By Guest Blogger Lisa Doss

Imagine the fun when the pages containing imaginary rooms or places pop into your child’s birthday party. How exciting would it be to sit down at a Prince Edward Island tea party, participate in an obstacle course in the jungle of Nool, or hold a magical key to enter a “Secret Garden?” There are a million ideas in planning a book-themed birthday party. The first step is to read the book again. You are bound to find great tips for selecting the right foods, activities and crafts, and perhaps even costume ideas!

Anne of Green Gables: Just from the book quote, “‘I can just imagine myself sitting down at the head of the table and pouring out the tea,’ said Anne,” a high tea with friends would be a unique birthday celebration. Whether the setting were inside or outdoors, the girls dressed in jumpers and the boys wearing their Sunday best could enjoy finger foods, desserts and pink lemonade in real or plastic teacups. Perhaps one activity could be decorating a simple straw hat, or a lesson in braiding hair. Considering the quote, “I’m glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” a tea party setting could extend well into the fall.

Horton Hears a Who: If you include the “pink pom-poms” theme in the invitations and the setting, party-goers could anticipate their arrival to the jungle of Nool. The main activity could be an obstacle course of tunnels and steps, balancing acts and jumps, and passing through the forest of Truffula Trees. (The trees could be made from pool noodles; construction paper; wide, colored tape; and tissue paper.) For a secondary activity, the children could construct noise-makers or animal-face masks. Younger or older, all ages would enjoy a Horton Hears a Who party.

The Secret Garden: It all begins with invitations of a magical key. A decorated door frame or gate could transport guests through to the secret garden, perhaps near or within a wooded area. Imagine the beauty in seeing keys hanging down from colored ribbons, and a string of white lights or lanterns. If guests were seated at a decorated table, finger sandwiches and desserts would satisfy them before they engaged in traditional backyard garden games. There could be a potato sack or spoon race, and areas to blow bubbles, play hopscotch, hula hoop, or craft flowered headdresses.

Percy Jackson: Tied with gold ribbon, the invitation, a simple scroll, would be the first step to intrigue party goers. The main event could be a quest or a treasure hunt, ending at the arrival to Mount Olympus, or a game of Capture the Flag in the meadow of Camp Half Blood. For a Percy Jackson book party, you’ll need swords and shields, drachma coins, and perhaps a few adults willing to appear as Greek gods.

Harry Potter: For a Harry Potter party, invitations truly could be sent by owl post (either by drawing an owl on the envelope or hand-delivering each scroll, connected to an owl balloon). While party-goers would enjoy battling a Dementor piñata and entering a “Have You Seen This Wizard?” photo booth, the main activities could be a lesson in potions (that pop, fizzle, overflow and change colors) and learning about Care of Magical Creatures (through an art activity). Guests would enjoy a dinner in the Great Hall, with a meal of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, a mug of Butter Beer or the Knight Bus’s cup of hot chocolate, as well as Hagrid’s Treacle Fudge, to name just a few possible dinner dishes.

Children often ask, “How many days until my birthday?” A calendar is brought to the table, pages upon pages are flipped, and still there is excitement in a child’s voice. While you may think, “My child’s birthday is months, or half a year away!” creative planning and designing the right “props” takes time. In looking toward the celebrations to come, why not start talking about cool party ideas, today?

Thanks to Forsyth Family magazine for allowing us to run this article on TMoM today.