Idea No.


This Is Your Life Party -95yr- Memory Video



July 2010


Dawn in Bradenton, FL

Special Mention

This Is Your Life Party

We threw a 95th birthday party for my father-in-law. Yes, that means he was born in 1915 and has seen so many changes in the world. He was born in the Domincan Republic but moved to NY when he was 6 or 8 and grew up in America. That made the theme difficult because a few people had suggested a tropical/domincan theme, yet most of his formative years were in the US. We live in FL and I know nothing about NY and my father in law has lived in FL for over 20 years too. My husband is from his dad's second marriage and his dad was 55 when he was born, and he had lived alone for many years prior to that and he had moved around much. No siblings are alive either. Thus, we did not have much to go on prior to 1962 (the year he married my mother in law). Made a theme very difficult. We opted for a movie type theme.

INVITATIONS: Found awesome invites on line (vistaprint) where I was able to use 4 pictures of my father in law and plug them into the invite where it looked like movie-real or the old 35mm filmstrip. I used one from when he was 21, 40ish, 60ish, and 80ish. With the details of the event.

DECORATIONS: The event took place in the rec center of the place my in-laws live (free). Outside we had a lawn sign, with a clapboard look that read The Life and Times of XXX" and a banner over the door (vistaprint/free). Unfortunately inside the hall was huge (capacity 400) and we had a party for about 45. We needed to make a more intimate setting.  We used 6 large self-standing panels framed in 2x2 and covered in canvas as dividers. They were about 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. We put 3 on each side leaving an opening in the middle.

We covered these dividers in black plastic table cloth roll (100 ft roll).  On these we hung a few different things. First I scanned and printed out about 8 8x10 photos backed them in red cardstock and hung them up. Then came the research. I reasearched the prices and events of things in 1915 (gas was 8 cents/gallon!); From there I researched each decade and printed out an 8.5x11 piece of paper with major events etc. from each decade. Fascinating to see what my father in law had actually lived through - most of these things I had only read about in history books.

Each piece of paper and all the pictures were backed with red cardstock. It made a great "walk" through time. In the middle of the 6 dividers we had a red "carpet" and on each side 3 "stars" that resembled the hollywood walk of stars. The stars each had the name of a celebs born in 1915 and the last one had my father in laws name. 

The tables were covered in red plastic tablecloths. In the center of each table we used a luncheon sized black napkin opened with a bev red napkin closed and put a "photo" holder in the middle (displays to which each held 2 photos. The photos were backed in black cardstock and on the cardstock I used a scrapbooking "punch" to give it a filmstrip look. Also on the center of the tables we put clapboard noisemakers and 2 8inch megaphones (oriental trading) on the table. Would have used confetti but we were not allowed.

The photos made great conversation pieces. The cake table had a black tablecloth with more photo holders. I had also stumbled upon picture frames that resembeled a filmstrip. 5 2x2 pictures per horizontal frame ($2 each -what a steal). I just printed out pictures I had scanned and cut out parts of the picture to fit.

ACTIVITIES: We are talking elderly people. Not a whole lot of games going on and none of the children knowing enough trivia for any games. We did have a clapboard shaped pinata for the kids (my father and mother in law are both of spansish heritage afterall).

The main event was a dvd that I made. I scrounged through old pictures that my mother in law did have and came up with about 150-200 photos of my father in law. I compiled these into a dvd and used music (itunes) from the different decades. It was about 15 minutes long and provided our main source of entertainment for the afternoon.  We projected it on a large white wall and had about 20 chairs set up in movie theater fashion. We handed out popcorn in striped popcorn bags while people sat and watched the movie. Only about 40 of the photos were around the room in various ways so the movie was well received especially since many of the attendees were in pictures with my father in law and knew other relatives as well.

SNACKS/FOOD: We did have the event catered by their favorite local spanish grocery store. 

CAKE: The cake was amazing. We had a cake specialst/friend make a square cake with white frosting. On the top she created a black clapboard with "Title: The Life and Times of XXX" "Scene: Birthday" "Take: 95" She decorated with yellow stars. On the side of the cake she mimicked a movie filmstrip. It definitely added to the d├ęcor.

FAVORS: Again we are talking elderly people however we did purchase microwave popcorn. On the plastic wrapping we used large mailing labels and printed "Thank you for viewing the Life and Times of XXX" with the date. The pinata contained clapboard keychains/photo holders which many took home as favors too (the grandchildren only wanted the candy). There are not a lot of ideas out there for 90+ especially males that don't have a lot of personal hobbies anymore. We do expect to do a 100th birthday and I'll be scounging for new ideas in a few more years. Hope this is helpful to someone."

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