By Dana Donovan
There’s more to throwing a great birthday party than balloons and a cake. Here are 12 great party ideas, one for every month of the year, that are sure to make your next birthday bash a success.
Theme: Spa Party
Whether you go to a salon, hire someone to come to your house or get some moms to help you at home, a spa party is great for girls at almost any age. Have several shades of polish on hand for the manicure/pedicure station and try this oatmeal facial recipe at the facial station. Don’t forget the sliced cucumbers for over their eyes!
Oatmeal Facial: Combine 1/2 cup hot—not boiling—water and 1/3 cup oatmeal. Let it settle for two or three minutes, then mix in 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 small egg white. Apply a thin layer of the mixture to your face, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with warm water.
Party Favors: Mesh bags filled with finger nail polish, a nail file and toe spacers.
Theme: Video Games Party
Seriously one of the easiest birthday parties ever. Games2U will pull up in front of your home with almost everything you need. All you need to provide is the cake. Decorations aren’t even needed, since all of the kids will be in the party truck playing all their favorite video games.
Party Favors: Mini Gumball Machine; you can find them online for between $3 and $4 each.
Theme: Rock Star Party
If you don’t have something that will work as a stage, just use a rug to section off an area. If you don’t have a disco ball, use twinkle lights to set the mood. Turn a bathroom or a closet into a dressing room filled with all kinds of fun props like sunglasses, hats and feather boas. Then just turn on the karaoke machine and watch the magic happen.
Cake: Instead of a cake, make these microphone cupcakes. Just insert the cupcake in the top of an ice cream cone, using icing to keep it in place. Use licorice for the cord.
Party Favor: Have your child create a mix CD of his or her favorite music and give them out, along with a wacky award for each person. Award examples: Most Enthusiastic, Best Costume, Best Duet, Entertainer of the Night, Best Performance, etc.
Theme: Petting Zoo
One of my favorite parties was the Petting Zoo and Pony Rides we had for our girls’ 5th birthday. We transformed our front yard into a barnyard and had the pony rides up and down the street. Our birthday party turned into a neighborhood block party!
Decorations: Use hay bales for decorations and extra seating.
Party Favors: Take photos of each child sitting on the pony. Have a helper download them, print them on photo paper and frame them for a fabulous memento. Tie each frame up in a bandana with a few pieces of candy.
Theme: Castle party
I’m not talking bouncy house castle. I’m talking about an actual castle with a/c, heater, chandelier, treasure chest and sleeping accommodations for 10 royal attendees (whether they be ladies of the court or knights in shining armor). Very cool! You can find them at MyCastleParty.com.
Party Favors: Pixie Stick Wands. Take the large pixie sticks and attach stars made from construction paper. Use glitter to make the star sparkle.
Theme: Carnival Party
It’s easy to turn your backyard or a local park into a lively carnival complete with food, games and attractions. Recruit lots of help to man your booths. Think bright colors! You can use sheets, blankets or even beach towels to create a carnival atmosphere.
Hot dog stand
Party Favors: Bags of cotton candy, of course!
Theme: Pool Party Luau
As a kid, I always wanted a luau birthday party. Unfortunately, my birthday is in December and we didn’t have a pool. But if your birthday falls in the summer months, don’t let not having a pool stop you from having the perfect luau party. There are neighborhood pools that will let you host your pool party at their facility for a fee, and Arne’s Warehouse has all the luau paraphernalia you will need.
Party Favors: Monogrammed beach towels
Theme: Movie party
Edwards Cinema on Weslayan is the perfect place to host your movie-themed party. Have the pre-party at Harlow’s, complete with the red carpet and Oscar trophies on the tables. Make sure you pre-purchase your movie tickets
Party Favors: Wrap typical movie snacks like popcorn, Junior Mints, etc., together for the perfect party favor.
Theme: Scavenger hunt
There are many places to have a scavenger hunt themed party; we had ours at our local mall. But beware, you need to get prior approval before unleashing a large group of kids on unsuspecting mall employees. We went store to store to get approval from each manager if we knew we would be sending the kids in asking for something. Our list included finding things that were in window displays and looking for people wearing certain clothing items. We also gave each group a small amount of money, between $1-$5, with a goal of purchasing the most items for that amount of money. I recommend doing your recon mission the night before the party, since stores regularly change window displays.
Party Favors: Cookies in the shape of a purse, shoes and lipstick beautifully wrapped in cellophane.
Theme: Backyard campout
The weather in October is typically fabulous, so it’s the perfect time to throw a backyard campout. In the backyard, put up several tents stocked with flashlights, snacks and games. Hang a sheet on the back of the garage for an outdoor movie, then roast hot dogs and s’mores over the fire pit. Don’t forget the bug spray!
Party Favors: Creatively package marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey’s chocolate for a take-home reminder of the night before.
Theme: Theater Party
Main Street Theater offers party packages with themes that coincide with their current production. You’ll need to purchase tickets to the show, but you can also rent their rehearsal space for the additional party activities. The kids will love taking pictures with the cast following the performance.
Party favors: Inspiration for your party favors should come from the actual performance. For example, for their current production of Alice in Wonderland, hand out the Alice in Wonderland Activity Book available at www.barnesandnoble.com for $4.49.
Theme: Ice-skating party
December is the perfect month to have an ice-skating party, and in Houston you have three options. You can take the indoor route and have your party at Memorial City Mall or the Galleria. The outdoor skating rink at Discovery Green is great, but can close depending on the weather.
Party Favors: Gloves, ChapStick and packages of hot cocoa wrapped together.