When I told people we were going to host a Beatles Singalong Party, several of them politely asked something along the lines of, “Oh…huh….um…what made you want to do something like that?” It’s a valid question. A Beatles Singalong Party sounds like kind of a random event. It wasn’t anyone’s birthday. It wasn’t the anniversary of the Beatles coming to America, or of John Lennon’s death or the release of Revolver (that I know of). I just wanted to have a party. I seem to experience a party life cycle that goes like this:
1. Plan and plan and spend money and plan and stress myself out a little too much over having a party.
2. Have the party, enjoy it, bask in the glow of giving people a good time in our home.
3. Rest for about 24 hours, think to myself, “Wow, that was crazy. Let’s not do that again for awhile.”
4. Immediately start thinking about the next party.
It had been a couple of months since we had had a party, so I was getting the itch. To answer the question of why a Beatles party–I mean, why not have a Taylor Swift-rainbow-unicorn party like normal people?–my husband Anthony and I have always enjoyed singing together, and it seems like we always end up singing Beatles songs. There’s no arguing with how singable they are, and how universal. They’re burned into the hindbrain of anyone who grew up in the U.S. or the U.K. from the 1960s until now. So since we always have so much fun singing Beatles songs together, maybe it would be fun to have our friends join in, too. And I knew there would be innumerable food and party decorating ideas to choose from, which always helps.
I have to say I think everyone had a blast. The party started at 7:00 and people didn’t leave until after midnight. Even friends who I never knew enjoyed singing said they loved the singalong. It’s got to be a Truth of Humankind that people coming together to make music intrinsically brings good vibes.
So listen…if you want to know a secret…about throwing a Beatles Singalong Party. Here’s the lowdown in Food, Decor, and Activity categories.
I have a weakness for themed food, so making a Beatles-themed dessert menu was a little slice of food geek heaven for me. As you can see, the menu included:
Strawberry Fields Forever Trifle–a variation of Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake Parfaits in trifle form with fresh strawberries.
“Savoy” Truffles. I actually don’t know what Savoy truffles are, but these easy Oreo truffles fit the bill and were amaaaaazing (looking forward to posting this recipe soon!).
Baby, You Can Drive my Car-amel Brownies. Yuk, yuk. These were a box mix with a layer of melted caramels inside.
Salted Honey Pie. This may have been the most popular dessert on the menu. A unique sweet-and-salty combo I’m pretty sure I’m taking to Thanksgiving this year.
For drinks, we offered “Yellow Submarine Lemonade” (not pictured) and this delightful, tropical-tasting Golden Slumbers Rum Punch–a mix of rum, pineapple juice, fresh orange and lemon juice, and ginger ale. Some generous friends brought additional alcohol, so everyone was sufficiently libation-ed to sing unselfconsciously.
Decorating for a Beatles party was super fun–and significantly easier than decorating for our Nacho Libre party, I must say. Once you start looking, you realize that Beatles paraphernalia is everywhere, even 45 years after the band’s breakup. In our entryway, I made four “portraits” of John, Paul, George, and Ringo with the photo inserts from my White Album CD and basic black 12 x 12 craft paper.
I happened to find a 16-month Beatles calendar while out shopping one day, which was a gold mine of 16 album covers and other photos. Again using 12 x 12 craft paper for backing, I put together a little display in our bookshelf.
When it comes to party decor, I’m of the opinion that a custom banner is always a good choice. I made this “Come Together” banner (as well as the “Let It Be” one in the top picture in this post) out of pre-cut chalkboard paper.
To decorate above the food table, I ordered a super cheapo British flag on Amazon and made some DIY White Album records by printing the record labels off of Google Images and adhering them to some old vinyl records I happened to have. From a distance, they were pretty convincing.
Lastly, I printed out some Beatles trivia facts and hung them in the guest bathroom for people to read while, you know, occupied in there. For example, did you know that the Beatles almost bought a Greek island in 1967 with plans to turn it into a utopian community for their families and friends? You would have if you’d used our bathroom!
Yellow submarine nose picking! Who knew it could be so much fun? Just kidding. My artistic, long-suffering husband was kind enough to indulge an idea I had seen on Pinterest of making a carnival-style Yellow Submarine board out of a giant cardboard box. (Just looked up what these things are called, since I couldn’t think of an appropriate term. They’re called “Head in the Hole Boards.” Well, that about sums it up.) Anthony covered the cardboard with yellow butcher paper and colored the submarine’s details in with marker.
Some of the Head-in-the Hole Hijinks:
In the invitation, we asked guests to dress in their ’60s best for a costume contest. Several people participated.
Our friends Mark and Sally (center) won handily, getting a Beatles shopping bag and Beatles Christmas ornament for their efforts.
And now, finally, for the singalong! Anthony borrowed a projector and screen from work, so we were able to project lyrics from his laptop so everyone could participate. He played chords on the guitar and we took requests. (He purchased the entire Beatles catalog on Kindle awhile back.)
At one point, I had to leave the room to go to another part of the house. I couldn’t believe how loudly everyone was singing, and how well–even in harmony! From my daughter’s bedroom, it sounded like a choir in the living room. Our priest always says that if for no other reason, people should go to church for the opportunity to sing with others. I agree. I really believe singing together will always bring people joy…especially if they’re singing Beatles songs.