Fan’s Party Planner: Autumn Writer’s Tea

Fan’s Party Planner: Autumn Writer’s Tea

The guides in my Fan’s Party Planner series usually focus on a particular story from books or other media, but this planner will offer tips and ideas for hosting a party to celebrate and inspire the people who make those stories happen. “Write-ins” are a beloved tradition at Pudding Shot, when we gather with our journals and laptops and manuscripts to write, edit, outline, revise, and brainstorm in good company. These cozy events are great ways to get feedback on projects, meet other writers, and add some exciting variety to an otherwise solitary vocation. I especially look forward to them in autumn, when the changing world inspires us to create and the cool, cloudy days invite us to curl up inside with warm mugs and pen and paper. November is also National Novel Writing Month, so now is a great time for writers and readers to celebrate the hard work of writing and storytelling and offer some moral support to our friends pursuing the NaNoWriMo challenge.

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The Fan’s Party Planner: Lord of the Rings & Middle-earth

The Fan’s Party Planner: Lord of the Rings & Middle-earth

J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit require little introduction on my part. His Middle-earth legendarium belongs to the foundational canon of Western fantasy literature; you cannot throw an axe in the SFF section of a bookstore or library without hitting something with Tolkien-esque elves, orcs, or “medieval fantasy” quest vibes. And of course, while Tolkien has always been read by the nerds and geeks of America, the famous Peter Jackson film adaptations have revived widespread interest in his works and brought the Baggins’ adventures into the international, multigenerational mainstream imagination for the 21st century.

I have designed this party guide with The Lord of the Rings (LotR) primarily in mind, as this epic provides a great deal of inspirational source material for Tolkien’s more familiar or popular stories, but many of the activities, decorations, and foods would also support The Hobbit. I am sure many of the items would apply to a The Silmarillion party as well, but as I am only loosely familiar with that work and the popularity of LotR and The Hobbit make them easier party subjects, I have not offered specific ideas for it. As one of those people who adores The Hobbit and the ideas of Middle-earth but is still only halfway through reading The Two Towers, I would like to give a big thank you to my friend and Tolkien expert Emily Lowman (who may be getting this party for her birthday) for helping me check my literary references.

Now, let’s get on with the adventure!

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The Fan’s Party Planner: Undertale

The Fan’s Party Planner: Undertale

I’m sure everyone and their goat mom has heard about Undertale by now, but the hype is real, it’s great, I loved it, I highly recommend playing it! (In fact, if you haven’t played it yet, you should check it out now while it’s on sale on Steam.) The game is a lot of fun and designed to deeply engage the player for multiple runs. With a retro style and deceptively simple gameplay, its impressive ability to reach the player’s emotions (it gives you the feels) through fascinating storytelling, innovative game mechanics that speak directly to the theme, excellent world-building and music, and a lovable cast truly sets it apart from other games in its genre and our expectations of what video games can do. It also lends itself easily to parties, so I’ve cooked up a ridiculous amount of food, a skele-ton of fun games and puzzles, and a variety of decorations to recreate the vibrant world and adventure of Undertale for you and your friends.

Remember that all of my guides in The Fan’s Party Planner series are fancy brainstorms of mostly untested ideas, founded on my knowledge of the game and my amateur experience with event planning, cooking, crafting, etc. It’s completely up to you how you use this guide, if it’s for instruction, inspiration, or just for a laugh. Now, before you make some big decisions, ask yourself: kid, do you wanna have a good time? Continue reading “The Fan’s Party Planner: Undertale”

The Fan’s Party Planner: Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series is an international phenomenon. From seven wonderful books, the Wizarding world has grown to include several spin-off books, eight films, numerous video games, a London exhibition, a stage play, two theme parks, and, of course, a hearty merchandising line. I would be remiss if I did not put my experience as a Head of House (Ra, ra, Ravenclaw!) in my college’s fan club to use and design a party plan for the series that indisputably shaped my generation and the future of children’s fantasy writing.

Because Harry Potter is such a popular theme with ubiquitous official merchandise, party materials, and recognized foods, this guide will have much shorter lists for the decorations and food categories than is typical in The Fan’s Party Planner. Instead, I’ve focused my effort on the activity category to create a list of fun and games! These activities range from a simple Charms Class spelling bee to games based on real Muggle Quidditch drills, and I’ve included suggestions for adapting the activities for younger or older guests or large groups.

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The Fan’s Party Planner: The Chronicles of Narnia

Note: The Fan’s Party Planner is a recurring column on Pudding Shot with tips and ideas for planning themed parties based on popular books, video games, films, genres, fandoms, etc. The outlines include suggestions for invitations, decorations, food, beverages, and activities, but readers should note that not all of the ideas presented in the outlines have been tested by the author or will come with full instructions. The guide is best viewed as a “fancy brainstorm,” an inspirational list to help readers start thinking about their creative options and planning the party that best suits them and their guests. The majority of the suggestions should be doable for most hosts, but items in “Advanced” categories will require some extra time, money, or effort. 


The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic high fantasy series by C.S. Lewis that has enchanted the imagination and stirred the hearts of children and adults for generations. The most familiar book in the series is likely the second, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but the Chronicles are full of exciting adventures, beautiful and terrible magic, and unforgettable characters. They also feature some truly amazing parties and feasts.

Consider this your starting guide for throwing your own incredible Narnia party. Using my knowledge (and deep love) of the books and my amateur experience with hosting flings for clubs and private get-togethers, I have brainstormed a few ideas for atmosphere, decorations, food, and activities that will help you throw a bash fit for Cair Paravel. Quite a few items are inspired by the famous The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I have tried to represent all of the books in some fashion. Feel free to mix, match, adapt, and add to the suggestions on this outline to design a unique Narnia celebration that works best for you and your guests. 

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