My retirement community's lobby is current under renovations, so it is a bit of a mess..... and it actually worked out fine for me with decorations. (I will post pictures ASAP.) Because of the construction, we have a temporary wall in the lobby. I told the residents that I was broke from paying taxes and that I need them to help provide art for the wall. I used the term graffiti because they wanted to "tag" the wall when it first went up. I gave them flip-chart paper and they brought back some interesting work relative to the theme. I also printed some famous quotes and printed one per page to add around as well. Sayings like "I'm to broke to pay attention" or "I'd have all the money I need it I died at 4:00 p.m. today" by Henny Goodman. I used soda cans as a garland. I used blue balloons with blue crape paper hanging from it in a small section right before my Auditorium. I added copies of the 1040 form to some of the balloons and floated them along with the ones with crape paper. Then inside the auditorium, I used white bed sheets with holes in it to cover up the stage curtain. I covered the organ and piano that sit on stage too with tarps and sheets. I made it look like a work area with a few paint cans and a paint roller. I added a couple of large "hobo bags" there also. And lastly, I made Uncle Sam's arm coming out from behind the holey curtain, grabbing a handful of money.
The evening started at 4:30 p.m. when residents came down to have "simple snacks." Snacks were onion rings, corn fritters, cheese spread and crackers and a punch. Then they went into the dining room for dinner. The table cloths were exchanged for butcher paper, the place settings were scaled back to the minimum required items, and the silverwear was placed into the water goblet with a paper blue napkin. It looked nice when they walked in. We also added crayons to the tables so that they could "tag" the tables if they wanted to. And they did!
Dinner offered "Ketchup Soup" which was tomato soup, Macaroni salad, American cheese omelet, Poor Man's Lobster (Baked Monk Fish), Beanie Weenies, Hobo Stew (beef stew), tater tots, spinach, and corn on the cob.
After dinner I had a jug band perform. It was the perfect show for the night. Let's just say that I ended the show with "you get what you pay for (laughter from the audience).... and tonight we got more than we bargained for!
The residents dressed as bag ladies, bums, pan-handlers, and much more. They loved it. And those who said "I was raised poor, and didn't want to dress like that again" still found the event fun because others were dressed up....or should I say down.
ps. Take a look at my other theme ideas listed in the category listed on the left or start at Thinking About Themes.