My daughter wants a Doctor Who-themed Bat Mitzvah and we're lost: help us plan her party!

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Doctor Who and his (dark blue) TARDIS
By: PellaeonCC BY 2.0
We recently received this question from Reva:

"My daughter is planning her Bat Mitzvah and REALLY wants it to be Doctor Who-themed… but we have no idea how to pull this off. If your readers have ANY ideas, solutions, or schemes… we'd love to hear them!"

For those of you who haven't attended a Bat Mitzvah, here's the general idea from Avital Norman Nathman:

The first portion of a Bat Mitzvah (and the actual religious part of the event) takes place in synagogue where the Bat Mitzvah (yes, the person celebrating is also called the Bat Mitzvah, which literally translates to Daughter of the Mitzvah [aka good deed]) reads from the Torah. Depending on the skill/comfort level of the participant, she can also lead all/parts of the Sabbath service. She will also read a special haftorah (which is a complimentary reading that goes along with the Torah reading). There are other prayers and blessings from the Rabbi and parents.

Then it's the party part. To be honest, since all the traditional/religious stuff happens during the service, there aren't any specific things that have to happen at the party. There are some things that are traditional — e.g. blessing over the challah and wine, and some equivalent of a candle lighting ceremony where you call up people to light candles and say something nice about them, etc. Some people won't light candles if it's on the Sabbath and will do something related — instead of candles, I had a map of Israel and had people come up to "plant trees" on the map and I had a paragraph written about each one (my parents, my brother, my grandparents, my friends, etc.). Then, any other parts that would be good for theme would be centerpieces on tables, games or dance moves, a picture booth (TARDIS picture booth?!), and so on.

Now that you've got the general concept, who's got ideas for how Reva and her daughter can throw a badass Doctor Who-themed Bat Mitzvah?

  1. I am not a Whovian, so forgive any ignorance, but as far as planning a theme party goes here are some suggestions:

    1) Figure out if you want to go really theme-y or use the theme as a jumping off point for deciding things like colors, venue, etc.
    2) Does she have a favorite Doctor? Companion? Is she into the history of the characters? A photobooth with different props representing different doctors would be pretty cool (my brain is limited to long stripey scarves and bowties at the moment)
    3) You can decorate your trash/recycling bins to look like daleks
    4) If you go with more subtle theme-ing you can overload on paper lanterns in Tardis blue
    5) Back to the scarves (apparently my following of the Dr. ended with #4) replicating those stripes for table linens if you have a buffet could be cute
    6) Instead of using table numbers, you can use the titles of her favorite episodes to denote tables
    7) Also with naming, you can put up cards at a buffet or list items on the menu with some of your daughters favorite elements from the show

    Good luck with your planning! And, congratulations to your daughter.

    6 agree
      • I'm a Whovian, but not Jewish and have never been to a Mitzvah – Bar or Bat. Can you have pinatas? Because I'm thinking TARDIS pinata.

        And now I'm just thinking of excuses to have TARDIS pinata, period…

        4 agree
        • Is there an excuse to NOT have a TARDIS pinata? I'm thinking of pinata party plans now, just because it can be done.

          2 agree
          • I blame it entirely on the fact that I've worked on this site for years, but every time I see your comment I think it says TARDIS placenta. EVERY TIME.

            6 agree
  2. This is such a great idea!!! Gifts are common at a Bat Mitzvah, yes? There is a tutorial over on offbeatbride for a TARDIS cardbox. We made it for our wedding and it was awesome. That's a great way to get the TARDIS into the mix. For invitations, designing anything in the TARDIS blue color and using Gallifreyan symbols (http://artbyboredom.deviantart.com/art/Gallifreyan-Symbols-268312441) might be nice.

    There are tons of options for centerpieces from the TARDIS, to "things in jars" (a motif from the show, but you can put in pretty things like flowers, rocks, candles, whatever is appropriate to the occassion).

    Also, I know Bat Mitzvahs are usually catered, but here are some fun Dr. Who related recipes http://www.bbcamerica.com/doctor-who/photos/doctor-who-dish/#4082.

    These are just my first thoughts, but I'll be back with more! I'm such a Whovian!

    3 agree
      • (I'm officially high-jacking this thread and using it as an excuse to post a bunch of Doctor Who GIFs.)

        13 agree
        • Well, then I plan on checking back regardless of the fact that I don't think I'll ever get to plan a Doctor Who Bat Mitzvah.

          2 agree
  3. Great ideas from everyone else already. I especially second finding out if she has a favorite Dr./companion combo. Also, depending how much you want to spend, check out Etsy. They have so many good items that you could buy or use as models to make your own.

