It seems like all American girls are hard-wired to adore princesses. There isn’t any scientific evidence to back this up, but I’m fairly certain that female babies are born with glitter in their hippocampus. Just visit a preschooler’s home. You’re likely to find a treasure-trove of princesses stuff; toys, movies, dress-up clothes, books. Toy stores usual have an entire aisle (or two) dedicated to princess stuff! Disney is making millions on this royal fascination. This leads to my second hypothesis: Disney is paying doctors to implant pixie dust into the genetic code of all infant girls.
Each year this fad continues to proliferate. You can buy more than 20 princess costumes year-round at your local Disney store, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast is probably more ubiquitous to this demographic than the Disney matriarch herself; Minnie Mouse. As the popularity of princesses continues, people have found all kinds of creative ways to capitalize on this national fascination. The latest trend is to “invite” a real live princess to your child’s birthday party. This concept is genius. Creepy party clowns fell out of favor years ago and party princesses have swept in to fill the void. A young(ish) woman dressed in an elaborate costume is much more approachable than a middle-aged man with a multicolored wig and a potentially sketchy criminal record.
One of the benefits of being a blogger and general fun-seeker is that friends will often offer out-of-the-ordinary opportunities. My friend Aimee emailed me several weeks ago with just such a proposition. She offered me a dream gig… to be a party princess for her niece’s birthday soiree. My answer was a resounding yes. Who wouldn’t want to be a princess for a day? You get to wear a fancy dress, don a blingy tiara and hang out with an adoring crowd of five year olds for an afternoon!
In preparation for my royal makeover, Aimee and I visited Twin Cities Magic and Costumes to select a costume to rent. A friendly employee pulled several options for me to try. We quickly settled on a blue and white number with puffy sleeves and a full crinoline. To complete my ensemble, I found a tiara and ordered some long white gloves.
The day of the party, I called in a favor. I’m lucky enough to know a sickeningly talented and incredibly artistic friend and budding makeup artist. My fairy godmother Sasha (or perhaps fairy goddaughter since she is half my age) transformed my generic face into a glamorous princess in less than 30 minutes. I completed my royal makeover at home while blaring 80’s hits on Spotify. It was a total flashback to childhood days of dress up and playing pretend. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. When I was done. I truly felt like a different person – a character.
Driving in the full regalia was an interesting endeavor. My dress barely fit behind the steering wheel and I received some interesting looks from strangers who happen to glance my way. I considered rolling down my window to explain that my magic chariot was in the shop for repair. Thankfully the drive was short and did not involve driving through any unsavory neighborhoods. I sent the birthday girl’s mom, Jen, a text when I arrived to let her know that my debut was imminent. Meanwhile I retrieved a bag full of goodies from a secret hiding place we had discussed beforehand. Jen made my job a breeze. She planned several activities and even drafted an itinerary. This was greatly appreciated and made planning easy for me. Basically all I had to do was show up in a fancy dress and the rest was taken care of.
A wave of butterflies hit my stomach as I rang the doorbell. I was excited but also a bit nervous. What if they saw through the rouse? What if they boo-ed me?
The door opened to a posse of tiny humans.
“It’s a REAL PRINCESS!” the birthday girl screamed.
I had them at hello. This was not difficult to accomplish. As it turns out, five year olds are super gullible.
I sprinkled the girls with glitter, temporarily blinding the poor birthday girl. She was rubbing her eyes for the entire party. Opps!
We jumped right into the first activity; making our own personalized crowns. The girls helped me pick stickers and jewels as we discussed who our favorite Disney princesses were. (lots of Ariel) We then moved on to tattooing ourselves with princess pride. The temporary tattoos were a huge hit. I sprinkled the tats with glitter, just for the heck of it.
Next the girls gathered in a listening circle to hear how I became a princess. Somehow they were fascinated by my improvised backstory. Essentially it was a cross between Cinderella and an episode of Family Matters from the 1990’s. Nevertheless, the girls were attentive and had lots of follow-up questions.
“How many fancy dresses do you have?”
I have an entire room in the castle dedicated to ball gowns. I even have one that looks just like your dress. It’s my favorite.
“Do princesses have to go to school?”
Yes of course! Princesses love school. My favorite subject is Ball-ology.
“Have you met Sleeping Beauty?”
Of course. Aurora and I go way back.
“What is your favorite food?”
After all the random questions were thoroughly addressed we moved on to my my favorite part of the entire day – Transformation Time!
I used the accessories in my planted bag ofswag to convert each girl into a princess. They each received a skirt, a necklace, another tiara and a wand. I transformed them one-by-one. The princess-dom was sealed with three spins and a tap on the head with my magic wand. Each time a princess was coronated, a round of applause erupted from the audience of adults.
The next hour entailed eating, talking and making things disappear and then reappear with our wands. My juice disappeared and then reappeared so many times it was warm before I could drink it. At one point, one of the princesses made the entire world disappear, which turned out to be rather troublesome. If you were wondering why the world ceased to exist for a few minutes last weekend, you have your explanation.
Our next activity was to search for my lost glass slippers. Certainly I couldn’t go to the ball without my glass slippers! There were six translucent pumps hidden in the backyard. We were tasked with locating all of them. Why did I need to so many? Princesses always travel with two pairs of backup shoes of course!
After more time playing, chatting and pretending, it was time for the last hooray – the piñata and cake. It took lots of princess whacks to open that darn piñata. I took three hefty swings at it to no avail. Finally, the birthday princess’ dad (king?) helped us along by slyly ripping a hole in one side. When the piñata was empty and the cake’s five candles extinguished, it was time for me to depart.
I took the long way home. I purposefully slowed down and proudly waved my gloved hand at clusters of kids. I cherished the looks of awe and surprise on the faces of children who spotted my sparkly tiara and poufy satin sleeves. The joy my simple wave evoked was evident as they beamed and waved their tiny hands back at me with the frequency and excitement of a humming bird.
I had a blast. Hopefully it was a magical experience for the party guests – it certainly was for me.