Mad Tea Party for an 8th (Un)Birthday

Little Sis turned 8 years old! Her actual birthday is on the first, and just like last year, the thought of throwing a birthday party on Halloween weekend was too much for us to fathom. (Someday, however, I'd love to throw a Halloween-themed party.) This year, she wanted a Mad Tea Party! The girls picked their Halloween costumes in order to wear them again for the party.  She has seen pictures of her sister's fifth birthday party, an Alice in Wonderland-themed party in our backyard. She wasn't quite three at the time, so she really doesn't remember it.

We opted to rent a quiet shelter at a beautiful park across town. The guest list was huge, and I must admit, a bit overwhelming. Mr. B got called to work soon after it began, but between my dad, grandma, sister, and the awesome parents who stayed (including a teacher and para from school), I had a lot of help! My camera wasn't working, and I was too busy to take pictures for the most part. I send buckets of gratitude to my sister, my grandmother, and especially my beautiful friend Tara for the photographs!

The cupcakes were our favorite vanilla cupcake recipe from The Joy of Baking. I purchased plain black cupcake picks from the craft store, then created my own circular pictures on the computer to glue to the picks.

It was a semi-proper tea party! We brought little tea sandwiches (pimento, cream cheese and cucumber, cream cheese and jelly, and PBJ), including a gluten-free trays for our guests with Celiac disease. Mr. B boiled tons of water and filled our big Thermos jug. We passed out tea bags and sugar cubes and milk. A few kids asked for juice in the end, but Mr. B made sure I had that on hand, too.

I read the Mad Tea Party chapter from The Nursery Alice and attempted to lead some games, which fell flat. When the kids first arrived, they decorated clip-on party hats made from paper cups and cardstock, an idea I found here. The party favors were Cheshire Cat grin photo props (I drew those!) and coloring pages.

Presents were hurried, because everyone really wanted to play on the playground! She received a ton of art supplies (YES!), some Ever After High and Monster High toys, and some movies and books.

At one point, a sheriff's car pulled up with its lights flashing. I was so nervous, wondering if I'd done something wrong! It turned out that a party guest's dad worked with her, and asked her to stop by the party. It was so funny! The kids loved it.

After the party, my family and I went further into the park for more pictures.

Click here for more Alice-inspired posts. The "Rabbit Holes" part of our blog name did come from our love for all things Alice!

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Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday (on Tuesday): Gremlins (Read Along Adventure)

Gremlins (Read-Along Adventure), Warner Bros. Inc.
Buena Vista Records, 1984.

(This post should have run yesterday, but life got in the way. Big Sis came home sick. She's home again today, too.) 

So, Read-Along Adventures. As a kid in the '80s, I had more of these than I can remember. Some were on record, many were on cassette. I don't know what became of most of our collection. The books were cheaply-bound paperbacks that often fell apart, and tapes and records were left out and ruined over time. Kids are hard on stuff. 

Halloween morning, Big Sis was scrolling through the new releases on Amazon Prime Instant Video, while I was lying in bed, sick. Suddenly she cried, "Hey, Mom, Gremlins in on Amazon!"

You know those weird pop cultury things that pepper your everyday conversation? I've been known to react to bright sunlight or flashes with a high-pitched, "Bright light! Bright light!" That said, I hadn't seen Gremlins in years. It was released during the summer of 1984, two months before my seventh birthday. I remember seeing it in the movie theater, but only after all the neighborhood kids had already seen it. My dad was concerned about the violence. It was rated PG, but so was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and my folks were not about to let us see that. The PG-13 rating came into being soon after these movies came out. I was only 7 when I saw Gremlins, but the violence didn't bother me. It was pretty cartoonish.

Who can forget the rules? "Keep them away from light. Especially sunlight. Sunlight could kill them. Never get them wet. And above all, never, ever feed them after midnight."

Oh, what a silly little movie. Big Sis and I had an enjoyable time watching it. It was a nice way to start Halloween, with a comedy-thriller that takes place during Christmastime. Some of our thoughts:

[As Hoyt Axton appears on the screen.] "That guy wrote 'Joy to the World.' The rock song, not the Christmas song." (I proceed to sing the first verse and chorus of Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World.")
"That's a really weird song." - Big Sis
"His mom co-wrote 'Heartbreak Hotel.'" - me
"The Elvis song?" - Big Sis
"Good girl." - me

[During the Chinatown shop scene.] "Oh, the Chinese stereotypes!" - me (I kept thinking of this, for some reason.)

"After midnight? How long after midnight? What about morning or afternoon?" - Big Sis
"What about time zones?" - me

"I want a real Mogwai! I want a Gizmo!" - Big Sis
"Oh, it's so cute!!!" - Little Sis, wandering into the room.

"Oh, yeah, I forgot Corey Feldman was in this!" - me
"Who is he?" - Big Sis
"One of the two Coreys!" (silence) "Oh, well, you know him from The Goonies." - me
"Oh, yeah." - Big Sis

[After the mom's kitchen battle with the original Gremlins.]"The microwave thing was cool!" - Big Sis

[When mean Mrs. Deagle flies through the window.] "YEAH!" - Big Sis

[Gremlins in the pub scene] "Why doesn't she just leave? Why is she serving the gremlins?" - Big Sis

[As Kate relates the story of why she hates Christmas to Billy.] "Okay, this is my favorite speech. I think it's really funny because it's so over-the-top. Also, I still believed in Santa when I first saw this, so it wasn't funny to me back then." - me
"Is it supposed to be sad?" - Big Sis
"I think it's supposed to be 'so bad it's funny.' It's black comedy, baby." - me (Also, THIS.)

[Movie theatre scene.] "How do they know all the songs from Snow White? It makes no sense!!!" - Big Sis

It's a funny movie!

So, back to Read-Along Adventures. The girls found this at my grandma's house a few years ago. The tape is long gone, but someone uploaded the audio via YouTube.

I screwed up the collages a bit, so the page turns will be off after the stand-alone page 10, with the close-up of Stripe. Otherwise, have fun following along! 

"Let's begin now."

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