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A beachy under-the-sea bar mitzvah in New York

Sharkmitzvah

for The Brooklyn Paper

Photo gallery

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Make simple jellyfish decorations with party streamers.
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Keep the color scheme in oceanic colors like blue, green, teal, and silvery white.
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Make a splash with sea-themed invitations.
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It’s easy to make sea critters of all kinds by twisting some balloons.
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Keep your guests hooked on your party — even after they leave — with festive goodie bags.
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What’s cooler than a mechanical bull? A mechanical bull shark ride! Now that’s what we call a Sharknardo.
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Have guests make iPad covers out of felt for a fun activity and party favor idea.
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Use bowls full of gold fish as creative decor ideas.
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There is nothing fishy about these cupcakes, they are spongy, moist, and delicious!
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Kids and adults will love kosher, fried fish balls that are easy to eat on a stick.
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Who doesn’t love smoked fish?
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Guests will think chocolate gold coins are a totally sweet idea.
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Add a little salty to your sweets with cheddar goldfish.
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Serve adults sophisticated meals that stick with the theme.
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Top cupcakes with tiny whales.
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Serve a bar mitzvah staple — cotton candy — in an aquatic color like blue.
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Give guests fish cakes, rather than crab cakes.
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Make fried crackers shaped as shells.
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You don’t need to go 20,000 leagues under the sea for aquatic Oreos.
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Make napkin wrap-ups look like fish!
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Stuffed shells keeps with the theme but offers guests a food option other than seafood.
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A marvelous mermaid cake.
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Guests will flip over a shark floating through the party.
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Hire a professional makeup artist to make girls looks like mermaids.
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Serve sushi!
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Allow guests to get in the spirit with shark fin hats.
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Octopus cake pops.
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Have guests learn how to make fish-shaped origami.

There is a whirlpool of things to worry about when you’re planning a bar mitzvah. But don’t sink under the pressure! Sometimes all you need to do is float around a few ideas and the creativity will begin to flow. A great way to make a splash is with an under the sea theme. Surf through these simple tips that are as sharp as a Great White’s tooth and you will leave all other bar mitzvah simchas in your wake.

Food

Give your shipmates a meal fit for a captain. Have a seafood buffet with fish and chips, tuna croquettes, and a sushi bar sans the crab. Make clever sea creature-shaped food like a crab croissant, starfish cookies, oyster cookies with a candy pearl, and a fruit beach ball. Create silly octopus cake pops with candy tentacles (click through the slide show above!) Carve a watermelon into a shark head and fill its mouth with melon balls. Make fun flip-flop nutter-butter cookies and bake shark fin cupcakes. Serve a tropical concoction of piña, sprite, vanilla ice cream, and blue food dye called “Sea foam punch.” For your candle lighting ceremony cake, have a sand castle cake or a cake with your favorite sea creature.

Decor

Time to plunge 20,000 leagues under the sea! Start with blue and green wall decorations with simple paper cutouts of fish. Hang up images of sharks, stingrays, octopuses, jellyfish, and other various sea creatures. Create a cardboard shipwreck, treasure chest, and images of scuba divers. Decorate the door entrance like the mouth of a whale so your guests can feel like Pinocchio getting swallowed whole. Add fish bowl centerpieces to your tables, either with real fish — goldfish or Betta fish — or fake ones using Jell-O and Swedish Fish. Prevent your guests from drowning in their food with Lifesaver napkin holders. Hang fishing net on the ceiling of the party hall and fill it with balloons for you to release at the end of your celebration.

Entertainment

Have a sand art booth so your friends can take the sea and its treasures home with them. Buy goldfish and put them in bags for people to win in a ring toss game. You can also have a treasure chest filled with fun prizes for kids to choose from when they win games such as “Shark Week Trivia” and “Sperm Whale vs. Giant Squid” — a take on the classic Coke and Pepsi racing game. Have a giant Great White shark replica for guests to take photos with. Or you can have an expert in to make and teach guests how to make salt water taffy.

For an extra under-the-sea treat, hire an aquatic expert to bring in small sea creatures like starfish, sea turtle, and small exotic fish for guests to see and touch.

Giveaways

Give your guests a gift basket — or rather a gift pale — filled with sea treats. Add Goldfish, chocolate coins, and themed cookies and cake pops from the party. You can also give them a charming “thank you” with a message in a bottle. After this amazing undersea adventure, don’t be surprised to hear your friends saying “Arg, this be the finest bar mitzvah in all the seven seas!”

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