Monday, December 3, 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it

This weekend was Justin's Zombie Apocalypse birthday party.  I don't recall how I settled on this theme, but I'm sure it had something to do w/ my husband's love of all things zombie.  (This is a shared love, actually.  We're a family of zombie enthusiasts.)  I didn't want to just have a bunch of random zombie stuff lying around; I wanted to embrace the post-apocalyptic side of a zombie outbreak.  Thanks to pinterest, (which I'm sure I have mentioned is the greatest thing ever invented in the whole wide world) I found a ton of great ideas for this party.  There were a lot that were far too complicated, but I managed to use some of my ghetto-fied party planning skills to pull this together.

First was the food.  In a zombie apocalypse you're not going to have a bevy of fresh fruits & vegetables, so that was nixed right away.  Instead I opted for a less healthy, highly processed collection of snacks.  In keeping with the theme, most of it was packaged and/or labeled w/ special stickers I made for the occasion. There were pepperoni sticks aka "Dehydrated meat substance", lil smokies aka "Protein links in flavored sauce", and saltines aka "Carbohydrate squares, bleached/salted".  We also had gallons of water, a big can of nacho cheese, cans of olives, and a can of baked beans.  I ripped all the labels off the cans & dented them to make them appear "scavenged".  I also "looted" for lids & random items to use as plates b/c I'm sure paper plates aren't readily available during the end of times.  I also set out various cups & jars for people to use for their drinks.

Next came decorations.  Obviously if it's the end of the world, you're not going to have a lot of coordinating decor to work with.  It seemed more important to "board" up the windows.  At first I was going to paint cardboard into a wood grain pattern, but I'll be honest, I lack artistic ability.  So I found some wood grain contact paper at the dollar store & covered the cardboard with that instead.  To give the illusion of nails, I bought some brads, but used double-sided tape to stick the boards up over the windows.  The guests were told to knock twice on the garage door to gain entrance to our zombie safe zone, so I put a sign over the front door to discourage them from trying to enter that way.  It was an homage to the writing on the hospital doors in the first episode of The Walking Dead.  We put the fake boards up early in the afternoon and enjoyed watching people drive by slowly, trying to check out why our windows were boarded up.  My husband & I giggled thinking about people assuming we were a burned out meth house or something.  I saved the boards b/c they are going to be very handy next Halloween!  I just need to come up w/ a better way to secure them b/c double sided tape will only hold up so long and tacks would cause too much damage to our window trim.  Since we couldn't completely do without using electricity (what's a party w/out karaoke, anyway?!), we only used what was necessary.  We used two small lamps & a ton of flameless tealights in the living room/kitchen area.  The tealights were scattered throughout the house, including bathrooms, to discourage folks from turning on lights.  In the garage, we only used a clamp light, which was secured to the Quarantine Cam so that everyone's pictures would turn out alright.  I think eventually the actual garage light got turned on, but the rest of the house remained poorly lit so as not to attract zombie hoards.

Finally, there was the cake.  I went with a hand crawling out of the grave motif.  I used fondant & icing paint to make fingers, then crumbled fudge-filled generic oreos for "dirt".  I used toothpicks to hold up the fingers & arranged them like they were clawing their way from the ground.  I didn't have anything nice to write with, so I used a little tube of icing to just write "Happy 33rd bday" on the cake.  That was the only thing I didn't like about the cake.  The rest of it turned out pretty cool.  Granted it's nothing like the cakes my cousin Felicia makes b/c she's a fondant sculpting genius, but I didn't do too shabby.

The guests were told to dress as either a zombie or a survivor.  They were all brought into the garage and "scanned" in our homemade photo booth, which was dubbed the "Quarantine Cam".  Yes, we broke the rules and allowed zombies and survivors to co-mingle, but we couldn't very well keep them separated.  Where's the fun in that?!  My husband was a "nooner" zombie.  His back story was that he went home for a nooner & was bitten by a zombie, and therefore turned before he could put pants on.  I was one of many survivors. I made trophies so that guests could vote for best zombie & best survivor costumes.  The best survivor won a trophy w/ a plastic apple.  The best zombie won a trophy w/ a barbie head on top, which I painted up to appear infected w/ the zombie virus.  There was also a prize for the winner of the game my husband put together called Shout About Zombies.  That prize was a little container of bath salts.
Shout About Zombies prize

The back label I made for the bath salts

Survivor Trophy

Zombie Trophy
I was a little worried that I had chosen a theme that would be too difficult, but it actually turned out really well.  My biggest fear is to have one of our parties come across as half-assed.  When I choose a theme, I try very hard to commit to it & pay close attention to the details.  I don't want to simply throw a party; I want it to be an experience.  Like a really, really, really ghetto version of Disneyland, only with lots of booze and cheaper.  I think we manage to throw some pretty good shindigs even without a large amount of money.  I get such an immense sense of pride when someone makes a positive remark about a Sams Fam bash.  Not to mention, anytime we get our group of friends together in one place, it's impossible to be grumpy or sad.  It's an escape from boring old adult life.  I get to appease my inner-child who always wanted big birthday parties & I get an outlet for what little creativity I have floating around in my brain.  

And now it's time to start putting together the 1st Annual Ugly Sweater Day for the Operations department at work.  :)

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