Plan a Smurf Themed Party for Children

Even though nearly all of them are on the far side of 100 years old, Smurfs are part of the "in" crowd once again. The 1958 creation of Belgian cartoonist Peyo, there are more than 100 of the little blue folks living in mushroom houses, led by 543-year-old Papa Smurf, trying to avoid trouble with Gargamel, their wizard nemesis, and his Smurf-munching cat, Azrael. After their recent adventures in New York City, Smurfette and her friends are a great party theme for children. While you can buy commercial decorations, of course, there's no need to set aside your own creativity.

Invitations

Get the mood going from the start with themed invitations. Make a mushroom shape, using a die-cut machine, clipart, or a freehand design. Layer two shapes, with a door flap in the top one, and write the party 4-1-1 inside the "house."

Another option is to make a map of the Smurf village. Mark a path between two houses, and write, "Don't get lost. Join us for a smurfy good time." Then add date, time, and address on the card.

Decorations

The key to Smurf-themed décor is BLUE and small - remember, Smurfs are only about three apples tall! Go simple with blue balloons and crepe paper streamers draping the ceiling, and blue-checked tablecloths. Add mushroom stickers to plain blue plates and napkins, or use red tableware with white dots.

If you want more elaborate decorations, use an opaque or overhead projector to blow up clipart of the different Smurfs and their village onto butcher paper. Color them with chalks or paint, cut them out, and hang them on the walls. For three-dimensional stand-ups, glue them to heavy cardboard or to plywood and add stands to the bottoms. You could also use mixing bowls as molds for papier mache mushroom domes to paint as houses and stand around the room.

Add a little movie connection by reproducing a picture of Belvedere Castle, in New York's Central Park, which served as the evil hideout for Gargamel during the Smurf's adventures there.

Favors

After being accidentally transported to New York during preparations for the Blue Moon Festival, the Smurfs found themselves in need of a "star-gazer," while a dragon wand played a significant role in the adventure, as well. Give guests small plastic telescopes or magic wands that you've decorated with Smurf stickers as party reminders.

Food

Again, the theme here is blue or mushroom. Instead of one large cake, consider cupcakes decorated to look like Smurf village mushroom houses. Add blue-colored candied apples, Smurf-berry blue gelatin-whipped cream parfaits, blue punch and blue-and-white covered chocolate candies. Serve corndogs to stand in for dragon wands.

Games and Activities

Start the fun by using body paints to turn guests' faces Smurf blue, and follow up with a game of "Papa Smurf Says." Continue with Smurf charades, Pin the Hat on the Smurf, or Capture the Smurf tag, with Gargamel as "it." Keep things going by letting guests decorate cookies with Smurf faces, or go on a Brainy Smurf treasure hunt to find prizes hidden in plastic eggs, following smurfy-sounding clues to each secret hiding place. So that no one feels left out, give everyone a set of stickers at the end of the game. Guests could also make their own Smurfs from homemade blue play dough or from blue polymer clay; for older children, they could make an entire Smurf village from dough or air-hardening clay.

An old-fashioned game of hide-and-seek would also fit right in, if Gargamel and Azrael go looking for concealed Smurfs. Wind things up with a Smurf-shaped piñata filled with blue candies; if you can't find those, wrap mixed candy in blue tissue paper.

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