Sail Over and Under the Sea at Your Next Party


Combine a sea cruise with an undersea adventure for an oceangoing theme party your guests will remember as vividly as a vacation.

The tools for building this maritime setting will be nautical decorations and under-the-sea props. The combo is ideal for entertaining large parties such as weddings, proms, boat shows and post-regatta receptions, though it shouldn’t be hard to downsize the model a bit for smaller venues, too.

Start by examining your party entrance to see how you might transform it to suggest guests are embarking a ship. A nautical style banner over the door, such as Anchors Away or Nautical Customized Memories, would be a festive choice and coordinate with anchor cutouts, porthole cutouts, signal flag garland and other oceangoing wall and hanging decorations.

Continue wall decorations on the inside of the entrance, but do vary them, for example by hanging up ship’s wheels and life preservers. Also, on this side place a life preserver arch and ship’s rails to guide guests onto the “deck.” (This will make a fine photo op, so be sure to station the “ship’s photographer” there when the time comes.)

Next, you’ll build a transition from the ship to the under-the-sea portion of your decorating. Set Sail wave standees, draped lengths of dark blue water patterned gossamer, beach room rolls or bubbles-patterned flat papers are just a few of your transitional options.

Your choices for creating the underwater backdrop are equally numerous and you can check them out in Undersea Backgrounds. Compose a palette of background colors that include both blues and greens to widen your options for props and other decorations – for example, wouldn’t our new teal floral sheeting prove breathtaking on party tables?

From there you’ll be ready to add large decorations and lighting. We love the string lights with the Under-the-Sea kit as shown above, because the imagination will turn the twinklers into streams of rising bubbles. Place fairy berries in clam shells as glowing pearls, too.

When it comes to favors for this combination theme, may we suggest personalized bubbles, a frame favor such as the simple “Water” frame, or a glassware favor from the Bursting Bubbles collection.

Ready to play Poseidon? So are we! Explore our marine party themes today.

It’s Cuba Night! Host a Havana Party


Shake out the winter blahs with a hot Havana party that’s full of tropical warmth and Cuba’s unique Caribbean flair.

Havana Party Settings
Consider a Havana theme for cigar parties, winter fundraisers and New Years’ celebrations. Lots of color and music with distinctively Cuban rhythms are key.

In warmer climates, apply your Havana theme for a party around the pool or at the marina with nautical party supplies and palm tree décor. Colder locales can shut out the snow and cold by bringing the party indoors and re-creating the Tropicana.

What About the Tropicana?
In the era of lavish hotels and casinos (1930s-1950s) the Tropicana was the center of the nightclub universe.

The Tropicana originally consisted of a casino, an indoor dining room and stage and an outdoor dining room and stage. It is the outdoor venue, set among the royal palms, beset with voluptuous, scantily clad showgirls, that is pictured when imagining Havana’s exotic nightlife.

The legendary Tropicana is still in Havana – minus the casino – and the outdoor stage is a lovely setting to re-create, even for indoor events.

Start with the Palm Horizon backdrop silhouette, with its amazing 8-foot by 32-foot dimensions, to suggest the outdoor venue, and the Havana Nightclub Bandstand, shown above right, as your showstopper piece.

Take your cue from the bandstand piece for your color palette. You’ll be able to find bright pinks, greens and yellows in solid color tableware, for example, that you can mix-and-match to your heart’s delight. Place these bright pieces against midnight blue or deep purple table covers and skirts, and tropical luau centerpieces.

Back a stage/DJ area with colorful metallic fringe curtains, and finish decorating with strategic placement of free-standing palm tree décor and theme mylar balloons in palm tree, parrot and flamingo shapes.

Havana Food & Drink
Cuban culture took the hamburger and transformed it into a frita. We recommend you find a recipe for fritas, such as this one from Three Guys in Miami, and grill them small as sliders in keeping with one of the popular trends in party food.

Along with your fritas, Cuba libres would put a fun, Caribbean twist on the burger-and-cola tradition. Build a Cuba libre in a tall glass with a squeeze or two of lime, a few ice cubes, 2 ounces of your favorite rum (we prefer a dark, molasses-y rum for this) and enough cola to finish filling the glass.

Share Travel Stories at Your “Home from Vacation” Party


You’re Home from Vacation—What Do You Do Next?

Rather than arriving home from your vacation dreading the inevitable return of fall, plan a party for you and all your friends.  Welcome everyone back home a week or so after you return for a little get-together!

Bring the Beach with You!

Did you go on an exotic vacation, visiting sandy beaches and trying to see the edge of the ocean?  Perfect!  Set up a beach party scene and tell your guests that you brought the beach home with you!  Decorate with some tiki torches and candles, have a few palm tree coolers set up filled with cans of soda, lemonade, and juice, and greet each guest with a flowered lei.  You could also wear a grass skirt to help set the theme of the party.  Encourage your guests to bring pictures and souvenirs from their vacations to share with the other guests.

