Theme n. A subject of discourse or discussion.
Says: "Yeeeeeeee - Hawwwwwww"
A family reunion doesnt have to have a theme, of course, but the Reunion Doctor
says that it can add a whole lot. A theme allows you to use your imagination when
deciding on the food, games, activities, invitations, and just about every aspect of the
reunion. Okay, so Mister Spiffy admits that it makes everything easier to do, too.
You can even have family members dress the part.
Plus, a theme can act as an icebreaker for attendees who dont know each other
("Well, now, thats an interesting table decoration, dont you think?
What do you suppose these people were thinking when they ordered all this?"
"I havent the foggiest. Oh, by the way, Im George."
The birthday of a special family member (everyone is special, of course, but
Mister Spiffy means someone like Grandma or Grandpa) can be a great theme for a family
- Location This can be held almost anywhere a home, a park, a roller
skating rink ("Wow, look at Grandma go!"... "Whee! I feel like Im 90
- Invitation "Youre invited to a birthday party!" Not too hard.
- Food Ice cream and a big birthday cake, of course (with lots of candles for
- Activities Have a clown or magician provide entertainment. Do a
"This Is Your Life" for the honored family member.
- Games Pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs, piņatas, and other
birthday games like races and things like that.
- Dress Party hats and whatever else you wear to a birthday party.
- Decorations Balloons, streamers, crepe paper, and other birthday decorations.
- Awards Oldest and youngest family members, most creative birthday present,
most creative wrapping, "Face-stuffing" Award for the cake-eaters of the group.
Everyone loves the circus, right? Mister Spiffy sure
does. While you wont have trained lions at your circus (at least, I doubt it), your
family is sure to be able to provide an interesting sideshow/freak show for you to laugh
at and enjoy.
- Location You can have this one in a large backyard or a park. You might even
be able to go to a real circus if you time your reunion just right.
- Invitation "Come see the greatest show on earth," or something
corny like that.
- Food Hot dogs (or corn dogs), cotton candy, popcorn, et cetera.
- Activities Have a clown or magician provide your entertainment, if you want
to hire one. Mister Spiffy recalls one circus reunion where some very talented pets
entertained them with a few interesting tricks.
- Dress Every circus needs a ringmaster and a few clowns. Hint, hint.
- Decorations Balloons and other circus paraphernalia.
- Awards Clowns. Theyre all a bunch of clowns. Acknowledge that.
What better theme for your family reunion than the
history of your family? Actually, Mister Spiffy can name a few, but I told him that some
people like learning about their family. Hes not making those snide remarks anymore.
- Location A family homestead or the basic area where your ancestors lived.
- Food Food that your ancestors would have eaten (crickets, haggis, horse meat,
crispy and crunchy live cockroaches on second thought, maybe you ought to just
pretend that its what your ancestors would have eaten).
- Activities Create a wall chart of your family so everyone can see how they
are related. If you dont have all the information, leave a marker out and ask family
members to write on the chart to fill in the blanks if they know anything you dont.
- Games Trivial pursuit, with questions about your family and ancestors. It
would probably be very hard, but go for it.
- Dress In the ethnic costume of your ancestors.
- Decorations Display historical memorabilia from your family and ancestors.
Anything you have, display it.
Make a run for the bord... oops, I think
that's trademarked. Anyways, pull out all those chili peppers stacking up in your
cellar (most of you dont, but Mister Spiffy insists on putting that in there
just in case).
- Location Mexico. No, ha, ha, just kidding. Basically
anyplace you can turn into a Mexican fiesta. A Mexican restaurant would be a nice place,
but I dont know if they would appreciate piņatas and the Mexican Hat Dance.
- Invitation You could go with the basic
"Youre invited to a fiesta!" or you could go really wild and throw a
little bit of Spanish in there, like, "Hola! Youre invited to a fiesta!
Ole!". Mister Spiffy took German, not Spanish.
