For Alexa's 5th birthday party, she had two requests. First, she wanted to have it at home. Second, she wanted it to be an "outer space princess tea party". Um, what?
As if having two back to back birthdays (Goldie's is 5 days later) right on the heels of the holiday wasn't hectic enough, now I had to scramble (in the age of Pinterest, no less) to pull together a memorable celebration. Well, let's just say the final outcome (and the process to get there) is for sure something I will never forget, and something I plan to remind Alexa of any time she is mean to me or pulls a "you don't like me/you like Goldie better than me/you never do anything for me" card for the rest of her life. And I have to admit- even though I want to be much cooler than the mom who rests her laurels on accolades from planning a kid's birthday party- I am pretty f*ing proud of this shin dig. So much so that I really can't NOT share it with you guys...
PART 1: Color A Rocket Ship Group Activity
We purchased three decorate-your-own rocket ship craft sets and had the oversized cardboard rockets ready and waiting to be colored, stickered and climbed all over so as soon as guests arrived, there was something to keep them busy (read: distract them from pulling every toy in the playroom off the shelf).
PART 2: Make Your Own Princess Space Helmet
How does one combine a space theme and a princess theme? By bulk ordering these kid-sized space helmets, firing up a hot glue gun to adorn each one with a glittering tiara, personalizing them with gold glitter alphabet stickers (FYI- I now use these to make everything I buy for the girls look custom and personalized) and letting the girls go to town on a table covered in thousands of self-adhesive jewels, easy-to-use glitter glue pens and the like.
PART 3: Color Your Own Blacklight Reactive Rocket
So, this was a last minute add because I realized that 4 year old girls have the attention span of fruit flies and there was no way I was going to fill the 90 minute party with my original game plan. I found printable rocket ships online, glued them onto poster board and cut each one out affixed them to popsicle sticks and let the guests decorate them to their hearts' content withblacklight reactive neon Sharpees and an array of stickers.
PART 4: Glow-in-the-Dark Outer Space Tea Party
Pulling inspiration from Pinterest and perhaps even Spring Break in Cancun circa 1997, I turned our windowless basement man-cave into a neon planetary paradise. Luckily we have an insanely party savvy friend, Adam, who lent us an assortment of backlights, and helped us to place them perfectly to illuminate the focal points of the room. My husband and I painstakingly affixed stars and mobiles to the ceiling with removable adhesive- and we attached blacklight reactive planets to the mobile by hand to add to the space feel. Oh, and did you know that blacklight reactive plates, cups and utensils are a thing? Yup, they are. To ensure ample light for the girls to feel comfortable and see what they were eating (I made an assortment of simple tea sandwiches and chopped up fruit cups- nothing too crazy there), we added blacklight reactive balloonswhich emitted a major glow and used glow sticksto assemble centerpieces and form light halos around each plate.
Granted, it took many more hours than I ever would have imagined allowing myself spend on a kid's party, but...dare I write this?...it was worth it.
-Have a "Run of Show" where you outline the party. I had 2 babysitters come to help me with the kids, and having this "master document" to refer to helped keep us all on the same page as far as stretching things out if they were going too fast or hustling kids along if the clock was ticking so we ended right on time. (I know, I know- you may be rolling your eyes. But, once a publicist, always a publicist...)
-Start with a free-flowing group activity to break the ice, especially helpful if you have guests who go to different schools and don't know each other. Having something where they can do their own thing alongside others without any grown ups forcing them to be fast friends is a low-pressure to way to make everyone meet one another.