Organizing a party on the island of the castaways makes the most of the end of summer
Instead of being sad when the end of summer arrives, I say, it’s party time! Instead of feeling like your ship has run aground at the end of summer, why not host an end-of-summer soiree that’s fun for the whole family…maybe even the whole neighborhood?
If the idea of throwing a party is akin to walking the plank and jumping into the dark abyss, then think of me as your lifesaver! I’ll walk you through the process of throwing a party using my simple formula for creating memorable events. When we finish organizing your summer party details into six easy-to-remember elements, you’ll be sailing smoothly into an experience your guests will treasure for many summers to come. Oh mate!
Element #1: Theme, Mood, and Color – Carry your theme into everything you do
Every great party starts with a great theme! For the end of summer evening, she organizes a party on the island of the castaways. What is your party on the island of the castaways? Well, it’s not an island luau, although a luau-style party could certainly be part of the festivities. It’s not a pirate party, although a few pirates present can add a bit of fun, and it’s not a bum party, although you’ll want lots of sand and seashells in your decor. Think of a desert island inhabited by a group of ragged castaways waiting to be rescued and you’ll get the picture.
In creating the theme for this party, I found it helpful to use my “imagination board” for a “brainstorming” exercise. An imagination board is a great dry erase board that gives you plenty of room to write and allows for a free flow of ideas. To start, I wrote the name of my theme, “Isla de los Naufragos”, in the center of the board and then around it I wrote everything I could think of, such as boat, sails, treasure, beached, beach, shells, trunks , chests, mosquito nets, fishing nets, palm trees, flowers, coconuts, fish and crabs. Then, to help get my creativity flowing, I thought of all the great movies, TV shows, and music that had to do with shipwrecks, islands, and castaways, like “Titanic,” “Lost,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” “Castaway.” “, “Survivor”, the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island” and melodies by Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley. I used these ideas as inspiration for my invitations, decorations, menu and signature drink, activities and special touches.
Element #2 – Invitations: Make Them Attractive
If you were on a desert island somewhere and needed help, one thing you could do is write a message in a bottle and throw it into the sea in the hope that someone will receive your SOS. This is a fun and easy idea because there are so many places you can find message-in-a-bottle invitation kits both online and at craft 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 make your own. Start your invitations with a great opening line that ties in with your theme. Something like: “Come get stranded for a while” (taken from my brainstorming exercise). This opening line sets the tone for the party and lets people know that they are going to have fun. Be sure to include details about who, what, where, when, and why. Encourage guests to wear tattooed clothing, their best castaway, 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 a few small seashells. Finish off the invitation with a yarn trim simply wrapped around the neck of the bottle, glue your mailing label over the ends of the yarn, and voila! You’ve created a fun invitation that will make people want to come and get lost for a while!
Element #3: Décor and Ambience – Setting and setting are everything
The trick to decorating my end of summer Shipwrecked Island Party was to keep in mind that it was all about creating illusion. My house was the ship and the shipyard the island. To board the ship, guests had to walk the plank which was surrounded by an interesting display of washed up treasures including a small antique chair, some sand to give the illusion of shore, an old hand mirror, jewelry, tarnished pewter candlesticks and other items that looked water-damaged and time-worn.
To enhance the island feel, around the perimeter of the outdoor party space I placed a “Scene Setter” vinyl of the brilliant sunset over the ocean titled “Sunset Beach” (available online at Party City). Some potted palm trees, dried palm fronds, and lush bouquets of tropical flowers completed the look she was going for.
Regardless of how you create your end of summer theme, there are two things you need to keep in mind to keep the authenticity of your group: (1) Remember that if you were on a desert island, you would be surrounded by water; and (2) When selecting 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 as the brown raffia , twine and brown rope.
Element #4 – Food and Drinks: Never Stress About Food and Drinks
The menu for my end of summer Shipwrecked Island Party included a signature cocktail I created called “Blue Lagoon”. Made with Blue Curacao, a liqueur flavored with the dried rind of the laraha citrus fruit grown on the island of Curacao, this delicious drink, with its beautiful deep blue color and served in a large shell 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 a proper glass. Using the right glass for the right drink can accentuate the smell, texture, and flavor of your drink. So, for my signature Blue Lagoon cocktail, I chose coconut glasses, although another fun idea would be to use matching glasses, cups, and glasses that have apparently washed ashore after a shipwreck. Both are reusable and environmentally friendly options instead of plastic or paper cups.
Which brings me to the serving pieces: To create a clever and unique buffet table for this shipwreck party, use matching serving pieces that, again, have apparently washed up on shore or that you’d find in the wild, like leaves palm, tropical leaves, bamboo mats, driftwood and shells. Luau fringe placemats are fun, as are beach hats, which also make great serving bowls when flipped. Additional table decorations can include an eclectic mix of yarn-wrapped clear glass bottles filled with seashells and flowers.
Element #5 – Activities: Engage your guests in an activity
“Ah mate! This is the spirit of Captain Bluebeard of the once feared pirate ship Marine Pearl. If you are reading this [ARGH] It means you’ve found my treasure maps! So, make two teams and give each one a map. If you want to find me gold, you have to find me clues first. Maps will show you the way. When all the clues are found, join teams to unscramble the words. This will point the way to my treasure chest and your reward!”
A scavenger hunt can be a lot of fun at a party, but it can still be challenging. However, I will break it down into seven easy steps using the scavenger hunt created specifically for this castaway island party plan.
For this activity, you will need: – 2 blank treasure maps – A Sharpie marker – Gold coins – A treasure chest with loot or treasure – 2 sheets of paper for notes – String to tie the displaced maps.
Step 1 – The maps. Start with a blank map (which can be purchased 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 make up a clue that describes the location. I hid my treasure chest in a back corner of my garden, so my clue read, “Between two gates on the southwest shore.”
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 a coin set, mark one of the maps with each hidden clue location. 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 – Write down the above note from Captain Blue Beard and attach it to the maps so everyone knows the rules of the game. If you’re working with young children, it’s a good idea to have at least one older child on each team who can read and help others understand.
Step 7 – Hide the loot-filled treasure chest.
For a variation, put a lock on the treasure chest and ask your guests to do something fun or silly to earn the key to open it. Done right, this scavenger hunt can be fun for adults too. Think of all the creative things you could put inside the chest. I leave that to your imagination.
Element #6: Special Touches – Set Your Party Apart, Give Them Something from the Heart
Get your guests pumped up for the End of Summer Shipwrecked Island Party with a favor to enhance their party experience. Upon arrival, present each of the adult men with a lei made from tropical fern leaves, orchids, or seashells; women, flower hair clips. Give the kids something extra special. Fill the goodie bags with a pirate hat, eye patch, earring, telescope, chocolate gold coins, and a few other fun costume pieces that will transform them into pirates. Dressing the kids up as pirates ties in wonderfully with the treasure hunt they’ll do later as an activity. To enhance your pirate experience, create a Pirate’s Cove or a place where you can meet and play during the party.
A clever and easy way to tie in a birthday item is to have the young buccaneers sing Happy Birthday to the birthday guest of honor in exchange for the treasure chest key at the end of the Treasure Hunt.