by on May 13, 2022
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Invitations

Timing:

If possible pick out a theme and start preliminary planning 6 weeks ahead of the party date. Send the invitations out 3-4 weeks early. Phone them if they don't RSVP (it's amazing how many people don't!) Having your guest list ahead of time allows you to adjust for any shortfalls.

Style:

Invitations can take many different forms with both the invitation style and method of delivery. Use your imagination for fun ways to invite your guests:

Some Examples:

Spy party: "ID cards" sent through the mail or have the birthday child drop the invite on the front door, ring the doorbell and run and hide.The recipient will see only the "secret invite" - not the deliverer... very mysterious! Send the invite in code...
Princess parties can be announced with rolled up scrolls

Cowboy party invites can be teabag-stained and charred "wanted posters".

Pirate Invites can be a "message in a bottle".

Invitation Wording

You can have a lot of fun with the invitation wording:

Your home can take on an alter ego: "Smith Cove" (Pirate Party), "Smith Spy School", or The "Smith Ranch" (Cowboy Party).

You can have your guests RSVP to "The Royal Butler and Maid" (Princess Party), "Sheriff Smith" (Cowboy Party), "EGROEG and ARUAL" (George and Laura - spell your name backwards for Alien Space Party flare)... get creative with your invitation wording!

Party Decorations

Two of the most effective products for decorating for a birthday party are Balloons and Streamers!

Streamers

Streamers can be used in many ways:

Green streamers can be ripped to different lengths and then crumpled/uncrumpled and hung from the ceiling as "seaweed" (undersea/mermaid/pirate theme).

Blue streamers can be twisted and draped for "water".

Red streamers can be "fire" (fire fighter party).

Multi-coloured streamers can be rolled into "flowers" (princess/flower power party), and stuck to the wall or made into "bouquets".

Streamers can be used as "room dividers" and make makeshift "tents/walkways".

Orange/yellow streamers can be taped crisscrossed in a hallway as a "Laser beam Obstacle Course" (Spy Party).

Streamers can be used anywhere you need a splash of colour (even outside). Make streamers out of anything (coloured garbage bags, paper, fabric, etc.) Do be careful where you place them as streamers are not fireproof.

Balloons

With Helium

Balloons are festive and have a lot of impact. If you buy/rent a helium tank you can really dress up your venue with balloons.

With helium balloons you can weigh them down with weights or let them float to the ceiling.

Helium Balloons - Anchored

Anchor balloons with balloon weights - or make your own. Make weights with a 1 foot square of mylar/wrapping paper/cellophane- filling with sand/candy/pebbles then bringing the 4 corners together and tying it up with ribbon.

It is very important to weigh your balloons down if you have them outside as balloons can wreak havoc with power lines (especially foil balloons). Helium Balloons can be given at the party's end as party favours attached to a slap bracelet/ balloon weight, or tied to the child.

Helium Balloons - Floating

Float your helium balloons up to the ceiling (make sure the ceiling is not a rough/textured one).

Attach a long curling ribbon to the neck of the balloon and curl the ribbon over a scissor blade.

From the end of the ribbon attach a star/fish/shape made from mylar/ shiny paper, (punch a hole in the cutout first).

Send the balloon up to the ceiling and the star will dangle suspended in mid-air.

To make the balloons float a bit longer, tie the balloon neck tightly (and tie the ribbon below the balloon neck knot).

If you want the balloons to float longer than the standard 6-12 hours ( I've seen them float for 10 days!) squirt in some "HI-FLOAT" ( a water-based polymer that seals the inside of the balloon ).

Balloons will float longer in a cooler environment with high humidity.

Air-filled Balloons

To get the "helium balloons on the ceiling" look without the cost, tape balloons to the ceiling (no one will ever know).

You don't need helium for fabulous balloon décor, Balloon "clouds" can be suspended from the ceiling with string and balloons can be wrapped around poles, wires, and tied into columns and arches.

To get the "helium balloon party favour" without the helium, use balloon "saucers and sticks". The balloon is twisted around the cup-shaped "saucer" and then the balloon and saucer can be placed on the "stick", you don't even need to tie-off the balloon!

Proper Inflating of Balloons

All balloons should be the same size and be correctly inflated. A correctly inflated balloon is shaped like a water drop - not a light bulb (overinflated) and not round (underinflated).

