On Monday, August 21 the sun will quit on the United States, and we don’t blame it.
Okay, not “quit” per se, but the moon will pass between the earth and the sun causing a total or partial blockage of the sun, depending on where you live. We think that calls for a themed party!
For the times the eclipse won’t be visible, we suggest playing space themed movies in the background. In particular:
- Zenon, Girl Of The 21st Century
- The Martian
- Independence Day
- Space Camp
- The Jetsons
- Any Star Wars film
- Any Star Treck film or episode
- The Magic Schoolbus Gets Lost In Space
What’s a themed party without a themed outfit? If you want to impose a dress code, or are just really feeling the theme, here are some options:
- black and white – simple, classic, and appropriate
- polka dots work, too
- of course, anything with a sun or moon on it would be apropos
- but I think the best outfit for the day would be a full Miss Frizzle-style eclipse getup.
Snacks are the best part of a theme party. Some suggestions:
- Moon Pies
- Black and white cookies, but in various stages of eclipse
- Cheese (because the moon is made of it, clearly)
- Sunflower seeds
- Sunny D
- Sun chips
- Regular apples, but sliced in half so you can see the ‘star’ in the middle, which always wows the under-5 crowd the first time they see it
- I really do feel like you could use sun, star, moon and circle-shaped cookie cutters on any number of foods! For real, this is probably the way I would go.
Eclipses can be day-drinking events if you want them to be. We recommend:
- Blue Moon
- The Blue Moon Cocktail
- Alcoholic Capri Sun
- Tequila Sunrise
- Pineapple Sunset
- Total Solar Eclipse Cocktail
Just don’t get so crunk you forget you can’t stare at the sun and burn your retinas.
Total Eclipse Of Some Games
I absolutely love when people get excited about astronomical phenomena, whether it’s a meteor shower, solar or lunar eclipse, unusual visible planets or the northern lights. I was raised by a science teacher and we made a BIG DEAL out of this stuff when I was a kid. For instance, one time before I could read a ticker came across the bottom of the TV screen telling viewers that the northern lights were visible. The rest of my family bounded from their seats because they knew we’d all load into the minivan to try to see it – except for little illiterate me, watching TGIF and wondering what the big deal was.
All that is to say that I think this solar eclipse is a fine time to celebrate the wonders of our solar system – and what better way to do it than with games? Here are a few:
Similar to our map-labeling games in our American and Canadian themed parties, this one is either a chance to show of your knowledge or a chance to get a little funny. Have individual printouts of constellations, or a large map of them on the wall. Let guests label them with their names. It’s fun to get it right, but it’s also fun to make up your own constellation names based on what they look like – which, after all, is what happened many years ago, anyway. The big dipper part of ursa major? Yeah, that’s a Deep Fry Basket.
Solar System Mnemonic Mad Libs
I’m so old that when I was a kid, my very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas. The kids in my life tell me that now, she serves nachos. Sorry, Pluto.
If you learned the order of the planets through mnemonic devices, this all probably sounds familiar to you. If not, forgive me.
You can create wacky solar system mnemonics -and reinforce your childhood space knowledge – with a mnemonic madlib. For instance:
- [Adjective starting with V]
- [Adjective Starting with E]
- [Noun Starting With M]
- [Past Tense Verb Starting With S]
- [Adjective Starting With N]
- [Noun Starting With P] [“Dwarf planet” means nothing to me, sorry not sorry.]
Mad Libs are always funnier if the person who is providing the words doesn’t know what you’re creating.
Pin The Moon Over The Sun
It’s like pin the tail on the donkey, but it’s eclipse-themed, and it’s probably better after a few Tequila Sunrises.
You can create this board pretty easily with a plastic table cloth. Draw all of the planets in several rows or a small circle. You will be using this as your twister board, so you have to set it up so that it’s plausible that a person could reach from one to the other. You could even do an entire row across of Mercury, an entire row of Venus, an entire row of Earth, etc.
For extra nerd points, don’t label the planets. If you don’t know Saturn from Jupiter, you’re out.
Total Eclipse Of U.S.
Hop over to our America-themed party post, because the total eclipse will only be visible in the United States. Also this is a great way to use up all of your miniature American flags from the Fourth of July.
Total Eclipse Of These Songs
I feel like since the sun and moon are both involved in this one, songs having to do with either of them are fine. Some of the more eclipse-y are:
- Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler
- Steal My Sunshine by LEN
- Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers
- I’ll Follow The Sun by The Beatles
- Walkin’ On The Sun by Smashmouth
- Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles (can never have too much Beatles, OK?)
- Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me by Elton John
- Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden
- Bad Moon Rising by Credence Clearwater Revival
- Dancing In The Moonlight by King Harvest
Total Eclipse Of The Sun
The main thing about your eclipse party is, of course, the eclipse! Just don’t go outside and stare right at the sun, which will burn your retinas. Instead, stock up on verified eclipse sunglasses – your nearest library or science museum may be your best bet, but Amazon is good too (just make sure you get verified glasses).
There are suggestions all over the web for how to view the eclipse, so we won’t get into it. Just know that options include a contraption with a shoebox, tin foil and paper, a simpler cardboard thingy, looking at shadows, or the internet:
- NASA will livestream the event on their website.
- You can also see the eclipse at the Exploratorium in San Francisco or on their website.
- All major networks will be covering the event
Here is some help in finding the best time to view the eclipse near you. Non-U.S. folks, don’t despair! First of all, we have cornered the market on despair for now. Second, a partial eclipse is visible in other parts of North America as well.