Well, is it that time of year again? Time to start planning that special birthday party for your loved one, but you have no idea where to begin? A bowling party, a skating party, an ice cream social, Chuck E’ Cheese, super heroes, ninja turtles…the options are endless. Take it from me, nothing can send a mom into a stressed out downward spiral worse than having an impending special day and no ideas to get started. I have learned a few tricks over the last 9 birthdays for my son, and this year will be the best one yet. My best parties have been at home, built around a theme.
First, determine what theme your party should be. This seems like a” no brainer”, but it really is the key to pulling off a memorable party. There are literally thousands of themes to choose from. The best themes for kids are often their favorite character or activity. Kids are ever-changing, and will often have a new favorite thing every year. It should be obvious what your kid is “into”, but if it isn’t, some well planned questions should do the trick. My son has had Minecraft, Bowling, Harry Potter, Cowboy, Hot Wheels, Petting Zoo & Nascar themed parties (to name a few). Sports, super heroes, and book (or movie or cartoon) characters all lend great opportunities for cute decorations and fun games. Once you have your theme, Pinterest is the best place to go to find fun ideas to bring it to life. Simply search your theme, (for example type; “Harry Potter party”) and lots of ideas are there for you! Don’t go nuts, though. Pick 3 or 4 of your favorite ideas and that is enough to make your theme pop.
A successful party will have some fun games tailored to your theme. ‘Pin the wand on the wizard’ is ok, but you can do better! Try a scavenger hunt for party favors, instead of having a give-away bag at the end. Really get into your theme and combine things your character would do with the games if you can. For instance, we had a search for the “sorcerer’s stone” in our Harry Potter party, which was a plastic jewel purchased at Michael’s craft store. It will make it more fun if you get in costume or into character. For my son’s Harry Potter party I dressed as Professor McGonnagle and had my stepfather acted as Olivander the Wand Maker. As the guests arrived they were each given a wand (Olivander would throw a PopIt down just as they chose their wand so it would snap loudly to make it seem truly magical!!). Then I sorted them to houses and gave them all felt ties in the house colors. This was their teams for the games! We tallied points up and gave prizes at the end. It was fun and memorable for all! Everyone was a winner!
Of course you are going to want some themed snacks. The Cupcake is the most boring of all choices in my opinion. I made a pretty memorable Minecraft Cake from Jell-O, vanilla and chocolate cake, and lots of green icing. Some papercraft characters ordered online completed the effect. Let’s not forget the ice cream! Did you know that you can have a Mister Softee Ice Cream truck come to your location to serve your guests? If it’s a themed party, how about a special menu designed just for you?!?! Mister Softee can create a menu of soft serve ice cream treats with your theme in mind! Say you are doing the Harry Potter birthday, how about a menu of:
PollyJuice Potion: vanilla/chocolate shake with cookie crumbles
Sorting Hat Cone: chocolate dipped chocolate cone
Voldemort Special: a double cone one vanilla one chocolate both dipped in chocolate
Mister Softee will customize the menu for your event with your ideas or their own, but either way they promise to make your event the talk of the town. I am getting to work on a Nerf War themed party for this year. It is going to be awesome! I am definitely having Mister Softee come towards the end of the event, saving the best for last!