Idea No.


Series of Unfortunate Events Book -12yr- Theme Food



October 2010


Ginger in Denver, Colorado, USA

Runner Up

Book Reading Party

Series of Unfortunate Events Mason's 12th Birthday Party  My son just finished reading the Series of Unfortunate Events and requested a birthday party related to that theme.  I hadn't read them, so the first thing that I did was read all 13 books.  I found them a quick and entertaining read, especially since I read them with the intent of creating a party from them.  I used several references from the books, so will try to explain as I go. 

Invitations:  For the invitation I created the newspaper from the books written by the reporter that followed them and continually got things wrong.  I found a pencil sketch of the orphans and used it as the artist rendition of the wanted children.  I also created a city landscape under the Daily Punctilio headline.  It was set up in three columns, with the sketch in the middle with WANTED printed above it.  Here is how it read:

Crazed Criminals Searched for World Wide By Geraldine Julienne The three Baudelaire orphans are wanted for several crimes taking place in several places.   We first found them arrested for murder in the Village of Fowl Devotees.  They managed to escape from jail and headed off to create havoc in several other locations.   Recently they have become arsonists as well.  They reportedly have burned the Heimlich Hospital, Madam Lulu's Carnival and the Hotel Denouement. Along with the burnings, they have killed the third triplet, previously thought to be a legend, Dewey D. They were last seen in the company of the arch villain, Count Omar assumed dead.  A meeting to track down these villainous orphans, disguised as M's birthday party, has been arranged.   Please meet at: The B____ Bistro ____ Way Denver, Colorado You must call to announce your intentions, be they villain or volunteer, at ____ by September the 17th. The meeting will occur on Friday, September the 24th  at 5 pm. You will be fed and generally expected much of. I printed it out on grey cardstock and folded it up to mail it.  I found some large eyeball stickers and sealed each of the papers with one. 

Decorations:  The symbol of the eye is used everywhere in these books.  I used the same as the guide for the decorations.  I made a large eye out of cardboard and painted it to look the one in the movie.  I hung this on the front door.  My husband was dressed up like Count Olaf and greeted each guest at the door with the infamous, Hello, Hello, Helloooo!  Everything inside was covered in black.  I used black sheets to cover our existing furniture.   Along the walls and hanging from the ceiling I put creepy cardboard eyes painted like the one on the door, hanging from wires. I found four dozen metallic, dark, battery operated votive candles on Oriental Trading Company.  I put these in sconces on the walls and on tables and shelves.  These served as the only light sources.  It was light enough for them to see, but had a dark and sinister feeling to it.  Between the dark sheets and the lighting, the eyes looked like they were floating and watching you are you walked by them.  Some even turned in the breeze to give the effect that they were focused on you specifically.  

I was dressed as Aunt Josephine and directed everyone to the dining room.  I made a centerpiece on the table where we ate dinner.  The focal point was a sugar bowl that I made out of clay, and glazed to look like an eye.  This is referred to in several of the books. I found bubblegum eyeballs and put them in a large fancy crystal dish, then placed the sugar bowl in the middle of them on a block of florist foam. I found plastic key chains that had crabs in them, referred to in book five.  I used moss to surround the crystal eyeball dish and sugar bowl.  I put the crab key chains so that they were sticking out of it.  I found a couple of black crows from book seven, at the store and had them perched up on the moss pecking into the crystal dish.  I also had real mushrooms looking like they were growing out of the moss from book eleven.  Propped on the side of the moss was a real coconut from book thirteen.  On either side of the moss centerpiece I had brass candelabras with candles burning in them.  I used black plates and silverware.  I found plastic martini glasses on OTC for the drinks. I used a black table cloth underneath.   

