The solar eclipse is giving us an excuse to throw a party: Here’s how to do it

We’ve got an excuse to party!
(Clockwise, from top left: Wild Child Party & Supply, TNS, Wild Child Party & Supply and Sugarfina)

If once-a-year holidays are special enough to warrant a party, why not pull out all the stops for an event that hasn’t happened in nearly 40 years?

On Aug. 21, for the first time since 1979, the United States will experience a total solar eclipse, with the moon positioning itself between the Earth and the sun. Southern California isn’t on the ideal viewing path, but is positioned so its residents – well, those who haven’t hightailed it 600-odd miles northeast for better views – can see the sun blocked up to 70% between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon.

While libraries, universities and observatories throughout the Los Angeles area are hosting viewing parties, we’re a fan of hosting your own party for your family or friends that morning – especially if there are young kids involved. (Pesky work or school in the way? Get together later and watch it online, en masse.)

There’s certainly no blueprint for doing it right, except that if you are watching outside you need to make sure you have enough pairs of ISO-compliant eclipse-viewing glasses. The American Astronomical Society suggests you buy in person from science museums or select Best Buy, Lowe’s or Toys R Us. (Calling ahead is recommended to make sure they have them in stock, or check out for more options including a DIY one).


Now on to the fun.

Mine your local party shops for top-tier decor that will hold up from morning through night. At Long Beach’s Wild Child Party & Supply you can buy a banner with all the phases of the moon ($35), as well as sunglasses-wearing sun balloons (starting at $12).

Cookie cutters in celestial shapes are available at Sur La Table ($2 each) to make moon-shaped pancakes. Or, up the ante by topping a round serving of scrambled eggs with a slice of pumpernickel toast with a crescent-shaped piece removed at the end. A lunchtime twist could mean serving an open-faced cheese quesadilla with black beans covering all but a sliver. For dessert? Heavenly Sours gummies ($8) from Sugarfina.

Party planner Camille Simmons of Long Beach shop Planning Pretty also recommends rounding out lunchtime with store-bought Moon Pies and SunChips (preferably served off her shop’s gold-rimmed plates, $18), as well as two-toned drinks made in a tall glass – orange juice-spiked soda water with blueberry syrup does the trick nicely.