Avoid blowing up all the balloons yourself it will make you dizzy, and is unsanitary (especially if you have a cold).

It's best to get a balloon pump.

Party Starters

Start the party off in a fun way or with an "opening gambit", to break the ice and get the shyer children into the swing of the party.

Wear a costume or have some funny way to welcome your guests.

For example:

At a Spy party you could make the guests produce their ID's upon entering your home, or -by whispering through the door-direct them to enter the back door/basement door.

At a Royal Party someone could announce the guests (maybe a jokester friend), with the "Royal Formula" (below).

Party Names

It's fun for the children to have an "alter ego"/special name at the party.

For Example:

At a spy party - children can be called by the last 4 digits of their phone number.

Children at a space party can be called by their actual name backwards (try it with your name - it usually sounds Alien ).

Children at a princess/royal party can be called by the "Royal Formula" which is: "Lord/Lady (Child's name)(Grandparent's first name)(Pet name double-barrelled with a Child's Street name).Lady Sarah Gladys Fluffy-Granville.

Sign-In Sheet

Set up a Sign-in sheet which has the name of the child, followed by their "party name", followed by the child's address, (if needed for thank you notes), email address (for emailing photos), contact phone numbers (if there's a need to call a parent for a hurt/nervous child), and lastly a space on the spreadsheet for any allergies.

The Sign-In sheet is a record of the party and is great to have as a keepsake.

Gate-Keeper

It can be a lifesaver to have a friend greet people at the door, get their information, and welcome the child. The mum-at-the-door is the gate-keeper, and it's her job to let the parent know if you need them to stay (and help) or not.

Some parents you will need to have stay and help (to man the game "stations"), other parents can be sent quickly "on their way" as with only 2-3 hours to run the party you do not have time for chit-chat. You can say hello! from the other side of the room, while your (good pal) is on "door detail".

Kid's Party Craft

Some children will arrive at the party right on time and some will not, arriving with a breathless parent (who may often be late!). To fill this gap of time-hopefully no more than 15-20 minutes-it's a good idea to have a craft set up. It's great when the craft the children make is used as a party decoration/prop (like a fancy hat). A craft is an excellent "party warm-up".

Some things to Consider:

Fasteners

Crafts often require you to fasten things:

Hot Glue and Staplers are fast (but need adult supervision).

White Glue and fabric paint can be done (messily) by the children but often require longer than the allotted party time to dry.

Paint

Certain paint can take awhile to dry. (fabric paint can take days!)

If using a messy slow-drying paint you may want to distribute the completed craft items at another time. (Handing out finished craft items after the fact can be tricky to do at school if not all the children were invited. You may want to be stealthy when handing them out).

You could always just send the wet/messy items with the parents, just give a bit of thought as to how they can be transported post-party.

Time

Make sure that the craft doesn't take too long (pre-cut some of the shapes, pre-assemble a bit to save time). This is a pitfall that we've seen some parents fall into, with a time-consuming craft the children can get really involved in their project-and before you know-the best part of an hour has been taken up by the craft. Then you are "under the gun" trying to get through the games, activities, food, cake, presents, pinata, treasure hunt (whew!) in half the time that you need. This can be very stressful.

Birthday Cake

One of the Highlights of a Kid's Birthday Party is the Cake!

You can buy the cake but cake decorating at home can be great fun.

Icing

A few things to remember while decorating the Cake:

Secure the cake to the plate with a glob of icing.

Slightly freezing the baked cake will make it easier to ice.

Do a "crumb coat" - skim a thin coating of (thin) icing over the chilled/slightly frozen cake, ( the crumbs will be stuck to the thin coat, it will look dreadful, but it will make the real coat of icing easier to apply.) You can then pop it back in the freezer for a bit.

The most important thing about icing a cake is this:

You need to plop a large amount of medium icing (not too thin as it'll run, not too thick as it will tear up the cake) - then gently (gently!) spread/work the icing down over the surface of the cake.

As the icing steadily covers more of the cake "real estate" the thickness of the icing will become closer to the proper thickness.

The worst thing you can do is to apply little bits of icing one at a time picking collge dorm party up lots of surface crumbs as you work back and forth. The icing will be loaded with crumbs and won't look very attractive. Use a knife if you don't have a spatula.

Keep in mind that icing has 3 consistencies:

Thin (good for piping icing)

Medium (good for basic decorating and covering the cake)
 

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