Last week Gabe and I hosted a dozen friends to celebrate his 27th birthday. A few years ago I threw him a Star Wars-themed birthday party, and this year I went with another one of his favorite things: airplanes. This guy of mine has loved airplanes since he was little, so it was a fun opportunity for us all to goof off and act like kids again.
Decor was super simple. Silly signs welcomed guests past the “security checkpoint” and guided them to the baggage claim (front hall closet), lavatory (bathroom), and flight deck (balcony).
Upon entering, everyone had to grab two name tags at random: their pilot name and their vehicle. Gabe had lots of fun brainstorming names from movies, video games, and real life. My favorite was when a pregnant friend got to be Han Solo flying a big balloon, which worked well with her adorable protruding belly.
I used the silhouettes and names of WWII airplanes to make little food signs. The food was pretty low-key, since I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks and didn’t have hours to spend in the kitchen. We interspersed homemade goodies with store-bought snacks, and everything was a recipe I’d made before so I wasn’t too stressed.
Here’s the menu:
- Skytrain sandwiches (roast beef and turkey on pretzel buns)
- Wildcat wings (crockpot barbecue chicken wings)
- Catalina crudités (an assortment of raw veggies with hummus)
- Oatmeal cream pies in the sky
- Cumulus cake (Ina Garten’s fabulous coconut cake with a little silver airplane on top)
- Pretzels, nuts, and cookies (I found biscoff cookies at World Market and snagged some honey sesame cashews from Trader Joe’s)
For drinks we did a DIY beverage station with little recipe cards for each cocktail:
- Dauntless dark and stormies (2 oz. dark rum + 6 oz. ginger beer)
- Engine and tonic (1 oz. Tomr’s tonic syrup + 2 oz. Prairie gin + 3 oz. soda water)
- We also had a crazy assortment of beer. I couldn’t find any beers with airplanes on the labels so I was thrilled when friends managed to do it for me, showing up with Schell Shocked Grapefruit Radler and Alaskan ESB, among many others.
For entertainment, I printed off paper airplane templates for people to construct, but the big hit of the night was a whole bunch of foam airplane gliders from Oriental Trading Company. Forty-eight gliders, to be exact. It was a mad melee of flying airplanes soaring every which way, and then a remote control helicopter somehow got in the mix and was bombarded with planes. So ridiculous and silly, but so much fun.
Thanks to all our party-goers for making the night a blast!