It truly surprised me when my daughter came to me eighteen months prior to her seventh birthday and exclaimed that she wanted an Alice in Wonderland party. This was before the Johnny Depp movie came out and she hadn't seen any of the films, including the Disney animated version (although we owned it, still in cellophane). She tends to pick her parties in advance, but I still didn't believe this was the real deal, even when she described the slide into the rabbit hole, among other details I was unsure I could recreate. Although we didn't slide into any rabbit holes, she seemed thrilled about the execution of her party. Most little girls would probably like Alice, but my Redhead actually wanted this party to have an emphasis on The Queen of Hearts and was The Queen of Hearts for Halloween prior to her party as well as at her party. (Her birthday is in July.) And she will gladly tell you that she likes the Queen of Hearts because she chops off heads, or has someone do it for her. Fortunately, I had many months to plan it and could hit both Valentine's Day and Easter clearance. (This was great for picking up Queen of Hearts type decor as well as Webkin Easter bunnies). The invitations were a combination of an idea I found online as well as something I had already written up and drawn out. I ended up combining it with the online idea to save time since the blogger was nice enough to allow others to use her templates.
Normally, we use the same building each year, but this time around was a bit more chaotic as the other building had been sold. In former parties, I was used to having the night before to set up and the morning of, and this time I only had TWO HOURS beforehand, and even with the aid of a close friend, we still couldn't make up the time crunch. Plus, they had just installed two air conditioners that morning (my husband helped the Pastor do so) so it was VERY hot in the building, although I was far too busy to ever notice. Anyway, besides not getting all my decor up that I had spent months making, we did okay in bringing Wonderland to life. I had made lots and lots of characters and other Wonderland-esque items out of all this nifty posterboard my father-in-law had given me from cave auctions (I layered the posterboard, like scrapbooking). Those were around the room. His cave auction finds came in handy a lot because he had this huge roll of goldish-colored fabric that he had no idea what to do with and I used that a lot on the tables, just because. (My original plan was to layer lots and lots of old vintage floral tablecloths for a shabby chic feel, but I had trouble finding them.) I also had gotten this huge roll of paper from my father-in-law that I used to make Mad Hatter hats. I shaped the hats around a tall plastic coffee can, then used funky duct tapes to keep the shape of a top hat. The kids were able to decorate those with a variety of materials including feather boas, plastic flowers, vintage ribbon, fake flower petals, foam stickers, glitter glue, pom-poms, feathers, playing cards, pipecleaners, markers, and anything else I could possibly find.
Luckily, I made the hats beforehand to save time, but transporting them was a bit difficult as they took up a lot of room in our cars and we didn't want to crush them.
The goody bags, or rather, "goody hats"-- I used child-sized plastic top hats from Oriental Trading and put vintage ribbon around each. The girls and boys had differing items. It was also dependent on age. The girls older than 5 received miniature porcelain tea sets, while younger girls received a an Alice in Wonderland coloring book. All girls received a pair of white gloves (only because I found them for a quarter at Target after Easter). The boys received a magic set that was "pencil through the glass" trick. All kids received a magic rabbits magic set, stretchy caterpillars, inflatable flamingos (although I left them in their packaging), magic wands, mushroom tops, small plastic flamingos, white stuffed rabbits (some kids received little Webkinz, others just small white plush rabbits), a confetti bag, and a Kool-aid fruit blast bottle that had a "drink me" tag on it. I used Valentine's day tissue paper inside each hat, displayed everything inside, then used plastic wrap on the outside, tied them all with tags that said, "A Very Merry Un-birthday to" with each child's name on them that I made on my computer and layered on leftover colored posterboard and cut with edged scissors. I hung the tags with cute ribbon and then finished each off with a bow I made out of playing cards. If possible, I used cards that had their age or initials on them, or a combination. I had wrapped the hats in cellophane on purpose so the kids would have to open them up AT HOME. The kids also didn't get them until it was time to go home. I made a scavenger hunt type list up that said, "To-Do List- Alice-Style" specifically so they would fill these out, and at the end of the party, they had to turn them in for their goody hats. Along with the lists, they each got an Alice pen that was also a necklace. These were PERFECT for the scavenger hunt and a fantastic find from Target's dollar bins. The to-do list had the activities listed, as well as things they should spot during their time at the party.