    There are invitations:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/106179983/doctor-who-inspired-tardis-invitation?ref=sr_gallery_29&ga_search_query=dr.+who+party&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=handmade

    Cupcake Toppers:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/109093676/dr-who-tardis-cupcake-toppers-set-of-25?ref=sr_gallery_26&ga_search_query=dr.+who+party&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=handmade

    Straw Buddies that you can buy in bulk:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/116469068/dr-whos-tardis-straw-buddy?ref=v1_other_2

    Just to name a few!

    3 agree
  4. I want to comment primarily because I don't know the denominational affiliation of the woman requesting information. The description of a Bat Mitzvah provided is likely accurate for a non-Orthodox Bat Mitzvah, but if she is Orthodox, it is likely not going to include any of the ritual aspects described and will just be a big birthday party. In Orthodoxy, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah really is just a slightly more significant birthday. There is no ritual aspect necessary. It is just that at the age of 13, for a boy, or 12, for a girl, the individual becomes responsible for their own actions and becomes fully bound by the Torah laws. So people commemorate this "coming of age" with a party.

    As for Doctor Who suggestions:
    I love the photobooth idea. There's a pattern I found online a while back for crocheting an Ood ski mask. If the OP is up to the task, that could be a super awesome photobooth prop. (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ood-ski-mask-crochet-pattern)

    Buy cheap bow-ties for all attendees?

    Maybe make a tardis notebook guestbook? (Like River's notebook?)

    If your venue has ANY stone statues, put a sign next to it saying "Don't blink"

    Serve fish sticks and custard as an appetizer.

    6 agree
  5. I'd suggest looking at the Offbeatbride site. So many people have done Dr Who themed weddings that I'm sure you could find some ideas that would also work for a Bat Mitzvah as well. Since a wedding reception and a Bat Mitzvah are both big parties I bet there would be a lot of ideas you could use!

    3 agree
    • I was also going to recommend looking up Doctor Who weddings on Offbeat Bride. While the ceremonies are different, a reception is a reception.

      If you wanna go more classy than campy, I would recommend decorating with Gallifreyan (the written language is just gorgeous) and stone Angels, rather than robots. But you will need a phone booth somewhere, either as a cardbox, or a photo op.

      1 agrees
  6. I second what everyone has said: who is her Doctor, and her favorite companion? Then you can base the theme around the episodes they have.

    1 agrees
  7. You could make a talis or kippah similar to River Song's blanket with both your daughter's English and Hebrew names on it!

    3 agree
  8. http://www.stylemepretty.com/2011/05/30/diy-no-sew-bow-ties/ Maybe make little red bow ties as cupcake toppers. I'm thinking of having kids make their own bow ties as a craft at my son's Dr. Who party (turning 9).
    Saw another idea to have the kids play Weeping Angel Freeze Tag.
    Figure both of these are fun for kids that don't know who the Dr is as well as the mini sized fans.
    Last year, I made a Tardis out of wafer cookies and blue food coloring spray and crashed it into the lattice topped apple pie he requested for his birthday.

    1 agrees
  9. Since this is a significant rite of passage, it might also be a good time for Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor scarf as a special gift.

    Even if she is not that deep into the Doctor Who history yet, someday she may need such a scarf in her life and will have positive memories to associate with it.

    Really this is fantastic and brilliant and just incredible!

    • A Tom Baker scarf is really only appropriate if she's a classic Who fan. And even then, depends if she likes Tom Baker. I for one find him over rated.

      1 agrees
  10. First off, I just want to say to Reva that you are totally awesome for doing this for your daughter!

    Second, I'm a female, Jewish geek, and I had a Star Wars themed Bat Mitzvah. So rather than specific ideas for the Whovian theme, I'll let you know what I/my parents did, and you can see if any of them would be easily adjustible.

    1) Probably my favorite idea looking back was having the guests take pictures with cardboard standees of various Star Wars characters. It made for really fun pictures later on, and a good souvenir. I forget if we did polaroids to give out or what, but I still have the standees to this day

    2) We had a friend in the garment industry, so we gave all of the kids backpacks with the Rebel Alliance logo stitched on them, and "[Si1verdrake]'s Bat Mitzvah" and the year stitched around it. So much cooler than the typical t-shirts.

    3) My mom wanted things to be a bit classier than I did, so centerpieces and decorations were a more general space theme. Lots of blacks, dark blues, and sparkles/shiny ribbons. Which actually worked nicely, if you care about that, because it still looked cool and in-theme, without being overwhelmingly geeky for the non-geeks in attendence. So something like that could work very well for a Doctor Who theme as well, with small specific touches to emphasize the theme.

    4) This is probably a bit specific to me, but my dad, my brother, and myself all played some sort of instrument, so we performed the Cantina Band song as a family. Which was super fun to practice, and is a nice thing to have on video now.