- Food Enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tacos,
tacquitos, other various Mexican dishes. Of course, you could always make normal food and disguise
it as Mexican
heh, heh, heh
- Activities Piņatas, of course, thats a given.
You can really do anything that involves saying something in Spanish, and lets not
forget the Mexican Hat Dance. Just get a big sombrero, turn on the music, and have
- Games - Tortilla toss. Throw it like a frisbee
for distance. Mister Spiffy points out it's not as easy as a real frisbee!
- Dress Mexican, silly.
- Decorations Sombreros! Sombreros everywhere! Mister
Spiffy loves sombreros. Give people sombreros when they arrive if you
cant afford a sombrero for everyone, just print out a lot of copies of pictures
of sombreros, and tape them to peoples forehead as they arrive. And don't
forget the hanging chilis you dragged out of the cellar.
- Awards Most authentic Mexican dress, biggest sombrero,
brightest sombrero. Also have awards for the Mexican Hat Dance.
Cant afford to go to Hawaii? Well, Mister Spiffy
cant either, so dont feel bad. The Hawaiian Luau family reunion is the next
best thing. This reunion works best if you have access to a swimming pool, or some other
place you can get yourself moist.
- Location Someplace with water a swimming pool, a swimming hole, a mud
puddle. Whatever works.
- Food Pig roast, pineapple, coconut (with half shell coconut glasses).
- Activities Swimming, hula dancing
- Games How low can you go? Lets limbo!
- Dress Hawaiian shirts for those who have them (theyre "in"
now, Mister Spiffy noticed), Bermuda shorts, grass skirts. Have someone pass out
multi-colored leis (along with a kiss on the cheek) as people arrive.
- Decorations Fresh flowers, straw huts, glowing volcanoes, lots and lots of
- Awards Wildest shirt, best hula dancer (complete with the hip swinging),
Plan your family reunion around a holiday that has
special significance to your family. Since many people get off work for some of these
holidays, that provides an added benefit. Some holidays include: St. Patricks Day,
Mardi Gras, Fourth of July, Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving.
Now heres a place
Mister Spiffy is familiar with. If you have some relatives that have trouble fitting in,
heres a great way to give them an excuse.
- Location Mars, Jupiter, Neptune any of the basic
nine will do. Actually, a good place would be somewhere you could have black light. That
luminescence of white and brightly colored clothing adds quite an extraterrestrial effect.
- Invitation "Theyve finally come to take the
___________ family back home!" or if you dont like that suggestion that
youre less than normal, "Convene together and learn the hidden truth
New Mexico cover-up revisited!"
- Food Ah, food. For outer space you could probably throw
anything together and say, "Its a recipe from the Martians. Dont look at
me." But that wouldnt make you too popular, so try some of those things that
look weird but taste good you know, like tuna fish.
- Activities So many activities. You could play just
about anything under a black light and people would find it as enjoyable as something new.
Musical chairs, for example. Or just give the kids light sabers (Star Wars is popular
nowadays) and let em run around.
- Games Laser tag is fun. Anything that involves
Kill-O-Zap guns or something like that will be perfectly fine for most kids.
- Dress Like aliens. You know, those oval-headed green
heads with eyes the size of manholes? Those have become popular. Just wear all black and
put circular tubes of duct tape around your joints (shoulders, elbows, knees), and wear a
- Decorations Flying saucers, glow in the dark stickers,
some wall hangings that do that illuminating thing under black lights. Throw in a
palm tree and see if anyone notices.
- Awards Give a prize for the person who would probably
fit in best with a feast of extraterrestrial beings. Then give a prize for the person with
such a bad costume that they would end up being the main dish. Try to choose a person with
a sense of humor.
Everyone likes being chased by lions and
tigers, and fighting with mosquitos the size of cats. Well, get as close as you can
by having a safari reunion.
Under the Sea
- Location The jungle. OK then, hang a bunch of
fake vines everywhere. Or just have it outside where you dont have to carry the
trees there by yourself. Try an empty park.