Our face-painter was running late, so we went ahead and split the kids into two groups instead of three. The children were split between making the Mad Hatter hats and "Edible Teacups." I found the edible teacup idea on Disney's site. We used striped shortbread cookies, some frosting, gummy lifesavers, and ice cream cones to construct these. The top of the cone is the "cup", the cookie was the bottom of the teacup, and the lifesaver, after being cut in half, was the handle. I had various candies inside thrift store teacups. The kids then could use teaspoons and choose any candies they wanted for their cups and mix and match until their cups were full (which didn't take much). After that, we put the cups inside cupcake boxes I bought from Oriental Trading and seal them with "Eat Me" stickers I had made. After they were finished, they put the boxes at their place setting at the table and then headed over to make their hats.
Even though the face painter was late (with good reason- her toddler had been at the ER), it worked out well having the kids already doing the other activities because they loved watching each other have their faces painted and she paints the WHOLE face, depending on the design.
The food- I used my chocolate fountain again and for this party, I wanted crazy foods for the chocolate fountain since it's a mad world. I even had pickles! (Yuck!) My daughter wanted edible mushrooms and I made them out of edible sugar cookies and large cocoa covered marshmallows. No one ate them. Oh well. there seemed to be a theme going with lots of excess food after the party was over. We had strawberries, gummy worms, bananas, multiple types of cookies, different types of marshmallows, sugar cubes (which was supposed to be for the tea no one drank, but children AND adults were eating them straight and even dipping them in chocolate), Twizzlers, and sugar wafers. I put out skewers for dipping. The kids liked the punch fountain more than anything (they always do) and this time around, I kept it at their height instead of higher.
The main thing my daughter insisted upon doing at this party was "chop off heads" so with the help of my brain, some tissue paper, and a foam axe from Target's dollar bins, I came up with a hot potato kind of game. I bought the song "Paint the Roses Red" from Amazon and made paper roses out of white tissue paper that I hot glued onto the leaves from plastic roses. (I had used the plastic roses for a wreath.) Then with the help of my hot glue yet again, I took a paintbrush from the dollar store and attached a red washable marker to it and covered the attached part with rose-printed ribbon and added a bow. The kids sat around in a circle on the floor and each received a rose. As the music played, they passed around the paintbrush and "painted" their rose and when the music went off, my daughter said, "Off with their head!" in her best little accent and the kids were out and hung with her. The kids seemed to enjoy it. After that, we hit the pinata. I found a casino-styled one at Party City that my daughter picked out and filled it with all sorts of mad things- silly bands, heart rings, silly band heart and star shaped rings, hopping hearts, Valentine's Day frog finger puppets, stretchy hearts, heart shaped bracelets, and lots and lots of Dum-Dum suckers. I even put some leftover items from prior parties in there- including some clown noses. They put their pinata finds into white lunch sacks that I made to look like playing cards using their age as the number and their names in the middle. I made all of that out of red contact paper my father-in-law got from, you guessed it, cave auctions. Except their names. I ended up cheating and just printing those off on large labels, also from the cave auctions. (Are you sensing a theme here?)
When it was time for birthday cake, I had "un-birthday cakes" for each child made out of regular sized cupcakes with a mini cupcake placed on top and a swirly candle. We lit each child's candle and played the Un-birthday song, also from Amazon. They blew out their candles and then it was the Birthday Girl's turn. I almost forgot about presents until a child asked me (thank goodness!).
Because I had so many e-mails after last year's party of children leaving their favors at the party, I had a checklist and wouldn't let any children leave until they had EVERYTHING. (They also "picked" a pinwheel flower out of the flower garden.)
Our party may not look as refined as most of the ones on this site, but the kids seemed to have a good time and we received a multitude of compliments from their parents.
The Queen of Hearts of course!
Only one slide of cake was taken from the main cake, but the kids enjoyed their "unbirthday" cupcakes which was a regular cupcake with a little cupcake on top.
Activities / Games
Edible teacups, face-painting, Mad hatter hat making, "Paint the roses red" game, and pinata.
We won't type about that....
The goody hats- a child-sized plastic top hat with a white rabbit, magic tricks, miniature porcelain tea sets for the girls, a magic wand, mushroom top, stretchy caterpillar, inflatable flamingo, a confetti bag, small plastic flamingo, and a Kool-Aid blast that had a tag around it that said "drink me." The kids also took home pinwheel flowers, their edible teacups, Alice necklace pen, and hats they made. I tied a balloon around each cellophane-wrapped goody hat.
When one little girl approached me and asked if they could watch my daughter open her presents. I'd wondered how we had gotten done early. That NEVER happens! I'm so glad she asked, otherwise, I would have forgotten!
What People Ate
A variety of foods- mostly things they dipped into the chocolate fountain.
What People Drank
Punch from the punch fountain. No one actually drank the tea.
Most Touching Moment
This one little girl just cracked all of us up. She took the hat making quite seriously.
The Queen of Hearts chopping off heads.