The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary is just over a week away and the release of the trailer and Night Of The Doctor mini episode has anticipation at a fever pitch. Sure, it’s a celebration of a long running and much beloved series but it’s more – it’s an excuse for a party. After my mind raced past the exciting promise of multiple Doctors appearing together on screen, it jumped right to the grandness of the event and the theme party possibilities. When you adore a series and love putting together theme parties, it’s just the way your brain works.
Let’s get a misconception out of the way immediately: throwing a theme party doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal. You can commit to as much or as little as you want. People I meet often seem to think it’s all or nothing, but that is absolutely not true. Getting every last detail just right can be a blast, but it’s not a requirement.
So, the first step is thinking about how far you want to go. Do you want to build a TARDIS for example? I’m only half kidding. If you want to do that though, you should probably start immediately. Or travel back in time to start earlier. Decorations, activities, food, and drinks – consider the categories and which ones you want to invest time and dollars into. There’s no wrong answer. You should also think about the number of people you want to put on your guest list. Unless you have a gigantic television and stadium seating, I recommend keeping it cozy. – probably not many more than ten people.
Check out ideas for decorations, activities, party favors, food, and drinks after the break.
Toys are your friends. If you have any Doctor Who figures or playsets, get them out and use them to decorate the food table and viewing area. Daleks, Doctors, companions, sonic screwdrivers, or whatever. Anything works.
Go with TARDIS blue for at least some of the plates, napkins, plastic ware, and cups. You can compliment the bright color with silver or red (the 11th Doctor’s bow tie) or even a galaxy/space print if you can find it. Get a blue plastic tablecloth for the food table and create a white strip across the front with paper or paint and carefully write “Police Public Call Box” on it.
Speaking of the public call box, she’s quite important. If you don’t own one (and I’m going to guess that’s most of you), go for a door cling instead. You can get it from ThinkGeek for $59.99.
Other quick and easy suggestions: grab some chalk and write “Bad Wolf” on your sidewalk or driveway, pretend you’ve been seeing the Silence and draw hash marks on the mirror or on a dry erase board, add some David Tennant to your living room with a cardboard stand-up, fill a flower vase with sunflowers, apply a mysterious crack to your wall with this vinyl decal, leave out some Vincent van Gogh or Shakespeare books, or get a rubber hand (Halloween clearance shelves are your friend) and put it in a jar with some water.
The most obvious activity leading up to the “Day of the Doctor” is to have a marathon. Pick a favorite episode from each Doctor, watch the Christmas specials, whatever you’d like. Make sure you have space and pillows, put on some tea, and tell your guests to get comfy. Easy as can be.
If you’d like to go up just one notch, put together a box of costume accessories so your guests can play dress up. Yes, this totally applies to adults and yes, you get bonus points if you use a cardboard box and paint it to look like the TARDIS. Keep it simple and put in items such as a bow tie, a fez, 3D glasses, a whisk and plunger, a piece of celery (put in a bag), a long striped scarf, suit jacket, pocket watch, umbrella, a Roman style helmet or shield, a souffle pan or cookbook, a paint brush – you get the idea by now. Just little touches you have on hand that could relate to any character from the series. Guests can choose a piece as they enter, and you can make them do it with their eyes closed. You can also make it into a game later by having the entire group guess which character an accessory represents.
To go even further, set up some crafts. Get a few tubes of acrylic paint, some inexpensive brushes and paper, and have each guest paint his or her version of the exploding TARDIS. If the idea of paint is too messy, make some sonic screwdriver pens! Doodlecraft has a tutorial, and it’s straightforward. You just need pens and blocks of polymer clay. If you don’t need your sonic to write, you can also start with a short dowel rod as a base.
Who doesn’t like gifts? Giving party favors to your guests is by no means necessary, but if you have the time and inclination, it can be fun. You can do something silly like giving them a random key and telling them it’s the TARDIS key (you can get lots of keys from eBay but you probably have keys you’re not using in a junk drawer), or you could do something as easy as printing out papercrafts. DeviantArt user CyberDrone has eight pages of them!
Look for small stocking stuffer gifts like these mini figures. They come in a blind box and are the perfect size for people to put in their bags to take home.
Before we dive into details, remember that the 50th Anniversary special is being simulcast across the globe (you can see it in the U.S. at 2:50 p.m. EST / 11:50 a.m. PST Nov. 23.) so think about what time you’ll be dining before you plan the menu. That reminder out of the way, you can approach the menu in a couple of ways: make food mentioned or seen in the series or just go with Doctor Who inspired treats. You can purchase items off the shelf for both categories.
Let’s begin with food mentioned in the series. Here’s a list of things you can buy off the shelf that come from the show: Jammie Dodgers, Jelly Babies, celery sticks, or salami sandwiches. Of course, we can’t forget fish sticks and custard. You can thank the 11th Doctor for that combination. Luckily, Alton Brown has come up with what sounds like a delicious recipe to create the dish.
As for food inspired by the series, the options seem endless. Pocky sticks make suitable sonic screwdrivers as do decorated pretzel sticks, marshmallows can become Adipose with just a little black gel icing to draw on their faces, and don’t forget bow tie pasta. I recommend laying out a table comprised mostly of snacks you can easily obtain mixed with a couple of dishes that really make a statement. I’m thinking Cassandra lasagna, Ood rolls, or fancy looking Doctor cookies:
After you’ve planned your menu, make sure you also create labels. You can print the names of the dishes on cardstock and fold them in half to make table tents, or you can write them out by hand on paper and use any Doctor Who action figures you have to hold them. It’s a small touch, but it can really add to the theme and it stops guests from asking you what stuff on the table is.
Don’t neglect the drink category! Since Doctor Who is a British series, the obvious choice is tea. This works in your favor if you’ll be watching the special in the morning. As with everything else, you can keep it simple by offering just a couple of tea varieties or you can make it more of a production. You can do the latter by offering a dazzling array of tea (bagged and loose leaf) as well as honey and rock candy swizzle sticks.
If that’s too boring and alcohol-free for you, I suggest these drinks by MegaCynics:
Get creative and develop your own! See what liquor you have and play mixologist. You can create drinks based on your favorite Doctor, based on the companions, or even based on your favorite episodes. For example, I adore Donna Noble. I bet she’d like something with whisky, so I would start there. Okay, maybe I would leave it there as well. Straight whisky is good enough.
Are you planning to throw a party to celebrate the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary? Tell us all about it in the comments.