Eqyptian Party 9yr - Scroll Invite & Mummy Wrap
Gail in Troy, MI, USA
August 2006 Winner
My son has been enthralled with anything and everything to do with ancient Egypt for a couple of years now, so it seemed only fitting that his 9th birthday have an Egyptian theme.
I believe the excitement for the guest begins with an exceptional invitation. I had found some papyrus paper made in the same manner with strips of papyrus layered vertically and horizontally, it dries as a thick sheet of paper. It's made the in Egypt today as it was thousands of years ago on e-bay, the texture and coloring can't be beat, it was very cool. Blake loved the fact it actually came from Egypt, we even saved the package with our address written in Arabic (I think). The sheets are rather large. I had to cut them down into size of legal paper so it would fit in my printer. (Despite cutting it down the paper jammed my printer on many occasions). I made up the following wording "The Great Pharaoh Blakeankhamun summons renowned archeological scribes to bear witness to the ceremonial celebration of his 9th successive rein as ruler of all of Egypt. Travel back in time as honored guest to Pharaoh Blakeankhamun's opulent palace where you will feast on delicacies offered from our fertile land and drink from the life bearing Nile. Guest will be entertained by minstrels and face attempts to cross the Nile without being eaten by a hungry Crocodile. Heed the Pharaoh's warning, tomb raiders unable to escape the labyrinth will be mummified alive. Date: March 24th. Time: When the shadow of the sun passes the first scarab (1pm)until the sands of time return you to the present(4pm). RSVP: to the Pharaoh's Mummy by March 17th or the curse will befall you." All was written in a papyrus font. As a border to the text I had cut and pasted clipart of Egyptian figures and symbols.
Then I carefully burned all the edges. A time consuming task and tricky as each sheet burned differently, some fast while others very slowly. In order to make it look like an authentic scroll we had purchased small wooden door knobs and a wooden dowel from Home Depot. The dowel was cut into 12 inch sections. Small holes were drilled into the ends and into the small door knobs which were screwed into the dowel with double ended screws. The entire thing was spray painted in a crackled antique gold finished. I hot glued one end of the invitation to the dowel (I undoubtedly burned my fingerprints off in the process). The scroll was wrapped around the dowel and held in place with green raffia. I was very pleased with the outcome. We had to make envelopes to fit the invitation. We simply cut long brown business envelopes lengthwise, hot glued (oh joy) the seam. With a stamp kit of Egyptian symbols (e-bay or Michael's Craft store) I applied marking to the envelope. I had used the same papyrus font for the envelopes which fit nice through my printer. For the postage, the post office had a stamp with a man who appeared to be from Egypt. Despite mailing at our local post office, with proper postage and going to residences in our city it took an unexpected 10 days to reach people. Nonetheless all 34 (his entire class at school plus some) invited kids attended.
Due to the number of kids we rent a local hall that once was an elementary school so we have access to a gym where we set up the games and a large classroom was converted into a palace. Decorations: Several months ahead of time I purchased a natural colored muslin fabric (from Sy Fabrics online) that came in a bolt that measured 10 feet by 45 feet, I bought 2 bolts. I had photocopied pictures from dozens of books we have on Egypt, onto transparencies. Using an overhead projector I outlined the detailed images with black sharpies, then went back and colored them in with colored sharpies and acrylic paint. All the scenes had been taken from pictures of actual tombs of the pharaohs. To avoid a scene being on a corner, we had measured the layout of the room we knew we would be renting and marked it off on the fabric. We made royal blue pillars with ornate caps on the top and bottom, these were strategically painted on the fabric for each corner of the room. There were countless detailed scenes of Gods and Goddess, Pharaohs and hieroglyphics that took literally months to color. Some were life sized while others were only several feet. After all was colored I sponge painted metallic gold in the background which connected everything together. There was also a running border at the top I painted alternating blocks of maroon, forest green, yellow, blue. We had researched out what colors the ancient Egyptians had available and stuck with those.
