines available for rental at your local Party Rental Company. Add Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Peanuts, Candy Apples and Cup Cakes and everyone will get their fill of  “Junk Food”!

And last but not least, Balloons! What Circus/Carnival would be without them. If the budget allows, hire a balloon decorator for Balloons Arches, Centerpieces and special Circus Theme Décor. Helium and Air-filled designs are perfect and the overall impact will make an event to remember. Be sure to add colorful plastic table-covers or linens to the tables and use Streamers, Pennant Banners and Paper Decorations throughout the areas for a color overload! Enjoy and come back to see our next post! We’ll surprise you!