On June 19, 2010 I hosted a un-birthday costume party in the style of the Mad Hatter. I had a tonne of fun planning the invitations, decorations, menu and costumes.
I was the Cheshire Cat and my costume was based more on the Disney version than the Tim Burton version or the pictures in the original story. It wasn't what I had originally planned, but then as I was browsing the clearance section of Old Navy, I found a striped tunic that was the purple and fuschia colouring of the cat and it was only $5. I couldn't pass that up, so I changed my whole costume idea. At the Dollar Store, I found feather boas in the same colours (I needed a tail, right?) and a thin belt that was fuschia and sparkly (cut down the length and I had myself a cat collar). I went to an accessory shop (Ardene or Claire's, not sure which one anymore) and found flip flops with sparkles and sparkley nail polish the same colour as the sparkles on the belt and some earrings. Now all I needed was some ears - and I found them in the form of hair elastics! The hair elastics had dark purple feathers and roses in a cluster and the edges of the rose petals had sparkles the same colour as the belt! So the day of the party, I twisted together a pink boa and a purple boa and attached them to my pants, put on the tunic, put my hair into 2 ponytails using the newly purchased elastics, and finished the look off with the accessories (collar, flip flops, earrings and nail polish). And voila! a Cheshire Cat was born.
For the invitations, I cut the main hat by hand out of green sparkled card stock. I glued some silk flowers, a coloured feather, a butterfly and a satin ribbon on each and then tucked in the tag so it looked like the Mad Hatter's hat from the Disney cartoon version of "Alice in Wonderland". The tag was the actual invitation providing the details of the party.
The party was originally supposed to be outside under the canopy of a weeping willow tree in our garden, but the threat of thunder showers and a very windy day kept me inside. So everything was set up in our basement and now we really were in a hole underground.
To help set the mood, I put a stained-glass bulb into the light fixture leading downstairs which created wonderful shadows and playful colours on the walls. With the addition of some furniture it was almost as if we were falling down the rabbit hole with Alice.
I had paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling in as many spots as I could hang them. There were signs pointing "this way", "that way", "over here", "over there", "under there" and in many other directions. And, of course, there was an extra long table set with oodles of teapots, tea cups and mismatched place settings - there was even a Dormouse hiding in one of the tea pots.
In the story, Alice plays croquet with the Queen of Hearts using a flamingo as a mallet and a hedgehog as the ball. So I altered our croquet mallets using some bright pink socks I found and the Dollar Store and slipped some rubber hedgehogs right right over the croquet balls (I found those at the Dollar Store too). I hung up some paper flamingos in the "croquet area" and was going to set up some of the gates (pictures of playing cards printed to 8x11), but I ran out of time. It looks like the little ones had fun with it anyhow.
The menu for the evening was so much fun! It was definitely inspired both by the book (Bread & Butterflies, Mock Turtle Soup, Painted Roses) and by a quote from Alice "That's it, Dinah! If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrariwise, what it is, it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?" Absolutely nothing on the menu was as it seemed.
Appetizers: storybook toadstools, cherry cheesecake tarts (a.k.a the Queen of Hearts' Tarts), bread & butterflies, nachos & dip and sushi
Starters were: garden salad and mock turtle soup
Main course: chocolate cake & ice cream with chocolate sauce and cherries jubilee
Dessert: painted roses and a hamburger
Beverages: jasmine green tea and coffee
And what were they really?
Storybook Toadstools - deviled eggs with tomato toppers
Cherry Cheesecake Tarts - feta cheese quiche with a cherry tomato and balsamic reduction
Bread and Butterflies - baguette crackers, quartered cocktail wiener on embedded in some minced ham served on a slice of cucumber.
Nachos and Dip - the nachos were tortillas that were cut into wedges, coated with cinnamon sugar and backed until crispy and the dip was chocolate shavings (to mimic ground beef), diced strawberries with basil (to mimic salsa), vanilla yogurt (to mimic sour cream) and grated apricots and white peaches (to mimic grated cheese)
Sushi - fruit juice licorice whips rolled in rice krispies treats and then rolled in fruit roll-ups before being sliced
Garden Salad - Fuschia blossoms, Honeysuckle blossoms and Spring Mix lettuce tossed with a Raspberry-Balsamic vinaigrette (and yes, the flowers did come from our garden)
Mock Turtle Soup - a cold chocolate soup with homemade turtles candies
Chocolate Cake - meatloaf (I lined the pan with chicken meatloaf and then filled it in with beef meatloaf so that it looks like the cake has been frosted)
Ice Cream - mashed potatoes
Chocolate Sauce - gravy
Cherries Jubliee - cherry tomatoes in a baslamic-pomegranate reduction sauce
Painted Roses - cupcakes that are frosted to look like a roses
Hamburger - A white cake (the bun) that has been sliced so that a brownie (the meat patty) can be sandwiched between the layers. The brownie is topped with raspberry coulee (ketchup) and finely diced green and yellow jello (relish) before the top of the white cake is put back on. There are sliced almonds on top to look like the sesame seeds on a hamburger bun.
Jasmine Green Tea - Jasmine Green Tea that has been steeped and then combined with gelatin powder so that it sets like Jello in the clear tea cups with a tea bag still "steeping"
Coffee - Chocolate Irish Coffee Mousse that was poured into Starbucks cups before setting and then topped with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder (well, that was the plan, but ran out of time before the whipped cream and cocoa powder)
There was also an abundance of teas in a variety of flavours - Green Tea Gingerale, Brisk Lemon Iced Tea, Raspberry White Tea Gingerale, Nestea.
And the costumes!! I loved how creative people got with their costumes.
Marion a.k.a the Queen of Hearts (the playing card)
Dennis a.k.a. the Mad Hatter
Janelle a.k.a. Alice
Mardi a.k.a. the White Rabbit
Mikol a.k.a. Tweedle Dum
Carolynn a.k.a the Cheshire Cat
Maleah a.k.a. the Jack of Hearts (the playing card)
Dave a.k.a. Tweedle Dee
Nancy a.k.a. Alice
Renee a.k.a. the White Queen (from the Tim Burton movie)
Tina a.k.a. the Mad Hatter
Lee a.k.a. the King of Hearts (the playing card)
Jim a.k.a the Rabbit Hole
I'm pretty sure it was a good time had by all who came. I know I had a lot of fun right from the time I began to imagine the possibility of an "Alice in Wonderland" themed party.