Star Wars

May The Force Be With You….this is gonna be one long post, with lots of pictures…so, good luck!  But this theme is near and dear to my heart. We are BIG Star Wars nerds, I mean FANS, around here. My husband – Aaron, brother-in-law – Mark, and nephew – Tyan, have all been hugely obsessed with Star Wars since they were kids…and still are. Star Wars is an epic tale of good versus evil, but one where the “Dark Side” is just as appealing as the one the good guys are on. In my opinion, Storm Troopers, Darth Vader and Boba Fett are probably the coolest-looking characters, their helmet designs alone are iconic. Lando Calrissian and Han Solo aren’t too bad on the eyes either.  😉

As for me, I remember seeing the movies (waaaayyyy back in the late 70’s and early 80’s)… being so enthralled and excited to see the opening crawl, clapping and cheering when the Star Wars theme music started; playing with Star Wars action figures with my friend, Kelly, in kindergarten; wishing I was Princess Leia; having a huge crush on Han Solo (which also became a crush on Indiana Jones); and thinking Chewie, R2D2 and C3PO were the most adorable sidekicks.  When the first three episodes came out, starting in 1999, Aaron and I were pre-ordering tickets and going to the midnight release showings. During my days as a colorist for a comic book color separation company, I was thrilled to work on pages of the Star Wars comic for Dark Horse Comics. And Star Wars Days at San Diego Comic-Con International were just plain RAD…ah, to be in a packed convention center with so many like-minded individuals, with their serious costumes and unleashed creativity!
We knew, without a doubt, that our kids would love Star Wars too. We didn’t push it (no Jedi mind tricks, here)…like so many of us, they just gravitated towards it. Mason absorbed Star Wars facts and lingo effortlessly…and even before he saw any of the movies, he could recognize the characters and tell you the difference between a Storm Trooper, a Clone Trooper, a Shock Trooper, etc…oh, to be corrected by a toddler. I remember when he was barely two years old, he would blurt out, “Boba Fett fell into the Sarlacc!” Out of the mouth of babes…

So, without further ado, here are the details and photos from Mason’s “out of this galaxy” 5th Birthday (all photos, unedited, by Lot116 Photography). 

INVITATIONS:

Mason’s birthday is in mid-August, which is during the height of wedding season, so I usually have to come up with something quick. I went with a square Envelopments® Envelofold in Coal metallic black, Graphite metallic accent stock/envelopes, and a Peacock metallic textured folded card.  I found free Star Wars fonts and dingbats online, as well as an original movie poster image, featuring Luke Skywalker, that I superimposed Mason’s face into.   

But this printed paper invitation was just the “presentation” or packaging for the actual invite. For my nephew’s Star Wars party (5 years ago), my brother-in-law made a “movie” with the Star Wars opening crawl, theme music and Tyan’s face superimposed into different scenes from all the episodes. It was a hit and guests were blown away! I knew Mason would get a kick out of seeing himself as Star Wars characters, so we decided to do the same thing for his invitations.  Mark and Aaron did all the Photoshop work, we used scenes from each of the six episodes, and then Mark worked his technical magic to put together a working DVD “trailer” invitation, complete with a marquee menu, customized logos and perfectly timed music. It was so AWESOME!  Some of the kids watched “Mason’s movie” over and over.  Here’s are two quick “screener” video clips taken with my camera (I skipped personal info like address and phone/email). Sorry for the poor quality, but you can get an idea of what guests saw when they played the DVD. The images of Mason still crack me up! 







DECORATIONS: 


The decorations were kept pretty simple: balloons, plastic table-covers, streamers and birthday banner in the colors used on the invitations. I found a bunch of images online from all the different movies and printed those out to stick up throughout the house. Most of the decorating was done by my niece, Maylie, and our friend, Makala.



Mason’s Star Wars toys added to the “decor”…and they were made available for the kids to play with.
Excuse the blue painter’s tape used to tack everything up. This sign was taped to the sliding glass door to remind guests to close the door after grabbing drinks from the cooler.
Our whole party “crew” was encouraged to wear Star Wars  t-shirts. Aaron and Nana got these at Marshall’s.
I hand-painted a black flat sheet to look like the window in the throne room of the Death Star. Mark helped me with adding stars and some finishing touches. We hung the sheet as a decoration, but also to serve as a backdrop for the photo op with our “special guests”.

