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11 Creative Activities for Your Bat or Bar Mitzvah Bash in Chicago

event planner: Joyce’s Events | casino supplier: US Poker & Casino Suppliers | photographer: Romy Modlin | venue: Promontory Point

By Jessica Terson, Writer

There’s no risk of being a wallflower with these 11 creative Bar or Bat Mitzvah activities at hand. At these Bar and Bat Mitzvah bashes in Chicago, celebrants competed in vintage arcade games and captivating slot car races. They custom-designed glow-in-the-dark t-shirts and molded 3-D wax hands, which allowed them to interact with the entertainment — as well as bring it home. One-of-a-kind food trucks even turned traditional dining into a lively event. With so many unique activities available, guests will want to stay long after the dance floor empties.

1. Saveable Sign-Ins

Signature board
photographer: Jody Garland

Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations always feature a clever sign-in opportunity, but here’s a keepable one we’ve never seen before. Designer Liz Kleifield of Kleifield Design & Associates, Inc. created lasting memories for one Bat Mitzvah girl by removing her bedroom door and having all of her guests write heartfelt messages around her custom-painted party logo. Sammy’s friends and family loved the opportunity to participate in designing this one-of-a-kind keepsake that she’ll always have in sight to remember her Bat Mitzvah celebration as planned by Jamie Boton Inc.

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2. Heart-Melting Souvenirs

Peace sign
photographer: Moonhouse Productions

Event planner Debbie Tucker of Eventure LLC loves “thinking out-of-the-box and providing guests with things that are unexpected.” For this New York state-of-mind Bat Mitzvah, she worked with Chicago Wax Hands to create an unforgettable interactive activity. Guests dipped their hands into colorful wax to form 3-D casts. From a colorful personalized peace sign to an enthusiastic thumbs-up, these a perfect souvenirs captured a memorable Bat Mitzvah celebration.

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3. Old School Gaming

Air hockey
photographer: Kevin Weinstein Photography

Before the advent of television or cell phones, you’d often find kids at the local arcade. Event planner Beth Bernstein of SQN Events partnered with AMJ Spectacular Events, a family-owned party rental company, to bring arcade classics to a high-energy vintage sports-themed Bar Mitzvah. Adults in the room vied with younger attendees to take turns at low-fi games like air hockey, bag toss, foosball, and basketball. We especially love how the arcade equipment doubles as an Instagrammable backdrop and inventive decor.

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4. Interactive Food Truck Stations

Food truck
photographer: Trucked Up Catering

Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations are increasingly becoming an opportunity to showcase the celebrant’s favorite food. That doesn’t mean it has to be served on trays though. Trucked Up Catering, a local Chicago favorite, makes it easy to find and book the perfect food truck for your private event. We especially love this glass-enclosed pizza truck — complete with a glowing brick oven — that offers a view most don’t get to see. Guests can place an order then watch it cook live. For hosts, Trucked Up Catering manages all the last-minute details from permits to clean-up. Of course, food trucks also make for great décor and personalized logo displays.

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5. Wearable Décor

Light up shirts and sign
photographer: Kleifield Design & Associates, Inc.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah party souvenirs are the perfect way to let your guests bring part of the celebration home. Shirts are always a good choice and we especially love the way that designer Liz Kleifield of Kleifield Design & Associates, Inc. made the garments double as an activity at this glow-in-the-dark Bar Mitzvah celebration. Kids had the opportunity to have their names emblazoned graffiti-style on the backs of shirts. The custom tees also added to the black-light décor with illuminated logos on their fronts, allowing party-goers to be part of the theming.

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6. Interactive Art

Let the entertainment also serve as a blank canvas for your décor. We love how event planner Tracie Simkin of Partie Girl worked with the design team at Kehoe Designs to devise a vibrant ping pong table that complemented the theme at this pop art Bat Mitzvah. This gorgeous, interactive installation proves, once again, the fine line between art and just about everything else.

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7. Hit the Jackpot

Poker table
photographer: Romy Modlin Photography

Casino table games are a great way to bring together guests of all ages, let the chips fall where they may. This casino-themed Bar Mitzvah planned by Joyce’s Events boasted not just Vegas-style theming but also fun games from US Poker & Casino Parties like Wild Craps and Black Jack for non-stop entertainment. It’s difficult to say who enjoyed the activity more — the Bar Mitzvah boy and his pals, or his parents and their friends. 

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8. Glowing Glam

Glow in the dark
Romy Modlin Photography

A little lipstick adds instant glamour. Now imagine airbrush makeup that literally lights up a room. Face paint gets elevated to an art form with UV-black-light glow paint. For this glow-styled Bar Mitzvah, the planners at Alison Ross Events worked with the design team at Epic Events to invite celebrants to become part of the electric backdrop. Guests loved posing for the cameras with their dazzling new faces.

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9. Fastest Lap

FieldHouse Jones
Courtesy of FieldHouse Jones

Some venues have ballrooms and fountains. Others have slot car tracks. Chicago hotel Fieldhouse Jones brings this popular 60s fad to life for a unique celebratory experience. Guests at this Bar Mitzvah reception loved the built-in entertainment. The eclectic venue also offers foosball and air hockey for additional lively activities.

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10. Jump for Joy

Bounce house
photographer: Garbo Productions

Bounce house rentals liven any celebration, but aren’t typical for Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations. Joyce Pollakoff Events and Kehoe Designs collaborated on this whimsical world Bat Mitzvah that included picture-perfect moonwalk jumpers and unique and interactive twister-inspired inflatable. The colorful structures contributed to the overall décor and a youthful exuberance that always remains in style.

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11. Fleeting Moments

Airbrush tattoo sign
photographer: Cobalt Photography

Tracy Fisher Events planned an epic under the sea Bar Mitzvah party at the awe-inspiring Shedd Aquarium. While we could have easily stared at the aquarium tanks all night long, we also loved the thrill of these perfectly on-theme sea-inspired airbrushed temporary tattoos. While the tattoos eventually wear off, the memories created from this unique celebration will certainly last forever. 

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