Not long ago, we visited a used book fair. I picked up a few vintage party planning books. This one, The Calling All Girls Party Book, is my new favorite. Published in 1966 and sold for 60 cents, it was written for young teens who wanted to host their own party. It’s a sweet book with a focus on doing it yourself and using what you have — so it’s really right up my alley. Some of the ideas sound fun to try, like the garden party or bon voyage party. Others are still surprisingly modern and classic, like the Alice in Wonderland party.

I love reading this 40 years later, appreciating the advice that is timeless and smiling at the advice that’s dated. (After all, the back cover promises parties “which are sure to swing every time”!)

Timeless Advice (And My Two Cents)

“Planning a party is half the fun.” How true is that? That’s why I’m in this business!

“The most successful parties are those that are well organized. That means you’ll have to make your plans early.” Words to live by.

“It’s not necessary to invite everyone you know to your parties.” And that’s how you have a successful at-home party.

“It is always wise to plan two or three games more than you will have time for.” You really don’t want to look at your watch at the end of the last game and realize you still have 30 minutes before pick-up time. 

“Don’t think that you will have to spend a lot of money to give your party room a festive air.” There are so many darling party supplies available that it’s hard to say no. But I find that if I start by pulling out everything I already have that might work for a party, I realize I don’t have to buy as much as I thought.

Dated Advice

“Those of your guests who do not care to watusi and frug will not feel left out of the fun when you have games in addition to dancing.” I’ll have to get my Mom to show me the watusi and frug. Maybe a retro dance party would be fun! But taking care of guests with different preferences: that’s never dated advice.

“Instead of pinning a tail on a donkey, invite your guests to pin a lock of hair (made of wool) on Ringo Starr’s head.” Well, maybe on Justin Bieber’s head.

“Liverwurst Sandwich Filling Recipe” Enough said.

“Even quizzing each other on school subjects can be fun at a pajama party.” Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the ’60s were more fun than that. Please don’t do homework at your parties!

“You probably have some idea of what you’d like to be when you grow up: a nurse, a teacher, a secretary, a wife and mother.” All fine choices, but aren’t you glad our horizons have broadened?

I’d love to hear about your favorite party from childhood. Please leave me a comment below. Maybe we’ll find some inspiration that we can update for our own kids.

Party manners - vintage party planning advice - some tips never go out of style

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