I love entertaining. Whether it’s dinner with friends, a holiday fete with family, or a birthday party for my kids, I use it as an opportunity to let my creativity shine.
My older girls know the importance that is their birthday. They know that they get presents, a party, and a special day that’s all about them. Most of the time, they start planning their birthday party the day after their previous birthday. They pick the theme, and (luckily) let me take it from there.
I’ve never been one for over-the-top themed children’s party myself. While I know my kids love certain characters and want them present at their party, that doesn’t mean that I’ll run to the store and buy up everything in the themed decor aisle. Because yes, it is possible to make a child’s birthday party fun and all about them — while still being enjoyable for the parents, as well.
Case in point: My youngest daughter recently turned 4, and her request was a Hello Kitty-themed party. I’d actually thrown one for my oldest daughter a couple years before, but I wanted to make this one special and unique for my youngest daughter, so that she knew I put in just as much time and effort for her.
First, I sat her down with me to help plan, just to ensure I had everything she wanted. Then, I took care of all the little details — including the ones the adults would appreciate. And from the looks on everyone’s faces when they arrived … I’d say it was a big success.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way when it comes to throwing a party that kids and adults will love:
1. Pick Your Theme Colors
When my girls tell me the theme they want for their party, I always take a look at the character and then choose two or three colors that will help me with the overall theme of the party. For my older daughter’s Hello Kitty party, I chose light pink and red. For this year’s party, I choose different shades of pink. My advice? Don’t be afraid of color! There is so much you can do with it.
I also threw a My Little Pony party and had the colors of the rainbow as my main theme, which allowed for endless possibilities.
2. Keep It Simple
I cannot stress this one enough: Simplicity = less stress.
One of my favorite parts of the party is the cake. But with all the other details to worry over when throwing a party, I forgo the baking. Instead, I rely on a nearby bakery that I love, which is always a hit with both kids and parents. They don’t do your typical themed square cakes, but I will let them know of my theme and the colors that I’ve chosen for the party, and then let them do their magic. For the Hello Kitty party this year, they added a simple ribbon design with pink ombre.
You can keep it simple for the tableware as well. I love to have solids for cups and plates and then accent with the theme napkins for that little pop.
3. Don’t Underestimate Your DIY Skills
Until planning these parties for my kids, I didn’t know that there were so many crafts I could do on my own, and most of it was super simple. There’s also a lot that you can do with crepe paper, believe it or not. I’ve use it to make backdrops, Hello Kitty bows, flowers, poms, fringe garland, and more. If you’re planning the party far in advance, don’t be afraid to try things.
When planning a party for my oldest daughter’s birthday, I found that a Starbucks Frappucino bottle, some modpodge, and glitter made the best vases. And I’ve used those at every party since!
4. You Can Never Go Wrong with White
When fixing the main food table, I always display the food in a way that is visually appealing. Even if you’re just serving pretzels, the key is presenting them in a way that looks nice. I went to a discount home store and stocked up on white serving trays and bowls and one white cake stand. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve used them. The party store also sells cheaper white plastic ones that work just as well. Get different sizes for different types of food. It makes simple grab-and-go food look elegant and fun!
5. Use Your Character as an Accent
While I don’t love the idea of having all party décor the character that my child loves, I do use it as an accent. Use the character-themed napkins. I love getting a figurine and putting it in the middle of the cake as a simple cake topper. I’ve also used figurines as décor around the kids food table and the main food table. It makes it so that the party is still very much kid-friendly, without overdoing it.
6. Think Outside the Box
One of my favorite things to do is to really look into the character behind the theme that my child wants, and then to find activities, food, and décor that goes along with it. For my son’s woodland themed first birthday party, I made edible acorns and displayed them on a flat piece of wooden bark. For my daughter’s My Little Pony party, I took the veggie platter and made it in the shape of a rainbow.
No matter what kind of party you’re throwing, think of ways you can easily incorporate the character that your child loves, without actually putting that character everywhere.More On