The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
Planning a Party?
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Here are a few hints given by Jane Farwell, recreation specialist and play-party expert.
Suppose you have a committee around and you do not want to have one of those trite parties such as Valentine, Easter, St. Patrick's, etc. Ask people to suggest the first party theme that pops into their heads. The chairman writes these down as they come. At the end, you will have a list of several names such as "The Thing," "April Showers," "Sugar and Spice," "Under the Sea," "At the Zoo," etc. Then all vote on the one theme that seems to have the most possibilities, keeping in mind the age limit and experience of the group the party being planned for, and the refreshments, decoration angles, etc.
Remember that people will always come to something if their curiosity has been sharpened ahead of time. If you send out an invitation, add spice with colored ink and drawings or photographs. You could send out invitations in a series of jig-saw cutouts; when you put them together, you'd have an announcement in full. If your party was to be a "Sack Social," the announcement could be put in paper sacks. Or little stunts and skits could be presented at gatherings in advance to spike interest in the event the idea is to make folks eager to come.
ATMOSPHERE AND DECORATIONS
It's one thing to build up curiosity and another to live up to it, which is just what the second committee does. More fun than preparing decorations in advance is getting those coming to the party to make them as they arrive. Have a table lined up near the entrance loaded with proper materials such as cellophane tape, pins, needles, scissors, staplers, crepe paper, etc. For example, if you were having an "Under the Sea" party, those coming could make fishnets from crepe paper, tear or cut out all forms of marine life fish, lobsters, squids, seahorses, mermaids, etc., and put them in the nets.
A good trick is to have rope string across the hall, and on this all kinds of things could be hung, such as snowflakes for a wintry party, baskets for a spring party, or even mobiles made from scrap materials. All these things can be taped to the wall using masking tape. A roll of plain butcher paper or shelving paper masking taped to the walls is a good idea with those coming to the party either drawing or painting or pasting on cutouts an inexpensive and quick way to make decorations.
Avoid the ordinary, "Let's line up for refreshments." The most economical of refreshments can be enjoyed more than fancy eating stuff if it is cleverly presented. These can be simple, such as serving the apples and cookies or doughnuts in a paper sack, to each four people who will be given a gunny sack to sit on to munch their refreshments, to something as elaborate as the idea one group had of stopping a couple dance in the middle, and then rolling out a canoe loaded down with punch and cookies between the rows of dancers as they helped themselves.
Instead of a special clean-up committee, each committee takes care of its own cleaning problems.
Printed in Rocky Mountain Folk Dance Crier,Vol. 1, Issue 3, 1956 (Holiday).
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