Sunday, January 6, 2008
Snake Party Ideas!
You may have found my site from somewhere too far for me to travel for a single show (I travel pretty much anywhere I can drive to for multiple shows at big venues) but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a party unforgettable for your loved one using the snake theme. What follows are several time-tested ideas that I have seen work beautifully at lots of parties where my show was the entertainment.
As for that part, no one is doing a show quite like mine but there are quite a few snake (or at least reptile) shows available around the country. Snake Encounters incorporates comedy, magic and a dozen snakes from around the world to create an experience that is very educational, but the audience just has too much fun to notice. The guest of honor becomes the star of the show at a couple of different points, and there is a touch-and-hold, photo-op time at the end with the snakes that I know are time-tested patient enough for the most excited kid – or the most petrified grownup. Not all of the shows out there are able to incorporate this aspect, due to either the nature of the animals they are using or how litigious their area of the country is likely to be. I know of a counterpart of mine in a part of Maryland where nearly every adult seems to be a lawyer, a politician – or both. She said it gave her chills to even think of handing a snake to a child to hold by themselves. In my experience, it’s a matter of knowing your animals, keeping the energy level calm in the room by laying down appropriate ground rules beforehand, watching like a hawk for anyone about to freak and handing only part of the snake to anyone who appears nervous, reticent or over exuberant. Staying in control of the situation is a must, and that is where experience makes the biggest difference.
One of the most popular snake party ideas I recommend, and I’ve seen hundreds of versions of it over the years, is the snake cake. There are a few pics of this idea in my gallery under “Party Ideas.” Basically it’s just a matter of making more than one cake (which gives you the option of making more than one flavor for your guests to choose from) in circular “bundt” style pans. Cut the resulting circles in halves or thirds, turn them opposite each other, and viola! Snake shape!
Use creative frosting ideas to resemble an existing snake, or go for a fanciful “cartoon” design instead. For a realistic snake, consider making a rounded “head” mold out of heavy aluminum foil, and a tapering “tail” mold for the other end. Just make sure the end of each mold matches the size and shape of the cake where the two meet. For the “cartoon” version, it’s actually very cute to have the head and the tail be the sharp cutoff that results when you cut the cakes, so you don’t have to make the extra molds. A gummy worm split at one end makes a great tongue.
If you can find a circle mold that doesn’t have the “humps” that bundt pans do, so much the better. Snakes don’t come in segmented shapes. If I find a good example I’ll post a link to buy it with and/or tell you what stores carry it on my party page. Some types of ring molds will work, as will (I’m told) a large round pan with a much smaller one in the middle of it (the space between creating the ring) but I’ve never tried this idea myself.
Of course, you’ll probably want to decorate around your theme, and my party page will soon include links to purchase snake pattern paper, safari and jungle theme party goods (the closest thing currently available) Taiwanese Vinyl snakes, wooden snakes (also available as craft kits – fun!) and great gifts with a snake theme – like remote controlled plastic snakes and Egyptian snake armbands – for your convenience. I’ve already done the searching for you, so shop to your heart’s content. By the way, it appears that there is currently no one doing snake themed paper party goods (except for the snake pattern decorating paper) that I have been able to find. If I can convince one of the manufacturers to give it a try, they will be available from my party page as well. Generally, most hosts opt for safari or jungle theme items, which it seems to me would also mean that crude natural wooden plates, cups and utensils would make a cute variation on this idea.
Also on my “party ideas” pages of the gallery are two additional things to consider. The first is to do craft projects, either done by you beforehand or by your guests during the party if you have enough time budgeted for it, that make snakes out of common things. A favorite that you’ll find in one pic is white clay that hardens either in the over or better yet the air, paintable in colors and patters of real snakes (the usual theme is coral snakes vs coral snake mimics – different color sequences of red, yellow and black – be sure to use water based paints that wash out and/or provide old shirts to paint in if your guests are doing it.) Another you may have seen is paper plates, cut in a spiral and hung by the “head” end with string or clear fishing line, decorated with washable markers. Add a paper clip to the tail to resemble a rattle and help the finished snake hang more realistically.
My favorite had to be old neckties inserted with coat hanger or craft wire to stand up like hooding cobras, with little craft work eyes glued in place and red felt forked tongues – adorable.
And finally, how about a snake pinata? With a little imagination, you could decorate an existing “worm” or “2″ pinata design to look more like a snake, but the pic on my site is of a very inventive mom’s creation. She used a big zig-zag balloon, which she and her kids covered with paper mache and then made a resealable hole in for popping the balloon and filling the resulting cavity with candy. On my party page will be a link to a pinata maker who does customizable disk-shaped pinatas that could be done with an image of a coiled snake, but I’m going to request the actual snake shape and if they agree, you can bet you’ll be able to find it here.
Even if you can’t book me as your entertainment, feel free to drop me an email to Daryl@SnakeEncounters.com if you have any questions or want to suggest other ideas. If you book someone from your area who does a quality show that you can honestly recommend, let me know about it and I’ll offer them a reciprocal link.