Another year another birthday for my sweet baby doll. (This is sweet baby doll's cousin rocking the glasses and a mean snarl.) We pulled off a fairy tale party featuring Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf and it was everything I'd hoped for for Abby's fourth birthday. I wanted to share the resources and cost saving tips that went into the details and personal touches that made her party not only beautiful but a ton of fun. Enjoy!
Set the scene: I love to welcome party goers with a little preview of what's in store inside. This chalkboard greeting and wildflowers lining the walkway are a sweet way to welcome guests.
Party themed front door wreath.
This five minute rustic wreath was created using bits and pieces from my favorite resource; The Dollar Tree. Cover a plain Dollar Tree wreath in burlap (left over from the kids' tables) and wrap with a strip of gingham fabric. Arrange some loose moss, faux moss covered stones, red berry sprig and sweet little bird (all Dollar Tree), a pine cone from the park (um, free) in an asymmetrical design, fire up the hot glue gun and affix. Tie a loose gingham bow at the bottom and you've got a sweet little front door welcome for $5.
The Dessert Table
I love to put together a dessert table and because this party was based on the classic fairytale I wanted to somehow incorporate the book in the table design. So I created this wall backdrop by color copying pages from an inexpensive edition of Little Red Riding Hood that had lovely, old-fashioned illustrations on every page. These were attached directly to the wall using removable sticky dots (no wall holes!) picked up in the scrapbooking section of my craft store. Easy, inexpensive and a lot of look for a little cash.
The "Once Upon A Time" scrolling banner is made from hand cut letters (you could also use a Cricut) on three pieces of poster board from the Dollar Tree, which are two for a dollar. Total cost: $2. Again, a little elbow grease and even smaller investment.
The birthday cake: Little Red Velvet. What else?
Sweet woodland scene.
Platter of LRRH cookies. More details here.
My thrift store score repainted to its current glory.
Abby and Elvis share a birthday so we make sure The King makes an appearance every year. Check him out in all his incarnations.
Big Bad Elvis - Year 4
Big Top Elvis - Year 3
Buckaroo Elvis - Year 2
Original Recipe King - Year 1
Individual salad jars. Just add dressing and shake.
What big eyes you have deviled eggs.
The backyard was where all the action was. I've finally given up on the adorable (and ultimately expensive) take home favors that just get left behind on the table (grrrr... don't get me started). Instead, I made these no-sew riding hoods and wolf heads, which did double duty as party decor and take home swag. They really made a huge impact on the space by simply hanging them on clothesline from the pergola.
Little red riding hoods for the girls.
The best part? They actually wore them!
The fateful meeting.
The kids' tables were covered in sweet red and white gingham and rustic burlap runners with mason jar centerpieces using flowers from Trader Joe's (my favorite floral supplier!). Kids lunches were individually packed in picnic baskets (Dollar Tree) lined in contrasting fabric from Jo-Ann's. Red, white and polka dot balloons and handmade pennant banners finished off the space and really gave it that sweet, old-fashioned feel.
Kids' table and lunch baskets.
Upturned baskets for floral risers.
PB & J, granola bar, apple, juice and sugar cookie.
Now on to the fun. This is where I get a little anxious. Because the bulk of my energy and time goes into what the party looks like, I tend to pay less attention to the fun factor. Then I start to freak. Do I HAVE to have a bounce house? If I don't, what will the kids do for fun? If we have games, will they participate? Who's going to MC? What if we run out of things to do? Oy. The pressure. I decided against the bouncer (the birthday girl's not a big fan plus they overrun the entire backyard) so here's what we came up with instead:
Abby's playhouse has an adorable tiny kitchen and rocking chair and it gets little-to-no action all year long. Fortunately, her party guests are less jaded. We slapped a "Grandma's House" sign above the front door and let the kids run wild in and around it.
Scattered fake food for scavenger hunt.
After lunch we held a scavenger hunt, scattering tons of plastic food (from the toy department at Ross - two 84-piece sets at $14.99 a pop) all over the backyard in plain sight. They used their picnic baskets to "Pack a Picnic for Grandma" and collected as many fake french fries and ice cream cones as they could lay their tiny hands on. No winners, no losers, just super simple and super fun! The kids loved it!
Onto the craft portion of our party. I saw these packages of Dollar Tree foam flowers when it came to me: Make Grandma a Bouquet of Wildflowers. Each flower was hot glued to a wooden craft store dowel painted green, which then had a foam leaf slid onto each stem. (Leaves were cut from the unused green foam flowers, yielding 5 per flower.)
These plain flowers were "planted' in the yard for the kids to pick and then take to the craft table to decorate with curled pipe cleaners, foam flower shapes, pom poms and glitter glue (all from The Dollar Tree). I was nervous about this one because past craft tables have gone completely ignored, but the kids were totally into it. Maybe the lack of a bounce house had something to do with their interest? Either way - Hooray! Success!
Little red cult members decorating their flowers.
Now THAT is a wildflower!
One of my all time favorite elements at the party - the photo booth! Hang a boldly patterned or colorful curtain and set up a stool for your subjects to sit and strike pose. Have a basket stocked with silly props and costumes and encourage the kids to ham it up. Cheap, easy and makes for sensational photo ops.
What big EYES you have!
I originally wanted to play musical chairs, but the kids are so competitive right now (and such poor losers!) that I didn't want to risk the tears that might ensue, so I thought the sack race would be a good alternative. And yes, I wussed out again with no winners or losers. Just get yourself across the finish line. And you know, the kids didn't even care.
These great red and white striped sacks were purchased from our local party supply store for a great price - half a dozen for $5.99.
And because I'm a glutton for punishment I thought we'd take another swing (get it? swing?) at a birthday pinata for a grand finale. I couldn't find a wolf pinata at our party supply so I had to make do with this pony one. Slap a wolf mask on him and voila! Good enough!
And like all pinatas, apparently, this one was made out of concrete and was totally unbustable. After all the kids had had AT LEAST three tries a piece, I let my husband have at it. It took him about twenty whacks (resulting in only one shattered overhead lightbulb) before our wolf-pony gave up the goods.
Never. Gonna. Happen.
Her face says it all. Happy Birthday Abby-doll!