Confession time: I may have gone a teeny, tiny bit OTT with Little Homebird’s second birthday party a few weeks ago. With flying monkeys suspended from the ceiling, a yellow brick road meandering its way through our hall and a six layer cake in glorious technicolour hidden under some innocent looking icing… well, Toto, we weren’t in Kansas any more.
I really enjoyed preparing the various elements for
my oops, LH’s party and the result was a happy, relaxed afternoon at home with family and close friends.
The idea for a Wizard of Oz themed party came from this rainbow cake by Whisk Kid. It’s amazing, right?
I’m not a talented baker but I really felt inspired and challenged to give it a go. As well as the incredible colours and its showstoppery interior, part of me loves it because it’s so unassuming on the outside. Then when you cut into it … surprise!
This cake is so special it’s going to get its very own post. I’ll keep you, well, posted.
But for now, here’s a sneak peek of how it turned out:
Once I’d found the theme I made lists for food, decor and games.
There are so many ideas for Wizard of Oz themed parties on the internet (I’ve listed a few of the sites I used for inspiration at the end of this post) that the problem was not deciding what to include, but what to leave out.
Here’s what I whittled it down to:
The focal point of the buffet table was The Cake with rows of old school-style milk bottles lined up in front of it.
To save time I served mainly readymade supermarket party food which were then given Wizard of Oz themed names.
As the party was after lunch I really only needed nibbles.
This is what we ate:
Cocktail sausages – labelled Hot ‘Toto’ Dogs. (I know, poor Toto.):
Bread sticks with cheese – in the shape of a witch’s broomstick:
Rainbow Fruit Kebabs:
I had intended to fill the bottles with cranberry juice but I wasn’t sure how popular that would be with the guests. I wanted the drink to be red, so what else would work?
I whizzed up a batch of banana and strawberry smoothies with apple and cranberry juice and tiny bit of beetroot to make it as red as possible. Here’s the result: Ruby Slipper Smoothies.
This was the most time consuming yet most enjoyable part for me.
I wanted to set the scene at the entrance so I printed out some Wizard of Oz themed posters and stuck them either side of the front door. Then I made a rainbow wreath with tulle and pinned paper letters to read Happy Birthday. (Pics coming soon.)
My yellow brick road was made from large sheets of brown paper stuck together.
Initially I thought of a straight path leading from the front door to our living room where the party was being held but I’m pleased that I decided to try to make it a little more interesting. I used a decorating sponge and some leftover yellow paint I’d used for the playroom to stamp on the brick shape.
Maximum impact, minimum effort!
I only wish I could say the same about the flying monkeys.
I thought silhouettes were the way to go and easily found what I was looking for via Google images to use as a template.
I made one witch and a troop of monkeys (I love those collective nouns!) from black card and I think they looked really effective.
I would NOT recommend you start these if you’re short of time, however! I was really surprised at how long just the cutting out took – the best part of a day.
I was using scissors – perhaps if I had used a craft knife and cutting board it would have speeded things up. But at the time, I was seeing curly monkey tails in my sleep!
Another time consuming element was the decor for the buffet table. A few days before the party I realised I needed a colour scheme to tie everything together. (I wish I’d thought of that sooner!)
Choosing was tricky however. There are so many colours associated with the film: the yellow of the yellow brick road, the green of the Emerald City, the red ruby slippers and the blue and white of Dorothy’s dress. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, all the colours of the rainbow of course, thanks to the famous song!
I finally plumped for red teamed with blue and white gingham because it was such a pretty combination.
I bought some gingham fabric to make a table runner and sprinkled some red heart table confetti between the dishes.
The milk bottles and sweetie jars were decorated with gingham paper with red circles stuck on top and an image of a ruby slipper on top of that. I had seen similar labels from Krown Kreations on etsy and had a go at making a homemade version.
I also decorated a tin can for the cutlery in the same way.
The bunting you may have spotted in the pictures had been made a month or so earlier for my husband’s birthday party but as it was in rainbow colours I decided to use it again. (It’s just A4 coloured printer paper cut into diamonds, folded in half over string and glued together and only took a couple of hours to make.)
One of my favourite elements was the little house, er, housing the popcorn. I’d seen pictures on Pinterest of witch’s legs, complete with ruby slippers, coming out of cakes, or life sized ones emerging from doorways. I was planning to try something similar with the cake but when I spotted LH’s red (red, yay!) fabric animal barn I knew I could use it. I stuck paper on the brown roof and used black and white striped straws for the legs.
I tried using red acrylic paint on a pair of silver Barbie doll shoes but it just sat in bubbles looking up at me. Instead, I tried nail varnish which worked a treat. I finished off the shoes with some red glitter and used blu tack to stick them to the straws which I taped underneath the little ‘Kansas’ house.
I placed a Tupperware container inside and filled it up with popcorn. Et voila!
I love games! I even had pass the parcel as an icebreaker at the guests’ tables at my wedding (that’s a post for another day) so it was definitely on the list. I had planned to wrap each layer in a different colour of the rainbow but I thought this might spoil some of the suspense as people would work out how many layers were left.
Instead, I stuck to the theme by sticking the following message on the last layer: ‘Congratulations! You have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’ and wrapping up a little bunch of chocolate gold coins. The music we played was the gorgeous Somewhere over the Rainbow/Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Give the girl a theme…
Other games included a treasure hunt and pinning the heart on the tin man.
I was seriously running out of time when I came to the treasure hunt, so finding this Wizard of Oz free scavenger hunt online was a huge help.
I gave my nephew (6) and niece (4) a copy each and they went from room to room finding the hidden images. All I needed to do was tell them if they were’ hot’ or ‘cold’. We played this at the very beginning of the party while the food was in the oven.
At the end they found their ‘treasure': little presents for themselves and the younger children, hidden in a basket I’d painted yellow and filled with leftover gingham.
Wow, I feel tired reliving this. Now that I’ve written about it, it seems like I did a lot. But I really only started the preparations about a week beforehand so I think next year I’ll start much earlier and do a little at a time.
I’m just not sure of a theme. The Wizard of Oz was so inspirational I think it will be difficult to find anything as good!
Maybe I won’t have to come up with a theme at all. Something tells me LH will have her own ideas by then. I wonder will she request another rainbow cake?
How have you celebrated special family occasions? I’d love to hear from you!
Websites and blogs I used for inspiration (not an exhaustive list as I didn’t take a note of every website I browsed at the time.)
celebrations.com for the straws-as-legs idea
bnute.blogspot.co.uk for the free printable scavenger hunt maps
kathybslittlecorner.blogspot.com for the flying monkey silhouette
yvonnebyattsfamilyfun.blogspot.com (and too many others to mention) for the Pin the Heart on the Tin Man idea
505-design.com for the free mini bunting printables used on the cake
whiskkid.com for that cake
karaspartyideas.com for general party planning brilliantness