My indulgent husband allowed me to hang the fabric in our dining room (in sections with the ends spilling on the floor) and color / paint it while it hung. It was several weeks into the project before I showed him that the sharpies bled through the fabric onto the wall. He had to repaint our dining room when we were done. We were given sturdy cardboard rolls from a carpet store that we used to wrap the fabric around. This was handy as it kept us form having to fold it. The room we rented is a basically a rectangular shape with a couple of projections, the fabric only covered one long side and one end, the other long side in completely windows. For the other short end I purchased an Egyptian mural from Shindigz (online). It was a large colorful King Tut head 10 feet by 11 feet. The eyes seem to follow you around the room, I couldn't have asked for better. On either end of the mural we covered the wall with solid colored blue poly vinyl, that matched the mural, on which we attached large jointed palm trees. We purchased an elegant Egyptian entrance way that guest walked through for the doorway, also from Shindigz. We hung dozens and dozens of 36 inch long rubber snakes from the ceiling with fishing line. Others were laid on tables and chairs throughout the room. The tables for the kids were set up in a large "T" with my son the Pharaoh at the head of the "T". It allowed him to look over and interact with all his scribes. Behind him was the large mural that made the perfect background statement.
All the tables were covered in a gold poly runner then the table cloth was this incredible metallic gold lame from Sy Fabrics (on line), that draped beautifully toward the floor. On the tables were elaborate bronze canopic jars purchased from E-bay (pricey but an essential component for the theme), large gold chalices (from Michael's Arts and Crafts) contained chips and more snakes. Royal blue and metallic gold balloons were everywhere as well as attached to each chair. Each place setting had a place mat that looked like woven strips of palms, there was a gold dinner napkin on which laid a small palm branch, there were also gold decorative cups and plates, emerald green plastic ware added some contrast. A Pith helmet with each scribe's name was also at each setting. The entire room looked as if it were bathed in gold. A 4 foot banner from Shindigz hung on the windows saying Happy 9th Birthday Pharaoh Blakeankhamun with Egyptian symbols and also in a papyrus font. Along the windowed wall stood Anubis, I made a wooden standee (as I call it)of the God Anubis from a sheet of plywood, same process of a transparency drawing only on wood this time, I outlined it with the sharpies (I love those things) then painted it and my husband cut it out with a jig saw. Then he made a stand for it. Many pictures were taken with the 6 foot Anubis and the guests. Had I had more time I would have made several more standees.
In another corner of the room we had an incredibly beautiful ornate sarcophagus that stood 4 feet high a great on line buy. Another pricey item but what would an Egyptian party be without one. I was able to convince my husband that not only was it perfect for the party it was also practical as it's an elaborate holder for 48 CD's. One of my favorite moments was the expressions on the faces of the guest and their parents as they walked in the room to the sounds of Egyptian music and looked at the all decorations, especially the Muslin. I purchased a CD of Egyptian music that is also played in the Chicago Art Museum's Egyptian exhibit. Even the guest that come to expect something out of the norm from us were speechless. There to greet them was my ever proud Pharaoh Blakeankhamun wearing a fancy king Tut headdress, an extra long white Egyptian cotton T-shirt, belt and wristbands. My husband was dressed in an elaborate Pharaoh costume we ordered on line. I was Nefertti, it is a beautiful form fitting costume I accented with snake jewelry and golden sandals. My in laws also came dressed to the hilt, my father in law a very convincing Ramses costume and my mother in law a regal Cleopatra costume, beaded head dress and all. My 5 y/o daughter wore an Egyptian princess costume and my 3 y/o son an adorable pharaoh costume. He loved his costume so much he insisted on wearing for weeks after everywhere we went.
