Last night, we had our singalong Chitty Chitty Bang Bang party. It was superb. It really was!
We had a bunch of people who know the movie really well, others who have never seen it before, and others who haven't seen it since they were children - and the impression I received is that everybody loved it.
We spent the day getting the house ready - and as we worked we got more and more excited. Before the day, we only had components of our decorations, but when we put them all up we saw how awesome it was going to look and it was quite thrilling!
I will update you on all the components of the evening - costumes, food, activities - at different points over the next couple of weeks but I will start with the ideas we had for decorations, what worked, what didn't work, and what we didn't try but would probably work!
The space we used: a large lounge for watching the movie, with a white sheet pinned on the wall as a screen. Our dining room for congregating/eating/drinking beforehand, after, and during intermission. We also decorated our conservatory, which guests have to walk through in order to enter the house.
The Scrumptious Sweet Co. sign, with yellow and white candy stripes and balloons. This really was the most striking decoration we had. It's also very easily recognisable in the movie - lots of "aaaahhhhs" from the audience when it appears on the screen for a few seconds.
You can find the sign on the movie, or from my image a few blog posts back, but I copied it off the images on this website.
Complicated story to this particular piece. I painted the entrance and admission signs intending to put them on the door into our house. And my flatmate R. wanted to make one of those little striped beach tents for changing clothes - a bit like these - which feature on the movie in the beach scene. We didn't want to spend much money, but we remembered we have some striped shower curtains which we use for protecting tables/floor when we paint things, and so R. used them to create the beach tent.
Well, it turned out not looking like a beach tent at all. Instead, it looked a heck of a lot more like a fairground tent - which happen to be a feature of the movie, luckily! And so we experimented to create the above, which can also look like this:
(By the way, there are glimpses of the entrance and admission signs during the Old Bamboo scene at the fairground. You can copy them from closer-up images from another of my blog posts.)
The table-car was very easy to make. We just grabbed some free cardboard boxes from the local supermarket and cut them up with a Stanley knife and then painted them. The wing is made from crepe paper. Much easier and quicker than they look, and a decoration that definitely evokes the movie.
Then we painted the racing car flags as well. One of our guests asked why we had chessboards on the walls, so perhaps if we had a second chance we'd attach sticks to the flags to make it a little more clear!
This particular decoration was a lot less clear! It's supposed to be Caractacus Potts' workshop, with inventions. But the closest we could find was an upside-down bike and a sawhorse!!
More candy stripes are in keeping with the theme and fill up space and provide colour.
This is the room in which we watched the movie. You can't see it all but it's packed with as many couches and chairs as we could fit in! Hanging on the roof is a big red and yellow Chitty Chitty Bang Bang wing, made from crepe paper. In theory this was a good idea, but crepe paper rips really easily, so it was difficult to make this hang exactly how we wanted it to.
And round the rest of the room, bunches of red, yellow and white balloons. We didn't want to over-decorate this room because we knew it would be so packed with chairs/people already.
This is our "beach", in the conservatory on the way into the house. Complete with sand (tidily spread over newsprint on the floor, beach chairs, picnic baskets and a huge beach umbrella which also handily hid junk.
These decorations were fantastic for us, because everything we used was borrowed or already owned, except that we had to buy a few balloons, some crepe paper, and a couple of rolls of newsprint. But in case you have found this blog in search of ideas for your own party, here are some other ideas which we did NOT use:
- a windmill cut out of cardboard, as in the windmill on the Potts' house.
- more fairground-themed items: simply watch that particular scene, there's plenty to work with
- if you can somehow find blue and white-striped or yellow and white-striped fabric or shower curtains, the beach tent would be a very cool thing to make.
- boxes with "dynamite" written on them.
- we completely forgot to make a sign saying "laboratory" and stick in on the bathroom door.
- Baron Bomburst's ship? Out of cardboard?
- find a stuffed toy like this dog - sorry, I don't know the breed, but I always think of it as the "Muffin McLay, like a bundle of hay" dog from the Hairy MacLary picture books. In the movie, its name is Edison.
- if you are more mechanically-minded than us, or have access to large amounts of metal junk and cogs and wheels, try creating Caractacus Potts' workshop.
- big colourful lollipops for the walls, like the ones offered by the child catcher.