Food:  The food was a focal point of the party.  As I read through each book, I noted a specific food in each one.  There was always a reference to food, and often the recipe included along with it.  I created a menu in reference to it, but without any specifics.  This is the listing of the foods as they were on the menu:   Drinks Aqueous Martinis  (The Ersatz Elevator) Cinnamon Hot Chocolate  (The Carnivorous Carnival) Coconut Cordial  (The End) Appetizers Cold Cucumber Soup  (The Wide Window) False Spring Rolls  (The Slippery Slope) Medusoid Mycelium in Wasabi  (The Grim Grotto) Salads Bed of Greens  (The Austere Academy) Fruit Salad  (The Hostile Hospital) Main Dish Curry Rice  (The Penultimate Peril) Gum  (The Miserable Mill) Huevos Rancheros  (The Vile Village) Pasta Puttanesca  (The Bad Beginning) Dessert Coconut Cake  (The Reptile Room) I made the cover of the menu with a big eye and called it Very Fanciful Delicacies, which goes along with the coded VFD throughout the series.  I printed the menus out on parchment cardstock and laminated them.  I tied a black ribbon around the fold and tied it off with a fancy tassel knot at the top.  Most of the recipes that weren't listed in the book I looked up online.  The martinis were actually water with olives in them (that's how they were in the books). 

The coconut cordial I made without any alcohol and just blended coconut milk, vanilla and sugar together.  The medusoid myceliums were actually cooked mushrooms in a wasabi sauce.  The guests sampled all the food and even liked some of it!  My favorite quote was, My parents would never believe I am eating this food.  I never would have at home!  I also made him eyeball cupcakes that we ate at the end of the party.  I found eyeball lollipops and pushed them into the top of black frosted cupcakes.  Finally I served Wonka's gummy leeches (referred to in book three) and gummy mushrooms (referred to in book eleven) during the movie. 

Activities:  I used the orphans talents to create the activities.  Since Sunny was always biting things and had extremely sharp teeth, I decided to have her activity bobbing for apples.  I bought plastic, glow in the dark vampire teeth from OTC.  I used a black cauldron filled with water, and one apple.  I'm a germ freak, so I dumped the water and rinsed the cauldron out between each person.  I had the teeth under a bright light in another room to make them glow.  Each person would put in the teeth and try to pick up the apple.  We timed them to see who could do it the fastest.  The winner won a hardcover copy of the 13th book, The End.  It was hard covered because Sunny liked to bite things that were hard. 

The second activity was related to Klaus ability to read and decipher word clues.  I made up a sheet that looked like this:  Klaus Seriously Unbreakable Code Challenge Break the code using the information below.  Find each coded letter on the bottom row, and read up to break the code.I wrote the following out below, then changed it to the symbols font on mirosoft word, to make it look like a code.  This is what it said: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ Decoded it said, If you don't want to decode a very unfortunate message, stop what you are doing, put your pencil down and admit defeat. 

For those of you that are gluttons for punishment or just of the attitude of needing to finish something you started, you may continue.  Please don't say that I didn't warn you.  This is wishing that you all hadn't wasted your time coming to this seriously unfortunate birthday party.  It is with a woeful attitude that I must inform you that M____ will have an extremely unhappy birthday party this year due to all the grim tales that will be told this evening. 

I gave each guest a notebook like the Quagmire triplets to write down the decoded message.  I also bought black pencils that I had personalized with Series of Unfortunate Events on the side.  The guests had to decipher the puzzle and the first one done won a copy of the puzzle book.  The final activity was related to Violet's ability to invent things.  I found wire puzzles on OTC.  The challenge was to take these random pieces of wire and make them into 15 different shapes.  The first one done won a DVD copy of the movie Series of Unfortunate Events with Jim Carey.  We finished the evening by watching our copy of the movie.  

Favors:  The guests collected their favors throughout the night.  I gave them each a black plastic goody bag.  At each event, they were able to put their favors and candy in them.  What they each ended up with were:  plastic vampire teeth, a crow notebook, pencil, wire puzzle, crab key chain, gum eyeballs, crime scene gum, eyeball bubbles and a small bag of Wonka's slugs and mushroom candies.   

The guests had a great time and were really focused during the party trying to figure everything out.  They thought things were cool and creepy, which made it a big hit with twelve year olds!

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