Games: We rented an a very large inflatable obstacle course (61 feet by 36 feet) to serve as the tomb. There are two separate routes from end to end. The kids were divided into teams (they requested boys against the girls) raced through in a relay avoiding the countless rubber snakes we threw inside. They wanted to that over and over again. After the girls beat the boys, the boys decided the rest of the games should have mixed gender teams. The games were all from the invitation, the next was crossing the Nile. We purchased reflective blue Mylar runners 50 feet long by 3 feet wide. We had two Nile Rivers a few feet apart one for each team. Along the river we had inflatable crocodiles about 2 1/2 feet long. The kids were divided into mixed teams the object of the game was to quickly walk the Nile avoiding the crocodiles least you have to start over, the participant had to balance large folded Egyptian cotton towels on their heads. As was the way many Egyptian had to carry items. Once at the end the kid had to run back touch the next person in line, transfer the towels and off went the next kid.
We broke into different teams for a mummy wrap made out of toilet paper. 2 kids per team. With 34 kids we had a lot of toilet paper! The mummies had to walk around moaning afterward. There were 17 very dramatic mummies! I couldn't find an Egyptian pinata so I bought 2 Spiderman torso pinatas spray painted them entirely in a glossy gold and had printed off realistic photographs King Tut's mask the size of legal paper, which I cut and spray glued to what was Spiderman's head. I was surprised at how easy they were to make and at the commercial quality. There was one for boys and one for girls. Each kid had a couple of turns beating them with the stick until I asked a parent to finally take a whack.
The games were a huge hit for the kids and the parents that volunteered to help out. Food: We had lots of different flavored hummus and pita bread, pizza (Egyptian were great bread makers) and salad, veggies. A large bowl of a beautiful tasty blue punch represented Nile water. The food table also had large palm branches on it. Cake: While I can decorate I can't bake. I ordered a sheet cake from an artistic bakery that made a desert scene of treasure hunters confronting mummy warriors. The pieces came from a Fischer Price play set we had. Other toppers came from an Egyptian Toob (a clear tube with multiple themed items such as a sphinx, bust of Gods, ankhs, black cats, tablets statues and etc.) and other various related items we've collected. A sign read Happy 9th Birthday Pharaoh Blakeankhamun. It was an elaborate scene that caused me great pause before I could cut into it.
After the cake Blakeankhamun, as he had to be called all day, opened he gifts. I was surprised at how many unique Egyptian things he had received. The Pharaoh was very grateful for all the gifts, but very eager to hand out the treat bags. Treat Bags: We ordered large canvas bags on line approx. 14 inches X 14 inches. I had taken a picture of my son dressed up as Pharaoh and copied them on to iron on transfers. I ironed an 8 X 10 picture to each bag, on the other side I had looked up each child's name in hieroglyphics; I drew and colored a cartouche (with sharpies)of each child's name on their own bag. That only took a few days. Everything was done in advanced based on the RSVP.
Under the cartouche was the child's name in English written in script, as I never would have remembered who was who simply looking at the cartouches. Each bag had the following: Actual Egyptian money (we had gotten this from E-bay),a deck of mummy playing cards, mummy gummy candy, gold bangle bracelet, sarcophagus filled with goo from (OT) Oriental Trading, and a hand made pyramid dig. We had gotten a recipe for making these digs the size of an ice cube out of sand and plaster of paris. To make them into a pyramid shape that was about 8 inches tall by about 8 inches wide took a lot of trial and error with the recipe. We ordered pyramid cardboard shapes from OT (what don't they sell?) inside the plaster and sand plus water mixture we inserted 2 plastic gold coins, 3 small mummy figures (OT), 3 small rubber snakes, a geode (OT)and 3 Egyptian artifacts from the Egyptian Toob. It takes a few days for the pyramid to dry at which point we removed the cardboard, we shrink wrapped the pyramid digs (using shrink wrap and a blow dryer it conforms to the pyramid shape) In the end each weighed about 3 1/2 pounds. A small messaged taped to the outside read: "Tomb Raider, You have acquired a priceless piece of Egyptian history. Buried in the desert sand lies 12 of the Pharaoh's most sacred treasures. Among them a Geode, a rock containing powerful crystals, said to possess a healing power. Dig with great care or you will release the Pharaoh's curse." The digs can easily be done with a metal spoon. The kids were in awe of the treat bags. Months after the party while visiting him at school I noticed some of the kids were using their treat bags as totes. Which was a nice surprise.