Birthday Bonanza

Simple ideas for throwing a spectacular party.

Some parents dread throwing a birthday party. Sit down, brew some calming tea and allow me to help you plan your next birthday party. After all, organizing your child’s big bash isn’t as difficult as it appears— even for the creativity challenged.

Step Right Up to a Circus Party

Circus parties are fun and easy, and they are easy on the pocketbook! You can tie the tableware and decorations together by choosing adornments in the primary colors— red, yellow and blue. Plus, the decor supports your theme just by using color. By picking up the items in a grocery story or, better yet, a bulk supply store, you’ll save tons of money on the overpriced trademark circus themes found at specialty stores.

Maintaining the circus theme by purchasing a lion piñata and planning for kids to play Pin the Nose on the Clown, you only have to choose the cake. Though ordering a circus cake is the easiest option, making one is not that hard. Ice your favorite cake recipe or store-bought cake in a bright color. Next, place a couple of plastic bracelets on top, to portray the rings of the circus. Then plop some plastic circus animals inside of the rings. If you want to add a personal touch, you can make a “Happy Circus Birthday” sign on the computer. Cut it out, attach it to a wooden skewer and stick it in the cake to finalize your masterpiece. It’s as simple as one, two, three ring circus!

School’s Cancelled, But Party On This Snow Day

Does your child have a wintertime birthday? The weather may not cooperate on the party date, but you can create a hassle-free snow-day birthday whether you celebrate inside or out.

During the winter months, it’s a cinch to find snowman-themed paper plates, napkins and cups without heading to the party store. Blue and white streamers make an icicle wonderland when hung vertically from ceiling to floor. And some bakeries “build” a 3-D snowman cake.

If you can trace a circle, you can create this Snowball Toss game for your party. The game can be played with real snowballs outside or Styrofoam balls inside. Purchase a large piece of foam core and draw a snowman: three circles, two eyes, a carrot nose and a smile. If you are feeling artsy, throw on a scarf and hat... if not, no big deal. Trace a roll of masking tape about midway down the snowman’s body and carefully cut out a circle with an x-acto knife. To play, party-goers merely aim for the circle cut-out and toss the snowballs!

Sledding races, snowman building contests, hide and seek and simple outdoor activities help keep young party-goers entranced for hours. Just make sure you have hot cocoa on hand when revelers return inside.

Want to keep the party indoors? Display plain sugar cookies in the kitchen and let guests decorate them with snowflake designs. An alternate activity, using toilet paper as snow and two volunteers as snowmen, you can incite a relay race to build an indoor snowman. On your mark, get set, go: Wrap your snowman with toilet paper, and add his scarf, hat and anything else in the room that will grab a giggle from guests. Give prizes to the team that creates the best snowman in the allotted time.

Get Out of the House to Get Down

If having a group of kids running through your house for a few hours sends you over the edge, there are plenty of options for hosting birthdays outside of your home. Ask your friends for ideas, think outside the box for inspiration and check out the Birthday Party Directory in this issue and online at www.parentguidenews.com.

Leaving the Party To the Experts

Maybe you are thinking, “I am more of a hands-off person.” There are plenty of facilities that hold parties and do everything for you— you just need to invite children and keep your eye on them. At such all-inclusive party venues, the staff generally entertains, feeds and sometimes educates tykes.

Some outsourcing party venues include restaurants, museums, planetariums, recreation facilities, cooking schools, laser tag facilities, roller skating rinks, music programs, amusement parks, dance schools, art centers and indoor sporting facilities.

The Party is in The Bag

Forget the cake and ice cream, the streamers and balloons. Throw your party at the mall! In the Shopping Party invitation, enclose instructions for parents regarding a target amount for their child to spend, along with instructions on what’s off limits, like cosmetics and candy. Parents may also submit ideas, if they are shopping for gifts. This is a fun party to host right before the holiday season. Inform revelers whether you want them to shop for themselves or for others.

There’s no need to plan a specialized menu for this shopping shindig. A trip to the food court for children’s meals and ice cream should suffice for all attendees!

Those of you with outdoorsy kids, head to the park or nearest nature trail instead of the mall. Point kids in a safe direction, before arming them with a scavenger hunt list and a gift bag to fill. Items like different types of leaves, acorns and feathers are abundant in autumn before the first snowfall. A campfire accompanied by a picnic lunch and S’mores serves a festive and delicious meal for the party.

First and foremost, don’t get caught in the game of hosting a birthday to “one-up” the neighbor’s party. This is a celebration of your child’s birth. Give the birthday child a say in what he or she would like, set appropriate limits and have a blast. Everyone loves a good party— you should enjoy it, too!