Dec 28, 2010
Everyday Parties
Penny Warner

Any day can be a party day

With a little creativity, a handful of decorations and a fun theme, any day can be a party day. Offer your customers both fun and inspiration with these creative, in-store ideas:

Family Fun Nights

Consumers love the idea of gathering family members together for special “Family Fun Nights.” They can host them whenever they like – once a week, twice a month, even spur of the moment. All they have to do is turn the “family room” into a “party room” and create a festive atmosphere with all the trimmings.

Capitalize on this easy party idea and get your customers on board by hosting your own Family Fun Night (or series of nights) in a special section of your store. Here are some ideas to get you – and your customers – started.

Themes and promotions
Hand out invitations to customers with the day and time of your Family Fun Night – say Wednesday at 7p.m. Choose a theme for family night, such as “Make a Craft Night,” “Play a Game Night,” “Read a Book Night” or “Create a Snack Night,” and then create invitations and/or fliers using store supplies.

Decorate the invitations with theme-related stickers and then add coupons or a list of tips as an extra incentive for customers to attend. Promote the themed night throughout the store and have associates stick a flier into customers’ bags at checkout.

Decorations and activities
Depending on the theme, decorate the display area with banners, balloons and other embellishments from the store to catch customers’ attention and to encourage them to make their own family room festive. Add signs to match the activity, such as “Let’s Make a T-Shirt!” “Who Will Be the Big Winner?” “What’s Next for Harry Potter?” or “Welcome to Cupcake City!” Then, set up some interactive activities to demo the theme and show customers how to create their own Family Fun Night at home. Here are some examples:

  • For a “Family Craft Night,” set out a bunch of crafts materials (again, available within your store) and offer a customer “make-and-take craft.” Encourage families to work together to decorate T-shirts, use craft kits or create a personalized page for the family scrapbook.
  • For “Family Game Night,” put out some family-friendly games and provide small prizes (from the store) for winners, such as mini-travel games, bouncy balls, puzzles and so on. Or have a treasure hunt game throughout the store. Ask customers to locate certain party products in the store, have them mark the aisles where the items were found, and return to the cashier for a small prize.
  • For a “Family Book Night,” bring in a local author, celebrity or storyteller from the library to read popular books to kids and their families. Provide costume parts related to the book, such as Harry Potter glasses, magic wands, vampire teeth, princess hats or pirate eye patches.
  • For a “Family Snack Night,” invite customers (such as mother-daughter teams) to bring in cookies or cupcakes (or provide them at the store). Have them customize the goodies with candies and edible decorations, such as sprinkles, red hots or gummi worms, available in decorating or candy departments of your store. Offer store gift certificates for the most creative treats.

    When Family Fun Night is over, encourage customers to create a “memory” of the fun. This could be a scrapbook page, a photo inside with a decorated frame or even a party favor, such as craft materials, a new book, game pieces, dice or deck of cards and pirate booty. And let everyone take a balloon with the words, “Family Fun Night!” written in permanent marker, to get the party started at home!

    Any Excuse for a Party
    Help your customers find an excuse to party every day. Set up a special “Every Day’s a Holiday” center that showcases ideas for celebrating big and little occasions.

    Check the Internet or a copy of “Chase’s Calendar of Events” for a list of special events, such as “Fruitcake Toss Day” on Jan. 4, “Elvis Presley’s Birthday” on Jan. 8 or “National Dress Up Your Pet Day” on Jan. 14. Set out a new sign every day (or every week) announcing the “holiday,” then display products from the store to match. For example:

  • On “Fruitcake Toss Day,” get out cake decorating tools and goodies and show customers some fun ways to decorate those old fruitcakes they received during the holidays.
  • For “Elvis Presley’s Birthday,” arrange a party that features a rock ‘n’ roll theme, with paper products to match, Elvis trivia games, Elvis costume accessories and Elvis music in the background.
  • Celebrate “National Dress Up Your Pet Day” by displaying the store’s collection of stuffed animals, then dress them up in fun accessories such as silly sunglasses, sparkly necklaces, fancy boas and other costume accessories from the store. Display them at your “Every Day’s a Holiday” center.

    And for upcoming Valentine’s Day, supply your customers with some ideas for homemade valentines and let them make-and-take a romantic card. They’ll soon be making dozens of valentines using such products as heart-theme paper, stickers, candy hearts, ribbon and other craft and decorating items – all from your store!

    Just use your imagination to come up with creative ways to celebrate special days, and set up an enticing display for customers to see and enjoy.

    Party by Product

    If there’s a particular product or part of the store you’d like to feature, such as your birthday party section, craft section, or costume section, choose a related theme and set up the party products you want to showcase.

    For example, if you want to draw attention to birthday party goods, choose a theme, such as Baby’s First Birthday, then stage a mini-birthday party with plates, cups, favors, treats and activities to match. Change the theme every week to feature different products in your store.

    Penny Warner has more than 25 years of experience as an author and party planner. She has published more than 50 books, including 16 specific to parties. For more information, visit

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