Top 5 Wednesday: Books As Event Themes

I have always been a pretty terrible party planner. When I used to host my friends for my birthday parties, my plans never quite evolved to the point of planning actual activities for the time that people were here. It was basically put out food and drinks, gather people together, put on some music, and let people do what they want — which usually resulted in a very intense game of Monopoly. I guess in a sense I was lucky that my friends weren’t really the wild party types, but I do remember a close friend (at the time) half-complaining once about there being nothing to do.

When I saw this topic for a Top 5 Wednesday, I had absolutely no idea what kinds of events to plan. Once I let go of the logistics a little and realized that I didn’t actually need to throw these parties, it was much easier. Some of these events I’m sure have been done before, but I think they would be great parties.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (Themed Party)

As always, Harry Potter seems to be my go-to answer for most Top 5 Wednesday questions, but in this case for good reason. There are so many possibilities for activities. I was envisioning it as a party for younger kids, but most of it could probably work for adults as well. When guests arrive, they are randomly sorted into the Houses, which will be their teams for the games. Games include a “Quidditch” match (there are some handball games that are fairly similar), and a trivia competition to earn House Points. There would also be a buffet-style feast, featuring all kinds of different foods — Butter Beer, Every Flavour beans, and other variants on Harry Potter dishes. Or, for people who want a more formal event, the Yule Ball is always a good option.

2) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (Escape-Room Style Party)

Escape rooms have been on my mind lately since my co-workers and I had to do one as a team-building day last year, and it was actually a lot of fun! For a Series of Unfortunate Events theme, the host would take the role of Count Olaf who has set “traps” for guests that they must work together to get through to defeat Olaf. Originally, I’d envisioned that each guest would role-play as one of the Baudelaire and/or Quagmire siblings, but it would also work if there was a station set up within the challenge representing each siblings’ skill. For example, at Violet’s station, guests would have to put together or build something, and at Klaus’ station, they would have to read something to find the relevant clues. For Sunny, who develops a talent for cooking in the later books, guests would have to either eat something or decorate food to Count Olaf’s standards (with the host acting as a judge). The Quagmire siblings were added in to add an extra level of challenge, and more available stations.

3) Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol (A Very Merry Unbirthday Party)

I have no idea why it took me so long to come up with this one, since it seems like one of the most obvious literary-themed parties. The party would include a tea party with tea, cakes and cookies. There would also be a game of musical chairs (“Clean cup, clean cup, move down!”) and a croquet match. To capture some of the nonsense of the books, there could also be a riddle competition with a prize for the person who stumps everyone with the best riddle. You could also decorate tea sets for guests to take home, or play games like “Pin the Tail” on the Cheshire Cat. I was trying to come up with something to capture Alice’s constant size changes throughout the story, but I’m completely at a loss.

4) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Prom/Other Formal Event)

I’m sure Gatsby parties are something that have been done before. Guests would be asked to dress in 1920s style clothing, and the party would need to be a pretty over-the-top, elaborate one. It should have music from that era, and cocktails and champagne (non-alcoholic if needed) for guests. The menu should also have a 20s theme, and once again, very over the top in terms of fancy food. Hold a costume contest with a prize for the most authentic-looking 20s costume. Have a photo booth, or take Polaroids of guests.

5) Agatha Christie (Murder Mystery Themed Party)

Again, this is an idea that has been done many times in the past — at least if TV shows are any indication. I actually first heard of this idea through episodes of shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Lizzie McGuire, where a scenario was set up, and each guest was assigned a role to play out for the evening to discover who the “murderer” was. I never realized that the idea was based on Agatha Christie’s mysteries, at least the few that I know of. I’m not even sure what kind of party this would be for, but it could work pretty well for any kind of holiday or birthday where you have a group to entertain. It does require people who are interested and capable of role-playing well though.

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