Trip Around The World Party 11yr - ACM Airways
Kari in Ferndale, WA USA
September 2010 Winner
For my daughter's 11th b-day, we went w/ an Trip Around the World theme.
We started w/ invites that looked like airplane tickets and were enclosed in a pamphlet style travel document holder. Printed on the computer, it was a snap to figure out how to make a tri-fold ticket holder. We called the 'airline' ACM Airways, using my daughters initials. The pamphlet had pictures of a few of our 'destinations', Visit Exotic India Ancient China and Jolly Ol' England." I printed a signature picture off the internet and copied to the pamphlet a picture of the Forbidden City for China a Beefeater (English guard) picture for England and a picture of the Taj Mahal for India. On the invitation tickets for the airplane departure time we put the time the party began but made it an odd time 5:33 pm to be more like an airplane schedule return time was 8:27 pm. There was information to "Call your Travel Agent to confirm your reservation at 555-1212". This was the RSVP #. The 'confirmation code' was HAPPY BIRTHDAY but we scrambled the letters to look like a random series of letters. Everyone loved the invitations! We started collecting items for the party a few months before and started prepping and setting up a few days before. To set the theme for the event we made a large sign from colored butcher paper "ACM Airways Gate 11" (for my daughter's age). We put our garage door partway down and hung the sign on the exposed part of the door and the gate sign had an arrow pointing for them to come into the garage. Inside the garage we used our patio furniture to make an airport terminal we used posters from a local travel agency to help with the look(just made a phone call and explained what it was for and they were happy to donate!).
As each guest arrived they were issued a PASSPORT I had made using a real passport as a model. The girl's names locations and photos (copied from the yearbook) were there as well a a few blank pages for countries we would be 'visiting'. They were also given a carry-on piece of luggage for the trip. I found some messenger type bags at Michaels and added a cute luggage tag from Dollar Store for each girl. Prior to the party we planted some tiny toy guns some scissors and water bottles in the bags to be confiscated as they went thru security. Our son was the TSA Agent and made a 'scene' when he found the prohibited items the girls loved this. Our travel trailer is stored in our garage and that is what we used for our 'airplane'. We painted blue butcher paper with clouds and covered the windows added folding chairs for seats and set up the walkie-talkies for our 'pilot' (my husband) to communicate with us. We had researched what pilots say on the internet and written a script for the 'pilot'. He was outside the trailer/airplane and it really sounded like a pilot talking on the intercom.
We served in-flight snack using the 100-calorie bags of snacks they seem to have for any kind of snack and offered bottled water on the 'plane'. In flight entertainment was provided by the laptop and we had just set up videos that pertained to the next country we would visit. My husband and dad shook the trailer as the pilot warned of tubulence. Before you know it we were at our first country India.
As we exited the plane my Dad was dressed in an outfit appropriate to the country and acted as the Customs Agent. I had purchased stickers of each country's flag (off the internet) and my Dad put a sticker in each girl's Passport as they passed thru customs. With Indian music playing (downloaded off the internet) we made our way to the living room where I had set up India using some borrowed vases borrowed pillows and candle holders purchased from the thrift store (we had known the theme and countries for awhile so we had our eyes open for cheap things to decorate with). For India we had purchased sari fabric from Joanne's to make a sari for each girl. There were some beautiful patterns to choose from and the girls loved the vibrant colors. I used a 40% off coupon and went a few times to get a good selection for the girls to choose from. We were going to do henna tatoos but found out they last 4 weeks…so I found some temporary tatoos that looked like henna on eBay and we used those. I printed off an explanation of the red dot on the forehead we discussed the different meanings then we each put a red jewel on our forehead that we wore for the rest of the party.
Then our time in India was over we were off to Jolly Ol' England where we had a short lay-over on our way to Italy. For each transition between countries we returned to the plane. My Mom and I were the flight attendants. As we deplaned my Dad quizzed the girls on the intent of their visit and then put a English flag sticker in their passport. For England I used my dining room and purchased a large bouquet of flowers from Costco for the centerpiece. English ceremonial music was playing. We set the table properly with china teacups and saucers and small plates. We served tea from sweet teapots and used cream and sugar cubes. We made scones and served them with lemon curd from Trader Joes. The girls had fun with the sugar cubes and trying the lemon curd.
