High School Musical -8yr- Outside Stage
Dawn in Bradenton, FL
Our daughter loves HighSchool Musical (HSM) and since we have a pool in our backyard (and her birthday is May 30), she really leaned toward HSM 2 and decided our house would be the country club. Invitations were done on our computer on 8 1/2x11 paper that had a theatrical border. They read...What time is it? Its Summertime! You are invited to Lava Springs Country Club to celebrate XXXXX's 8th birthday; date time address; Swimming singing food & fun; practice your favorite HSM song for our group and individual show." Given the fact that school was out for the summer we had our party on a Monday night at 6pm and we invited families of my daughter's friends and not just the friends.
DECORATIONS were very simple and inexpensive. From the HSM website I downloaded some clipart. Using on overhead projector I blew up the Lava Springs CC emblem/logo and painted it for the front entrance of our fence gate (we had everyone enter thru our fence not our house). Then using banner paper that we had on hand my daughter a friend of hers and myself painted all sorts of signs like you would for a pep rally. I did a "Staff Party" sign and the girls used a lot of lines from the HSM songs. We hung them on our fence. My husband hung patio/christmas lights around our pool anchored to lantern posts that we already had in our yard. Then the big attraction the stage.
We borrowed a pop-up 10x10 canopy and anchored it to a plywood stage. In hindsight I wouldn't use the plywood and just let the ground be the platform. I had purchased some full-size burgundy sheets ($3 each) on clearance. These along with some clothesline and specialty hooks from a hardware store were used to section off a "backstage" area. Everything was anchored to the fence or the canopy. We positioned the stage in the corner of our yard so the fence helped section it off as well. Behind the stage I put a bunch of props that we had in the house - sunglasses blow up guitars beads microphones etc. We also made "Star Dazzle Awars" by purchasing small star tropies from Oriental Trading. We used painters tape and taped off the base then spray painted the star pink. My daughter added "bling" to the painted stars.
ACTIVITIES...As the kids arrived we let them swim. I had pre-recuited dads to be "lifeguards" in 1/2 hour increments just to watch the pool and keep things safe. I had recruited a very funny quit-witted dad to MC the event. So he gathered the kids/parents to the stage area where lawn chairs were set up and a cd player hidden off to the side and opened with a welcome etc. then had the audience chant "summer! summer! summer! summer!" and my daughter and 4 of her friends came out and did their dance that they had rehearsed for weeks.
They had made up their own "moves" to "What Time Is It?" Then with help from 2 adults the kids were given cards with pictures of Troy Gabriella Sharpee and Ryan on them. Each became a team with an adult leader. Each leader had a cd player and a cd with their group's song. I had pre-arranged the groups to make sure there were some outgoing kids with the shy kids. The MC told the kids if they wanted to eat they had to dance! The groups were to gather together and put together an impromptu dance to a pre-picked HSM song (we picked 4 fast ones & didn't use the "mushy" ones). While the kids were practicing in separate areas we got the food ready.
We let the kids practice eat and swim and called them back later to perform. The MC introduced each act and called out the kids names. All performed while the audience ate fresh popcorn & everything was video taped. At the end of the performances we brought my daughter to the stage along with the cake and everyone sang "Happy Birthday". While I cut the cake back on the porch the MC had the audience choose the winning group by round of applause. I had debated about giving prizes to the winning team - the kids seemed happy just to know that they had won! We served cake & ice cream while my daughter opened her gifts on stage. Then back to swimming til moms and dads were ready to leave.
FOOD - we kept the food pretty simple. Hamburgers Hotdogs with all the condiments peanutbutter sandwiches individual bags of chips (chips get stale very quickly outside) fruit bakedbeans carrots/dip. Drinks were soda/water/capri suns in two coolers labeled. My husband grilled and he had been cooking and putting the meat in sterno burners to keep it all hot. It worked well.
CAKE - was a standard HSM design from the bakery. For ice cream I had pre-scooped ice cream into cupcake paper holders and put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet a day before. What a time saver at the party!!
FAVORS - all came from Oriental Trading. Mostly "star" items and "basketball" items. When the kids from the "winning" team left I also handed them a "star dazzle award" that we had made weeks before. Even the boys liked the pink trophy. All the kids got to pick a bag of chips to take home and some even took left over popcorn. Swimming makes kids hungry! Although I had all the "activities" done in the standard 2 hour time frame we had families here til after 10pm at night just hanging out at the pool under the lights (with bug spray).
THANK YOU notes were a "Lava Springs Gazette" which I downloaded from the HSM website. The articles thanked the MC and all the parents that helped out highlight of the winning team and pictures of all the groups. Each note was personalized with an article that thanked each child for their specific gift. A dvd of the event was given to the girls in the opening act and the MC. The most important item - get your close friends to help! They'll love having a job and being part of a great party. "