A freelance writer living with my family in glorious Newcastle. I love up-cycling, re-cycling and if I'm desperate, bi-cycling.
Published June 17th 2013
With some added extras you can do a party to remember
Birthdays used to be cinch when I was a kid. Anyone with a cake, some junk food and perhaps a decent round of 'pass the parcel' could put on a good show. These days it's way harder. Kids have higher expectations of entertainment and have a shorter attention span so they get bored much quicker. All this makes birthday parties a challenge that it seems only super parents can pull off.
However, one idea that seems to strike a chord with kids is the movie party idea. Yes it's true that movies are no longer a great thrill for kids as they can have Blu-ray quality and surround sound atmosphere right in their own living rooms, making a big movie theme night and adding some extras are sure to make it an evening/day to remember.
It appeals to all ages The good thing about movie parties is that you can adjust them to suit the age of the participants. Younger kids might suit having only one feature, coming for some food and games before it and then settle them down for the movie before they leave. Older kids can have more than one feature, have a higher rating on the movie of course and if you have the technology, you can even set it all up outside for some outdoor cinema fun. The latter even works for savvy adults, all you need are some comfy outdoor lounge chairs or picnic rugs and cushions work, too. In winter, this is great if you have an outdoor fire and cosy blankies. Grab some sparklers and glow sticks for added fun.
So consider hiring a projector and screen to make it more of an experience.
Themes OK these are going to work very well if you have young kids coming around to watch say, "The Pirates! Band of Misfits". Kids will love dressing up as their favourite pirates or whatever you choose, just make sure it is simple. You can download various printables from the internet to help you. Just do a search on pirate movie party printables or whatever your theme is for some great ideas. I printed off some movie party labels for water bottles here that was a great source of interest for our party attendants. Older crowds are still willing to dress up and this always adds to the fun as long as it is not "lame".
Games - make sure you have prizes Pass the parcel - Guess what? Teenagers don't mind a bit of pass the parcel if you update it. Instead of a parcel, pass around a big bag full of weird and whacky dress ups. I used this for some 13 year old girls recently and went to the local op shop to pick up some hilarious skirts, granny nickers, massive bras, hats scarves and nighties. Play some awesome tunes as the bag gets passed around, when the music stops, whoever has the bag must reach in, grab the first thing they can and put it on over the top of their clothes.
Pass the peanut - give everyone a plastic spoon and get them to line up. Kids must pass on a peanut onto each other's spoon without dropping it.
Cucumber pass - get the kids to hold a cucumber between their legs and they must pass it on to each other without dropping. Looks pretty funny. (This can also be done with an orange held under the chin).
Footsy balloon bust - tie a blown up balloon on to your legs and then have a competition to see who remains with their balloon intact. (Hide your dog for this one).
Food Pinterest has a bounty of movie party food ideas. For cakes, the popcorn cupcakes are hard to beat and super easy. Just make vanilla cupcakes (Betty Crocker packet mix is quite good). Meanwhile cut up some white mini marshmallows and push them back together twisting so they end up looking like popcorn. Ice the cupcakes with vanilla icing and just stick on the "popcorn". For added effect, I bought striped cupcake papers from Spotlight and printed my own "popcorn" labels on the computer to cut out and apply when they were finished.
Popcorn boxes can be found in Hot Dollar shops for around $2 for a pack of 8. They look great for popcorn or just use them for filling with lollies. I also bought some cheap plastic cocktail glasses to fill with lollies and had trays of lolly boxes lined up which looked great.
If you are doing dinner mini hotdogs served retro movie style are a winner, and easy. I served these on trays with matching red and white striped serviettes. We also recently did mini hamburgers which are easy with pre-made meatballs squashed down, lettuce, cheese and a jar of aioli (or kids might prefer just tomato sauce). Excellent.