Monday, September 6, 2010

How Do I Make a Tired and Over-done Theme My Own?

There are several reasons you might have to follow a common, possibly over-used theme. Perhaps the Guest of Honor (GOH) wants a certain theme and will not be happy without it. Maybe you are hosting a national holiday and you want to spice it up this year- create a new holiday tradition. Then again, maybe you just went a little crazy at a party store and bought some Dora the Explorer party d├ęcor and paper goods when they were on clearance and now your kids are so over Dora. And now you desperately need to spruce up Dora.

Making a theme your own takes a bit more thought and creativity, but it can be lots of fun and well worth the time and effort. The first thing I do is to put pen to paper and brainstorm all I know about the theme. Here is an example of how I might brainstorm princesses- a theme way overused in my household, almost to the point that is has become a bad word. Can I say that I am so over princesses??


  • Tiaras
  • Castles
  • Gowns
  • Princess and the frog
  • Grand balls
  • Guards
  • Dress up
  • Fairy tales
  • Jewels
  • Make up
  • Fancy hand held mirrors
  • Gloves
  • Happily ever after
My 5 year old helped me come up with this list in a few minutes. It's not extensive, just long enough to get me thinking about princesses and a way to revive them. Here are some extensions I thought of:

Castles (Beach Party)

  • Princesses on the beach- maybe mermaid princesses?
  • Sand castles
  • Making moats
  • Messages in a bottle
  • Sea shell art
  • Children's book- Do Princesses Get Dirty?
  • Favors- personalized sand pails with a quote about princesses (maybe an updated, more politically correct one about princesses being more than frill and pink)
  • Food- chicken or turkey legs and other hand held items
Happily Ever After

  • Fractured fairy tales- telling the story from another character's perspective, like Ursula's or the frog's
    • Read the True Story of The Three Little Pigs or other fractured fairy tale
    • Have kids rewrite and illustrate their own fractured fairy tale

  • Happiness-spin off with all the guest of honor's favorite things- one room for princesses, one for writing letters with all the embellishments, one for dancing, etc.

Mind maps are a great way to brainstorm and there are free programs on the internet you can download to use. Simple lists work for me, but if you are a doodler at heart, you might try mind mapping to get your creative juices flowing.

If you get stuck, just go to the internet and put different words into a search engine. Put princess in and see what comes up. Or if you have your list, search Fairy Tales or tiaras and see what you find.

Don't brainstorm too long or it becomes work. Put your list away and let is fester for a few days. Come back to it and see what you can come up with. Mention your ideas to friends. Synergy is a magical thing and sharing ideas always sparks creative juices.

Remember, the purpose for spicing up a tired theme is to breathe life in it and get you excited about it. It's important for the GOH to be excited, but you should be too. The more excited you are, the easier and more fun the planning process will be.

Life is supposed to be fun…enjoy the journey and all that…so have some fun planning your next party!


  1. Have you ever heard of Disney's My Side of the Story” collection? It’s the Villain side and they are absolutely fantastic!

    My favorite one is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Stepmom talks about how difficult it is to raise a teenager daughter b/c they are just boy crazy and have horrible/non-healthy eating habits. She then explains that’s the sole reason she wanted Snow White to eat the apple, b/c she was concerned about her health since she only eats junk food.

    The Cinderella one is hysterical too. The stepmom expresses concern for her daughter b/c she only dresses in rags. She feared Cinderella was depressed b/c she didn't care about her appearance. Then she grew even more concerned when she found out that Cinderella talked to birds and mice...

    There's a Captain Hook one and 101 Dalmatians too, not just ones for Princesses.

  2. Can't believe I never knew about these. Thank you! How fun would this be for a twisted villian party???

    Ok, fellow readers. Speaking of overdone themes, my friend Julie is doing TRAINS for her son's 4th birthday. To make it trickier, she just did trains for her oldest son's 4th birthday this summer.

    Let's help her spin TRAINS into something unusual and unexpected. Any ideas??