Parties can be more fun when centred around a theme. Whether it's a backyard barbecue, a high school prom or a child's birthday party, "A Starry Night" is a theme that is surprisingly versatile. Use the actual night sky as your party's backdrop, or let your imagination run wild and centre your party around a famous starry painting, or rich and famous celebrity stars.
Outside Under the Stars
Host an outdoor nighttime event with the real-life starry night as your backdrop. A pool party, after-dark cookout or bonfire, or a simple cocktail party will all have a special flair if you make the night sky your centre of attraction. Provide binoculars or a telescope for celestial viewing. Serve drinks in sparkly glasses and decorate tables with reflective elements. For the best night-sky sightings, light your landscape with low-wattage lanterns, candles, tiki torches or firelight. Planning an outdoor "Starry Night" party to coincide with a meteor shower or the full moon could add a special touch to the festivities.
Starry Night Dance Party
For a prom or other teen dance party, transform an indoor space into a "Starry Night" by draping and dangling strings of Christmas lights and/or shiny star balloons across the ceiling. Choose the colours of the night sky --- silver, dark blue and white --- to tie together decorations and provide a thematic dress code. Offer face glitter and painting for the girls to create an otherworldly sparkle. And, to truly give the sense of bringing the night sky indoors, purchase starry sky backdrops to cover the walls of the party's venue. Sprinkle the evening's selection of music with slow and fast dance songs that mention stars and the night sky.
Van Gogh's Starry Night
Use this very famous and recognisable painting as the centrepiece of a more intimate party, such as a birthday or shower. To repeat the swirling yellow of the painting's stars in the decorations, create swirls on your tablescape with votive candles or small yellow or white flower buds. Offer your guests markers or paints and paper for creating their own versions of Van Gogh's Starry Night. Make the cake itself the piece de resistance. Have your local baker create a replica of Van Gogh's painting on top of the cake for celebrating this famous work of art. Send guests home with a tote bag or T-shirt impressed with the painting's likeness.
A Hollywood or Rock Star-ry Night
Expand this party theme idea to include people considered "stars" --- rock and movie stars. This idea works well for a youngster's birthday party. Companies like Birthday Express (www.birthdayexpress.com) can create all manner of decorations, paper cups, plates and streamers using an image of your child that depicts him in his fantasy star role. Invite guests to dress as their favourite stars, and line the walkway to your home with a red carpet. Stage an awards ceremony where you honour the birthday boy and guests alike with mock Academy Awards and Grammys. And don't forget the photo opps!