For my son’s 3rd birthday and my daughter’s 1st birthday, I wanted to create a stellar, whimsical and completely unique event. The very first time my son showed an interest in space and rockets, I knew what I wanted this birthday party to be inspired by… Georges Melies’ (a French illusionist) theatrical and exhilarating silent film, A Trip to the Moon. I had fallen in love with the film after seeing it for the first time with my husband (then boyfriend) in a college film class we had taken together. The film was beyond perfect for the party concept. Bright colors, theatrics, whimsy, space, aliens, science, celebration… what more could you ask for?!
The 1902 silent black and white film was recolored in the 70’s with bright pinks, oranges, golds and greens. I loved the recolored version and incorporated the colors into my party color palette. The story of astronomers calculating a trip to the moon, building a rocket, landing on the moon, meeting selenites (inhabitants of the moon) and safely returning to earth was a perfect storyline for a children’s party! I wanted to literally recreate the storyline within the party. I narrowed down the short film to 4 integral parts and developed those into interactive stations: build your rocket, launch your rocket, the eagle has landed & celebrate your voyage. My husband loved the idea! This was fabulous, since the party was also celebrating his 31st birthday! How perfect!? A 3rd birthday, 1st birthday and 31st birthday! I see some fun number play here!
Build Your Rocket
During the film, the astronomers build a spherical, gold spaceship. Each child at the party had a chance to build their very own rocket at the “Build Your Rocket” station. There were 2 types of kits provided, 1 kit was for toddlers and 1 kit was for babies. Both needed some adult supervision. The toddler kit was composed of cardboard pieces, which were assembled using the included instructions. The kit for infants was a wood stackable rocket, but for most babies it was used for chewing and swatting.
Launch Your Rocket
Knowing the toddlers and babies needed constant amusements, I wanted an interactive area where they could crawl and play. This fit in perfectly with my “Launch Your Rocket” station. I created a launch pad where I placed my son’s birthday present (a large rocket playhouse) for everyone to share. It was a hit, toddlers were launching that rocket everywhere! The rocket was flanked with festive balloons, which represented planets in space. See some hidden number play!?
The Eagle Has Landed
Obviously, the biggest moment in the film is when the rocket lands on the moon and the astronomers bump into it’s inhabitants, the Selenites! To recreate these epically, theatrical scenes, I had a chalkboard artist draw a lunar landscape on a large chalkboard in the venue. I sewed photo props, which included a recreation of the Selenite’s spears, the crescent moon seen in several scenes and the stars worn on the actress’ faces. Everyone chose their character and snapped a photo using a Lomo’Instant camera. The instant pictures were perfect! The vintage appearance mimicked the aged silent film.
Celebrate Your Voyage
They did it! In the film, the astronomers built their rocket, landed on the moon and made it home safely… just like my partygoers! It was now time to eat and celebrate! The party was from 3-5 (short and in the late afternoon), so I kept my food offerings light and focused on having a really delicious dessert. Wanting to reflect the French origins of the film, I had macaroons and a decadent chocolate cake for guests to savor. I also had to have star shaped, vanilla bean marshmallows, another favorite of my sons (besides macaroons)!
My husband and I love making cocktails (they really are a fabulous way to celebrate) and we love sipping them! I especially like sparkling cocktails, so my husband created a signature, sparkling cocktail for the party, a Lunar Fizz.
The food and beverage bar had a scholastic and patriotic influenced design. I wanted to incorporate the feeling of the first scene in the film where the astronomers were devising their voyage and the last scene where people paraded through the town in celebration! I sewed a black and white striped flag bunting and stacked gold books, which gave just the right ambience.
While people enjoyed their food, they were able to watch the silent film projected on a nearby wall.
I absolutely loved designing this party! It was a complete blast! My inspiration is truly a groundbreaking film and definitely one of the most influential films of all time… go ahead and watch it! It was made in 1902… 1902!!! The theatrics, the illusionist special effects, the story… everything! I love it! It is totally out of this world!
Are you loving this party theme!? If you are, I have great news! I had another version of this party two weeks later in Minnesota for our Minnesotan family and friends! Go ahead… check that invite again. I invited guests to one or both parties! The only guests who actually attended both were my wonderful and amazing parents. They helped out with so many components of the party. I seriously couldn’t have done it without them (and my husband). I will be posting pics of the second version and DIY details in the next few days!
Components + Credit
- Design + Pics – Erin Catlin
- Graphics + Signage
- Fabric + Sewing
- astro rocket kit – Cardboard Safari
- baby rocket kit – Plan Toys purchased at Aitkin Flowers & Gifts
- rocket cotton favor bags – DIY
- cardboard rocket play house – Kidsonroof
- time capsule – DIY
- name a star certificate (placed in time capsule) – International Star Registry
- instant camera – Lomo’Instant Camera purchased from Elumsion Gallery & Lomography Embassy
- music playlist – 2010: The Year We Make Contact, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Johann Strauss II Thunder and Lighting Polka
- chalkboard designs – Jennifer Ferguson
- confetti balloons – DIY, confetti from Knot and Bow
- paperware – Meri Meri Toot Sweet
- crescent moon gold vases – Urban Outfitters
- gold vases – Urban Outfitters
- gold straws – Urban Outfitters
- gold moon stirrers and dessert toppers – Pink Poodles Deux
- stellar sun – DIY
- gold compass –Aitkin Flowers & Gifts
- birthday girl custom look alike doll – Her Bunnies Three
- cheese platter
- meat platter
- bread + crackers
- [solopevach]. (2012, August 6). Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon) – 1902 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUAD4lKNDI8