Here lies Mandi…
She threw one HELL OF A PARTY.
Okay, so maybe that is not what my gravestone is going to say – but a girl can hope right?
I’m a party girl. I don’t mean literally….as my idea of a Saturday night is usually a glass of wine and some scrapbooking. What I mean is I love to throw parties, especially birthday parties.
And I’m a crazy party Mom…meaning I have been known to move furniture out of my house, construct cardboard semi trucks, and transform my house into an island. Birthday parties take on a whole new meaning in my house. I try to make parties that my kids will remember someday.
I get a lot of my party ideas from Pinterest, websites, etc. A few my husband and I come up with on our own just from late night brainstorming sessions. Oh, I guess I should explain my husband’s role in all of this…I come up with the ideas, he is usually the one left to figure out how were are going to execute them. He is the one that decides how we will build a large pirate ship, or make a Batmobile in our house. When I am stumped at how to create something, that's when I bring in Todd to help me create my dreams.
The key to throwing amazing parties on a working Moms calendar and clock is to start planning way ahead of time. I literally start planning my parties about 2 months ahead of time. I do a little bit here and there to help me get it all done.
I thought today since I am in the midst of preparing for my next party (Cars theme for my son L), that I would share some of my favorite party tips. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you can’t throw an amazing party. Hopefully some of these ideas can help inspire your next party!
Tip #1 - Create a party room - All my parties are focused on one room, a party room so to speak. I may dabble here and there with some decorations in my kitchen, etc., but to me its easier to just focus on decorating one room. For my house - my long and narrow family room is the Party Room. I clear out most of my furniture from the room and set up the party.
Here's how I transformed the party room for a Star Wars themed party. I used a cheap roll of table covers to cover my walls and drew stars all over the walls with silver Sharpie marker. My kids loved helping with this. I painted sytrofoam balls to be planets turned folding chairs into Storm Troopers.
The Party Room Looked this for my son's Team Umizoomi Party.... I used just plain paper for the shapes and my daughter and friends help color them. I bought dollar store water bottles to add color to the table and filled up dozens of balloons for the ceiling.
And for my daughter's Rock Star Party it looked like this...different themes. Same room!
Tip #2 - Dress up Parties are always more fun
For my parties everyone gets involved, parents and children alike. The best way to do this is to encourage people to dress up. Now I have done this on each end of the extreme from just setting out some fun Pirate Hats and bandanas for a Pirate party....
...to telling everyone to come dressed as their favorite Superheroes. Having your guests dress up for your parties gets them involved and everyone (adults and children alike) have a blast.
Tip #3 - The Centerpiece
At my parties I try to think of one big centerpiece for the party -- something big and eye catching that brings the Wow factor. For example, at my son's pirate party I wanted to build a big pirate ship. To do this I purchased a large wardrobe box from Uhaul for $12.00, and used spray paint and a table cloth for the sail. The kids spent the party climbing through the ship. It was great!
For my son's upcoming Cars party this weekend I'm making Mack the Semi Truck for the centerpiece of the party. His tractor is made of 4 cardboard boxes and his trailer will be the tables.
Tip #4 - Party Theme Your Food
One of my favorite ways to play with my party theme is with the food. I get a lot of these ideas from Pinterest. For my son's Superhero party we served a Superhero AtTACO bar. For my son's pirate party we did HambARGHers. And for my son's Star Wars party I decked out the snack table with Light Sabers, and Wookie Cookies, etc. Pinterest is definitely the spot to check out for these ideas.
Tip #5: Think OUTSIDE of the Box
For each of my parties I try and bring the party outside. It helps get your guests ready to party even before they walk in. For my daughter's Rockstar party I made a walk of fame with spray painted gold stars (made out of poster board).
Tip #6 - Some of the Best party decorations are completely free
I always make sure and have a party budget, but surprisingly some of the things I have made for my parties that are completely free are the things I get the most compliments on. For example, I took old CDs (that have long been placed on my iPod) and taped them to my french doors to give a fun decoration to my Rock Star party.
My favorite decoration for my son's superhero party was the Batmobile made out my son's Cars toddler bed some garbage bags and some cardboard in my recycling bin for seats.
Tip #7 - Cardboard is your friend
And while we are mentioning cardboard - I will tell you it completely your friend. I use cardboard in every party - to create buildings like I did at my son's superhero party, or construct cars which I am doing for my party this weekend. Best part - I usually just ask people to give me their old cardboard boxes they aren't using so its a very cost effective way to decorate!