The BEST Kid Birthday Party Theme EVER!

My kids are kind of funny with their birthday parties.  I typically suggest what they might want on their birthday cake and then plan their party from there. For my son, I suggested a Thomas the Tank Engine cake, and he said yes.  My daughter, overhearing this conversation, said, “Don’t you want an elephant cake?” This made him change his mind immediately.  Yeah, yeah – an elephant cake!

My first reaction: how in the world can I make an elephant cake?!

I did what any mom / party planner would do, check out Pinterest!

I came across this amazing Vintage Circus Theme 1st Birthday post on Hostess with the Mostess. The pictures are beautiful and the ideas adorable!  It is a much grander party than we’d be throwing for our son’s 3rd birthday, but really really fun!

I pinned a few other ideas on my Kiddos board as well. One stop to the dollar store for Popcorn containers, crepe paper, balloons and some favors, and I was completely “all-in” on the circus themed birthday with an elephant cake!

It’s official – the circus party IS the BEST Kid Birthday Party Theme EVER!

circus themed birthday

Love the circus themed party with an elephant cake, knock the can over game, popcorn & circus peanuts, lollipop centerpiece, and “big top” tent over our table.

The basic color combination was so easy to do…a balloon bouquet hanging from our chandelier and crepe paper arranged to make our dining room feel more like a circus tent were really cute!  I did spend more time making the centerpiece, using a Styrofoam circle as a base. I shoved the colorful lollipops around the circle and covered the front & back with scrapbook paper and a #3 cut-out. For the circus game, I covered tin cans in scrapbook paper.  From an 18 month old to a 6 year old cousin, every kid had some fun (in their own style) knocking over the cans with a ball.

Our menu included brats & hot dogs, popcorn, circus peanuts, animal crackers, veggies & dip, pasta salad, cake & ice cream – kid-friendly, fun food of course!

Here are a few action shots from our day –

Little brother turns 3 - showing off his fishing pole with Mom & Dad.

Little brother turns 3 – showing off his fishing pole with Mom & Dad.

This was the best family picture we got! As you know, parties can be a bit hectic, so we forgot to try for a picture with all four of us. This one is so typical of family pictures – not looking at the camera, waving a toy around, somebody talking…but whatever, it captures the fun of the day, so I’ll take it. Little brother was so excited about his Star Wars fishing pole!

Happy siblings!

Happy siblings!

The store bought, professionally decorated birthday cake was a hit! Thanks for the idea big sister!  I caught my son saying “cheese” in this shot.

A little help blowing out the candles.

A little help blowing out the candles.

Kids just can’t resist helping blow out birthday candles.  In a wider shot, their cousin was also helping blow from a distance.  It is so sweet seeing the bigger kids help out the birthday boy….they especially did this while opening his presents in one crazy whirlwind.  The room became extra quiet when all the gifts were opened and everyone was playing with his toys.  So. Much. Fun.

Have you ever had a circus themed party?  What have been your favorite party themes?  My next party theme – PRINCESS!!

I’m OVER Halloween (and it’s not even HERE yet)!

Yes, I said it.  I’m over Halloween. I was over Halloween this weekend actually.

We have already been celebrating this holiday a few times already.

Day 1: Thursday night was Trick or Treat downtown.  Here are probably the two best pictures I will get from Halloween this year:

smiling big sister dressed as a kitty

One happy, cute kitty

Little brother dressed as a tiger

Little brother still figuring out trick or treat

Dressed in multiple layers (as Wisconsin trick or treat MUST), we met friends and walked downtown to trick or treat at a few businesses.  It was great to get out of the wagon, walk inside & warm up a bit.  After about an hour, we took a break at the Italian bakery for dinner.  This is when big sister started to be “over” Halloween as well, when the kitty ears came off.  Crazy, sugar high ensues before bedtime.  Parents consume wine thereafter.

Day 2: Friday we wanted to show off our Halloween costumes to Grandma & Grandpa and Great Grandma.  My daughter refused to put her kitty costume on.  “It’s not Halloween yet.”

Hmm…hard to argue with her, so I let her be (though I DID ask again when visiting Great Grandma, and got a grunt / no in return).

