Moms know—when you need a tip on how to get something done, you ask your friends how they do it. So when it comes to birthday parties, we knew that our readers would have the best tips on how to have a great party! Read below for how some of our readers make their family’s birthday parties very special for the honoree and the entire family. So read on to find some great ideas!
What birthday traditions does your family celebrate?
On birthdays, we mark the child’s measurement on the closet door.—Dorothy H.
Silly String fights in the yard are our most consistent traditions.—Mary B.
We have a tradition of birthday donuts the morning of your birthday, complete with birthday candles.—Rebekah N.
Before my son’s first birthday, I bought an adult-sized, collard shirt for him. Every year on his birthday, we take a picture of him in the shirt.— Breea B.
We have a birthday plate that we made and the birthday person gets breakfast in bed on it, lunch (if at home) and dinner of their choice.— Julie B.
What is your favorite birthday party memory?
My birthday is January 2, and for my 11th birthday I had a New Year’s Eve slumber party.— Angela R.
For both of our kids, the first cake was the best! Seeing them get messy and ‘paint’ with the frosting is so fun!—Laura R.
I was newly-divorced, and my five year old gave me a surprise party with the help of her Granny.— Paula B.
The surprised, slightly scared look on my daughter’s face when Chuck E. Cheese shook her hand on her second birthday.— Tiffany K.
We’re traditional Jews, so for my son’s third birthday, we had a ritual haircut. Everyone got to cut a piece of his hair.— Dorothy H.
What was your funniest or wackiest birthday party moment?
Not being able to light the candles due to the Oklahoma wind!— Angela R.
We bought our daughter’s birthday piñata at an after-Easter sale and none of the three-year-old guests wanted to hit it. They kept saying “Oh no! Duckie!” — Rebekah N.
At an animal-themed birthday party, a lemur got loose and was running all around the room while everyone was trying to catch it.— Bethany A.
“Spiderman” left our birthday party and had to run around the block (still fully costumed) to escape the children who followed him outside!— Breea B.
The frosting on the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine cake that I made melted in the heat—it was really mysterious looking!— Joni W.
What’s the best money or time saving tip that you have?
I buy supplies when they go on clearance after holidays. I stock up on stocking stuffers for goody bags.— Dorothy H.
We toured a local fire station for my son’s party. The kids loved it—and it was free!— Mandi R.
Have an early afternoon party so the guests will have already eaten lunch and you will only need to provide cake and ice cream.— Breea B.
Cupcakes! Have a cupcake decorating party—it’s an activity and a treat!— Tiffany K.
We’ve saved a fortune by holding parties in the local library’s party rooms.— Dorothy H.
Do you limit party size or have separate family and friend parties?
We have an intimate family dinner with gifts, ballons and dessert. The kids help plan a small party for friends.— Stacy S.
We have one big party for everyone. Some stay longer than others, but we all have a great time together.— Kerri T.
I limit the party, for my sanity. We invite a few meaningful friends and have a separate family party.— Jennifer O.
The kids invite an odd number to their party so it’s always an even number of kids at their party (including them). We open presents with immediate family on the birthday morning.— Julie B.
We set the party size based on the cost of the activity. My kids normally pick pool parties because you get more for the money. — Denise H.
What’s easier? A home-based party or parties held somewhere else?
The easiest parties are held at home without a sleepover.— Mary B.
Home parties are definitely easier! You have everything you need, while we always forget something when we go somewhere.— Kerri T.
I would guess home parties are harder but I’ve never been brave enough to have one!— Denise H.
I think it ends up being about the same amount of work.— Amanda D.
What is the coolest thing your child has received as a party favor?
Sillybands and glow bracelets. — Dorothy H.
Party favors that they make, like pottery or masks. — Angela R.
A wooden tool box made at a constructionthemed party. — Mary B.
Potted flowers. — Stacy S.
Paintbrush, apron and paints. — Elizabeth D.
Tickets to the zoo or coupons to ice cream Places. — Julie B.
T-shirts decorated at the party. — Joni W.
A party favor bag filled with sidewalk chalk, a yo-yo, sunglasses and dress-up jewelry. — Laura R.
A hula hoop and kite. — Allison C.
A bag of chocolate candy ‘rocks’ at a construction-themed party. — Breea B.
At one party, they made tie-dyed Tshirts to take home. — Paula B.
A bath towel with a huge light saber sewn on it for a Star Wars party! — Angie F.
What’s your favorite homemade party item?
Invitations. It’s fun to format on the computer to the theme of the party.— Mary B.
Superhero capes as a craft/favor. (See below for directions.)— Stacy S.
I love to make the cake for our family celebration, trying out bold designs.— Olga R.
Quick, easy and goofy games, like water balloons, how many marbles in a jar or guess the animal.— Cathy H.
Cake pops for sure, they are fun for the kids, easy to clean up and super fun to make! (See below for directions.)— Rebekah N.
I purchased broadcloth material at a hobby store in white. Using my son, I measured the length from his neck to his knees. Using pinking shears, I cut a trapezoid shape that was very narrow at
the top (neck). For the neck tie, I used a 1” width grossgrain ribbon applied with fabric glue (hot glue also works).
I purchased pre-cut velcro (1” squares) and glued those to the ribbon, so it would fasten around the neck. For the decoration, I printed a Superman “S” onto iron-on transfer paper with my home computer (reverse the image so it faces the correct way when applied).
During the party, I let the kids decorate their capes with fabric markers and paint pens, using cardboard underneath to protect my surfaces. ~ Stacey S.
Bake a cake (boxed or your favorite recipe) as directed. After cake cools, crumble into a large bowl. Stir in a can of icing, a scoop at a time, until it sticks together; refrigerate "dough" until chilled. Using a small scoop, form uniform-sized balls and place on cookie sheet or plate; refrigerate again until chilled. Melt 1 package of candy melts* per package directions. Dip one end of a lollipop stick* into melted candy and insert about halfway into ball. Dip each pop in the melted candy and swirl to coat. Stand dipped pops in a piece of Styrofoam* to dry, decorating as desired using candy pieces, more frosting or sprinkles. ~ Rebekah N
* Items available at craft stores.