To go along with the “bring the beach home” theme, you can get creative and concoct your own tropical fruit punch to serve when the story sharing starts.  To add a little more flavor to the homemade fruit punch, try using frozen fruit for ice cubes in the drinks!  Also, plan on serving fresh fruit and veggies (maybe even veggie pizza) so your guests don’t fill up on sugar or unhealthy snacks.

Back on the Boat

If you went on a cruise and you’re currently experiencing the back-in-the-USA blues, plan a party with a nautical theme so you can get out of your doldrums!  You can hang a nautical-themed mural on one wall in the main party room.  You can also find fun anchor cutouts to hang and fishnet to drape over tables to help set the mood.

Deciding what type of food to serve for a cruise-themed party might prove a little more difficult.  You could go for the buffet-type and ask each person to bring their favorite dish.  Another good option is a seafood theme to go with your nautical theme.  Go for shrimp rings and shrimp cocktails, maybe plan an informal sit-down dinner and prepare salmon or tilapia for your guests.

The most important thing in any “home from vacation” celebration is for you and all your friends to get together, share stories, and celebrate the fact that everyone is home safe and had a wonderful, relaxing vacation.  Take the time to relax and catch up with your friends before everyone has to settle back into the hustle and bustle of life.

July Party Ideas


Take the plunge with a new theme for an annual block party, pool party or garden club event (and more!). Here are some ideas for using theme parties for your July events.

Create a Carnival Theme for a Block Party
If your neighborhood is in a phase where lots of children live there, this one’s for you!

First, identify neighbors who have canopies and picnic tables they are willing to lend to the effort. Once they are set up for the party (and, where applicable, weighted properly against the wind) you can decorate them with strings of flag pennants and bright-tone balloons.

Starting with a carnival theme means so much else will fall into place, including the food. Commandeer a few grills and think hot dogs, grilled corn and ice cream.

Pick up a few carnival activities, such as classic toss games and duck floaters, and cheap favors for prizes. We find that many older children truly enjoy running games for the younger ones, so everybody is happily engaged.

You can find all the materials for decorating and activities in Carnival Party Supplies.

Think Gardens and Showers for a Ladybug Party
Already beloved by birthday girls, the ladybug party is also being claimed by party planners as a hot new summer baby shower theme. We also like it for garden club events. The color red, polka dots…what’s not to love?

Cover tables in white and add big bunches of red summer flowers and ladybug mylar balloons. Add polka dot tableware, Ladybug Fancy napkins and a bit of bug table confetti. You’ll see the smiles will arrive by themselves.

Consider also that July is a terrific month for a ladybug release and a spectacular part of a ladybug party if done right. For this, you’ll need to have the ladybug party in the evening and release in a garden area that’s had rain or been watered earlier in the day. (For more information on ensuring the well-being of the ladybugs during and after release, search online for “how to release ladybugs.”)


Throw a Different Kind of Beachfront Bash or Pool Party
We know everybody loves the luau, but why not go in a different direction? A nautical theme party will bring in a new color scheme and can be dressed up or down – and nobody says you can’t still enjoy a round of limbo if you like.

Imagine a gently swinging banner of semaphore flags and an anchor mylar balloon bobbing in a sea of blue latex balloons – and that’s just the entrance to your nautical theme party!

Deck tables in covers of cool white with runners of navy blue, and personalized nautical favors that match the design of the banner. Hoist rows of anchors, port holes or ship’s wheels on walls and embellish the bar with fishnet and an anchor centerpiece.

Wear and share captains’ and gobs’ hats for a humorously jaunty touch.

Try These Excuses for More Parties in July
July is National Ice Cream Month and National Picnic Month. The 28th of July is Milk Chocolate Day and American Cowboy Day. Do you know someone with a birthday in July who loves any of these things? Your theme dilemma is solved!

We have theme party supplies for all of these July celebrations. Start planning your out-of-the-ordinary summer party today.

Boys Birthday Parties and Movie Themes


Boys love movie nights and those deliciously fun parties that Mom or Dad create.  Jump into an adventure and plan your guy’s next b-day bonanza.  We’ve compiled a list of top, boys birthday party ideas for 2012.

Angry Birds Birthday Party for Boys

Invite the red, blue, and white birds to collide with the pigs at your son’s Angry Birds, boys birthday party.

Just about every retail store sells these cross plush toys .  Use them as decorations and as part of a dodge ball game.  Go nuts placing solid color Kit-N-Kaboodles and streamers in red, yellow, and green on your party’s tables.  Buy extra solid color dinner plates to create bird and pig faces with craft pom pomsgoogly eyes, and crafting feathers. At another craft station, leave birthday party dough in red, yellow, blue, and green to entertain your creative clutch.  Take a picture of your angry bird with his bird friends and create a personalized banner as a forever keepsake.

