I’m so thrilled to share my thirteen year old’s birthday party with you! She wanted a french themed party, and she also requested that it be a murder mystery! I wrote the murder mystery because I couldn’t find one appropriate for her age.
Simple Invitations: I bought french themed cardstock on sale and used it for invitations and almost everything else that required paper. The girls noticed this, too. (Girls are so appreciative of all the details!) I wrote the info on lined cardstock and attached it to the other side. Then I let my daughter use a stamp from the craft store dollar bin and the ink pad on the edges. She liked having this part in making her invitations.
Decorating: As I wrote the mystery, I realized that I wanted to turn my dining room into a french Cafe. My daughter named it “Jaye Cafe”. So I turned my black dining table on it’s side in order to make a wall. ( I wanted to have plants along the ‘wall” but didn’t get around to borrowing some.) I rented the round tables for $7,(worth it!) and covered them pink table cloths over black. The centerpieces probably cost $2.50 each. I found the vases at the dollar store and roses on sale at a craft store. I wanted it to seem like it was all happening outside, so I took down my curtains and made black foam board shutters for the windows. I bought a few slate signs and a garden planter to hold ice and “wine”. I really wanted an awning for my nook, and finally was able to create one from 2 sheets of hot pink cardstock and one sheet of black cardstock, cut into strips. i used the leftover black foam from the shutters in order to help the awning keep its shape. I’m so happy with how it turned out! it was JUST what I pictured in my mind. Most of the dining room decor is held together with duct tape! Great stuff! My sister lent me 2 small Eiffel Towers to add to the decor. We used black wooden tags and turned them into namecards. On one side, they had their character’s name and an the other side, was their name. We decorated these and the silverware rolled in napkins by using some hot pink ribbon and Paris Brads.
Another thing I did was replace all the photos in the dining room with pictures of my dancing birthday girl.
Favors! We gave each girl a beret when she came. They loved these, and wore them off and on through out the party. (It was a sleepover.) Keeping to the theme, we had little hatboxes filled with french kisses (Hershey) and an artist palate lollypop that my daughter picked out. We also had an Eiffel Tower keychain in each hatbox. We gave each girl a cardstock matted photo of my daughter to take home.
Activities: This party was 21 hours long! The first evening, I had them write out a memory they had of my daughter and themselves. My daughter’s request for the evening was that we do a blind taste test! This went perfectly with the cafe theme! They enjoyed this, and even though I used common foods, they still couldn’t get them all right! We played Bingo. (with everything being related either to my daughter or to France) and had both white and milk chocolate fondue with snickerdoodles, marshmallows, strawberries, pretzel rods and graham crackers. The movie my daughter picked was Charade with Audrey Hepburn & Cary Grant. It’s set in France. Of course none of the other girls had seen it because it’s so old, but they found it to be cool enough to scream and laugh. They described it as intense and said they had no idea who the bad guy was til the very end. They were on their own after that, talking and playing hand clapping games until 5:30 or something. I was asleep!
Food: You would think that after Fondue, popcorn, beignets and crepes, no one would be hungry for more french food, but they all were! I incorporated lunch into the murder mystery. I designed the menu and my husband consulted with my daughter and then created a delicious meal! Baguette slices with various kinds of butter as an appetizer. First course was delicious chilled strawberry soup. The main course was their choice of either ham & cheese croissant or roast beef sandwiches with french dip. Vegetable chips were served on the side. (These were not a favorite, They must be better to adults than kids!) I had incorporated the cake into the mystery, so we brought out petite fours next. Every year, I say that next year I won’t be making the cake, but I always forget this and plan something elaborate that I can’t really pull off.
J wanted everyone to have 2 candles, which I thought was really sweet. Each petite four also had a Eiffel Tower charm on top.
For ambiance, we had French music playing in the background both days! (Lifescapes, Moonlight in Paris CD)
Opening presents was also included in the Murder Mystery. This is the first time I didn’t feel really stressed about getting everything in! I think because I had it all planned so that it all went in order already. I could have planned out the murder mystery better. I’m afraid that too many people were having conversations at once, so they couldn’t hear each other. And this is the very first time not one of them correctly guessed who was responsible! One thing I DID RIGHT was having a family party separate from a family party. It’s a lot of work to have 2, but it’s worth it. I’ll tell you why. I would always be running and serving at the party and never get to talk to anyone! So when they left, I felt guilty like I ignored them. Secondly, my kids have more of a chance to pay attention to their cousins at a family party. Whereas, if we had a combined family/friends party, they might only focus on their friends.
My daughter is blessed to have so many wonderful friends that build each other up, don’t ever have drama at our sleepovers, and are a joy to be around. I’m happy to treat them all to a special day once in a while, and hope to strengthen their friendships and give them happy memories. Happy Birthday, J!