    5) I *think* we did custom yamulkes (wow, I actually have no idea how to spell the word), possibly with the Imperial logo on them. For Doctor Who, just a nice Tardis blue set would be pretty awesomely in-theme.

    In any case, good luck! I'm sure she'll love it!

    1 agrees
  11. I'd probably start with asking your daughter what her vision is for the party. Does she want a specific Doctor/companion/theme or does she want something more general with the ideas of exploration, bravery, companionship etc? From there, ask her to name 3 things she really wants at her party, as general as "all of my friends" or as specific as "a tardis!"
    From there the 2 of you can really get cracking!
    Here are some links for Doctor Who themed party fun:
    If you send invites for the mitzvah, why not TARDIS invites? http://offbeatbride.com/2012/03/tardis-invites
    Why not have a cardboard cutout of her favorite doctor by the door to greet guests?
    http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?requestURI=processProductsCatalog&categoryId=377320&sku=13577402&BP=10879&ms=search&source=google&cm_mmc=google-_-PLA1-_-13577402-_-productads-sku^13577402-adtype^pla-adid^16304791568&ci_sku=13577402&ci_src=17588969&ci_kw=&gclid=CMS9-dj57bUCFQqnPAodqSYA3w&kwid=productads-sku^13577402-adtype^pla-adid^16304791568

    The gift table can have a tardis tablecloth. You could DIY one on either a blue plastic or cloth tablecloth with sharpies and duct tape.

    If you're making food, here is a link to some Doctor-themed recipes (there are 1 or 2 that aren't appropriate for kids): http://www.bbcamerica.com/doctor-who/photos/doctor-who-dish/#4088

    Glowsticks in blue and green as favors (you can call them sonic bracelets or something silly).

    Here is a pinterest board for a DW-themed wedding that might give you some other ideas as well: http://pinterest.com/willoughby26/tardis-blue-doctor-who-wedding/

    I'm sure together you and your daughter will be able to throw one heck if a bat mitzvah!

    1 agrees
  12. We are completely overwhelmed with all the responses and so many wonderful ideas. We are busy getting to work to plan our party and SO appreciative for all these creative ways to interpret our theme. What a fantastic community. Keep the ideas coming.

  13. I had a Doctor Who party last year. I don't think that Offbeat Families will let me post photos, but I can include the link to my FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.380761341947658.95616.100000413863521&type=1&l=dfee6a3072

    I made invitations. You can find them on-line for free so long as you're not doing anything for profit. The BBC doesn't tend to send it's lawyers after kids' parties.

    I found a bunch of space fabric on sale at my local fabric store. It makes a great tablecloth.

    I made marshmallow adipose guys with royal icing to old the marshmallows together.

    I made bow ties out of red fruit leather.

    I got a cake from the bakery with a big clock on it and it said, "Wibby-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey"

    I made two types of fish fingers and custard. The first one was actual fish fingers and tartar sauce for custard. The other one was shortbread, dipped in white chocolate and rolled in crushed graham crackers and regular custard.

    I got a bunch of jelly babies and put them in little bags with a photo of the 4th doctor.

    I put out celery with a photo of the 5th doctor on the bowl.

    I got silver sixlets and put them in little bags with a photo of the 10th doctor. You can't buy silver dragees in my state, so silver sixlets had to do.

    I put out bananas with a photo of the 9th doctor. Bananas Good. Guns Bad. Also, I found banana shaped candy and put that in a little bag.

    Any import store will sell Jammie Dodgers. I put them in little bags with a photo of the 11th doctor saying that they were TARDIS self-destruct buttons.

    Also, if you go to zazzle.com and type in "Police Box" you'll get a lot of options for sheets of stickers.

    Best of luck to you!

  14. Some ideas:
    A TARDIS photo booth! Make one side of the TARDIS and hang it on a wall. Put dw props in a box, like a fez, bowties, eyeglasses, Tom Baker's scarf, etc.
    Make a banner with her name in English, and underneath put her name in Gallifreyan (you can look on the Web for tutorials.)
    Put clocks on the table for decor.
    Do a dw dessert bar with "fish fingers" (cookies) and custard, marshmallow Adipose, dalek cupcakes… the possibilities are endless!
    Good luck!

  15. We ended up making bow ties out of burgundy duct tape for my son's party. The kids (and adults) loved them. I used glass jars to serve sour patch kids as jelly babies, target's brand of lemon and raspberry creme cookies as Jammy Dodgers, and other Dr. Who inspired food. THe kids really loved the marshmallow adipose! I made little signs to go with the food items to identify which Dr. they referred to. I tried to post a link to the facebook album. Feel free to copy the signs…

    1 agrees

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