- Invitation Um, something with Gilligans Island?
How about a guy cornered by a bunch of hungry lions, then have it say, "Enjoy
the thrills and dangers of safari!"
- Food Lion meat, tiger meat, monkey meat, tapir meat,
the usual schmo. You don't have to tell them it's really beef or pork.
- Activities A lion show. If you cant get any lion
tamers, go to the circus. How about a tree-climbing contest for the kids?
- Games You know when you were kids, and you just
wandered around acting like tigers? Well, that wont really work here. Put a little
organization to it. Organize a hunt and have someone be a lion (but walking upright) and
go hunting them in a copse of trees.
- Dress Well, theres always the
look-at-me-Im-a-tourist ensemble Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, black socks
pulled to your knees, sandals, a visor and a camera around your neck. Or you could go with
the I-know-what-Im-doing-and-I-look-it outfit pith helmet, khaki safari
clothes from Banana Republic, a gun and binoculars.
- Decorations Hang vines everywhere, set up a tent in the
corner, and get some wild animal stuffed animals. Dont forget the native totem poles
with shrunken heads hanging off the eagles wings theyre always a nice
- Awards Best safari dress, best tiger wrestler (in case
you do get the tigers and lions), best hunter (for the game), and best
"Therell be no accusations, just friendly crustaceans, under the
.". Ah, the underworld. Made popular by the Hans Christian
Andersen story and profitable by the Disney movie, "The Little Mermaid".
Heres some starters to help you out.
- Location Under the sea. Get a blue lightbulb and
you could have this reunion just about anywhere.
- Invitation "Come visit with the Sea Folk," or
something uncreative like that. Or perhaps write out the first lyrics to the Little
- Food Fish sticks (or caviar if your family is filthy
rich). And I hear kelp has some serious health possibilities.
- Activities Go swimming! At the beach! At a
pool! And watch the Little Mermaid. It sounds lame, but even adults enjoy it.
- Games Pin the tail on the mermaid.
- Dress I advise you not to wear the seashell bikini like
Ariel does its kind of funny looking on you. Just try Hawaiian shirts with
seashells on them.
- Decorations Seashells, palm trees, fish hanging by
strings, and underwater castles galore. Dolphins and sharks and stingrays are rising
in popularity as well.
- Awards Best dressed mermaid / merdude, first person to
scream at the crab in the movie to stop singing, other various categories.
Planning a family reunion around an important wedding anniversary (a fiftieth, for
example) can be a special gift to the happy couple.
- Location A reception center.
- Invitation Put two photos of the honored couple on the invitation: their
original wedding photo and a current photo.
- Food A dinner/dance in the couples honor.
- Activities Have the couple renew their wedding vows, have themselves a dance.
Mister Spiffy suggests surprising them by grabbing a microphone and announcing that they
were named the Prom King and Queen. Then give them crowns.
- Decorations Photos and other various memorabilia of the couples life
A western theme is very popular for family reunions. You even get to dress
up in cowboy clothes (this is Mister Spiffy's favorite part).
Helpful Hints Mister Spiffy
urges you to use mysterious themes. When people receive invitations and they have a theme
that seems strange, they wonder, "Well now, I wonder how they pulled something like
that off?" It gets them to come. Mister Spiffy is a reunion professional. He knows
these sorts of things.
- Location A park, or maybe a dude ranch.
- Food Barbecue, baked beans (yipes! Watch out!), corn on the cob.
- Activities Campfire (singing around, roasting), square dancing, pony rides, a
bit of calf roping (with stationary fake calf).
- Games Sack race, wheelbarrow race, tug of war, other old classics.
- Dress Flannel western shirt and blue jeans, ten-gallon cowboy hats, tall
boots, big gold belt buckles with cow skulls and bandannas.
- Decorations Various versions of false cacti, cattle skulls, horses, those
howling coyotes that are suddenly so popular.
- Awards Most authentic western outfit, best roper, best expectorating