Make the world end on my roof!
December 10, 2012 10:43 AM   Subscribe

PartyFilter: How can I simulate the end of the world on my roof?

I'm planning an end-of-the-world/welcome-to-the-14th-b'ak'tun/birthday party on the 21st, in a house that has a large, flat, accessible roof with a great view, and I'd love to be able to invite people up for some kind of "apocalypse viewing" from the roof at midnight. Unfortunately, I assume nature is not actually going to provide an apocalypse. So what can I do to make this awesome? It doesn't actually have to look like the world is ending, I'm just looking for something to look cool and mark the occasion.

It's the East Coast, so it'll be too chilly to have people up there for an extended length of time, but, judging by December so far, not that cold. People are mostly in their early 20s. Money is a limiting factor; time is not. I have access to a lot of tools and a bit of extra help.

(Suggestions for food, drinks, other fun things to do are all welcome and appreciated!)
posted by ostro to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Could you build a mushroom cloud? That strikes my child-of-the-80s heart with "end of the world" vibes every time.
posted by xingcat at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2012

Buy or make a mayan calendar.
posted by empath at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2012

Are there any nearby walls or buildings that might work as a projection screen? Then you could rent a projector and show a variety of appropriate clips from films like Threads or The Day After.
posted by bondcliff at 10:48 AM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Any chance you could build the Gozer gate from the end of Ghostbusters?
posted by theodolite at 10:53 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, for me that would be "come as your favorite reality TV character".

However, should you want to do this more literally, you need:

- Tumbleweed.
- Ruined buildings - which you can approximate by cutting up blocks of polystyrene and spray painting gray.
- Characters - lots to choose from: zombies, the characters from something like The Stand or Red Dawn. To make it easier, you could simply theme as heroes, villains and nutters (who must bring signs, proclaiming the end of the world is nigh, or similar)
- If was right for your guests, you could also create a "procreate now to save your race" stand. This would be your bar or drinks area.
- Also - no end of the world is complete without the following props: two car tires, not the same size; an old sofa; some tin cans; an unfurled roll of toilet paper; an old newspaper; a broken picture of a happy family; an old TV playing a sentimental movie, a speech by a president or an old sports game.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:55 AM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Have two modes for the party- pre apocalypse and post-apocalypse. String up a bunch of white Christmas lights in constellation patterns as stars, as high up as you can. Get a bunch of lamps with red lightbulbs and put them under things like tables or chairs so that only the indirect light will be visible. Perhaps even make cutouts of demolished city silhouettes and place lights behind them.

For pre-apocalypse, leave the 'star' lighting on and everything else off: when the fated time comes and when you have a countdown, switch the stars off and turn all the red lights on, for post-apocalypse. As in: the stars went out and everything is lit with the glow of burning cities, etc.
posted by suedehead at 10:57 AM on December 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

Just put up a sign saying "Reelect Cheney, 2020"
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 10:58 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Play O Fortuna and have a countdown before the big moment, as well.
posted by empath at 11:00 AM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you are thinking about tableau-type scenes, a pile of books with a broken pair of eyeglasses on top would be poignant.
posted by CathyG at 11:12 AM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just a note: it's probably going to be too cold to have the actual party up there for any length of time, so I was thinking something along the lines of: everybody heads up to check out the view and wait for the apocalypse, countdown, apocalypsy thing happens! and then we all go back downstairs where it's warm. So more of an event than a setting. (Suedehead, what a great idea. Maybe I'll try and have that waiting for everybody when they go back downstairs . . .)
posted by ostro at 11:21 AM on December 10, 2012

Well, given that the final scene of the best-ever apocalypse film takes place on a roof, this shouldn't be too hard.

To recreate the scene, all you need are a couple of realistic water pistols, a record of "Guantanamera," and a flash of light. (The circling camera technique could even be replicated by building a simple carousel, pulled by a rope, for the actors...)
posted by Beardman at 11:29 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Turn all the lights out and play Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:12 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Big kool-aid (/flavor-aid) dispenser.
posted by pompomtom at 4:30 PM on December 10, 2012

Response by poster: Update: Apparently the Mayans celebrated important dates by burning incense and erecting stelae depicting their leaders. So I erected a stela (=large wooden plank standing on end) that looked like this. Incense was represented by a confetti cannon. Post-apocalypse was represented by Peggy Lee.

Thanks for all these suggestions!
posted by ostro at 12:59 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Candy that tastes like vitamins   |   Boot to the head: find me good work boots Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.