Welcome back to Totally Lit Parties, a feature in which Corrie shows you how to throw YA-themed parties!
Libba Bray's Beauty Queens is one of those books I reread every summer because it feels like the perfect kick-off to warm weather. This tale of survival, self-love, and celebration (and recognition) of all things girl makes an awesome backdrop to a summer party. So buckle up, Teen Dreamers -- we’re in for a sparkly time!
For my invitations, I made a Corporation-style Miss Teen Dream invitation to a 'pre-pageant get-together' by putting on my fanciest, sparkiest dress and channeling my inner Miss Teen Dream Queen with a touch of Miss Congeniality. The video only provides a date, with additional party details to be included in the accompanying email.
What to Wear
There are lots of great costume ideas from the book:
• Beauty queen, pre-plane crash - formal wear, swimwear, business professional, or talent costume. You could also wear an outfit to represent your state. Don’t forget your sash!
• Beauty queen post-plane crash - any of the above, but ripped and singed. Never let your smile falter, though!
• Agent Jones - black polo, sunglasses, and retirement forms in your back pocket.
• Ladybird Hope - modest and tasteful dress suit with pearls and a gun.
• MoMo B ChaCha
On the projector screen was the faded-color image of a short man in a militarized black jumpsuit and huge, blue suede platforms. The man sported oversize sunglasses and a long, fat moustache. He wore an obvious wig, which bore a resemblance to Elvis Presley’s famous pompadour.
Other options include Harris, a random Corporation employee, or a pirate.
• Castaway Catwalk: The contestants might have been in a plane crash, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look fabulous. Gather up materials (cardboard, newspapers, scissors, glue guns, duct tape, fabric scraps, etc. -- à la #LenkLewkForLess), and work individually or in teams to create some serious fashion perfect for your (unplanned, traumatic) island vacay. Stage a fashion show to show off these creations!
• Pageant Time: Host your own pageant! Make up the competition categories, strut your stuff, and, most importantly, have fun!
• Dance Dance Revolution: Pulling off a choreographed dance number turns out to be surprisingly important to the girls as they figure out how to stop the Corporation from killing them. Practice for your own choregraphed revolt by learning a dance to your favorite boy band song. (Bonus points for hair remover and flare guns!)
• Explore: The Teen Dreamers explore their unfamiliar surroundings while also making sure they could make their way back to their beach camp. Recreate this experience by doing some geocaching to explore your home. For this activity, you will need a GPS-enabled device (e.g., a smartphone) and a list of geocaches in your area. Here’s a good place to start.
• Survive: Learning to survive on an island with only materials from the wreckage of your plane is no easy feat. Fortunately, our Teen Dreamers are smart and creative. Exercise your ingenuity by selecting one of these scenarios, gathering the supplies, and seeing what you’re capable of. For something a little less intense, make any of these office supply weapons for practicing your ability to defend yourself in the corporate jungle.
• Survival of the Gamest: Forbidden Desert and Forbidden Island are cooperative games in which your group must work together in order to survive the harsh conditions of where you are stranded. Obstacles (e.g., flooding, brutal sun, sandstorms) will try to keep you from winning, but you can escape once you have all the pieces that you need. Game play is easy to learn and quick to play.
• Commercial Break: The book is full of commercial breaks that cut to the core of advertising; it’s almost surprising they don’t already exist. Take one of the scripts from the book or write your own, and create a commercial fit for the Corporation.
• Girl Con: The girls dream up their own convention that celebrates the many ways there are to be a girl. Have all the party goers come up with their own presentation for the convention and hold a Girl Con of your own.
• Spa Day: Just because you’re stranded on a tropical island doesn’t mean you have to let your beauty regime fall by the wayside. Purchase or even make your own face masks for your guests.
Tasty Business and Boozy Beverages
The girls have to learn how to survive on what the island has to offer with the many culinary limitations that it imposes. That means a lot of fish, coconut, and other plant life. Fresh and simple is best for this party. Just make sure that the berries you serve don’t have any psychedelic side effects.
If you’re not feeling the raw diet, you could also serve the foods the girls craved and missed while they were on the island: chocolate, burgers, and gummi bears. There’s no wrong way to be a girl or to throw your party!
As for drinks, rum is a must. While you can drink it straight like Adina, a mixed drink with a tropical flair is also a great choice, such as a Mai Tai, a rum punch, or a daquiri. For a non-alcoholic thirst quencher, go for coconut water.
Do you have any other Beauty Queens-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.