What Is.T.Called.When.Happy.Music.Is.Used.During.A.Sad.Scene Throwing a Shipwrecked Island Party Makes The Most of Summer’s End

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Throwing a Shipwrecked Island Party Makes The Most of Summer’s End

Instead of being sad when the end of summer rolls around, I say, it’s party time! Instead of feeling like your boat has run aground for the rest of the summer, why not throw a fun end of summer soiree for the whole family…maybe even the whole neighborhood!

If the thought of throwing a party is like walking the plank and jumping into the abyss of darkness, then think of me as your lifesaver! I’ll take you through the process of putting together a party using my simple formula for creating memorable events. By the time we’ve organized the details of your summer party into six easy-to-remember elements, you’ll be sailing smoothly into an experience your guests will rave about for many summers to come. Oh, my life!

Element #1 – Theme, Mood and Color: Follow your theme in everything you do

Every great party starts with a great theme! For an end-of-summer soiree, throw a shipwrecked island party! What is a shipwreck island party? Well, it’s not an island Luo, although a Luo-style feast can certainly be part of the festivities. It’s not a pirate party, although a few pirates in attendance might add some fun, and it’s not a beach party, although you’ll want lots of sand and shells in your decor. Think of a desert island inhabited by a group of ragged ants hoping for rescue and you get the picture.

When creating the theme for this party, I found it helpful to use my “imagination board” to do a “brainstorming” exercise. An imagination board is a large dry erase board that gives you plenty of space to write and allows ideas to flow freely. To begin with, I wrote the name of my theme, “Shipwreck Island”, in the center of the board and then around it I wrote everything that came to mind such as boat, sails, treasure, stranded, beach, shells, trunks, boxes, mosquito nets, fishing nets, palm trees , flowers, coconuts, fish and crabs. Then, to help my creative juices flow, I thought of all the great movies, TV shows, and music that have had to do with shipwrecks, islands, and harbors, like Titanic, Lost, The Swiss Family Robinson, Castaway, Survivor, Song The “Gilligan’s Island” theme and tunes by Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley. I used these ideas as inspiration for invitations, decorations, menu and drink specials, activities and special touches.

Element #2 – Invitations: Make them inviting

If you were on a desert island somewhere and needed help, one thing you might do is write a message in a bottle and throw it into the sea in the hope that someone would receive your SOS. This is both a fun and easy idea because there are many places where you can find message-in-a-bottle invitation kits both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, or you can make your own using real glass bottles.

Most craft kits include paper, but if you don’t like the choice of paper, you can choose your own. Start your invitations with a great opening line that ties into your theme. Something like: “Come hang out for a while” (taken from my brainstorming exercise). This opening line sets the tone for the party and lets people know they want some fun. Be sure to include the details of who, what, where, when and why. Encourage guests to wear their best ragged clothes to add a fun, casual feel to the party and another layer of authenticity. Add interest to the inside of the bottle by including some sand and some tiny shells. Finish off the invitation with a simple wick decoration wrapped around the neck of the bottle, glue your mailing label to the ends of the string and you’re done! You’ve created a fun invitation that will make people want to come and get lost for a while!

Element #3 – Decor and Atmosphere: Decor and decor are everything

The trick to decorating for my end of summer Shipwreck Island party was to remember that it was all about creating an illusion. My home was the ship and the island yard. To board the ship, guests had to walk the plank which was surrounded by an interesting display of salvaged treasures including a small antique chair, some sand to give the illusion of the beach, an old hand mirror, jewelry, tarnished pewter candlesticks, and other items that looked damaged by water and time grinding.

To enhance the island feel, around the perimeter of the outdoor party space I placed a vinyl “Scene Setter” of the sun brilliantly setting over the ocean titled “Sunset Beach” (available online from Party City). A few potted palm trees, dried palm fronds and lush tropical flower bouquets completed the look I was going for.

As you go about creating your end of summer theme, there are two things to keep in mind authenticity of your party: (1) remember if you were on a desert island, you would be surrounded by water; and (2) when choosing decorations, choose items found in nature, things you might actually find on a desert island, such as palm fronds, shells, leaves, driftwood, and tropical flowers, and use natural colors and fibers such as brown raffia, yarn, and brown rope.

