A favorite movie can survive numerous viewings and still never become boring to a kid. Why not make it the centerpiece to a blissfully low-key at-home birthday party? The birthday girl will love screening it for her friends. And if she's truly enchanted by Hollywood, she has likely already added "movie star" to the ever-growing list of things she wants to be when she grows up. But there's no need to wait until your little starlet is discovered to make her feel like a celebrity.
By throwing her a fabulous Hollywood-themed birthday party, she'll get to play the lead all day -- and it doesn't have to be a big-budget production. The party takes place mostly indoors, so you can host it rain or shine. And it's fun and easy to plan. The biggest decisions to make -- with the help of your child, of course -- will be coming up with a who's who of classmates to put on the guest list and deciding which movie to feature.
Pizza and nachos
Miniature candy bars
Plastic tableware and straws
Concession uniform and sign
Red felt "carpet"
Film for instant camera
Glitter paper for stars
Foil stars (various sizes)
Colored electrical tape
Pearl string lights
Garden box and foam blocks
Movie Screen How-To
Under a homemade marquee (see below for how-to), any television cabinet can become a veritable screening room. Hang red velvet panels on a tension rod, and tie back with a gold cord. The doors are decorated with autographed head shots of all the guests: As they arrive, snap their pictures with an instant camera; we backed the photos with stars cut from glitter paper and affixed them to the doors with removable adhesive. To make the Hollywood sign, attach crack-and-peel letters to bamboo skewers. Insert into foam blocks cut to fit inside a plastic garden box, along with a smattering of lollipops.
1. Start with a trifold foam board (available at office-supply stores), which is scored so it will stand up. To create rounded edges, we traced the outline of a dinner plate and serving platter onto the foam board with a pencil and cut it out with a utility knife.
2. Use colored tape and foil star stickers to decorate the marquee. Crack-and-peel letters can be used to spell out "Happy Birthday" and "Starring" your birthday girl.
3. To light the marquee, you'll need a string of pearl lights. On the back of the board, make marks every 2 inches. Position the lights along the marks, and secure them with white tape.
To turn a black canister light into a spotlight, cut four trapezoids out of black foam board. Secure the top of one bulldog clip to the back of each card using black electrical tape, and then clip the cards to the canister's edges.
Concession Stand How-To
One of the best things about going to the movies is making a trip to the concession stand. During an intermission, the kids can step up to the counter -- a kitchen island or table lined with candy bars, popcorn, and soda -- and place their order. Help Dad look the part with a paper hat and a name tag (from a uniform store).
Concession food ideas:
Store-bought nachos and cheese can be a treat when each girl gets her own container.
Serve soda in plastic cups with lids and colorful straws.
Guests can munch on popcorn once the movie resumes; delivered pizza rounds out this low-maintenance lunch.
Party stores and novelty shops have aisles full of sparkling faux jewelry. Feather boas boost the glam quotient (if boys are on the guest list, include top hats). Make plastic sunglasses sparkle by adding stick-on foil stars. You can also give away candy, as well as colorful pens and small spiral notebooks for guests to collect one another's autographs.