So now, to create favors, schedule his school party, soccer team announcement, decor and decide how the games and party will work!
1. I signed up with Theron's teacher to hold his birthday party at school the Friday before his big party on Saturday. I took green cupcakes, designed cupcake wrappers and cupcake toppers, green bags with custom designed tags, custom notepads, green pencils with "Happy 8th Birthday Theron!" on them and custom wrapped chocolate bars for each child!
2. I had to get my template down for the school rock. Theron looks forward to this every year! I have a reputation to keep up :) I'll post soon about his fishing tournament party! That rock was the best by far!
3. Now to work on the favors for the big party. I always do something for adults and children. I made notepads for all the adults. For the kids I ordered some green canvas bags, made a Minecraft face template and painted the face on each one. I just printed the face on a piece of thick card stock and cut out the face with an x-acto knife. Some black acrylic paint for $.80 cents and a stippling brush for $1.99 and I'm on a roll! I made bags for girls and boys. It included pencils, chocolate carrots (Easter clearance was great!), creeper notepads, chocolate bars, gold (Rolos) and dynamite (Twizzlers) plus fun stuff I picked up at Target and Walmart at the 90% of Christmas sale such as: green hairbrushes, green bounce balls, etc. Oriental Trading company had braided green bracelets and misc items to add as well. Each bag cost about $3.50 total! I designed a thank you tag and all that was left was some green ribbon and a bow!
4. What to wear? We found green t-shirts, aprons and oven mitts which we just applied iron-on Minecraft faces and we were ready to rock! All the "helpers" aka close family members and friends had to be uniformed up!
5. Recording the event! I hired a photographer to come out and shoot the whole thing! Worth every penny! You can get a college or high school kid that is decent with a camera for $50 for several hours if you don't want to go with a pro. Also, I had a sign-in frame that is now hanging in his room. He loves to read it over and over again! Hit up Ikea for a 11 x 14 black frame - $8.99 and grab a matte from Michael's Craft Store, AC Moore or Hobby Lobby. I designed and printed the personalized sign sheet on the copier at work! $15 bucks total!
6. Decor. Honestly this can get expensive. I went cheap and it still looked amazing. I bought a Coleman air pump ($20) and a pack of 30 balloons in each color: green, lime green, black and tan. After they were all blown up (my entire dining and living room was covered) I tied them in bunches of seven or nine and left long tails of ribbon on each set. The day of the party I tied these balloons on all the chandeliers, poles, stairs, front porch railings, etc with some big long pieces of ribbon and a few other paper decor pieces from Oriental Trading company! This makes it look like a million bucks for a little bit of change. These photos don't do it justice. I also made some quick candle wraps and had them set up in several places throughout the party! You can get some fern greenery at your local dollar store! You can kinda see the ferns in the photo below.. Great for extra fluff in the decor. I made a handful of little creeper face tags and etc., and punched a hole in those and tied them on all the candles and pots too. Nice extra touch. Balloons can go up three days in advance inside your home and you can put them up outside a few hours before the event if it's not too hot or cold. They'll stay nice and perky for the party!
I made a bunting banner to hang behind his cake with card stock, twine and a hole puncher! I added a touch of green with two table clothes from the dollar store behind the banner.
Some streamers from the light to the edge of the table in black and green plus some paper lanterns from Oriental Trading company and the exit favor table was set up!
The media room doors (headquarters for the overnight sleepover for all the boys) was perfect for Enderman Minecraft eyes! Just two strips of printed paper and some double sided tape!
The ribbon from my Christmas 90% off sale at Target was great for to hang from the banisters and made a great entrance when you walked in the front door.
7. Gift registry time! Honestly this may seem ridiculous but parents seem to really appreciate having a CLUE what to buy for a kids birthday. Theron rocked the Target gun and scanned half the store for his birthday wish list!