Element #4 – Food and Drinks: Never stress about food and drinks

The menu for my end of summer ship island party featured a unique cocktail I created called the Blue Lagoon. Made with Curacao Blue, a liqueur flavored with the dried rind of the Larraha citrus fruit grown on the island of Curacao, this delicious drink, with its lovely deep blue color and served in a large clam punch bowl, is reminiscent of a tropical lagoon. If you’ve taken the time to make a great cocktail, the best way to do it justice is to serve it in the right glass. Using the right glass for the right drink can emphasize the smell, texture and taste of the drink. So for my Blue Lagoon cocktail, I chose coconut glasses, although another fun idea would be to use mixing glasses, mugs and glasses that have apparently washed ashore after a shipwreck. Both are reusable, eco-friendly options over plastic or paper cups.

Which brings me to the serving pieces — to create a clever and unique buffet table for this shipwreck party, use mix-matched serving pieces that again seem to have washed ashore or that you would find in nature, such as palm trees, tropical leaves, bamboo mats, driftwood and shells. Lowe’s fringe mats are fun, as are beach hats, which also make great serving bowls when flipped over. Another table setting might include an eclectic mix of clear glass bottles wrapped in string and filled with shells and flowers.

Element #5 – Activities: Involve your guests in an activity

“Oh Matty! This is the ghost of Captain Blue Bird of the once dreaded pirate ship, the Pearl of the Sea. If you’re reading this [ARGH] That means you found me treasure maps! So, form two teams and give each a map. If you want to find me gold, you have to find me clues first. The maps will show you the way. When all the clues are found, join teams to unscramble the words. It will direct the way to the treasure chest and your reward!”

Treasure hunts can be great fun at a party, yet challenging to do. However, I’ll break it down into seven easy steps, using the treasure hunt created specifically for this Shipwreck Island party plan.

For this activity you will need: – 2 blank treasure maps – sharpie pen – gold coins – treasure chest with loot or treasure – 2 pieces of note paper – string to tie the rolled maps.

Step 1 – the maps. Start with a blank map (which can be bought online). Customize it to reflect the key areas of your party space where the scavenger hunt will take place. Make a copy so you have two identical maps, one for each team.

Step 2 – Decide where to hide the treasure chest and come up with a clue that describes the location. I hid my treasure chest in the back corner of my yard so my clue read: “Between two gates on the southwest coast.”

Step 3 – Using a Sharpie pen, write your clue using letters, letter combinations and words on 16 gold coins, so there are 8 clues/coins per team.

Step 4 – Separate the coins into two piles. While hiding one set of coins, mark one of the maps with each location of the hidden clues. Repeat the process with the other map and set of coins using another part of the party area.

Step 5 – Roll up the maps and tie them with string.

Step 6 – Type the above note from Captain Blue Bird and attach it to the maps so everyone knows the rules of the game. If you are working with small children, it is recommended to have at least one older child in each team who can read and help others understand.

Step 7 – Hide the treasure chest full of loot.

For a variation, put a lock on the treasure chest and ask your guests to do something fun or silly to win the key to open it. Done right, this treasure hunt can be fun for adults too. Think of all the creative things you can put inside the chest. I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Element #6 – Special Touches: Set up your party, give them something from the heart

Get your guests in the mood for your end of summer Shipwreck Island party with favors to enhance their experience during the party itself. On arrival, give each of the grown men a lei made from tropical ferns, orchids, or seashells; The women, flower hair clips. Give the kids something extra special. Fill goody bags with a pirate hat, eye patch, hoop earring, telescope, chocolate gold coins and some other fun costume items to make them pirates. Dressing up the kids as pirates ties in nicely with the treasure hunt they will do later as an activity. To enhance their pirate experience, create a pirate den or place where they can gather and play during the party.

A smart and simple way to tie in a birthday element is to sing your youngster’s birthday to the guest of honor’s birthday in exchange for the treasure chest key at the end of the treasure hunt.

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