A month or so ago, I asked Jackson what he wanted to do for his birthday. His immediate response: “Have a cupcake party!” I am not quite sure what a cupcake party is, so he clarified and said, “I get to invite five friends and have cupcakes!” (And, yes, it was emphatic, with an exclamation! point!) I tried to get more details out of him, but the only other requirements for such a party was: “Play with my toys. And my friends bring presents.” Ah, of course. Can’t forget that!
If you remember from last year’s party, I have a *slight* dislike of birthday parties. (In fact, when I asked Jackson the original question about what to do for his birthday, I was hoping for a response like, “Let’s just stay home and order pizza.” Yeah, right.) The good news is this year, he decided on the guest list himself and gave me lots of wiggle room by specifying only one other thing: cupcakes. So I set out to plan a cupcake party.
SLAM ON THE BRAKES RIGHT HERE! Turns out a cupcake party for BOYS isn’t so easy. Google “cupcake party” and you’ll get lots of pink, frilly ideas. So I just threw together some ideas I like from random web and blog samplings, and called it good. Here’s what our two hour party entailed:
1. Greet each guest and give them a party badge to wear, with Jackson’s photo on it. Why party badges? Because I found them at Leftovers for next-to-nothing cheap! They just seemed like something fun the kids could wear.
3. Decorate cupcake carriers. (For the life of me, I can’t find the link to this idea. I saw it at least a year ago on a blog, but can’t remember which one. If anyone ever finds the source, please let me know so I can link it!) I was going to let the kids use glue and glitter and other fun decorations, but if you’ve ever crafted around me or know anything about me, you know I DESPISE glitter. So the kids used only stickers, which turned out to be totally sufficient.
4. Decorate cupcakes to put in carriers and take home. The idea of sprinkles rolling around my kitchen floor is *almost* as terrifying as the thought of glitter running amuck around my house. So the kids decorated their cupcakes on cookie sheets, which helped to contain the rogue nonpareils. (Now I finally know how to pronounce that!) Then, of course, Jackson got hold of a jar of sprinkles that didn’t have a handy sifting cap on it, and he dumped a huge pile of sprinkles on his cupcake. There ain’t NO cookie sheet that could contain that mound of chaos!
5. Eat snacks in cupcake tins, a la Muffin Tin Mom. Jackson picked his favorite foods to eat: Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal, marshmallows, animal crackers, cheese cubes, apple slices, grapes, celery and carrots. I don’t have enough six-hole muffin tins, but my friend Beth had the brilliant idea to use the plastic carriers that the store-bought cupcakes are sold in. I cut those in half and let the kids use them and then we threw them away for fast cleanup. Sweet!
I also made some cute cupcake straws like these here, but then I realized the straws wouldn’t fit in the kids’ juice pouches. I made the adults use them instead.
6. Decorate a second cupcake – this one for eating!
7. Cupcake hunt. I printed out ten cupcakes (clip art) per child with each child’s name printed on them. Each child had his own color too. While we ate snacks, Katie slipped into two other rooms and hid the cupcakes in some very sneaky places. After snack, the kids were set loose to find their cupcakes.
8. Pin the candle on the cupcake. I used a large cardboard cupcake decoration I bought at Deals, and printed candle clip art for the kids to stick on the cupcake blindfolded. Our friend Alex didn’t want to play, so his mom agreed to be his substitute. The kids got a kick out of telling Michelle where to place her cupcake.
9. Presents. This is one of the reasons I dread birthday parties: I can’t stand when the kids smother the birthday child by clamoring to see the present that’s being opened. It really makes me crazy. In my Google search for cupcake parties, I found this link which had the idea to invite the child whose present is being opened to sit beside the birthday boy. Bonus idea: take a photo of the kids together with the gift, to be used for thank you notes later. BRILLIANT! It worked like a charm for us, also because we used the ottoman as a buffer between the gawkers and the gifts.
10. Playtime and head home. Our two hours was almost up by this point, so the kids played for a few more minutes and then we were done. As a party favor, each kid took home his own cupcake carrier with a cupcake inside. (I like edible favors instead of filler toys.)
Even the Grinchy party-hater side of me was pleasantly surprised with how well this party turned out. Most of all, Jackson loved having his friends over to play and eat cupcakes with him. And that’s what counts!