11. What to do with these kids right? Well, we live in the woods in the middle of nowhere so we had the perfect setting all around us. I really had fun at Target's Easter clearance sale a few months prior. I bought all the plastic blue eggs they had in stock for $.10 a bag. Good stuff. So I gathered all the kids on the porch and introduced them to the zombies. Which were my oldest kids and their friends with card stock Minecraft zombie masks on! Paper and ribbon! The kids had to divide into two even teams. My babe's team was one. The other team leader was chosen by who could bring me a rock, leaf and a pine cone first. From there I told the two team leaders to pick their team and if they could do it nicely I wouldn't get involved and choose for them. It went surprisingly smooth! Each team then came up with their own team name. They got to write their team name on a bucket (thank you Dollar Store) and both buckets were set up on "base" which was the back porch steps. Each person had to get as many blue eggs for their team as possible. All of the eggs were hidden in the woods and I had parameters with adults set up so no one would get lost. Plus they didn't care about going too far once they knew the area where the eggs were hid. Some where on the ground, some in the trees, some in bushes - they were all over and hidden for each age. The trick was they could only bring back one egg per person at a time to their team bucket. Picking up more than one egg put them at base with me until they counted to 60. They were also chased by zombies throughout the woods and if tagged, they had to sit at base with me and count to 60 before they could get up. These kids ranged from 6-12 in age and were both girls and boys. Total we had about 26 kids and 4 zombies which worked great. I threw another curve ball in the mix. I found blue diamond eggs that actually looked like the ones in the game. The kids went nuts for them! They were shaped like a gem! If they found one of those they won a prize all their own outside of their team. The winning team got to shop my "prize" table first, which I showed to everyone before the game started so they were pumped. They didn't get to look long. I lifted the sheet, counted to ten and covered the prizes again. At the end of the game, everyone gets something! My prize table is made up of crazy deals I've picked up - nerf guns, balls, toys, etc., plus some Minecraft bracelets, shirts (that we made with an iron-on, candy and much more. To keep the game going with the ultimate energy I would holler from the porch "10 more minutes" "only ten eggs left" "team creeper is winning by two eggs" - I was like the announcer at the ball game! When the game was over - it took about 45 minutes, I brought all the kids that found the GEM eggs and let them have a go at the prize table first. The key was, there was only five seconds per pick. The sheet covered the table after I counted to five! The energy was intense! I did this again per kid and then the whole team that won with the most regular eggs in their bucket got to stand around the table and the whole team got five seconds to pick! It might sound like a hot mess but it worked and worked well. After that the kids were having a blast in the yard with their new toys, water guns and just running around playing in general.
12. Music. If you don't do anything else, get the music right. It sets the mood and the atmosphere for the entire party. I'm thankful that my brother-in-law knows about wiring. We have speakers throughout the house and some outdoor speakers as well. I just programmed all the latest Minecraft music into Grooveshark (free) and hit repeat. I also threw in some great songs from the 80s and 90s between each Minecraft themed song. Made for a great time for the parents too! If you don't have the speakers, an iPod and a iPod speaker stand works too! You can have Grooveshark for your mobile for $9.99 a month and skip spending the money on all those songs with iTunes.
13. Atmosphere. Just like the music, spacing is everything. When I get around to it, I'll show a diagram of the party layout. I placed tents, tables, food and the parents lounge within a certain proximity of each other. Parents were up high on the porch so they could see their kids, yet roped off so the kids would let them relax in comfy chairs outside with a drink in hand. If you were there helping me set up, you might have said, "you have this whole yard? why is everything so close together?" Don't get me wrong, folks could walk around but making it seem a little tight versus spread out can make or break the rocking atmosphere at a party. It didn't look oddly close either. Just right! Think of it like a club. If you walked in a big club and there were 100 people, it might would seem empty and you'd leave but put 100 people in a small bar and all the sudden it's jamming and you're staying!
15. Oh! I also had t-shirt tie-dyeing! Kids signed the matte frame and then the walked over to the tie-dying tent. Shirts for $1-$2 each plus a big Zip-lock bag to write their name on with a sharpie, some washing instructions and we are on a roll! Kids had a blast! I had one of my buddies running the show. It was a fun thing to do until all the kids arrived. There is kind of a lull when you're waiting on everyone to get there and this was a great filler. If I had thought about it, I could have had a creeper face printed on the white shirts. I always think of more ideas afterwards!
I also ended up printing him a pillow for his room! I found a fabric pen in the house and we actually used it the pillow for his friends to sign their names on it too. It proudly sits on his bed! What a ham!
GO BIG OR GO HOME! :)
I love designing custom birthday party themes, invitations, decor, planning the party - all that jazz! If you have a special birthday coming up and want a custom invitation design or anything along those lines, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope all of this helped the mom's out there wrestling with party ideas for Minecraft!