Willy Wonka Teacher Appreciation Week

This Willy Wonka Teacher Appreciation Week Theme has inspiration for decor, gifts, food & more. It’s a sugary sweet way to spread some love!

If you have been around for a while, you know that Teacher Appreciation Week is something I look forward to all year! I get really excited to celebrate the incredible teachers and staff that work together to create a positive learning environment for my kids.

This year I have been working as a substitute teacher and it has increased my appreciation for all of the school employees. It is incredible to see them all work together and support each other.

This year as the committee was brainstorming ideas, one of the co-chairs over gifts mentioned that she was doing a Wonka themed birthday party for her daughter and said we could borrow all of her decor. Knowing that she goes ALL IN for her birthday party themes, we knew this would be the perfect theme for this year!

Then we learned that the local high school did a Wonka themed dinner for their drill team and had decorations left over. It was serendipitous! So we got to work planning, and I think you will see that what we came up with really was magical!

Tips for Creating a Wonka Theme

There are some simple things you can incorporate to easily pull off a Willy Wonka Theme of your own!

  • Watch the movie! – Have you seen the new Wonka movie with Timothee Chalamet? Or the old Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Maybe you have seen Charlie in the Chocolate Factory with Jonny Depp. No matter which version you see, watching the movie will provide great inspiration for your project!
  • Use Wonka Purple, Chocolate Brown, and Gold! – The classic character, Willy Wonka, is known for his purple suit and colorful factory. By using these traditional colors, you can really create a theme that people will recognize.
  • Incorporate Candy/Sweets Where Possible – Wonka is known for his sweet tooth and marvelous candy inventions, so it makes sense to display his “work” as part of your celebration!
  • Add Symbols from the Story – Items such as a top hat, candy bar, golden ticket, chocolate river, factory, Oompa Loompa, golden egg, and more can channel the story of Wonka.

Willy Wonka Teacher Appreciation

There are a lot of ways to make a large room feel themed, but one of my favorite ways to add decor to a large space is by adding a visual focal point. Often I’ll do a display table or eye-catching piece of some kind to transform the space.

For the Teach Appreciation Week Lunch, we used this large balloon arch, decorated table, and “Wonka” blocks to highlight the theme!

Willy Wonka Table Decorations

Since we did a teacher appreciation lunch, we had a lot of round tables set up. Each of the tables was covered in a purple table cover and a square of gold tissue paper. Then, each table had a different Willy Wonka themed centerpiece decoration. 

  • Inventing Room: Included everlasting gobstoppers (that are actually dog chew toys!), twisty straws with a twisted sucker inside of them, a jar with bubble gum and two pink bowls from the dollar store glued together. 
  • Fizzy Lifting Drinks: Included clear balloons hanging from the ceiling with clear fishing line, and bottles of Jones blue and green soda with the labels removed and a new Fizzy Lifting Drink label affixed. 
  • Eggdicator: Included a scale made from cardboard and several sizes of gold eggs.
  • Wonka Candy: Was created by surrounding a foam cube with boxes of Nerds, gluing the nerds to the top surface and inserting gold curly picks, swirly suckers and a ‘W’ pick in the center.
  • Wonka Top Hat: A foam base was covered in purple velvet to create a large purple top hat. Wonka was spelled in cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby that were painted gold. 
  • Wonka Grass: A piece of astroturf was the base for jars of candy, plastic candy pieces and felt mushrooms and cotton candy. 
  • Candy and Curls: A purple top hat sat upside down filled with foam. Gold tissue paper was pushed and glued into it with lots of foam lollipops and curly picks.

Willy Wonka Room Decorations

Now, for the other Wonka-tastic decorations!

Chocolate River Made From Paper

In one corner of the staff lounge, a large chocolate river was created by crumpling brown bulletin board paper up and taping it to the wall.

In front of it was a large twig painted white with puffs of cotton candy and lollipops hanging from the branches. On the table next to it, we covered the surface in purple table covers and accented the table with centerpieces detailed above as well as a candy board that one of the committee members made using a wall mounted candy or cereal dispenser

Cardboard WONKA sign

For the main food display table we anchored one side with a large WONKA sign made from painted cardboard boxes and gold painted cardboard letters. Above the table we added a colorful balloon garland with a rainbow of colors as well as candy mylar balloons . The backdrop is from the latest Wonka movie, but there are several cute ones online that would look great.

On the table a member of the committee created giant Wonka candy bars using plastic take-out containers as the squares of chocolate wrapped in shiny wrapping paper – all supplies from the dollar store! So creative, right?!

Wonka Posters

Lastly, we added two posters we created and had printed and accented with balloons to the white board in the room. One featured the name of the theme, “Wonka”, and the other had a quote from the movie saying, “Welcome to a world of pure imagination”.

