The Random Writings of Rachel: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Birthday Party

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Birthday Party

This past weekend, we celebrated the 15th birthday of my sister, MaryGrace!

She requested a birthday party themed to Wonka's Chocolate Factory, and I was glad to oblige.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Birthday Party

Life is a little busy right now, which means that we didn't prepare in advance as much as I normally do for a party...nearly everything was prepped and decorated on the day of the party itself, which added a nice sense of urgency to the preparations. ;) Nothing like procrastination to motivate you...



The most important piece of decor was the gigantic candy tree on the wall. Mom and Dad have had some sort of tree on their wall for months--first a Christmas tree, then a Chinese New Year-inspired tree, and now we re-used some parts of those trees, added new ones, and created a tree that looks good enough to eat!


Balloons hanging from every conceivable shelf or light fixture added the touch of whimsy and the "edible room" look we were going for.


"Whipped cream isn't whipped cream unless it's been whipped with whips, just as a poached egg isn't a poached egg unless it's been stolen from the woods in the middle of the night."

Best quote ever.



The food is, of course, the most important part of any party, and obviously we opted for a 3-course meal, in homage to Wonka's memorable gum! However, our entire family agrees that tomato soup is not delicious, so we made a hybridized "Wonka & Bucket" meal and had cabbage soup as the first course, since that is the only meal the Bucket family can eat on their tight budget. I happen to love cabbage soup, so to me that was a great choice!


In addition to the 3 "courses", we had a variety of other sweet available, including rice krispies, because rice krispies are awesome.


Pretzels were among the dippers for fondue, but, personally, I tend to think that anyone who ops for a dipper other than a strawberry when it's fondue time is a bit crazy...


MaryGrace wanted to give little gift bags of candy to her guests, so she did, and inside each gift bag she put a handlettered bookmark that she made herself and laminated. I mean, sure, gift bags are more natural for birthday parties for 5-year-olds, but when is it not cool to give someone a bag of treats? I sure wouldn't say no!


The infamous fizzy lifting drink! There are a number of versions of the chocolate factory, as you know. We borrowed from the book as well as both movies, but our party was most strongly influenced by the 1970s film. In fact, one of the party activities was watching that film, because MaryGrace, and most of the other guests, had never seen it. This was nearly inconceivable to me. When I was growing up, whenever my parents would go on a date, we would stay at my grandparents' house. My grandparents had only one movie for kids--a VHS tape of "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory", which they had recorded off the television. The 90s, you know. :) I would watch that same movie every time we stayed at their house.


We started off the party with a game of "How well do you know your chocolate?" Guests were instructed to close their eyes and hold out their hands--I would give them a tiny piece of a chocolate bar, and they were instructed to eat the chocolate and then write down on their paper what brand they thought chocolate #1 was, and so on.


This is me telling them that they can trust me not to give them anything nasty to eat. I think it says a lot for my honest reputation that everyone was willing to eat whatever I handed to them without looking at it. If it had been Angel handing them something to eat blindfolded...I think we would have had a revolt on our hands...

Also, my dress choice for the evening was inspired by the Everlasting Gobstopper.


I taped all of the different candy bar labels to one sheet of paper so that guests would know which candy bars they might possibly be eating. Also, this had the added benefit of being a spelling reference sheet for the younger guests. :)



The birthday girl contemplates her answers seriously. Four people ended up guessing each candy bar correctly. The vast majority got about 3-4 correct. The lowest score was 1. It was very fun to watch people stress over which answer to write down after tasting their chocolates!

Our second game, played a little later in the evening, was a Candy Trivia Game, where two teams were pitted against each other to answer questions like: "What was the career of the man who invented cotton candy? a) a Hershey Executive b) a Doctor c) a Dentist d) a Mechanical Engineer"

My trivia questions were rather challenging, which made for a very intense games, with lots of questions where the opposing team would end up with a chance to "steal" the question after the first team guessed incorrectly.

We watched the film while we ate, with lots of commentary and laughter. As someone who's seen the movie countless times, my favorite part is all of Wonka's side remarks and deadpan "Stop. Don't. Come back." requests. For the kids who were seeing the movie for the first time, the spooky tunnel that the boat goes into was deemed the favorite scene.


MaryGrace loves art and coloring, and wanted to have a coloring sheet to give her guests. She couldn't find any she liked on the web, so, obviously, she drew her own coloring sheet and printed out copies on the printer. That's the sort of thing my family does. We believe that as long as we have pens, paper, and a working printer, we can take over the world. At the end of the evening, all the teens and kids sat around one big table with a bunch of colored pencils, coloring the edible room scene and telling stories--trying to figure out who had the best story of pulling a prank or getting in trouble. The adults washed dishes in the kitchen and we all agreed, another wonderful party completed.