Hero Boys Birthday Party

He’s all action and he loves to save the day.  Give your guy and his buds their own hero status.  Ask them to come to the party dressed as their favorite career hero.  Honor those fire fighters, police men, soldiers, and astronauts.  Watch an episode of the 1970′s Emergency movie or series.  All six seasons are now on dvd and are still a find for elementary-aged, boys sleepover parties.

Bake a cake with your son the night before his party and enjoy decorating it with fire truck cake decorations.  This fire truck craft kit could be just what Mom needs to keep the party’s early birds busy as the budding heroes arrive.  Hang a police car piñata over your dance floor.  Start and stop the music or red police light when playing the “freeze” game.  Only the boy who freezes the fastest remains on the floor.  He wins first dibs at whacking the piñata.  Dress the tables with an American hero party pack and write thank you notes to actual soldiers, policemen, fire fighters, and others.  Place military shape bands in the soldiers’ letters and your guests’ favor bags.  Take pictures of the boys by a doctor photo stand in or a personalized jet standee, a personalized spaceship standee, a personalized space shuttle standee, and/or a personalized fire truck standee.

Spy Boys Birthday Parties

Drive your older boys to see Mission Impossible (rated PG-13) and get ready for fast action.

Afterward, direct the gang to a party room with pizza, snack, and cake tables slickly decorated with spy party supplies, black paper tablecovers, and silver plastic tableware .  Include baskets of fortune cookies or Tootsie Rolls.  Pull out Clue or another solve the mystery game.  Hang spy murals or spy personalized banners with special agent birthday messages.

If your agents are too young for Mission Impossible, a Phineas and Ferb pack will delight Disney fans ready for adventure.  Hold your very own secret agent Phineas and Ferb Wii tournament!

Boys Car Birthday Party

Push it into overdrive. Younger boys are sure to love Hot Wheels or Cars 2.  Bring out the red color scheme!

Set the scene with a Disney Cars 2 party pack, car spirit items, and a field trip to a car dealership, race track, and/ or repair shop.  Your party area comes to life with race car standees for the boys to drive in one of your homemade racing games.  Fill goodie bags and stock car pinata with boys party favors.

Throw a set of real keys to your older boys- or… maybe just the key tags.  Create personalized key tags.

Barrel of Monkeys Boys Birthday Party

Your little monkies are ideal for the monkey party pack! Usher the tail swingers to your favorite playground or bouncy house to burn off that excess monkey cake energy.    Decorate any party space with the monkey arch & tree and monkey piñata.  Then, play pin the tail on the monkey.  For a quiet break, slip in a Curious George dvd or take the boys to see Chimpanzee.

For your teen age primates, pop in King Kong or Planet of the Apes.  After ringing neighborhood door bells for a treasure hunt of monkey items- bananas, combs, yellow hat, etc send the boys home with monkey favor packs.

Wimpy Kid Boys Party

Greg and Rodrick rule and so does this boy favorite series.  As guests arrive, place the name of one of the Wimpy Kid characters on each boy’s back. Encourage them to mingle by asking each other about their characters.  The scene is set for a cartoon party in black and white.  Hang black and white balloons with red streamers.  Let the boys create a Wimpy kid cartoon storyboard and homemade movie together.  Keep your computer screens on these Wimpy kid games and serve plenty of chocolate ice cream.  Watch the Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2.

Fill miniature back packs with plenty of school-themed party favors.

Underwater Boys Birthday Party

Based on a true story, Big Miracle is the ideal boy’s birthday party theme for arctic buffs, swimmers, divers, and all around water and ice lovers.

These dazzling under the sea invitations welcome your boy’s deep sea adventurers to a magical birthday party.  “Believe in the power of one” or “We accomplish together” could be the messages on your ocean murals.  Turn your basement into an under the sea party that truly takes the boys to new depths of fun.  Ocean creatures, including whales, swim in the air as helium-filled, sea balloons. Place your whale-shaped cake in the middle of Bermuda blue tableware.  Say goodbye with mini fish bowls filled with ocean favors.

War Horse Boys Birthday Party

The soldiers of World War I fought for country with a cavalry of horses.  War Horse chronicles the devotion of a boy for his steed:

Invite your son’s best buds to see War Horse (rated PG 13) and then come home to a western party or head to a rescue horse stable for a tour.  Colorize your snack bar with green plastic tableware and serve soup in an old army pot.  For the taste of France, add grapes, cheese, and crackers.  You might even add a misty woods photo backdrop here and there. Place dollar party favors in a handkerchief to give to the boys at the party’s end with a galloping brown horse balloon.

What are your favorite boys birthday party ideas and movie themes?

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