Wonka Soda Bar & Chocolate Fountain

Of course we couldn’t just call it a soda bar and chocolate fountain. We called it our Fizzy Lifting Drinks and Chocolate river. It was delicious!

For the soda bar, we offered a variety of 2-liter soda flavors, fruit puree’s, flavored syrups, cream and lime wedges. One committee member created the Fizzy Lifting Drinks menu with fun drink names and delicious flavor combinations. 

The chocolate river, which was a chocolate fountain machine, was filled with melted milk chocolate. We purchased the wafers from a specialty shop that already had the oil incorporated. Otherwise, make sure to follow package instructions because you can’t just melt any chocolate to run through the machine. We served the chocolate fountain with pretzels, rice crispy treats, marshmallows, strawberries, bananas and pineapple.

Wonka Sensation Chewing Gum Three Course Lunch

In the movie/book, poor Violet turns into a blueberry after sampling, against Willy’s wishes, the chewing gum that is also a three course dinner. Staying true to what she tasted while eating the gum, we served pot roast, baked potatoes (with sour cream!), fruit salad, garden salad, dinner rolls and a variety of bakery pies – including blueberry of course! 

Wonka Squirrels Trail Mix Bar

As a play on the squirrel scene in the Johnny Depp version of the Wonka movie, we created a trail mix bar that the squirrels had been hard at work cracking nuts for. This wasn’t your raisins and peanuts trail mix bar. We made sure this was filled with all the delicious items you really want! We had small popcorn boxes they could fill on their own!

Here’s what we included:

  • Dark chocolate coconut almonds – Costco
  • Dark chocolate and milk chocolate sea salt caramels – Costco
  • Boom Chicka Pop – Costco
  • Nerd’s Clusters – Costco
  • Dried Mango – Costco
  • Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Sea Salt Caramels – Costco
  • Crispy Peanut Butter Filled Nuts – Trader Joe’s
  • Dried Coconut – Trader Joe’s
  • Dried Pineapple – Trader Joe’s
  • Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels – Trader Joe’s
  • Pretzels – Walmart
  • Mini M&M’s – Walmart
  • Marshmallows – Walmart
  • Wonka Variety Candy – Sam’s Club
  • Variety Sea Salt Nuts – Sam’s Club

Wonka Gifts

Now, let’s get to the week’s schedule. We offered edible items on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and delivered gifts on Tuesday and Thursday. The gift committee assembled some really incredible gifts for the staff.

Wonka Bars

Using a template found online, the Wonka bars were standard Hershey chocolate bars covered in shiny wrapping paper and wrapped in a wonka printed candy bar wrapper. These were handed out on Monday and included a golden ticket as well as a number written on them. The number they picked corresponded with a gift voucher the committee had gathered from local businesses.

Fizzy Lifting Gift

Filling the soda shop cup was vouchers for a free soda, a free milk shake and a free slurpee at three different local businesses. Additionally, they had chocolates and a travel toothbrush donated by a local dentist – as a fun nod to the dentist father Willy had in the Johnny Depp version of the movie. Additionally, they gave them a decadent chocolate cupcake. Teachers also received a booklet containing notes from the students in their class. 

Good Egg Gift

A gold plastic egg filled with chocolate was paired with vouchers for a free cookie at a local gourmet cookie shop, a voucher to a sandwich shop, and a few school supplies like a sharpie, highlighter and felt tip marker. Teachers also received a Target gift card. 


We had such a fun time celebrating Wonka style and hope this will inspire your own celebrations! Show those amazing teachers and staff how much you appreciate all they do for your kids!

Other Teacher Appreciation Week Themes

Let’s just say that this whole teacher appreciation thing isn’t my first rodeo. In fact, I have written articles about tons of other fun themes such as Harry Potter, Carnival, Camping, and more! Check out my previous Teacher Appreciation Week themes and let me know if you try one!

Teacher Appreciation Week Door Decorations

I have also documented the door decorations we have done for teachers at my kids’ school. Here are some collections you’ll DEFINITELY want to look at!

Don’t Leave Just Yet

Here at Events to Celebrate, my whole goal is to help real people plan for their kids’ birthday parties, life events, and holidays! Life is crazy. I GET IT. You don’t have endless time OR money to spend on parties, but you still want to help your guests have a great time. I’m here to help give you tips, tricks, and ideas for celebrating life on a budget.

As a mom, you want to do it all. You want to make your family happy and create special memories. My brand is all about creating special moments with those you love. The kind of moments that you will look back on years later and wish you could relive! So, if that’s something you’re interested in, stick around! I have an email list you can sign up for, so you don’t miss my future party ideas!

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