How My Star Wars-Obsessed Family Goes All Out for May the 4th
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In 2020, when my family, like the rest of the world, found ourselves with an abundance of time at home with only each other for entertainment, we decided to open up the Star Wars universe to our then 8 year old, Lily. As the iconic Star Wars font scrolled across the screen, her eyes lit up, and I knew that she, a child of sci-fi nerds, would be totally hooked. Throughout March and April, we watched all of the movies, plus LEGO Star Wars, Clone Wars, The Mandalorian, and any other content we could get our hands on, throwing ourselves deep into Star Wars canon.
As May approached, I realized that we were coming up on our final film, appropriately The Last Jedi, so I decided to orchestrate a day-long celebration for May the 4th. Though May the 4th has been associated with Star Wars since 1979, it wasn’t until 2013 that Disney got in on the action, recognizing it as an official Star Wars holiday. Since our first May the 4th celebration in 2020, our family decided this would be one of our annual traditions. Here’s how we do it.
Dress like a Jedi
When it comes to a theme day, dressing the part is essential, and there is no shortage of DIY Star Wars costume ideas available on the internet. Lily kept it simple, opting for her favorite Dark Side T-shirt (which she loved so much I had to embiggen with extra purple leopard fabric on the sides, causing her to love it even more) and a Rey-inspired up-do. Because May the 4th falls on a Wednesday this year, we’ll probably keep it pretty chill again with something similarly appropriate for a day at school.
Play like a Jedi
We came up with a few activities to keep the theme going throughout the day. After breakfast, we asked our smart speaker to play music from Star Wars while we made glitter slime. Then the girls went to the game room to play with their ever-growing Star Wars LEGO collection.
This is also the one day of the year when I release the lightsabers from their place in the basement. Lightsabers are tough for me because someone always ends up getting hurt, and there’s always a mad dash for “the good lightsaber,” the one that lights up and talks in Rey’s voice. But for May the 4th, I make my peace with the inevitable conflict because what good is a theme day without PROPS!
The kids practiced using the force in the backyard until dinner, and then, after we cleaned up, we played The Child Edition Monopoly until bedtime. Star Wars board games are especially engaging, and as you might imagine for such a well-merchandised franchise, there are many, many options, from kid-friendly Star Wars send-ups of classic games like Clue, Trouble, and Risk to original games at a variety of skill levels including Star Wars: Imperial Assault and Star Wars: Outer Rim.
Viewing & Doing
The first year we observed May the 4th, my then two-year-old daughter, Hazel, was still a bit young for the movies, but she was the perfect age for an episode of The Muppet Show (ok, yes, most of the jokes went over her head, but at least she could watch Gonzo and Kermit while my husband and I enjoyed Frank Oz doing double duty as Yoda and Miss Piggy). Both kids loved LEGO Star Wars because it’s animated and silly, and it’s clever enough for parents to enjoy as well.
It’s not all screen time, though. Lily spent some solo time in her room reading her favorite Star Wars series, The Jedi Academy and Origami Yoda. There’s also a line of age-based Star Wars workbooks that brought a smidge of learning into the day (and beyond). Lily made her way through a few pages in the 3rd Grade Math book while Hazel doodled in Preschool Shapes, Patterns, and Colors book, giving me a much needed breather.
For us, the biggest element in our May the 4th celebration is the food. There are some really great resources out there for Star Wars-related meals. There are several cookbooks, including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook, as well as Star Wars: Galactic Baking: The Official Cookbook of Sweet and Savory Treats From Tatooine, Hoth, and Beyond and the super cute Star Wars: The Padawan Cookbook: Kid-Friendly Recipes from a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
If buying a specialty cookbook for one day (although, trust me, they’re so fun, you’ll use them year-round) isn’t in the cards, a Google search for “Star Wars food” will yield more results than you could ever need. I scoured the internet to come up with my May the 4th breakfast menu, which included Tatooine Blue Milk (regular cow’s milk, flavored with a drop of vanilla and tinted with natural food dye), Baby Yoda Deviled Eggs, and a Wookie made out of hashbrowns and bacon. It was an incredibly fun way to start the day, but it set a pretty high bar for our other meals.
That first year, I chose a lay-up for lunch: cheese quesadillas in the shape of BB-8. Easy, recognizable, and, most importantly, something both girls were happy to eat. In 2021, I took things up a notch with savory Millennium Falcon hand pies and TIE Fighter fruit kebabs (just pineapple slices and a grape held together with toothpicks!).
For dinner, I went with another dish I knew both of my daughters would enjoy—spaghetti and meatballs—but, instead of several small meatballs, I made one giant Death Star Meatball that the girls absolutely loved and still ask for all the time. In a pinch, these Star Wars Spaghettios could be a great choice. I also felt compelled to make a Porg-shaped cheese ball, inspired by these from cookbook author and blogger Dan Whalen, because when in Rome, you know? We finished off the feast with Lightsaber Pretzel Rods and Kiwi Yoda Popsicles, while enjoying the sunset (just one sun, sadly) and a rare moment of peace in the galaxy.