How to Throw the Perfect Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

How to Throw the Perfect Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
Category: Reading

This month the beloved, mind-bending classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland turns 150 years old. That’s cause to celebrate, don’t you think? (Any excuse for cake, say the staff at SBT!) Happily, the book provides the perfect primer for a party, as long as you’re not afraid to go a bit mad. For those looking to celebrate Alice’s birthday in style, here are a few tips for the perfect Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

The book provides the perfect primer for a party, as long as you're not afraid to go a bit mad

Invitations: You could just text your friends or do a Facebook event, but if you really want to get fancy, send out some proper invitations designed to look like playing cards or decorated with a silhouette of the Mad Hatter. Play around with some famous quotes from the book (‘Don’t be late for a very important date!’) to give guests a hint of things to come.

Decor: Set a long table with mismatched cups, saucers and teapots (you could probably borrow from friends or hit up some charity shops for these). If you can, put a little toy mouse in one of them—you could turn ‘Find the sleeping dormouse’ into a party game, if you like. Flowers must be roses, of course. If you’re feeling really creative, get some white ones and spatter them with red paint. If you don’t have the time, buy a combination of white and red roses. Scatter around some items related to the book: little gold keys, bottles with liquid in them marked ‘drink me’, playing cards, tiny tea sets and pocket watches.

Mad Hatter by Shimelle Laine
Food: To appease any fierce Queens of Hearts in your midst, serve up some strawberry jam tarts alongside fairy cakes with ‘eat me’ written on them in icing. If you’re Great British Bake Off material, you can try your hand at a topsy turvy Mad Hatter’s cake (here’s a tutorial on how to create one). You can also create some adorable little meringue and marshmallow mushrooms or, if you want to get one of your five-a-day, make these strawberry mushrooms instead. Biscuits decorated to look like playing cards or cut out in the shape of the suits can round out the sweet treats. On the savoury side, you can use those cards suit cookie cutters to cut out some tea sandwiches to match and pair them with some cucumber ‘bread and butterflies’ (cut the sandwiches on diagonal to make two triangles and prop them up so they look like wings). Play with the novel’s preoccupation with big and small by serving up some regular-sized and miniature versions of favourite foods, like scotch eggs and pork pies. Complete the finger food buffet with some delicious stuffed mushrooms. For drinks: tea, naturally. Iced, if it’s a hot day. If it’s a very grown up party, here are some delicious tea-based cocktails you can try.

Entertainment: Depends entirely on the guest list. Croquet is a given (flamingos and hedgehogs optional) and appropriate for nearly all ages. You can also fill a large jar or bowl with heart-shaped candies and have a ‘guess the number’ contest, or channel the March Hare and have everyone try to toss sugar cubes into teacups from a distance. If there are children at the party, you can do ‘pin the grin on the Cheshire Cat’, let them decorate top hats (you can find fairly inexpensive ones online) or invest in a Wonderland-themed piñata (let’s face it, the adults will probably love this too). There are loads more ideas for Alice-themed party games here and here.

Find more literary food inspiration with our Ten Memorable Book Feasts.

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