[This is an older article–2014–but when we stumbled across it over the weekend, we just had to highlight it.]
Do you have children? Are they little punk rockers in the making? Martha Stewart’s website has an adorable, and somewhat cheesy “how to” on throwing a do-it-yourself (DIY) “punk rock-inspired party”. It’s a little bit punk-lite, but the DIY attitude that punk culture embraced is definitely there.
Of course, because this is from the Martha Stewart website, it’s a bit too upscale to really be punk rock. It also looks like a lot of work. Here’s my counter suggestions to help you throw your kids the ultimate punk party cheaper and easier.
The Martha Stewart site suggests:
“Bring the party from general admission to VIP status with invites inspired by concert tickets… Customize your “admit one” ticket to include the date, time, and venue information. When your guests arrive at the party, they can double as place-holders at the table with a seat number (but obviously, everyone gets front-row access)”.
Place-holders at a kid’s party? Is that a thing now? I don’t remember having place-holders at any of mine or my friends’ parties growing up. Plus, they’re not very punk.
Inspired by zines like Punk and Sniffin’ Glue, get really back-to-basics and cost-efficient with the invites. All you have to do is take a piece of paper and a marker, write the info about the event — or get your child to, the writing doesn’t have to be too neat — and then photocopy it in black and white. Super simple, super cheap, super punk.
Or if you want to be a little more creative and have a ton of old magazines lying around, you can cut out letters and words and glue them onto a blank piece of paper to get out the information and then make black and white photocopies of that. A little more work, but still a cool, DIY invite.
From the Martha Stewart site:
“Help your guests get into the groove with a spunky scheme. Line the walls with posters of punk idols like Blondie, The Ramones, The Clash, and Patti Smith. String up punk-inspired garlands (think plaid fabric, safety pins, and shiny gold and brass materials)”.
Not bad ideas. The posters are definitely a great idea.
Go to Google Images and print off old concert posters. I’m going to be picky and point out that Blondie is more New Wave than punk, but there’s plenty of other punk bands you can choose from: Sex Pistols, the Damned, and the Buzzcocks if we’re looking at UK Punk, going with the assumption we’re talking about 1970s, (mainly UK) punk.
Garlands aren’t very punk, but because kids are kind of messy, a table cloth might be a good idea. Check out your local thrift store or dollar store for a plaid one (plaid bedsheets would work, too), pick up some safety pins and have fun. If you can find some sort of cloth patches, or have an old t-shirt you don’t mind cutting up, you can pin those to the table cloth to make “patches”.
The Martha Stewart website suggests:
“Ready to really pump up the volume? Bring out your inner rock star by dressing the part. Set up a booth for your kids to get creative. You’ll need a wild and crazy ‘do (think mohawks, spiky strands, and colorful wash-out dye) and a set of colorful, kid-friendly tattoos. (Don’t worry, Mom! They’re just temporary.)
“Next, have fun in punk-ifying your crafts! You can string together a matchbox guitar, make this studded jewelry, or, in the fall, decorate a “punk-in” with nails, studs, and safety pins!”
I have to admit, these are cool ideas. I like the dress-up and creating a matchbox guitar.
Find some flannel shirts, denim jackets, and t-shirts at your local thrift store that the kids can cut up and create their own looks with. Provide them with safety-pins, scissors, and sharpies and just sit back and let their imaginations take over. If you have the ability, you can take a picture of each kid, or a “band” of kids, print it off on plain paper, and let them create their own concert posters.
Another activity they could do is create their own zine. Give each kid a few pieces of paper, some markers, access to old magazines, scissors, glue, and a stapler, and let them have at it.
From Martha Stewart:
“A punk party is nothing without the perfect soundtrack! Host an at-home concert — band optional. The classic track “London Calling” by The Clash is great for welcoming guests in the doo. Save “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” by The Ramones for later in the evening when things really start to heat up on the dance floor”.
I’m going to be that person for a moment and point out that “London Calling” is technically post-punk, but that’s just a minor nitpick.
If you want to be decade and region-specific, do a little Google-fu to research specific bands. For example, if you’re looking at 1970s punk, here’s the Wikipedia list of 1970s punk rock musicians. If you’re not picky about the region or the decade, Spotify has a bunch of really good punk playlists.
Make sure that the other parents have a heads-up about the music. I grew up in a house hold where punk was regularly listened to, but other parents might not be so permitting. I would suggest avoiding 80s hardcore punk, since it’s more likely to include swearing.
Here’s where it gets adorably cheesy:
“A full-on “nosh pit” is just what this punk party calls for. Offer a plate of Spinach Ricotta Skulls (a classically punk motif) alongside a bowl of Spinach, Bacon, and Onion Dip (for “noshing”). Lastly, mix a punch bowl of dark and delicious Spiced (and Spiked) Concord Grape Punch (sans vodka for the kids)
“End the buffet on a high note … or should we say, “sweet” note? Buy a sheet of music — in your favorite punk jam, of course — to top fondant-covered cupcakes”.
This is just too cute. I love it.
I don’t even know what punk food would be, but since I’m all about keeping things easy, I say just order some pizza and pop. It’s not exactly legal to give kids beer or whisky, so that part of the punk rock diet is out.
That cupcake idea is cute, but also a lot of work and while you can buy sheet music of punk tracks now, very few — if any — punk tracks started out written down like that. If you want to make a cake or cupcakes, buy a box of mix and decorate it using red and black icing. If you don’t feel like going through the effort of baking, kids typically don’t complain at store-bought cupcakes and you can always buy red and black sprinkles to put on before serving them to the children.