Archive for the ‘ Party Themes ’ Category

Dinosaur Party: Funasaurus

dinopartyKen’s son Alex just turned 18, and as the rest of us get to do, he chose his party theme… dinosaurs. I commented to him that it might be difficult to come up with something suitable for a man because usually small children request such a theme. It was then that he looked at me and said, “I don’t understand how a theme involving two-tonned reptilian killing machines can be childish.” He has a point. So with quite a challenge set before me, I set out to find dinosaur decorations that are not cuddly. I also didn’t want extremely realistic dinosaurs as I was afraid it might look more like a science classroom than a party. After a quick search on the web, I decided I was better off just making them.

To add a personal and comical touch, I made a few posters. Flipping through a ton (no pun intended) of free on-line coloring pages led me to a few cartoonish characters that were more funny than childish. I turned to an old classroom friend to easily and flawlessly transfer the online pages to the poster board – an overhead projector. For whatever reason, we have had this overhead projector in our supply closet at work for years. I always assumed it was a tool to lead presentations many years ago. Boy, am I glad we had it; it was really the perfect tool. I simply printed off the coloring pages onto the transparencies instead of paper. Taped the blank poster board on the wall. Flipped on the overhead projector and Viola! instant tracing lines for poster board sized reptiles. After the lines were traced with pencil, I went over them again with a thick black marker, colored them in festive dinosaur colors and added a couple of personal messages.

I had also considered trying to find a nice printout of a pterodactyl to cut out and hang from the ceiling until I ran across a terrific craft project. I found instructions on how to create them using empty milk cartons. They were actually fairly easy. A couple of tips…

  • Make sure the empty cartons are rinsed out with soap and water and dried well – nobody likes a stinky pterodactyl that smells like sour milk.
  • Keep in mind that the craft calls for two gallon sized milk cartons for each finished pterodactyl.
  • Spray paint works the best. I gave mine two good coats of brown spray paint and then dabbed on some acrylic paint over it for color.
  • Since I knew I was hanging them from the ceiling, I did not bother with the extra cuts that the instructions call for so a child can use them as a hand puppet.
  • To hang them from the ceiling, I poked a small hole in the back, threaded through a paperclip I bent into an S shape and then just tied thread around them.
  • Overall, they were a great addition to the decor.

    Ken set out to find green and grey streamers and other dino props to set around which turned out to be quite a challenge, but he found a few things. He was also tasked to make one of his famous themed cakes. He made a dino head that was patterned off of one of the posters I made. Of course, it looked like it’s head was on fire after adding 18 candles, but it was very well done.

    All in all, the room looked great,the cake was delicious, and we had a roaring (har, har) good time.

    Stanley_CupWell, I’m slowly creeping up through my thirties, so normally one might not want to do a lot of celebrating… this year however, the family got together to plan a surprise theme for me.  Truth be told, I’m not an easy one to plan things for… or to buy for.  I’m a bit eclectic and picky, but Ken nailed it.  For those that don’t know me, I am a pretty big hockey fan.  I don’t know why, but I love the game.  So this was my theme… he set out with the kids to find decorations and gifts.  I came home to find everyone wearing hockey t shirts and goalie masks; I was given a hockey jersey to wear myself.  The cake was in the shape of  a hockey stick with a puck.  Some of the gifts were even along with the theme – my favorite being a framed, autographed photograph of Bobby Orr’s famous goal.  After the party, I was treated to an afternoon of ice skating.  I have to say that even though he may not be able to skate worth a darn and doesn’t particularly care for the sport, he deserves to be awarded the Stanley Cup for the party.

    phantom_operaKen’s daughter, Gwen chose for her 10 year old party theme to be Phantom of the Opera of all things.  Now this was especially difficult for the lot of us considering no one had actually ever seen it.  So we all gathered together to witness the experience that is Phantom of the Opera as rented at Blockbuster. It wasnt’ the best thing I’ve seen, but at least I had some clue as to what to do.

    We had a ball… literally.  I made sure that Gwen knew to arrive dressed up as fancy as possible.  Ken and her brother, Alex, both wore suits.  Al wore an extremely frilly ballet costume, and I wore a formal I had tucked away.  The room was decorated with streamers and metallic decorations that were hung from the ceiling.  We turned off all the lights and lit the room up with candles including a large candelabra that was used as a center piece.  Also placed around the room were red roses.

    Before we entered the room, Ken disappeared and re-emerged complete with cape and white phantom mask to get the festivities started while the classic music played.  Then we decorated masquerade masks to wear at the ball.  Be began the music and we danced.  It was a unique theme that turned into a great party, and as a plus, created some very classic photo opportunities.

