- Sophie &Friends
Every now and again, I get a client who allows me the artistic freedom and budget to create a totally unique party theme. My company is known for making handmade, kid-friendly props that have what I call a “parental” flair, meaning they look like something a parent or caregiver would create if they had the time and the inclination. Although I have the utmost respect for prop designers and artisans, my passion is creating worlds of imagination out of cardboard and paint.
This party was for a young boy and the themes from which I was to choose were: airports, parking garages, and car washes. I decided to opt for the airport idea and mix in the other elements through games and activities.
My team went all out creating airport inspired Decor
Cut out clouds hung all around
Inflatable and small tin airplanes used as table decor
A walk through metal detector and an X-ray machine to scan gifts
Airplane interior where the kids would have lunch, with tray tables, windows with views
Flight attendant cart
As guests arrived they were greeted by me and one of my staff dressed in airline attire, which included vests and those little scarves they always used to wear. The Birthday Boy had a name that fit perfectly as the name of our airline so that became our standard refrain. Irina, our graphic artist, had created a winged logo for all of our items. Guests were given passports with their pictures (The Fuji Instax Mini takes perfect instant passport photos) and after typing their names into our “computer” system (an old, non-working laptop) they received their boarding pass.
From here they had to pass through airport security - which was a hoot! We had made an actual rolling belt out of PVC and wood. Guests slid their gifts through in bins and were then "wanded" (we used a lumiton from one of our bar mitzvahs) to make sure they weren’t concealing any deadly devices, such as a party hat or noisemaker.
We take security very seriously.
High Flying Crafts
On the way to their gates guests were encouraged to stop at our luggage store, where they received their own paper mache suitcase to decorate. I found these adorable paper suitcases at Consumer Crafts and the most amazing Cavellini travel stickers to embellish them.
Make your luggage just the way you want
Travel in style!
We had discussed a few other options including coloring balsa wood airplanes and decorating sleep masks.
Towards the end of the event a few of the older kids got very involved making our parachute people.
Time for Take Off - Games
Parking lot limbo – using pool noodles as the arms of a parking garage that the guest had to run through without getting whacked.
Air traffic control – a version of red light/green light using cool flashlights like the ones used on the tarmac.
Got to make my next connection!
Pass the luggage relay – where players toss “luggage” (balloons) from one to another down the line to be placed in the cargo hold.
Suitcase relay - teams race to dress one of their players for his big business meeting.
Make your connection – using hula hoops as landing pads
The “Full Upright and Locked Position" obstacle course
Stage 1 - The car or plane wash - if they wished, guests donned a wearable airplane, they made their way down the line where they were misted with water.
Stage 2 - The car wash tunnel - a pool noodle that Freda had brilliantly covered with strips of gossamer and mylar. Two of my staff moved it sided to side to create that “washing” effect.
Stage 3 - The buffing - A dollar store feather duster spun in a staff member's hands to buff the vehicle.
Stage 4 - The drying. A balloon pump to air dry any leftover mist from the plane.
Stage 5 - Gas up and go - The planes were filled with gas from our pretend gas pump, then the pool noodle arm lifted and they ran down the light lined runway for a big finish. We used LED tube lights to serve as both the runway and the pathway lights in the airplane interior
Fill 'em up!
Will you be joining us for lunch?
As lunch time approached, our guests under 12 were invited to board the plane and take their seats. The plane was yet another creation by my genius team. Steve and Freda created actual working windows each with a different little scenic view out of cardboard mounted on PVC frames. We used our kid-sized folding chairs to make the seats and constructed “tray” tables using thin wood and PVC. I printed labels for each seat on removable labels. The kids actually used their boarding passes to find their seats. Once everyone was seated we gave them their safety instructions and used a rolling cart to serve them lunch.
A first class view!
By the time we got to the cake - an amazing creation by the award-winning team at Studio Cake - everyone was flying high! No one wanted to leave. However, as they did, we slid their previously decorated luggage, which now contained their goodie bags, back down the rolling conveyor belt to be lined up in the baggage claim area.
No one went home empty-handed
Our Amazing Birthday Cake!
When all was said and done, this high flying party left all of us, including my staff, in a giddy mood. Maybe it was the altitude, but personally, I think it was the pure delight of the children rubbing off on all of us.