before i get into it, i just want to admit something. (if you’re here for the how-to, feel free to skip down to the photos below. poof. magic.)
i have an inner struggle with themed parties. which may be surprising, because almost all of my kids’ parties have had one theme or another. but the thought of themes makes me a bit uneasy to be honest. they are campy, and often predictable. they’re like matching your shoes to your purse to your belt.
but if you’ve ever thrown a themed party, you’ll know that they are fun to do. no really. they are ridiculously good times. it’s like a free pass for doing all kinds of silly stuff, all under the guise of “what? i’m just throwing a party for the kids.” i get all giddy preparing and scheming, one thing leads to another and my house transforms into a tripped out, theme-tastic, cliché emporium.
it all began for me at my daughter’s first birthday party. she loved ducks. although i don’t remember the exact sequence of events, i imagine my planning went something like this… “i know! i’ll bake her a cake with some ducks on it.” next thing i knew, the party evolved into a duck-themed quack-fest complete with ducky decorations and hors d’oeuvres, every ducky detail planned out right down to the duck candles swimming on her cake and duckwiches carved carefully by hand. sleep deprived new mom manic grin? check and check!
every year, and with each subsequent child, i make the same promise to myself : don’t get carried away like you did with the ducks. it’s a lot of work, and it makes people uncomfortable. i imagine the hushed whispers, “ana really needs to get out of the house,” and “seriously, who has time for this?” and “these duckwiches are delicious and so clever, ana is clearly a birthday party theme GENIUS.” my ego always wins in the end. so do you see my dilemma?
and while i don’t think i’ve ever been able to recreate the duck-party extravaganza (having more children doesn’t mean getting better at doing things, it means getting by with doing less. just ask my youngest, who is the only one of my three without his “first year” scrapbook. he’s 4 and a half now…), i do still have a lot of fun with themes.
here are some details from our magic themed party…
first of all, a sign is helpful in case there is any doubt as to what this party is gonna be all about.
next comes tangible treats and ways to pass the time. we set up a teach-yourself-magic table, with books on magic (thanks to our library) and a few magic-making props… hats, cards, coins, and of course, magic wands.
how i made the magic wands…
i got some plain wood doweling from the dollar store and spray-painted them black. i used a black sharpie to touch up the spots i missed. normal black latex paint would work just fine i’m sure.
i put a thin layer of glue on the ends.
then, i broke my own no-glitter-in-this-house-ever! rule and dipped the sticky end of the doweling into the glitter.
i disposed the remaining glitter into the garbage, lest it fall into the wrong hands. really, anyone’s hands is the wrong hands. glitter is impossible to get rid of. it’s like a universal law of physics, “e=mc². oh, and glitter can not be destroyed.” i still have rogue red glitter that appears randomly on my face from an ill-chosen set of christmas cards i wrote…3 years ago.
let it dry and tap the extra glitter off, and that’s it. magic!
i also made a cake:
it’s hard to see, but the white thing on the left is a couple of playing cards made from melted white chocolate poured into candy moulds. i found the moulds at the local bulk barn. the magic wand is a black liquorice stick with two small white marshmallows pierced onto the top with a toothpick.
i also had a bit of fun with some cupcakes…
and scattered a few magic quotations around the room…
that was it. what really brought the theme to life though was… the guests. they all came with a trick or two, or were willing to learn and share some magic with the birthday boy.
and then, the clean-up.
while it turns out to be infinitely easier to clean up than glitter, i’m still finding a bit of magic scattered here and there.