CELEBRATING THE DAY OF THE DEAD: THE PARTY MAGIC WAY
Parents who have children born on the first week of November have a curious a predicament: how do you celebrate your child’s birthday so near All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day?
I should know. My own father-in-law’s birthday is exactly on November 1st! The youngest member of my family, my niece Aimee Yeung, was literally minutes away from this same situation. She was born October 31st, 2016, at 11:57pm. Talk about close calls!
For those parents who are running out of ideas though, here is a refreshing proposition: celebrate your child’s birthday with the theme The Book of Life!
Party Magic’s own version of The Book of Life, with the beautiful celebrant, Nisha in full pose
Sweet Nisha in her Maria Posada getup
The famous Maria Posada from The Book of Life
THE BOOK OF LIFE: THE MOST HEARTFELT AND TOUCHING STORY NO ONE HAS HEARD OF
The Book of Life is probably the most under-watched and underrated children’s movie of all time. I never heard of it myself before my client, Nini, introduced the movie to me. Being the dutiful stylist, I watched the movie, initially planning to just get the “Barron’s book notes” version and skip to the important parts. The next thing I knew, I was hooked.
The beauty about The Book of Life is it’s enchanting tale of love between Manolo, Joaquin, and Maria, its colorfully striking imagery, and its introduction and dive into Mexican lore and mythology. The visual aspect is particularly compelling. Just take a look at this scene:
Manolo with La Muerte, looking on at the spectacle of the Land of the Remembered
The movie introduces us to the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead. Even as we march on to our cemeteries and remember our loved ones, observers of Dia de los Muertos actually celebrate with festivities and food that their loved ones enjoyed while living. The souls of the loved ones celebrated during The Day of the Dead dwell in The Land of The Remembered, a bountiful and joyous place, while those souls are forgotten by its people rot in The Land of the Forgotten, a vast wasteland.
The Land of the Forgotten is occupied by neglected souls that rot with each passing day
If you haven’t watched or heard of The Book of Life, you’d better watch it now. You won’t regret it!
NISHA’S 7TH CELEBRATION
Now that you’ve seen a little bit of Nisha’s party and the beauty of The Book of Life, you’ll realize how such a treasure the movie is and how it would make the perfect theme to use for a birthday party.
You’ve already seen what I did for the stage. I thought that instead of the usual “realistic” portrayal of the characters, it would be fun to recreate them funko-pop style, hence their over-enlarged heads and “cartoony” treatment.
The handsome lover-boy, Manolo Sanchez!
The goddess La Muerte, ruler of the Land of the Remembered
Nisha’s cake was a real work of art, with the movie’s famous emblem, the winged and crowned heart, placed top and center:
I think the whole point of The Book of Life (at least from a styling perspective) is its stunning imagery and vibrant colors. This is what I sought to show in the whole venue:
Various painted skulls hang in the photo-op area
Papel picados decorate the air
Guitars, skulls, and colorfully arranged florals act as centerpieces for each table
And yeah. More skulls!
Another brilliant idea (the credit for this one goes to Nini my client) is to give out succulents as giveaways:
Another thing I liked about The Book of Life is how they portray people who are already dead. For example, when Manolo passed away into the Land of the Remembered, his eyes turned black and skin grey:
THE PHOTO-OP: MANOLO’S JOURNEY INTO THE LAND OF THE FORGOTTEN
In the movie, Manolo was tricked by the god Xibalba, the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, into getting himself bitten by snakes in order join his beloved Maria into the Land of the Remembered. When he found out that Maria was in fact alive and he was stuck in the land of the dead, he resolved to make Xibalba pay for his deceit and travel to the Land of the Forgotten to seek the aid of the goddess La Muerte.
This is my own portrayal of Manolo’s journey:
A determined Manolo stuck in the afterlife, seeking a way back to Maria
If you look carefully at the background, I used the wonderful sort of “image map” that was used in the movie to portray the Candlemaker. the benevolent god tasked to create the candles of life that embody each and every living being. The Candlemaker was also the one who showed to Manolo the actual Book of Life.
I used candles and the famous “image-map” of the Candlemaker as a background for the photo-op
As an extension of the photo-op, I also included pictures of Nisha to add a personal touch to the area, as well as famous quotes from the movie:
Nisha photo wall
Manolo’s famous line
Lyrics from Manolo’s song in the movie
THE DESSERT TABLE: A BULL FIGHTER’S FEAST
Since Manolo came from a family of famous bullfighters, I thought it would be fun to have a sort of “bullfighter’s feast table” set up. I imagined that this could be a set up made as a “celebratory dinner” for a Sanchez bullfighter just coming home from a victorious fight!
A giant bull head adorns the wall
Colorfully designed dessert jar containers, a giant chili-shaped plate, and porcelain pigs (representing Chuy, Maria’s cute pet pig)
Wanted posters of Mexican outlaws hang on the wall while a decorated skull watches over the food
Dessert treats are all displayed in colors trays and jars
BOOK OF LIFE: A
To me, nothing is more satisfying than designing and styling a party with a theme that I’m excited and passionate about, and for a client who I enjoy working with. This party is definitely one for the books.
A happy birthday to sweet sweet Nisha!