Curling up with a good book is a strong temptation in the fall, when the weather turns crisp or autumn rains begin, especially during October's National Book Month holiday. Celebrate the possibilities open through a love of reading when you choose a book theme for birthdays and other parties. From classics to contemporary, stories come alive with a little creative planning, and it doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money to incorporate holiday party ideas. Provide book-related party favors to keep the enchantment going long past the last guest’s departure.
Invitations, Decorations and Favors for a Book Theme Set the stage for a book-themed party with invitations made from library checkout cards and book pockets. Type or write the party details on the card, slip it into a pocket and put them into an envelope. Or, to take the theme to another level, glue the sides of a book dust jacket together, add the card and pocket to the inside and address the “envelope” on a bookplate sticker adhered to the outside of the jacket. Stitch two pages of a book together and glue on a ribbon handle to make goody bags that you fill with bookmarks, playtime eyeglasses and maybe a copy of a paperback book, as well. Make garlands from book covers or pages to decorate the party room or place framed book pages around the table and on other surfaces.
Food for a Book Theme Take some ideas from the books themselves when selecting foods. For example, display Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish, Two Fish,” and serve goldfish crackers or fish-design cupcakes or cookies. Add a storybook-shaped cake to the menu, along with food-dyed “Green Eggs and Ham.” Chocolate chip cookies fit with “When You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” and many other books present ideas for food and drinks that pertain to those stories. Gummy worms and apples also make great book-related treats.
Classics and Book Themes Well-loved classics offer a variety of possibilities for your party. Hold a silly tea party with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme by labeling foods with “eat me” or “drink me” tags, use mismatched tableware and make cakes, cookies and other confections in unusual sizes. Or throw some pillows around on the floor and enact “One Thousand and One Nights” by encouraging guests to share stories. For adults, recreate “The Great Gatsby” with 1920s clothing and great jazz music. Use cookbooks related to the story to share the four-course afternoon tea from “Anne of Green Gables,” serving sandwiches, raspberry cordial and other treats.
Historical Fiction and Book Themes Invite guests to the “Little House in the Big Woods” or “Little House on the Prairie” for a celebration of historical fiction. Encourage guests to dress for the occasion in pioneer-style clothing, and add some of the foods in the books to your menu. Combine history and gardening with a “Secret Garden” party that includes glittered keys to open the garden’s gate for bird-, flower- and butterfly-shaped cookies and treats. Let guests “chaaaarge it” with make-believe key cards when you turn “Eloise at the Plaza” into an entertaining theme, with guests playing dress-up and munching on Eggs Eloise omelets, Teeny Weenies, and Skipperdee sandwiches, named in honor of Eloise’s pets.
Fantasy, Science Fiction and Book Themes “Charlotte’s Web” combines fantasy with classic literature. Serve up a pig-shaped cake, along with popcorn and farm-fresh produce, before letting guests decorate their own pumpkin with markers and stickers. Send guests on a Percy Jackson-themed treasure hunt, complete with clues that refer to mythology and to events in the book.
Animal Fiction and Book Themes Animal books like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and “Curious George” give you lots of ways to bring the books to life at your party, while “Horton Hears a Who” gives you the perfect excuse to serve cake pops as the featured refreshments. Let guests make their own masks, crowns and wands before dancing the wild rumpus dance from “Where the Wild Things Are."