ACTIVITIES/GAMES:  

There were a lot of easy and inexpensive ways to keep kids busy and entertained during this party…
Mason’s extensive collection of Star Wars toys, costumes, helmets, light sabers and action figures were  available for all the kids to play with.
Several sources online had free printable masks. I printed them out on white cardstock and let the kids color, cut, punch, embellish their favorite character mask.  Leftover printed cardstock and labels from the invitations were used to make bookmarks.
Maylie worked the “Tatooine” station.
 I did some face painting…it starts out looking like a panda bear or skull, but eventually Nate-Dog became a Storm Trooper.
Pass the “Spuda-Fett” (hot potato game).
Jordan’s a pro at this game and is reigning champ.
A “pin the tail” type of game kit that I purchased at Party City. It comes with 3D glasses.
This looks much cooler with the 3D glasses on…
The birthday boy (with Tusken Raider face paint) trying to restore order to the Galaxy.
And then came time for our “Special Guests”….the kids’ attention was called to look upstairs as….
…A very tall Tusken Raider appeared….(My husband, Aaron, is the Tusken Raider.  He completely fabricated this costume from scratch, by hand, when Mason was just a newborn, for a Halloween contest…which he won. He was called upon to become this sand warrior when Tyan had his Star Wars party, and then again for Mason’s party).
…Then a Storm Trooper…(This is Uncle Mark, the costume is borrowed from Mark’s brother, Jay, who is also a  huge Star Wars buff and owns this movie-quality replica).
…And finally, Darth Vader, made their way down to the party…(No, Mason, this is not your father, it’s Uncle Charlie, in another awesome movie-quality costume borrowed from Uncle Jay).
…for a “meet and greet” photo op with Mason’s guests.
Mason’s favorite characters are all from “The Dark Side”…but he was a little shy (er, terrified) once they appeared for real (even though he knew that it was his uncles and Daddy in the costumes).
We covered a “Raiders” Piñata with a Darth Vader mylar balloon and called it the “Death Star”…
…Gotta keep all the Young Jedi out of the danger zone.
FOOD/CAKE:


I printed out food signs with fun names at the last minute before the party, which explains the use of blue tape and haphazard placement…but everyone (who knows Star Wars) got the idea…they may not have been perfect or pretty, but this was a party for five year-olds…and they ate the the goodies up just fine!


Jeff’s famous mac ‘n cheese.


Once again, Jeff (Rhino Cake Company) outdid himself with the AWESOME Boba Fett helmet cake, complete with distressing and battle damage…characteristic of a tough bounty hunter!

FAVORS/GOODIE BAGS:

For the goodie bags, we lucked out that Comic-Con was a couple of weeks before the party, so we collected a bunch of free Star Wars swag (postcards, trading cards, etc.) and bought some real-deal, still new in package, some vintage, Star Wars action figures for cheap. We went on Sunday, which is the last day of the convention, so many of the retailers and booths had huge sales for all their merchandise.  I think we got most of the figures for under $2 each, some were closer to $1 because we bought in bulk. Aaron also found some cheap lots on eBay.

Using the image from Mason’s invitations, I printed labels and packed all the goodies in clear, large, plastic pillow boxes from Papermart.com. Besides the Comic-Con swag and the Star Wars action figure, there were also glow sticks (from the $1 section at Target) and Pop Rocks (purchased in packs from Dollar Tree).
The biggest “hit” (no pun intended) – were the LED light sabers from Extreme Glow, which were about $2 each.
The kids didn’t get the Light Saber favors until the party was over…because I knew it would be mad chaos.
Uncle Mark fending off a bunch of young Jedis in training.
Pretty cool!

Another AWESOME birthday party, THANKS to Mason’s “Dream Team”, the ultimate party planning “crew” made up of our family and friends:

Photography: Auntie Julie (Lot116)

Invitations, Printed Decorations and Backdrop: Aaron (Daddy) and Uncle Mark, EITAK Design (Mommy)
Decorations: Makala, Cousin Maylie, Nana
Food Prep: Jeff, Allison, Nana, Auntie Mary
Cake/cupcakes: Jeff (Rhino Cake Co.)
Games/Activities: Cousin Maylie, Makala, Auntie Mary, Uncle Charlie, Cousin Tyan
Piñata: Aaron, Uncle Charlie, Auntie Mary and Cho
Clean up: Nana, Auntie Mary, Allison
Costumes: Uncle Jay and Aaron (Daddy)