I’d recently finished reading Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with my son Hugo, and his head was full of golden tickets, chocolate waterfalls, and strange little singing oompa loompas. Of course, I knew I had to share the original 1971 movie with him, and when Mr Wonka invited his guests into the edible garden at the heart of the factory, the look on Hugo’s face was exactly how I felt when I watched it as a child – you just really, REALLY want to be one of those kids gorging themselves on edible toadstools and lollipop flowers! I knew I had to try and recreate the magic of the chocolate factory for Hugo somehow for his 7th birthday party.
I love the original 1971 Wonka movie, with its awesome retro aesthetic and the brilliance of Gene Wilder. There is so much to love about the book, and even more to love about how it was adapted the screen. There was no question for me that I wanted to emulate the look and feel of the characters and props from that movie. I designed the invitations and cake based on the classic Wonka chocolate bar packaging, and I really wanted to feature Willy Wonka and oompa loompas everywhere I possibly could. They are such brilliant characters and you can’t help but smile when you look at them.
The party guests enjoyed everything from marshmallow toadstools, to toffee apples, to golden eggs, and washed it all down with fizzy lifting drinks. The party favours were wrapped lollipops and Wonka chocolate bars, and in between games and a sit-down lunch, everyone had a turn in the Wonka photo booth. I designed and created all of the printables and props based on so many of the fun ideas from the book and movie, and cut and assembled them all by hand to create tables with lots of depth and interest.
Most of all, I just wanted to create a party full of energy and colour that would make the kids’ eyes bug out as soon as they walked in. And it worked!