    RH-9780394800769-LgMy daughter shares her birthday with the one and only Dr. Seuss.  She thought that having her 10th birthday themed to celebrate that would be a wonderful idea.  Also in the interest of trying to find a cake so difficult that even Ken could not create it, she chose Horton Hears a Who.  Well, he did not fail us; the cake was very much Horton shaped and she loved it.  Also this year, Al was introduced to trick candles. I have never seen a child so confused and motivated at the same time.

    To get everyone in the spirit of Seuss, we bought Cat in the Hat hats for everyone with the exception of the birthday girl who got her very own Horton ears to wear.  Ken’s daughter Gwen even drew whiskers on her face and dressed the part by wearing all black except for the white socks she wore on her hands and feet.  I wore my “Thing One” tank top.

    Aside from the cake, the true highlight of the party was the very special Seuss scavenger hunt.  Clues were read to her in true Seuss poetry that lead her each time to an envelope containing a few puzzle pieces.  The puzzle when completed spelled out her very last clue providing her with the location of her birthday presents.  Also each clue left out the very last word of the rhyme that she had to figure out in order to advance.  The poem was completely written by Ken; it was well done, clever and a lot of fun.

    The completed puzzle said “Look Up!” and written on the ceiling were the words “Ally look in here” with an arrow pointing to the attic.

    Alpaca is ready to start her adventure,
    So no helping her, friends, it’s not a joint venture.
    For she will be asked to go hither and tither,
    perhaps under a bed she may have to slither.
    You’re looking for pieces that fit in this puzzle.
    Again, there’s no helping, your mouths you must muzzle.
    CLUE 1 (under the rug)
    So listen to me, Al, and I’ll lead you astray
    on an adventure we’ll share on this special day.
    The first clue is simple, oh so simple and sweet.
    Why, you’re standing right on it, it’s under your [feet].
    CLUE 2: (in the freezer)
    Now see? You can do this. It just takes some thinkin’.
    Now place your new pieces right here so they’re linkin’.
    The next clue is cold, I don’t tease like a teaser.
    You might want to peer in my food freezing [freezer].
    CLUE 3: (in the living room closet)
    Now that was quite chilly, but you have your next clue.
    Are you ready to proceed and do what we do?
    Oh goody, I thought so, let me check my next note.
    It says here you should look where I hung up your [coat].
    CLUE 4: (on the bed)
    The pieces, they’re puzzling…and forming a message.
    It must be some kind of formidable presage.
    I wonder what could be at the end of your quest?
    Are you tired? If I were, I’d lie down and [rest].
    CLUE 5: (in Melissa’s purse)
    You’re getting much closer to that which you’re seeking.
    Want to find the next clue? Well, it involves speaking.
    You’ll have to ask nicely, with your Mom you’ll converse, see if she will let you look inside of her [purse].
    CLUE 6: (chalkboard walls)
    You’ve unearthed a smiley, and just one clue remains.
    You’ve proven you’re crafty at computing your brains.
    You’re quite the detective, you’ve got eyes like a hawk.
    Your last clue is hidden near the walls lined with [chalk].

    PIRATE05AMHistorically, Ken always creates for his children a birthday party complete with an elaborate homemade themed cake of their choosing. In that spirit, I decided it was his turn this year. Now, there are very few themes that can be adapted to a grown up birthday party especially when you’re trying not to use your creativity and not your wallet. But by flipping around for examples on the Internet, I found it… the perfect one… pirates!

    I’ll have to admit, it took some creative adapting since most of the examples I found online showed pictures of little Johnny turning three holding up pirate figures from his cake. But I was determined to make a fun adult(ish) pirate party so alas dear mateys, here’s what I came up with.

    I thought it was very important to get into the spirit of things and to look the part so I called around and found a friend that let me borrow her pirate costume from the previous Halloween. Then from the local party supply store I grabbed a couple of hooks, some fake stick-on mustaches, eye-patches, pirate hats for the kids and a captain’s hat for the birthday boy.  We all looked the part.

    Decorations were fairly easy. I hung up a couple of Jolly Rogers flags and then used streamer pieces to create a treasure map on the floor leading him to an X on the cabinet door where his presents were ‘buried’. The most impressive decorating happened on the cake. I put his son, Alex, in charge of that as he wanted to return the favor seeing as how his dad had created so many cakes for him. He created a treasure map complete with brown sugar sand on the islands; he did an incredible job.

    © 2009 What's on Melissa's Mind.

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