Tie Dye Happy Face -8yr- Flower Power
Lorna in Bechtelsville, PA, USA
My daughter's last birthday party (she turned 8) was a "Tie dye/rainbow/happy face" theme which was lots of fun to do.
I made the invitations on my computer, saying "It's a Tie-Dye Pool Party--Groovy!!" and used lots of "flower power" clip art and a 1960's-style font. Some kids (and all of our family, of course) wore tie-dyed shirts/bathing suits (it was in late August), since they were currently in fashion again (I remember the 60's when they first were around!).
For decorations I had found a whole matching set of "In the Groove" happy face/flower power table cover/paper plates/cups/hanging decorations at the party store which fit in perfectly. When the tables in my back porch were set with the whole ensemble, it looked groovy! I also found marble-ized balloons which, when blown up, looked like they were dipped and swirled in paint--they were really beautiful and looked tie-dyed. I put clusters of them all over the porches and yard and attached one (helium-filled) to each loot bag (you could also use regular plain-colored balloons in rainbow colors all mixed in groups or have a balloon rainbow made).
The loot bags matched the tableware set. For party favors, I found lots of different flower power/rainbow/happy face goodies, including rings, rulers, pencil sharpeners, gel pens, pencils, etc. and included lots of candy (bought in bulk from Sam's Club) that came in assorted fruit flavors and/or rainbow colors only (no chocolate) like Starbursts, Skittles, Dum Dum lollipops, Nerds, fruit-flavored gum, etc. Oriental Trading has lots of 60's themed toys that fit in well, too. Along with the pizza for lunch I kept the rainbow theme: several different fruit punches, rainbow-colored gummy worms, M&M's, etc.
The cake was also tie-dyed and was easy to do: Make a regular white or yellow round cake and include multi-colored cupcake sprinkles in the batter. Frost with white frosting and use tubes of gel icing in several different colors to draw thick concentric circles on top; take a toothpick and drag through the icing toward the center to blur the rings a bit to look tie-dyed (I did the same for cupcakes I took into her class and that worked great, too). I also served rainbow sherbet with the cake and even found rainbow chocolate ice cream by Breyers which had five different chocolate flavors/colors.
Our big activity at the party (besides cooling off in our pool) was to make tie-dyed T-shirts. I bought a plain white T-shirt for each guest (I didn't want to use undershirts which are too thin but found medium-weight shirts for $3 each at Wal-Mart--look around for bargains on these in advance.) Or you could ask guests to bring a shirt if you prefer. I had found a tie-dying kit at a toy store which had the dye, setting agent, squirt bottles, rubber bands, plastic gloves, and directions for the project. I had a few adults help me and let the kids tie their shirts up and had them select the colors they wanted us to use (I didn't let the kids handle the dyes themselves since the dyes were very messy and staining to their shoes, clothing, hands, etc.) I had it all set up on card tables in the front lawn and the kids took turns working on their shirts a few at a time while others went swimming.
The kind of dye kit I had called for the shirts to rest for 24 hours and then be untied and rinsed, so I finished the shirts for them the next day (have them write their initials on the shirt tags first) and sent them home to the kids through school the next week (I printed out little notes for their loot bags ahead of time explaining that their shirts would be delivered later). (After I washed them all, I hung them all out on our clothesline in a row and took several pictures of my daughter in front of them--very colorful!) I saw several of the kids wearing their tie-dyed shirts often during the following months and I bet they enjoyed making them themselves. I think the kids had a good time and I certainly enjoyed pulling the theme together and finding things that fit in. I found the rainbow/happy face/groovy theme to be lots of fun, and it worked well for both boy and girl guests. It was truly a far out party!
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