MaryGrace feels that this was pretty much her best birthday ever, because besides the fantastic party, and her presents, when we went out for lunch on Sunday, we happened to be at the same restaurant with another family from our church. We were about finished with our meal and getting ready to leave when a waiter walked up to the table carrying a plate with four slices of cake and a lit candle. We were all confused and were saying, "Umm, I think you have the wrong table...this isn't for us..." Until he said, "This is for MaryGrace's birthday." The odds of there being two people named MaryGrace in the same small restaurant in Malaysia are not high, so then we accepted that the cake was for us. The waiter told us that it was from our friend, but when we turned to look for the other family we'd seen earlier, they were already gone! MaryGrace was glowing with happiness!! She felt so special. The restaurant, it turns out, didn't even serve cake, so the family we knew had gone to the nearby Starbucks, picked up a few slices of cake and a candle, had come back to the restaurant, and arranged with the waiter to serve the cake to MG and the rest of us. How sweet and thoughtful is that?

Did you watch the Willy Wonka film when you were a kid? What would be your ideal birthday party theme?

34 comments:

  1. This party sounds amazing! And that story about your friends getting MaryGrace the cake is so sweet :) Funny that you should mention Willy Wonka, because about a week ago, I had this awesome dream where I was on the campus of my alma mater and a bunch of villains from Lord of the Rings were attacking (mainly orcs). Somehow, as I went running to hide from them, I found myself squeezed under an overturned buggy hiding with Willy Wonka himself (from the older movie, not the Johnny Depp one). I decided, based on this dream, that he would be the best person to hide with in a time of crisis, because even though there were battles and orcs raging all around us, he was eerily calm and started telling me his life story. It was awesome.

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  2. This looks like so much fun! I love how you always come up with the best ideas! You are so creative!

    Sorry for being absent lately - I took a break from blogging bc life was so busy and then I got kicked out from Authentic Bloggers for being friends with Charlotte and Lindsay! But come and join us in our new FB group The Peaceful Posse! https://www.facebook.com/groups/ThePeacefulPosse/

    Hugs xxx

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  3. wow this looks great! I'm always looking for new birthday party ideas as we have used up most of our favourites already with our two children! Love the treats you have done!

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  4. Holy cow! You did all of that in one day! That's impressive! You did such a great job!

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  5. This looks amazing! I loved Willy Wonka growing up and it looks like you had an amazing time!\
    Jenn
    joyfuliowan.com

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  6. Wow this sounds like fun not to mention the treats count me in!

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  7. For being so busy I think you pulled this off with great style.

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  8. Wow, what an incredible birthday. I loved your attention to detail and keeping the theme throughout from the decorations, to the trivia game you played and even watching the movie while eating. I also loved the kindness that family showed your sister on her birthday, that was truly a thoughtful gesture.

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  9. This is so fun!! My daughter had a Willy Wonka party a few years ago and had a blast!! There is so much fun stuff to do to plan it!!

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  10. This is such a cute birthday idea!

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  11. I love this birthday party idea! It's so wild and fun. And I absolutely love that your sister made bookmarks for her guests; it's so thoughtful!

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  12. This is so cute! You are incredibly creative. What lucky kids!

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  13. What a fun party theme! You executed it so well! From the decorations, to food, and games... wow! I'm impressed. It would be such a fun theme for so many different types of parties! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  14. What a fun party theme! I love it so so much! It looks like so much fun. How do you not love Willy Wonka!?!

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  15. What a super cute party idea!! I love all of the decorations! xx, Kristen

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  16. This is such a cute party theme!! And I'm crazy about that candy tree!

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  17. You'll pardon me for saying but how utterly sweet :) Happy birthday to MaryGrace!

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  18. Such a cute party idea. My kids love Willy Wonka.

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  19. What a fun idea! I've loved Willy Wonka since I was a kid and would adore having a party like this!

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  20. So so fun! I love the chocolate guessing game. You always have the best parties!

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  21. What a cute birthday theme, Rachel! I'm particularly in love with the rice krispies lollipops! My fave snack presented in a new way! I wish I had a party like this growing up!

    xoxo,

    Berniedette | http://wwww.petiteandtoned.com/

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  22. I *love* this idea!! Never would have thought of it, but might have to try it! <3

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  23. This is so much fun! I can't believe you did all of this on the day of the party- impressive :)

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  24. What a great party theme! Willy Wonka is one of my favorite movies!

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  25. Y'all seriously have the best themed parties EVER! I love the attention to detail with the balloons and the invitations--putting quotes about each of the foods was such a fun touch. :D

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  26. I love this!! You guys did such a great job putting all of this together! The games sound like so much fun! And I'm so impressed by the coloring sheet she drew. That's awesome! And the sweet friends who had cake delivered to you at lunch... precious! Happy birthday to Mary Grace!

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  27. I loved that movie and the books! Haven't seen the version with Johnny Depp. Fun party theme! I think Mary Grace has the right idea - gift bags are fun at parties at any age!

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  28. Woah! I love the crazy amounts of colors in this party! This is such a fun idea and you have so many creative treats!

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  29. Oh goodness what a fun theme!! I love it!!

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  30. I am 29 years old and think that every party should include gift bags for guests. I threw a Valentine's Day party last year, and each guest received a decorated brown paper bag with candy, valentines, and I now forget what other treats.

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  31. How cute! I've never seen a Willy Wonka party done but it was a perfect theme.

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  32. What a wonderful idea for a birthday party!

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  33. This looks like such a fun party! The decor is just amazing!

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  34. Aww, that looks like an awesome party! What a fun theme! :] I love the decorations and the games!

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