Day 3: More trick or treat with our cousins.  Big sister kept her kitty ears on for about 5 minutes. After this, she was an earless kitty.

saturday trick or treat

Little brother refused to get out of the stroller, so he enjoyed “valet” trick or treat.  Luckily the treat-givers were typically sitting in their driveway, so it made it easy for Daddy O. to drive straight to the candy.  Lucky little guy!

valet trick or treat

Little brother not getting up to trick or treat, saying “I’m good here.”

More crazyness occurs after getting home (despite our 1 piece of candy only rule).  Little brother melts down, wanting to sleep with his ghost candy bag.  More wine after surviving!

Day 4: Sunday – no Halloween costumes or trick or treat today.  Only a little drama involving candy.  Big sister finds a feather in her Halloween candy and calls it the “best treasure of all.”  Hmm..maybe we should hand out feathers instead of candy?We carve pumpkins and roast pumpkin seeds that actually taste good – really good!

Day 5: Pre-school field trip – Big sister wants to change her costume to last year’s costume – a puppy ghost.

puppy ghost costume

Big sister as a Puppy Ghost in 2012

We somehow convince her to just be a kitty. Ears apparently stay on when she sees her friends in costume. Kids took a field trip to an area nursing home and sang Halloween songs.  It apparently was a HUGE hit.  More candy came home! There was drama at dinner (as to be expected) over what candy to have for dessert (or dinnertime bonus as we call it in our house).  More wine anyone?

With only ONE more day of official costume wearing and Halloween festivities, I am READY for Halloween to be over.  Until then, I’ll grab a candy bar to help me cope!

How do you feel about Halloween and multiple celebrations?  Do your kids try to change costumes mid-stream like mine?  Have a Happy Halloween!

Cardboard Halloween Costume FAIL

Happy October everyone!  I am still sort of wondering where the month of September went, but oh yeah – my 2 year old’s birthday, Oktoberfest beer, and a great picnic at a beer garden, not to mention all the fun stuff that we tried to cram in that we didn’t do all summer long.

During September, I became annoyed with the number of diaper boxes in my house that hadn’t yet made it to our recycling bin.  AND I was inspired from reading a Thomas the Tank Engine Halloween book that had a train costume in it.  AND I made a cardboard train for my daughter’s 3rd birthday, so shouldn’t my son have a train for his birthday too?  Wouldn’t it be awesome if that train could be made in September and still be around for trick-or-treating six weeks later?  AND aren’t trains so easy to make out of boxes?

As you can see, I had MANY reasons for thinking that a cardboard train costume would be a good idea.  Probably the MOST important one of all was the idea of making a large Halloween costume that could fit my kids, who would inevitably need to wear winter coats in order to trick-or-treat comfortably in Wisconsin. (Sigh…it never fails to be cold for Halloween).  Gone are all those dresses and thin costumes – we need layers people!

So I started making the “greatest” train costume ever with a diaper box and two other boxes cobbled together with a lot of tape.

cardboard train in the early design phase

phase 1 diaper box train

I covered it with cut up grocery bags to give it a cleaner look.

phase 2 covered diaper box with brown grocery bags

covered in brown grocery bags – phase 2 cardboard box train

Finally, I browsed through my scrapbook paper stash and found some green paper – my son’s favorite color to jazz up the engine.  I used spray adhesive to make this part easy.

When finished, it came time for the ultimate test: would my kids wear it?

My son’s response – no way!  I could barely get it over his head.

My daughter’s response – for about 5 minutes!  It was a little too back-heavy, to which my engineer husband said, “Yeah, you should really balance it a little better.”  I gave him a nasty look, encouraging him to give it a go then.  He has not taken me up on this challenge to date.

Ultimately, this is a costume built for two, as modeled by my daughter and her cousin at the birthday party.  Aren’t they adorable?!  My dad also suggested that you place a bowl of candy in the opening on top of the train, and have the child walk in the driver’s seat.  I also tried putting it over our wagon, but it didn’t fit. That could be cute, but as it is right now, it is a cardboard Halloween Costume FAIL.  Bummer.

Decorated with green and gray paper final cardboard train costume

Final – cardboard train costume for two!

Do you have any cold weather or cardboard Halloween costume suggestions?  What are your kids dressing up as?

Here are some really cute ideas in the related articles: