Why wait for a birthday to have a party? This festive theme party encourages reading and is lots of fun.
Kids love Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House books. By child number three, our copies were dog-eared and well loved. So, when the subject of the Magic Tree House came up at the bus stop, I wasn’t surprised to find that most of the other neighborhood kids love the series, too.
Here’s a party that will indulge your kids’ love of these books, along with Jack, Annie and all the other characters; it may even get the neighborhood kids hooked, too, if they’re not already. We created this party for a neighborhood get-together, but the idea would also make a great classroom or birthday party. The kids will go home with memories of a fun time and looking forward to reading a great, new book.
Create a Magic Menu
Have fun selecting the food. Let your kids brainstorm about foods they remember Jack and Annie eating in the books they have read, or try our menu.
• Gumbo from A Good Night for Ghosts
• Turkey from Thanksgiving on Thursday (we made turkey
sandwiches, because they are a kid favorite)
• Peanut butter-and-honey sandwiches from Afternoon on the Amazon
• Swiss Cheese Moons in honor of Midnight on the Moon
• Volcano cupcakes in honor of Vacation Under
• Limeade from Pirates Past Noon
Set the Scene
Dress your yard for the party. If you have a tree house or playhouse, stock it with books.
Try these table-setting ideas:
• Go for a rustic look. To emulate the outdoors, we used moss for a table runner. For food platters, use wood cutting boards or make your own platters and pedestals, using wood planks from a crafts store. Add branches and leaves from your yard.
• Create a focal point with the centerpiece; make your own or purchase and embellish. We used an all-wood toy tree house and added simple touches to make it party-ready. We covered the red roof with wood-grain scrapbook paper for a more rustic look and used double-sided tape to adhere. To blend with the moss table runner, we covered the tree house base with a moss mat.
• Keep place settings simple. Use dishes you already have or incorporate wood chargers for a fun look. We used melamine plates and cloth napkins.
• Use favors to embellish the stories and costumes. Place items at each seat that represent their chosen character and story: For instance, Jack and Annie could get a compass and/or tiny globe; the cowboy could get a small cowboy hat; the knight, a castle-shaped chess piece; the pirate, a tiny treasure chest, etc. Get creative; you may find these items gently used at a second-hand store or purchase at various crafts, home or discount stores.
• Add time and travel décor to embellish the Magic Tree House theme. Add decorative touches throughout by incorporating items that represent time and travel, such as globes, hourglasses, atlases and maps. Make your own “magic map” to show some of the places around the world that the characters have traveled to in the books.
• First, send out invitations and ask the kids to RSVP by telling you who their favorite Magic Tree House character is. When they do, ask them to come in costume as their favorite character.
• If they haven’t yet read one of the books, you can make a suggestion or lend them one of yours.
• Next, either buy a copy of each of the books the kids declared to be a favorite, or ask them to bring a copy in lieu of a gift. Use these for a book exchange at the end of the party.
by Bridgett Hurley
Photography by Laura Gordon • Styled by Christina Nease
Inspired by the Magic Tree House book series by Mary Pope Osborne; published by Random House