Welcome back to Totally Lit Parties, a feature in which Corrie shows you how to throw YA-themed parties!
When I heard Anne of Green Gables was getting not one remake but two, I was reminded of my pre-teen love of the series. It had been ages since I had revisited the books, though. There was only one thing to do: read and plan a party!
When Anne first attends school, she receives small gifts from several of the girls that she befriends. Anne was especially fond of one gift in particular: a decorative poetry card. Creating your own poetry card is a great way to set a fanciful tone for your party and to pick a piece of thrilling or romantic poetry that Anne would love. AoGG was published in 1908, which makes Victorian poetry a good resource for inspiration.
To make my cards, I started by finding the perfect bit of poetry. I love these lines from “Malcolm’s Katie” by Isabella Valancy Crawford:
If hearts are flow'rs, I know that flow'rs can root—
Bud, blossom, die—all in the same lov'd soil;
They do so in my garden. I have made
Your heart my garden. If I am a bud
And only feel unfoldment feebly stir
Within my leaves, wait patiently; some June,
I'll blush a full-blown rose, and queen it, dear,
In your lov'd garden. Tho' I be a bud,
My roots strike deep, and torn from that dear soil
Would shriek like mandrakes—those witch things I read
Of in your quaint old books. Are you content?
Not only do I think this is romantic enough for Anne, but it also feels like poetry she would quote to Diana when discussing how they are dear and bosom friends.
Print the poem of your choosing in a script-style font on cream paper, with the party details printed on the back. Decorate it with a vintage label (can be found at antique stores) and floral washi tape. Hand deliver your cards (if possible) for maximum effect.
Unfortunately, the fancy script that I used was not compatible with the printing service that I used. If you send out your invitations for printing, make sure to use standard fonts to avoid my mistake.
What to Wear
Anne spends a lot of time wishing for more fashionable clothes. Marilla prefers practical garments (keeping cost down and vanity in check), but it’s Matthew that sets out to purchase Anne something more in line with current styles for girls her age.
To dress the way that Anne wants to, you will need puffed sleeves and pompadour hair. If these things are not attainable, simply imagine your clothes to be finer than they are. Braids, flower crowns, and straw hats are also excellent options. Here is a mood board example of clothing options.
Check out FYA's Anne of Green Gables stylebook post for further inspiration.
• Top Student: Anne was passionate (and competitive) about her education. Play a game of wits to determine who is the top pupil, like Wits and Wagers or Trivial Pursuit. Have a medal on hand to present to the winner.
• Take Notice: 'Take Notices' were post all over the school, alerting people to potential new couples. Celebrate Anne and Gilbert’s tumultuous beginnings by making your own Take Notice picture frame. Find some cheap frames and apply chalkboard paint. If you want, you can also glue a little chalk holder onto the bottom. A simple but fun craft!
• Concert: To raise money for a new flag, Anne and her friends put on a concert that features both music and recitation. Hold a party-goer talent show for everyone to show off a skill they’re proud of. Maybe one of you can do the “Single Ladies” dance and another just finished knitting an awesome sweater; get up there and share your gifts with the group!
• Picnic: It might be too cold to hold a picnic outdoors like Anne, but you can still have one inside! Spread some blankets on the floor, and pack a basket full of food and drink for all to enjoy. This would also be an excellent opportunity for everyone to make flower crowns to wear!
• Story Club: Anne and her friends form a story club for creating and sharing stories in order to become better writers, but Anne’s plot descriptions and the adults' reactions to her writing lead me to believe her stories were borderline ridiculous. Recreate the story club by holding your own Shipwreck-inspired event. (Or, if there is something similar near you, attend it!) Make your own story rules if erotic fanfiction isn’t your thing.
• Dares: Anne and her friends' dares result in her tumbling from a roof and injuring her ankle. Come up with your own set of dares for each other (though maybe not ones that could lead to physical injury) and find out just how brave your friends are! Need help coming up with ideas? Check out this list to get you started. An alternative is to create a deck of dare cards to draw from. Go wild with the house rules. Do you do the dare? Do you play it on someone else? Do several options get chosen for person doing the dare to pick from? Customize the game to your group!
• Watch: There are so many adaptations of Anne of Green Gables that one is bound to be right for your party. Catch up with the newest remakes, revisit an old classic, or even check out this modernized web series version!
Tasty Business and Boozy Beverages
Anne is delighted to be invited to tea, so one obvious choice is to offer a proper tea spread with scones. If you’re curious about the finer aspects of afternoon tea, this link may help. As an added touch, shop at local thrift stores or garage sales for single sets of cups and saucers to give to your guests as party favors.
Of course, an Anne Shirley party wouldn’t be complete without raspberry cordial. You could also serve red currant wine, which is what Anne really gave Diana. If you’re feeling particularly like Marilla, you can even make your own red currant wine with this guide. (Be warned: it's a lengthy process.)
Another great option is to bake a cake, though without the liniment oil that Anne accidentally adds to the one for the new minister's wife. Your cake would be best without the muscle soothers, but to each their own.
No matter what's on the menu, make sure you give everything the most romantic name you can think of. You can also rename your house, the serving table, or even your friends. In the words of the Gilmore Girls revival, “What’s your name again, sweetheart?” “Doris.” “We can fix that.”
Do you have any other Anne of Green Gables-themed party ideas? Let us know in the comments!
Corrie Golando lives in Lafayette, IN, with her husband and two greyhounds. She spent 10 years as a middle school/high school English teacher, and her students gave her a love for all things YA. When she's not working at the high school library, she is writing fanfiction and doing something crafty. She has a love of all things coated in glitter, much to her husband's horror.