Then it was off to the plane for our trip to Italy. On the way to Italy we made a large Leaning Tower of Pisa and made it pass by the window (under the painted butcher paper) as we made our way to Italy. The pilot was sure to point out that if they looked out the window we would be passing over the Tower and the could see it from the plane. The we deplaned in Italy had the Customs Agent put the sticker in the passport and went to the kitchen for Italy. I set pasta bowls and stools all around the island in my kitchen and all 8 girls fit whew! I found some great Italian music and played that for Italy. I had precooked pasta as well as 4 sauces meat sauce marinara sauce red clam sauce and alfredo sauce. I had water boiling and as each girl decided what they wanted we dipped the cooked pasta into the boiling water to reheat it (timesaver!) and added the sauce they wanted. We had 2 small plates set up with olive oil & balsalmic vinegar topped with fresh cracked pepper there were baskets with long baguette loaves of bread and we showed the girls how to just twist off a piece of bread then dip it into olive oil and vinegar. They all enjoyed this. I used a Pampered Chef cheese grater to grate fresh cheese onto their pasta. We poured them some gourmet soda I had found that came in these very cool bottles and had foreign looking labels on them. I used Italian style drippy wax covered wine bottles for candle holders (my Mom worked on these for days to get the right look). The girls were making toasts to the tour guides in Italy so funny and cute.
After they had all eaten we headed back to the plane to make our way to the next destination Hawaii. As we deplaned in Hawaii the pilot was there to pass out leis. My husband had dressed in a suit with a white Navy hat from the Australian Navy that looked a lot like a pilot hat. (We have the oddest things around our house.). He really looked like a pilot. He welcomed them to Hawaii and the Customs Agent welcomed them back to the United States. We headed to our backyard to a side deck where we had set up Hawaii. I had an umbrella that I had added a rafia fringe to (Oriental Trader) some lounge chairs a plant that I had pinned the flowers for their hair and then I had purchased a mural from OT that looked like a Hawaiian beach. We had a surfboard (again with the odd things in my house) tiki torches and a tiki game I found at Target. We had Hawaiian music playing and passed out hula skirts and did a simple hula. We made pineapple and coconut fruit smoothies and drank them out of tiki glasses ($ Store).
The girls had a great time but next up was China! We got on the plane and watched a YouTube video of Chinese Parade Dragons fou our in-flight entertainment we had a surprise waiting! We exited the plane and made or way to our back deck where we had two tables set up with large umbrellas. Hung from the umbrellas were many chinese lanterns (Rite-Aid) with battery operated lights…at each chair we a chinese hat (OT) for each girl. I explained why we had watched the Chinese Dragon video we had a chinese parade dragon for the girls to make a parade with! We live in a neighborhood that circles around a pond and has a 1/4 mile walking path. We marched the dragon on the path around the pond. We made the dragon using a box for the head some brightly colored paper feather boas colored cellophane to make flames come from his nostrils. For awhile I was a little worried about how the dragon was going to turn out but it all came together. I used pictures from the internet for inspiration and used a lot of hot glue and imagination. For the back of the dragon we used 2 looooong pieces of fabric (about 40 feet in length) and attached it to open umbrellas to give the girls something to hold and make move up & down. The head was heavy so my husband carried that and the 8 girls wearing their hats followed behind with all the fabric flowing up & down. It looked amazing and the girls had so much fun doing this..some of the neighbors came out and cheered us on. When we returned to the deck the sun was just setting and the lanterns glowed and looked so pretty. A family member sells fireworks so he had set us up with some amazing fireworks that we ended the party with.
I announced it was time to return home and we needed to get back to the plane. The girls were sad to head 'home' but we went back to the plane one last time for our final flight of the journey. We 'flew' home and then had ice cream cake on the deck under the lanterns and opened presents just as the parents started to arrive to collect their little world travelers. For the cake I used a round dome pan and a combo of fondant and frosting to make half a globe. I cut the continents from fondant and used red icing to trace our travels marking each country with a toothpick and the flag stickers used for the passports. This party was lot of work and a lot of fun. I received calls and thank you noted from the parents and guests and one Mom said all her kids parties for all their years combined do not come close to this party. It could easily be modified to a more boy theme with stops in the Australian Outback Amazon Egypt (think mummies) etc to cover whatever their interests are. The girls gift bags included the extra henna tatoos sari fabric tiki glass hula grass skirt lei flower barette china hat and the chinese lanterns were passed out at the end of the party as well as the carry-on bags. "