When i was growing up, my mom threw me the best birthday parties. They weren’t particularly elaborate, my parents didn’t go into debt to pay for them. But they were sweet, with girlish themes, goody bags full of mostly candy, and lots of memories.
There has been chatter around the interwebs on how increasingly elaborate children’s birthday parties have become. There are all sorts of theories – fingers pointed at the rise of mommy blogs, on the ease of sharing ideas on Pinterest (and getting jealous of other mom’s ideas), even at Sheryl Sandberg’s advice to Lean In and the now perpetual debate on whether women truly can have it all.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m not currently a mother, so I’m not planning any birthday parties for my own children. But as an event planner, I’d be more than happy to help plan someone else’s party, for the same reason I enjoy planning any event – including weddings: so that the host of the event can enjoy the event. But many moms can do it on their own, as well.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for children’s parties. Most of these can be held in the backyard, or a living room or basement. Most of the food and drink can be made at home (if desired).
Little girls love ballerinas – even the ones who never grow up to be ballerinas (like me!) dream of being one. There are lots of ways to have a ballerina or ballet themed party – you don’t even need to include ballet! I love this simple decor idea of putting tutus on the girls’ chairs – very chic! Photos by Christy Martin Photography via Hostess with the Mostess:
How many little girls love a certain color? You could design an entire party around that color! This goes well with an art theme, but I really love the concept of the pantone paint chips named after the birthday girl. This would work with any color. Photo via Amy Atlas:
Another cute idea is the princess party for little girls. I see lots of moms go over the top with this one, buying princess gowns and hiring princess impersonators. I think this can just be a “royal tea party” that’s just as special and a lot less costly. It only takes a few props to make a table feel royal to a little girl – I bet you can even raid your attic for a few antique-y pieces that you can dress up with some fake pearls or rhinestones. Photo by Heather Renee Photography via Hostess with the Mostess:
A carnival theme works for boys or girls – and just like the ballet theme doesn’t necessarily need to involve ballet, a carnival theme party doesn’t necessarily need to involve the carnival – especially since taking a bunch of children to the carnival sounds like a nightmare and hiring the carnival to come to your party sounds really expensive. But you can have some carnival like games and carnival decor – I love this photo which uses ticket rolls as part of decor. Photo by Naomi V Photography via Hostess with the Mostess:
Another gender-neutral idea is the movies! This theme could really go anywhere. You could take a bunch of kids to the movies and spend a ton of money, or you could show a movie at your home and get the same goodies – sodas, popcorn, etc. for cheap. I love the centerpiece made out of popcorn boxes and ticket stubs. Photo via Between Naps on the Porch:
Finally – a pirate theme might take a bit more work to pull off, but many of the necessary props (eye patches, bandannas) are easily found at the dollar store. Plus everything is supposed to look homemade! Photo via Hostess with the Mostess:
And of course, these bananas are the cutest things I’ve ever seen: (Photo via Hostess with the Mostess)
just a few suggestions, but it doesn’t take a ton of money to be super creative!
Top photo via Makoodle.