For those familiar with the game Plants Vs. Zombies, it provides a good party theme for both children and whimsical older folks who want their zombie parties with a little less darkness and gore. The zombies are still there, but the cartoony nature and the presence of plants brightens the tone considerably.
This is a good choice for Halloween, end-of-the-world, or horror-themed parties for mixed ages. It is also excellent for children who love zombies but have friends who are more timid or less fond of horror.
Many of the suggestions from the first three parts of this series would work for this theme, so I will recommend you see them for decor, games, and food related to the zombie half of the theme. Instead, I’ll be focusing on elements related specifically to the game and to plants.
PopCap Games, maker of Plants Vs. Zombies, has a whole package of free, downloadable birthday party material, including invitations, thank-you notes, and envelopes here. While they refer to it as being for a birthday, the cards just say, “You’re invited to my party.” This does require that you create a free PopCap Passport account. (The old Passport system has been discontinued, and the free printables are currently unavailable.)
If for some reason you don’t want to use the materials provided by PopCap, your best bet with invitations is to use some of the many Plants Vs. Zombies graphics available online and make your own. If you want to avoid trademark issues, look for public domain images of smiling sunflowers, watermelons, peppers, and so on. Or purchase invitations with a garden theme.
Unlike other zombie settings where survival depends on your trusty baseball bat or shotgun, in this game, it’s your garden that will save your life. So, if you’re putting together a goodie bag for a kids’ party, as well as the zombie-oriented party favors mentioned in part 3 of the series, try garden-themed things such as small planters, trowels, plastic row markers, and seeds– sunflower, pea, cactus, garlic (sets would be better than seeds), melon, squash, peppers, pumpkin, cabbage, corn or popcorn, and marigold all appear in the game. Even though they’re not in the game, including some faster-growing plants such as radishes, carrots, lettuce, beans, cress, or onion sets for green onions is worthwhile, so the kids can enjoy the fruits of their labor sooner. You could buy larger quantities and some small envelopes, make your own game-themed labels, and pack a small quantity of seeds in each small envelope (Kids don’t need a 40′ row worth of seeds, after all! Enough for a couple of square feet should be plenty). Look for varieties that can be container-grown if your guests are mostly apartment-dwellers or have limited yard space. If it’s the right time of year, you could pick up garden plants already started for you, start some ahead of time, or use some of your activity time to plant seeds at the party. You can sometimes find small venus fly-trap plants or seeds, which look like miniature Chompers from the game.
The link to PopCap’s birthday party material in “Invitations” above includes a sheet of Plants Vs. Zombies graphics for use as stickers which can be printed on sticker paper for computer printers. Print a sheet for each child! These could also be used on magnet paper for printers to make magnets.
Plant, garden, and flower-related toys and snacks also work well. For finding toys and small items specifically related to the game, your best bet is still eBay, so be sure to shop early if you want Plants vs. Zombies-related merchandise. To get orders quickly, look for Buy It Now offers that are not international to you. Amazon and Etsy also sometimes feature fun items.
Decor & Atmosphere
Plants and garden-related things work well in addition to the zombie apocalypse decor suggested in the other articles. If the weather is good and warm, have the party outside. If not, use green streamers, silk flowers and greenery, and potted plants to create a garden atmosphere indoors. You could even make papercraft plants and vegetables to add to the decor.
Add plushies and toys related to the game, if you have them (see the eBay, Amazon, and Etsy links above). Using a color printer and online images, print posters to hang up. Print online coloring pages and color them yourself or even draw some images yourself or even make papercraft models (see links below)!
You can even go online and make your own zombatar! Save it and print!
What could be better than the Plants Vs. Zombies Sountrack? It’s available for download from the composer, Laura Shigihara, herself!
As well as the zombie-related foods mentioned in previous parts of this series, consider offering foods related to the plants in the game. Be sure to label the foods with their game tie-in names!
Serve food in plant pots or fruit and vegetable related serving dishes. Or use green and sunflower yellow plates, bowls, and cups.
Fried green peas, corn nuts, candy corn, popcorn, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and chocolate-covered coffee beans can be set out in bowls, and work well for both adult and kids’ parties (well, probably not the coffee beans).
Offer green peas, from fresh or frozen, lightly cooked, plain or with a butter sauce, as a vegetable side dish. Cole slaw or half-ears of corn on the cob would also be good. Baked miniature pumpkins are easy, delicious, and quite stunning. Pasta Full of Posies would make a good vegetarian main dish. Baked potatoes are obvious and could serve as the basis for a baked potato bar.
A bowl of sweet cherries offers fruity, and game-themed, goodness. Watermelon and starfuit are also excellent choices.
Have an appetizer tray with roasted garlic to spread on bread or crackers, sausage-stuffed jalapenos or jalapeno poppers or jalapeno pepper appetizers, or simply include pickled peppers and garlic on a pickle tray. This page offers some great appetizer recipes for cabbage (and this one for various cabbage rolls). And, of course, stuffed mushrooms are a must.
Present bean dip, hummus, or cheese dip in a bowl surrounded by round tortilla chips, melba toast rounds, or yellow cucumber or squash cut into circles. Add eyes with a halved black olive (use a touch of cream cheese or sour cream for the white dots) and a smile from a green onion or chive stalk, green bean, or thin-sliced black olive pieces, and you have Sunflower! Use celery, cucumber, or zuccini for the stem and a few lettuce leaves to finish the look. The same technique can be used for chocolate or caramel dip with fruit slices (bananas for the petals, green apple for the stem and leaves, with chocolate chips or purple grapes for the eyes). Be creative!
Bake cupcakes in flower pot-shaped silicone molds or follow these directions to use terra cotta pots (note, preparing terra cotta pots for baking requires a couple of days, so be sure and do this well ahead of time). Then follow these directions to make adorable Plants vs. Zombies cupcakes. The bottom of the page includes an idea for a Plants vs. Zombies meal with mini beef burgers, apples, cheese, and olives– great for kids’ parties!
The obvious choice would be to play Plants vs. Zombies. If you have a multiplayer version, this can work. If not, you could try to run a tournament with the single-player version. Here is a Plants Vs. Zombies board game someone came up with. It’s for 2 players, but a family might be able to print out multiple copies and run a tournament of the board game.
For a large party of adults, there are Plants Vs. Zombies Live Action rules online. These require at least 20 players, plus outside referees.
For kids, have a sunflower pinata. Add a smiley face to the sunflower to make it look more like Sunflower from the game.
Plant seeds or repot starts into a bigger pot for kids to take home.
Make cress-haired zombie egg men. Remove just the top part of eggs, empty them (make scrambled eggs or something with them), and fill the egg shell half full of cotton wool or and old shredded kitchen towel. Let the kids draw zombie faces on the eggs using felt-tip markers (make sure they don’t add hair). After the faces are drawn and dry, saturate the wool or towel with water, sprinkle cress seeds on it. Instruct the kids to water their zombie egg man every day. In about 10 days, their zombies’ hair will appear!
Color some of the coloring pages linked below!
Plants Vs. Zombies coloring pages. Pages also include some advertising links that someone looking for gifts, decor, and/or party favors may find useful.
Color me:PVSZ, a coloring page by philadelphia13.
Kirin’s papercraft vegetables. Site is in Japanese, but boy are the crafts cool!
Fruits and Vegetables coloring pages. This is page 1 of 7.
Blog showing pictures from a kids’ Plants Vs. Zombies party. Presents another idea for a cake.
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