Old Hollywood! What a wonderful period in history to celebrate with independent living residents in a CCRC retirement community. I just held this theme party this week, and I must say that it was a smash hit! It really was not hard at all to create, and the overwhelming results were terrific. Here is what I did.
I went to my storage closet and started digging around. I ended up in one of my New Year's Eve boxes that I had marked "black and gold." I pulled out all the black stars that I could find, some black material, tooling that had gold stars on it, a few black sequenced hats, and some other stuff that I did not end up using. In another box that I had used for a movie night, I found paper items including a gold Oscar cut-out, some theater lights cut-outs, a mural of the red carpet, and other theater related items. Online, I found some cool piñatas of a clap-board and an old movie projector. And lastly, I always like to keep silk flowers on-hand to use, so I brought down some white peonies. Oh, yes, the best item was something that I did not buy, but was made by a resident - a large black star with the words Hollywood Night on it and lights around it.
What I ended up doing was using the stars to hang from the ceiling, the red carpet mural in a hallway that really does have red carpet, and the big star with the lights as a backdrop for my picture taking. I made a centerpiece for my room with the sequenced top hats, the silk flowers and some black shiny, star picks. After clothing the table with a black cloth, I used the tool with the gold stars in-between the tablecloth and the black hats as well as to fill in the bottom of the arrangements. The piñatas were used on the wall, instead of hanging them, because I realized that they were only one-sided. I also had a few items that I found at Old Time Pottery that I used around the area. Check out my own "store" to see what else I found on line for this theme party and others. Also note that at the bottom of my blog, you will find a discount for Shindigz. Click on it to take you to the site and get the discount. Ordering with the links above will not provide you with the discounts.
Residents were invited to dress up for the event. I gave them the following suggestions: "Dress as your favorite movie star: Clara Bow, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Lena Horne, Greta Garrbo, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Clark Gable or even as the paparazzi!" We had some of these stars show up and some that I have never heard of before! The residents really got into this special event.
I also showed the movie, "Hollywood Canteen" about a week ahead of the theme party and suggested that they view it to get more ideas and the new movie, "The Artist" that was set in the old Hollywood period. Both were great sources for ideas.
Speaking about ideas, there are a few places on the web where you can get more suggestions for planning an Old Hollywood party. My favorite is at Easy Party Ideas and the other is at Top Party Ideas.
For food, the hors d'oeuvres were scallops wrapped in bacon and asparagus in puffed pastry. Both were delicious. Light yet classy. These were served before dinner in the main lobby.
The hit of the party was Marilyn Monroe and the show after dinner. Marilyn was situated at the end of the red carpet walk. In front of her photo area were red velvet stanchions - as seen in the movie theater to create separate lines that I borrowed from another community's dining room. Or you can get paper stanchions instead if you'd like. The woman that I hired was amazing. She even brought a fan to stand on to make her skirt blow up a bit. The show afterwards was so unique. It was a man who spoke about Hollywood starting in the 1920's. He showed film clips, spoke about each section, and played the piano as background for the video clips. It was so well done and was perfect for the event.
Sometimes a theme night comes to mind because of a specific decoration that is your "jumping off point," and sometimes it is in order to host a specific entertainer. It may even be because you have a great outfit and nowhere to where it. Whatever the reason, make sure that you pull it all together for a well thought out theme party that will be a smash in your community!